From new naming rights, to app-enabled sports fans and stadiums going high-tech, Bill Glenn answers the question ‘So What?’
American Express has become a founding partner of the Brooklyn Nets. They signed a five year deal that’s valued at more than $2M annually. AmEx will be the exclusive official credit card of the Nets and Barclays Center. The deal includes naming rights to both The 40/40 Club restaurant on a suite level and the arena’s box office. Interestingly, the Barclays Center deal is the first time the company has its brand atop a facility’s entire ticketing operation. It will now be known as the American Express Box Office. Card members will get early access to tickets and merchand ise for all events. AmEx also acquired the exclusive rights to develop special experiences for card members such as attending a Nets practice and participating in a meet-and -greet session with the team’s coaching staff.
So What? Multipurpose venues such as the Barclays Center have rapidly become a hot commodity in the financial services category primarily driven by credit cards/card services. Being able to offer tickets to events as part of reward programs is critical and multipurpose facilities provide the traditional sports team games/events as anchor tenants but also provide a variety of music and other entertainment opportunities that can be made available for customers. Taking it even further and beyond simple access to tickets, companies like Amex and Chase are creating exclusive clubs and lounges that provide concierge level services that enhance the experience for the fan resulting in enhanced engagements with these brand s.
The article is an interview with TMA client State Farm regarding how they have steadily built an effective sponsorship strategy in the music category. They are expand ing their portfolio to reach a broader segment of consumers by kicking off a summer music tour co-headlined by Enrique Iglesias and Jennifer Lopez. The purpose of the tour is to build State Farm presence with Hispanics and other multicultural audience segments. The tour reinforces State Farm’s position in music with both local festivals as well as their four-year-old presenting sponsorship of the Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards.
So What? This is a great example of how State Farm has continued to build equity in music over time. After identifying music as a core sponsorship platform, State Farm has remained committed to building a consistent brand position, generally around an events platform (concerts/award shows/festivals), leveraging them to contemporize the brand and create an emotional connection with existing and prospective State Farm customers. Over the past five years this music platform and activation strategy has helped State Farm better appeal to key target segments such as Millennials and Hispanics as well as the mass market.
We’ve already seen in-seat food and drink ordering at live sports games via the Yorder app. Now, fans who have spotted empty seats in a better location can upgrade their tickets instantly with Pogoseat. Benefitting both fans and teams alike, the smartphone app seeks to enable customers to move to prime seats left unfilled at games in a quick and convenient way. Fans can see a map of the stadium they are at and the app recommends the empty seats with the best views. Once the desired seat is selected, users enter their payment details and are free to make their way to the new vantage point.
So What? In TMA’s view, this is a new idea and process that is still evolving. It will be interesting to see the property relationships Pogoseat develops in this launch phase. Looking back 10 years ago no one thought that secondary ticket companies like Stub Hub, TicketsNow and Razorgator would be able to sustain any success with properties hesitant to help fuel a secondary ticket market. What happened is that the demand for access grew so fast that properties found it more beneficial to create partnerships with these companies rather than fight it. What will be interesting is how properties and Pogoseat deal with empty seats that are already owned by a ticket holder that decides not to attend and how they get permission to reuse this inventory. One possible benefit for brand s is the ability to provide upgraded seats and experiences to customers without having an actual sponsorship with said property.
With the tremendous improvement of television technology and the option of watching expand ed sports coverage online and through mobile devices, teams need to give fans a better experience at the stadium, otherwise risk declining ticket sales. Doug Perlman, founder of Sports Media Advisors, was a recent guest on Forbes SportsMoney on the YES Network, where he discussed the latest technology being employed at stadiums to keep couch potatoes coming to the games.
So What? The article underlines the importance of exclusive access to unique content to continue driving in-venue fan engagement. Sponsors that contribute to this added value through their activation strategy will build deeper relationships with fans by fulfilling their desire for more engagement with their team. This will in turn deliver a more integrated approach for sponsors by connecting with fans via multiple channels that enhance the fan experience and ultimately deliver a meaningful brand engagement.
For more sports & entertainment marketing views, follow Bill Glenn on Twitter @sponczar.