As the holidays approach, tech-based products are on the top of many sports fans’ lists. From Amazon’s Echo to Google Home and wearables like the Fitbit and Apple Watch, new technology offerings present unique sponsorship opportunities for corporations to partner with teams on. Here are three tech savvy ways for teams and sponsors to capitalize on fans’ fascination with tech-based products.
1. Activate around wearables
The sky’s the limit when it comes to how teams and corporate sponsors can activate around wearable technology. With 100 million wearable devices expected to ship in 2017 and the market for wearables to expand to $50 billion over the next three to five years, teams must strategize on how they can engage corporate partners and fans through wearables.
In activating around wearables, the focus should be on putting unique access and opportunities at fans’ fingertips. In this regard, teams should consider the various ways that wearables are frequently used by consumers and thereafter brainstorm how they can activate partnerships in a relevant way around those uses.
For instance, one of the biggest segments of wearables is fitness bands. This should be joyful news to the sports industry, which revolves around the fitness feats of highly skilled athletes. To activate around the popularity of fitness wearables, teams can either partner with fitness band producers, like Fitbit, or health and wellness companies to develop lines of workouts that can be downloaded and executed by fitness band wearers. Since many sport sponsors partner with teams to also align themselves with teams’ top stars, these workouts should be inspired by or modeled after fans’ favorite players’ own workouts.
A partnership of this type includes the Minnesota Wild becoming the first pro sports team to use Snapchat Spectacles. This new partnership will bring Wild fans a new experience through short video clips on the team’s app embedded from the Spectacles. Fans will now have the opportunity to feel connected to the players while sponsors can seamlessly earn impressions with customized filters and live, in-game advertising.
2. Improve in-venue Wi-Fi and gain top sponsors
Fans’ growing interest in and reliance on smart devices, like iPhones and Apple watches has put a premium on Wi-Fi access. Across every segment of the sports industry, executives and owners are scrambling to up their stadium and arenas’ Wi-Fi capability. While many teams offer Wi-Fi access to fans for free, others recognize the partnership and data gathering opportunities that exist in supplying fans with free, in-venue Wi-Fi.
Before unrolling free Wi-Fi access to fans, teams should first consider how they can bring sponsors on board to provide the service to fans. One corporation that has been bullish in entering into Wi-Fi sponsorships with venues is AT&T. For a corporation like AT&T, whose users rely heavily on Wi-Fi access to utilize its service, there is great fit congruency in entering into partnerships like its multi-year wireless sponsorship agreement with the Pac-12 Conference including our partner the University of California Berkeley in addition to an agreement with Bank of America Stadium to upgrade the venue’s Wi-Fi deployment.
With nearly every stadium offering free high-speed Wi-Fi or upgrading its in-venue Wi-Fi, teams should put finding a Wi-Fi sponsor at the top of their sponsorship strategy.
3. Give Wi-Fi, get important fan data
While in-venue Wi-Fi access presents teams with a relevant sponsorship opportunity, teams likewise have a relevant opportunity to engage with fans upon granting them access to their venue’s wireless network. To access in-venue Wi-Fi networks, many teams require fans to input key demographic data. This data can then be utilized by the team to push out relevant offers and promotions to fans via either email or app-based push notification.
For instance, the AT&T sponsorship with the Dallas Cowboys provides ticket holders with an interactive gameday experience hosted directly on their smartphone.
Before unveiling in-venue, free Wi-Fi access to fans, teams must internally discuss and decide upon the most relevant data that they must collect from fans. This data can range from age, income and gender demographics, to event and concession preferences. Given that the average American checks their smartphone 46 times per day, chances are that many fans will disclose their personal and preference information to access a team’s Wi-Fi network during the course of a game. Relying on data obtained from fans in this way, teams can then push relevant information and offers to fans either through their team apps or via text, should fans sign up to receive text notifications.
From a sponsorship perspective, there arguably is no better time than now for teams to connect with fans and actively engage partners. To attain the greatest benefit from fans’ growing reliance on technology, however, teams must constantly push the envelope and brainstorm strategies that will unite teams, partners and fans together through new innovations.