Written by: Chris Rose
The game starts and the crowd goes wild but the experience started long before the team took the field. There are three different points of contact that any experiential marketer can achieve success in by making the customer feel that the sporting event is more than a just game. All three of these points below will help give more access to fans and could potentially increase revenue.
1. Before the Game
2. During the Game
3. After the Game
Before the Game
When looking to build an experience for fans that is successful, look no further than tailgating at football games from the college level to the pros. They have fans show up hours before the game starts to come eat, drink, and hang out outside the stadium. This is a marketer’s dream, but how can more sports get this reaction from their fans? There are a few different ways to create this engagement.
First, the experience needs to start right when the fans step out of a car. This means there either needs to be music playing or something big to draw attention that the fans can see walking up. To build the experience outside the game, there needs to be a reason to show up early that is fun and exciting.
Ideas that experiential marketers can use are having adult, outside games for the specific sport before the game. Second, tickets can include a food ticket
or buffet for fans that show up early and possibly having a player from the team come to interact with the fans. Lastly, create a tournament with the game of your choice and have the winner receive either field passes or a ticket equivalent to it for other sports.
During the Game
When the actual game starts, most if not all teams have this section of the game experience figured out. Sporting events always have some sort of in-game promotion, contest, and on field activity to keep fans engaged during breaks or half times. This is a great way make fans want to come back and also get exposure for your sponsors. They will be more willing to sponsor pre-game or post-game events though increased activity during the game.
After the Game
The experience needs to carry on after the game to extend the experience of the fans. This can be achieved in several ways. First, try partnering with a restaurant or bar where people can go and talk about the game. Second, create a second event after the game, such as a concert, to draw different people to buy tickets for the game. This would build the experience of a great event and make people want to come to another game soon.
Also after games, teams have the potential to have a meet and greet with fans and/or have a contest to let the fans see them. This would give fans a reason to show up to the pre-game to enter the contest. All these steps would help make the game feel like a whole cohesive event.
To sum up, the marketing departments need to start implementing experiential marketing for pre-game, in-game and post- game activities. This will help gain more fans and also give more opportunities to have money made in sponsorship. Following is one of my favorite quotes associated with experiential marketing.
According to Jim Robinson “We believe that when people are being entertained, they are happy, positive, grateful, more receptive to messages, more inclined to share their experience and more likely to try something new. It’s an incredible state of being, which, if harnessed and used sensitively, can be exceptionally powerful for brands.”
Do you think that experiential marketing would work in sports? Why or why not?