The end of summer represents a fresh start in many ways. The kids are off to a new school year, family vacations come to a close, and for many embattled sports fans, the new campaign brings feelings of hope. In America, both college and professional football are kicking off, England’s Premier League is getting underway, and basketball and hockey leagues around the globe have their seasons right around the corner.
A lot has changed in the world of professional sports. Leagues from the NFL to Germany’s Bundesliga participated in last year’s season largely without live fans. Even golf organizations such as the PGA, LPGA, and European Tour conducted closed events last season despite the natural socially distanced nature of the sport.
And while a large portion of live sports revenue comes from media deals, a lack of gate revenue certainly hurts the bottom line for every sports league. With the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, many leaders in the sporting world are anxious to get fans back to stadiums. Fans are also eager to go out and support their favorite teams again.
A tale of two stadiums
Separated by just about 230 miles, the American cities of Los Angeles and Las Vegas have something in common, they both attempted to debut brand new multi-billion dollar stadiums in 2020. Well, we all know how that went. LA’s SoFi Stadium, which is the home to both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, is the most expensive stadium ever built at the astronomical price of $6 Billion. In contrast, Las Vegas’s Allegiant Stadium came in at the bargain bin price of $2 Billion.
In addition to hosting a full slate of football games, these venues are set to double as Olympic venues, host concerts, and even showcase international events such as the World Cup and the Super Bowl. And while filling the stadium will be a priority for both organizers in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Vegas has the extra mission of building a fan base for the team in a new city.
Both Allegiant Stadium and SoFi Stadium are also underwater with advertisers. The owners sold in-stadium advertising space last year with the promise of sold-out crowds. Some of those ads are visible on a television broadcast, but smaller print ads on the top of seats? Not so much. These stadiums need fans to return and quickly.
Using SMS to bring fans back
If we look at the idea of simply using SMS to promote events happening at these stadiums, we aren’t thinking big enough. Yes, every team should be using the SMS channel to engage with their users, advertise premium seating and offer a seamless experience. But if we take a step back, we’ll see that a completely integrated SMS experience is the easiest way to bring fans back to the stadiums. Let’s set up a scenario to show precisely how game promoters can leverage SMS every step of the way.
Let’s look at the Los Angeles Rams. In October, they have a game against the Detroit Lions. As of this writing, the game is nowhere close to selling out. In addition to unsold seats, thousands or more tickets are available for resale through the Rams’ primary ticket broker.
An SMS campaign to boost sales
As a fan of live games, sending me an SMS alert for available tickets is an easy way to advertise seat availability proactively. But why stop there? A savvy marketer would send me a text that would include a link to a portal where I could purchase tickets. The promoter could then send me another text that includes my mobile ticket. In a matter of minutes, I’ve been informed about a game, purchased tickets, and had them securely sent to my mobile device, which I will have scanned on game day.
But the experience doesn’t stop there. In the days leading up to the event, I will receive important notifications like how and where to park, local game-day road closures, and of course, COVID regulations. Sending fans a reminder that a mask is required to enjoy the game is a much better way of ensuring safety than hoping fans are up to date on current guidelines.
SMS doesn’t stop before the game
During the game, SMS can be used for contactless food ordering or digital receipts on merchandise from the gift shop. Promoters could also get creative with text campaigns using keywords and shortcodes to trigger messages on the scoreboard.
The goal is to leverage digital channels to make returning to the stadium a safe and pleasant experience for fans. I’m a big fan of sports/concerts/leaving the house, but I’m also a fan of helping businesses streamline their SMS marketing efforts. Give me a call/ text at (424) 653-3380 today, and I’ll show you how SMS can take you straight to first place.