The Rise of Mobile in Sports Marketing

Posted April 29, 2013 | By csponline

Mobile Marketing is Picking Up Steam in the Sports World

Fans no longer have to sit on the sidelines rooting for their favorite team; they can get into the game with the latest fan engagement trends in mobile marketing. Interconnectivity at the game is easier than ever, as nearly everyone in the stands is now armed with a smartphone or tablet syncing them up to all of the action.

Sports teams are engaging fans through mobile marketing for customized interactions during the game and throughout the season. Collegiate athletic departments are utilizing this marketing platform to build broader fan support across their athletic teams for greater fandomania. And, with nearly half of all people ages 18 to 35 following a sports team and 35 percent actively commenting via social media, mobile marketing has become a sports marketers dream.

mobile marketingA Tech Savvy Fan Base Reacts to Mobile Marketing

Communication trends are shifting with the advent of new technology, including mobile devices with enhanced interconnectivity. People are increasingly communicating through smart phones, as there are nearly 6 billion mobile subscribers across the globe and over 7 trillion sent text messages.

“This fundamental shift is occurring rapidly and is basically becoming the foundation of marketing,” said Christine Kudelk, Department Chair of Marketing. “And, it is a technology that plays so well into the sports marketing arena.”

In accordance to the communication shift described by Kudelk, mobile marketing has taken the charge in today’s new age of interactive marketing by delivering highly convertible leads for clients looking to engage consumers for real-time results. From short message services (SMS), a text messaging service that can deliver instantaneous results, to push notifications, a cheaper form of wireless advertising, mobile marketing uses consumers’ mobile devices to create effective touch points for a responsive and engaging communication strategy.

Today’s sport fans are perhaps the best recipients for this new style of marketing. Chris Conway with the Sports Networker reports that the demographic of the sports fan is young, educated and tech savvy, which gives sports marketers a distinct avenue to target their top fans. Mobile marketing, which you can learn by getting an online marketing degree at CSP, can help reach this fervent fan base through real-time marketing efforts that create a new fan experience.

“Today’s consumers demand to be heard and smart sport teams have learned how fans can help boost and provide real energy to their own marketing efforts,” said Craig Lien, Associate Dean of the College of Business and Organizational Leadership at Concordia University, St. Paul.

Sport teams are benefiting from the instant results and feedback provided by mobile marketing. Co-founder and president of Vibe Media, a leading Chicago-based mobile marketing company, Jack Philbin, said of the mobile explosion, “More brands are taking advantage of mobile to connect with consumers because your mobile phone is your most personal device, and it gives users information immediately.”

Connecting to the Collegiate Fan

Colleges and universities are starting to see the benefit of tapping into their inherent fan base through mobile marketing efforts to drum up support and excitement. From game day attendance to season-lasting fan support, mobile marketing programs have effectively proven to generate excitement and drive attendance among the college audience.

Collegiate athletic and marketing departments are getting in the mobile marketing game by establishing sound social strategies for engaging a broader fan base to their sports teams. When developing mobile marketing plans, sports marketers should consider these four primary strategies, as outlined by Kudelk:

  • Offer incentives through mobile to engage your audience.
  • Give your user newer, deeper ways to experience your brand.
  • Help the mobile user to achieve a goal or solve a problem.
  • Make the user experience with your brand easier.

Many colleges and universities are looking to third-party vendors to assist with their mobile marketing efforts. Among the leading strategies is establishing a customized mobile application that acts as a social engagement tool to reach fans and connect them to their favorite sports team and athletes. Many of these applications serve as interactive dashboards that allow users to monitor live stats, social media feeds and community interactions while offering rewards for attendance, shares and other activities. These applications may also have the capacity for merchandising, providing students and other fans with one-click ticketing. In-house and customizable applications give athletic departments access to valuable audience data that can be used to drive attendance and game day excitement.

For collegiate athletic departments operating on smaller marketing budgets, current social networking sites with established mobile applications can serve as an effective promotional tool among your fan base. Fans can be encouraged to check-in using Facebook, Foursquare and other social media platforms to alert their social network connections of their activity and build awareness of a particular sporting event.

Mobile marketing is more than an excitement generator—it can also help colleges and universities generate revenue through sponsorships. Strategic mobile marketing campaigns can position a viable target audience in front of meaningful sponsors through community partnerships. Applications and campaigns can integrate sponsored text messages that build buzz and awareness for the sporting event and community sponsor. Data collected from the audience through previous mobile marketing efforts can be used to target prospective partners and make an effective pitch to score needed sponsorship dollars.

The Case for Mobile Marketing

There are distinct links to successful athletic departments and healthy admission numbers. According to a recent report by Jaren and Devin Pope that measures the correlation of athletic success and admissions, the number of applications increases between two and eight percent for the top 20 football schools and top 16 basketball schools each year. For schools outside of the power conferences, this data simply highlights the importance of generating and maintaining an active community of collegiate sports fans to encourage continued success on the field and in the classroom.

From collegiate athletic departments to professional sport leagues, fan engagement efforts and developing a centralized fan base can help perk up a team’s cheering section and revenue.

Concordia University, St. Paul’s diverse online and hybrid degree offerings respond to the realities of the marketplace both now and in the future. Concordia’s degrees use relevant curriculum to position graduates for real-world opportunities and success. Employers seek students who have relevant skills to contribute to both the workplace and community, and Concordia’s degrees offer a robust education to expand students’ knowledge base and skill set. Concordia provides a valuable investment for lifelong career success.