Wesley Abercrombie (S3, 2017), the General Manager for Partnership Sales at Southeastern Louisiana University Athletics, shared this creative partnership activation strategy:
If the basketball team makes eight 3-point shots, everyone at the game wins a free slushie from our local convenience store partner, Quickway. We keep track of it by hanging up letters on a wall. Once it spells out “QUICKWAY” everyone knows they win slushies. We call it our “Slushie 3-point shot tracker.”
How successful is the promotion?
Tonight, there was 30 seconds left in the game, and the team hadn’t hit the challenge yet. It spelled “QUICKWA” and we were just waiting for the clock to run out to win the game. The other team wasn’t even playing defense at this point! Fans were literally standing up yelling “one more three” at our team from the stands and our coach heard it!
So as our team was waiting for the clock to run out, coach told our point guard to just go ahead and shoot it, to try to complete the challenge for our fans. He missed the shot, but it was really cool to see the fans react to our promotion the way they did and to see our coach acknowledge it instead of just letting the clock run out to win the game. The best part was, the partner was at the game, and texted me saying that the promotion was the best form of marketing he has ever seen.
Share your story
Wes worked with Quickway to develop a powerful partnership platform that engages the team, coaches and fans for an ultimate experience. Share your Sponsorship Shorts story if you would like to be considered for a feature on the Baylor S3 Report!
Wes Abercrombie is an employee of Peak Sports Management, which manages sales & marketing for Southeastern Louisiana Athletics.
Brands highly prioritize social media engagement when partnering with sports properties. But who are these social media fans? Who are we reaching with the team’s social media?
Earlier this year we sampled registered users from a professional franchise (N = 469). The chart below displays the results of a cluster analysis grouping fans based on similar characteristics within the group, but significantly different between groups. These groups are not significantly different from each other in terms of ethnicity, household size or income.
Group 1: Passionately engaged
About a quarter (23%) of those studied frequently(66% of the team’s games) used social media (including texting, Facebook, Twitter) to send or receive information related to the team and games. This extremely passionate group (Passion Score = 95) is relatively young (M = 40) compared to other registered users of this team (M = 49). That the database skews older reflects typical season ticket holders, but may also indicate the need for teams to attract younger fans or at least get them to sign-up.
Looking at the chart, what else do you see? This group is more likely to follow on the team’s website, watch games on TV, and listen to games on the radio.
Since most of the sample are males (69.5%), the results show this group (64% male) is more likely to include females than the other three groups. They’re more likely to be single (61%) than the other groups. And, they’re relatively likely to have some form of season ticket plan (35%) and live within the metro area (e.g., within 20 miles).
Social Media Fan Groups
*Percentage of all games in a season
Social Media Usage*
Send/receive text messages about the game
Post messages/comments on social media (Facebook/Twitter/Websites) about the game.
Passion for the team (100 max)
Games reported attended*
Team Website: Visit the team website before, during, or after the game.*
Radio: Listen to games on the radio or internet.*
TV: Watch games on screen (TV, Internet, DVR).*
News: Follow the results in the newspaper or internet.*
Distance from venue (miles)
Males (Overall: 69.5% male)
Married (Overall: 52.5% married)
Fan base (% of fans surveyed)
Season plan member (partial or full)
Group 2: Distant Lovers
Although not a large segment (10%), this passionate (Passion Score = 90) fan group travels in from outside of town (average distance of 113 miles) a few times a season to attend a game or two. These somewhat older (M = 46) fans sometimes use social media (36%) to find or share information about the game, but they’re most likely to follow the team news through the newspaper or online (89%).
This group is less likely to tune in to TV (49%) or the radio (25%), which may be more a function of availability in their distant markets than interest. Consequently, the team’s website (68%) is a good way to reach this crowd, in addition to the relatively frequent social media use compared to the next two groups of fans.
Group 3: Passionately Disengaged
Although this group is as passionate as the second group (PS = 90) and attend about as many games as the first group, they rarely engage via social media (10% of games). This older group (M = 49) really don’t pay much attention to games on the radio (25%) even though they live in-market (~19 miles). Nor are they particularly avid viewers of TV broadcasts (51%). They do faithfully follow the team through the news, either print or online (85%).
This group is most likely to have some form of season ticket package (45%), particularly full-season.
Fans in this segment need to be energized as team partners to engage with the team. One suggestion is to partner with your local Apple store to offer fan workshops, perhaps specializing in the use of team apps. My 85 year old mother is on Facebook all the time, but would benefit from knowing what else to do with her iPad. The size and age of this segment suggest efforts like these could be worthwhile, because they also have higher discretionary income that would otherwise be spent on their grandchildren.
The Houston Astros target this older season ticket base by providing a headquarters for STHs, equipped with multiple iPads and other devices. And, as you can see from the cover photo, it’s sponsored.
Group 4: Dispassionately Disengaged
This relatively young (M = 40) are not particularly passionate fans (PS =63) and they show it by not following the team through virtually any media. They attend games (M = 9)a bit more than the out-of-towners in group two and live a little further out (M = 25 miles) than the two most frequently attending groups (1 and 3).
This group is the most likely to have mini-plans among the four groups, which suggests they get packages to occasionally go to the game–perhaps to entertain clients or go with friends–but they aren’t big fans.
One of the best ways to enhance fan passion is to provide direct contact between players and fans. Targeting this group with relevant events may be a way to move them into one of the other passionate groups, which in turn leads to more media usage and better fans for your partners.
BAV Consulting tracks the value of over 3500 brands, including pro franchises, each quarter from over 17,000 nationally representative consumers.
Energized differentiation–being perceived as authentic, independent, dynamic, and unique–is what drives the value of sports franchises and brands.
Sponsors (Barclays) gain measurable brand value through a clear association with a dynamic franchise (Brooklyn Nets). [/dropshadowbox]
Each pro team and another 3,500 brands are tracked in the BrandAsset Valuator (BAV) database. Beginning in 1993, we now collect opinions from over 17,000 respondents every quarter to track brand values. What do we know about the Nets since they moved?
In the BAV, the Brooklyn Nets are more differentiated, more relevant and have more momentum than the New Jersey Nets. People believe the new team brand is more authentic, independent, dynamic and unique. They want to learn more about The Nets since moving to Brooklyn.
Why this new fervor? The borough would be the fourth largest city if it could secede from New York City. Brooklyn itself is a powerful brand. Residents say they are from Brooklyn, not New York. Brooklyn’s popularity is at a high. The city’s brand is admired and relevant to residents and those outside of New York.
Will the Brooklyn Nets brand benefit Brooklyn? The Nets have a head start with a new, revamped team black and white color logo consistent with Brooklyn cool. Simple and bold in nature, the logo reflects Brooklyn’s essence: raw, authentic and edgy. The team interweaves Brooklyn essence, imbibing all of the history and culture Brooklyn has to offer. Appropriately, JAY Z, the creator of the logo, was raised in Brooklyn and popularizes the borough through his music.
Barclays sponsors the Nets new home, gaining invaluable brand equity. Compared to the general public, the Barclays brand is more differentiated among basketball fans. They believe the brand is more relevant and highly regarded. Through the Barclays Center, Barclays is becoming more distinctive to basketball fans and proves it is up–to–date, visionary, friendly, obliging, down-to-earth, authentic, different and dynamic. All these are rare components for a financial services brand.
New Competition in Town
The Brooklyn Nets’s move into Knick’s territory should renew concerns for the Knicks. New York now has a formidable adversary on and off the court in terms of brand image. From our data, we know brand image helps drive ticket and merchandise sales as well as share of mind and heart. The Brooklyn Nets already surpass the Knicks in “Admired Difference,” a BAV® construct measuring a combination of fan appreciation for team differentiation, momentum and regard often likened to brand love.
Brooklyn is the hip and cool underdog with momentum and love among the fans and the public. The Knicks are viewed as prestigious, traditional and still the leader. Who will win this battle of the brands? Sure, winning always helps. But the consistent brand winner will weave its way into the community and harness the love of consumers and their common passions.
The Manager’s Take
by Eric Kussin, Vice President of Sales & Service, New Jersey Devils
I can see why the Nets move to Brooklyn is a brand equity boon to both the Nets and Barclays. Having grown up in the New York/New Jersey, I can see why the move to Brooklyn has been a positive one for the Nets.
1) The move to Brooklyn gave the Nets the opportunity to break the stigma of “a team sharing an outdated building out in East Rutherford” (which was difficult to get to by mass transit). East Rutherford had always been looked at as the inconvenient home of Giants Stadium (now Met Life Stadium), where an arena for an NBA and NHL team just happened to be in close proximity.
2) The Nets now have their own new home in a state-of-the-art facility, convenient by subway from anywhere in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as anywhere in Long Island from the LIRR and on to connecting subways. You get out of the subway and the arena is literally right in front of you.
3) A smart move was changing the colors and logo (maybe not such a popular move to the fans in New Jersey that they were leaving behind)…as a “launch” of their new relationship with their new home in a new borough and with new fans in the area. Black and white is a stark contrast from red and blue. Brooklyn has been starving for a major professional sports team to return for decades now, and the finally have one. For Brooklyn to take real ownership of this team as “their team” the organization owed it to them to introduce a new color scheme and a new logo that fit the new neighborhood and the team and ownership attitude.
4) Whether it translates to long term success on the court or not, in moving to a new arena, new colors, new logos, the team also needed to show they were putting a new and fresh product out on the floor. While they kept some of the pieces they were building around in New Jersey – like Deron Williams and Coach Johnson, they added some new pieces like Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace to the mix. Adding new players to the mix went along with all the “new” they were introducing. It tied the on-court theme with the off-court theme.