This is not a personal topic blog, but i’ll let you in on a personal secret.  I LOVE hockey.  I mean hardcore.  I have the NHL package, 6+ jerseys (3 autographed) and other mounds of memorabilia.  I even own a shirt that says ‘i throw a mean hip check’.

Now as much as I love this sport I never thought it would be so forward thinking in its marketing.  Heck, the Sabres had a ‘green’ initiative before most Fortune 500’s did (way to go Buffalo) !  Today, I’m seeing massive twitter activity, blogs, live casts, scavenger hunts and I’m pretty proud of this underdog sport.  Maybe it’s because hockey has to try harder since it doesn’t have the content distribution or national support like NFL or MLB, but thanks to that I enjoy more detailed information than I ever expected and feel like i’m a part of the Sabres community because of their digital efforts.  From video, photos, live blogging from practices and games to interactive experiences for game-attendees.

One of my favorite marketing activations I’ve seen recently was done by the Tampa Bay Lighting who integrated RFID (Radio Frequency) chips into special Season Ticket Holder jerseys.  Which also came with a badge identifying the person as a season ticket holder with this special jersey (touch of ‘gamification’ there). They also allow the jersey to be customized with whatever name and number the person wants.

What’s fantastic is the application of this technology! These chips allow the ST holders to receive discounts at the concessions and merchants and someday will likely allow them to leave their wallet at home, earn points for attending games, purchases, etc.  In addition to the consumer benefits, there is lots of great data the organization can now access about an extremely important customer.  What do they purchase? How often? When? Using this data to improve their experience in the future will be extremely valuable to their CRM plans.

I’m a sucker for anything with RFID/NFC but the important thing is to use the technology to enhance the consumer’s experience or enable them to communicate about a unique or special experience.  Technology for technology sake is never good for anyone involved.  Finding ways to improve a consumer’s experience or solve a pain point is a good way to make your campaign successful.  Think about using microchips to find your pets – great use of technology (our pup, Ridley, is microchipped!).  Or EasyPass/Fast pay on toll roads, those RFID chips make commuting much easier!!

Has this program worked?

  • Season ticket sales have boomed from some 6,000 last year to about 11,000 this year.  That’s nearly doubling their season ticket sales!
  • “Fans already feel more like a part of the organization,” Lott says. “Now at home games we have our bowl filled up with about 70% Lightning jerseys.”
For more information check out: The TampaBay Mashable article
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