UNM Athletics Turns to A Giant Pencil to Drive Fan Engagement

Sports properties looking for new ways to engage office supply partners (e.g. Office Depot, Office Max, etc.) should take a close look at the following promotion executed by Lobos Sports Properties at a recent University of New Mexico home basketball game.

Lobos Sports Properties created a promotion where a blindfolded fan had to locate a giant pencil positioned on the court in a given time frame to win a grand prize. During the contest, fans had to try to guide the fan by shouting out simple instructions. The promotion is extremely simple (and commonly used in the collegiate sports space for a variety of corporate partners) but serves as an effective and engaging awareness driver, especially for a company like Midway Office Supply.

Lobos Sports Properties could consider taking the fan engagement aspect to the next level by rewarding a section with free office supplies (e.g. pack of pens per person seated in Section 108) if the fan were to locate the Giant Pencil... and possibly pens for the entire arena if he was able to locate it within the first 5 seconds.

With this promotion, it would be hard for fans to leave the arena that night and not remember the giant pencil! Check it out below:

Lobos Sports Properties has done a terrific job compiling all of its basketball arena inventory and promotions on an Official YouTube page, which can definitely be considered to be an industry best practice. Look for more college sports properties to leverage YouTube as a similar hosting platform for sponsorship inventory in the near future!

Mavericks Fans Show Off Their Dance Moves to Win a Suite

The Dallas Mavericks recently partnered with Xbox Kinect to create a Dance Central "Suite Moves" contest that allows fans to show off their best dance moves for the chances to win a catered suite for twelve (12) and a Kinect prize pack.

For a chance to win, Mavericks fans had to physically participate at the Xbox Kinect display area in the AAC concourse during two (2) Mavericks games in January. The best eight (8) performers were then selected to compete head-to-head in a pre-game Dance Central contest during the team's home game against the Atlanta Hawks on January 29th for a chance to make it to the final round and win the ultimate suite package.

Check out a video that the Mavericks created to promote the initiative to its fanbase.

The Wizards Score a Slam Dunk with Fans...

The Washington Wizards entertained fans at a recent home game by allowing a few select fans a chance to attempt dunks off a trampoline (standard intermission entertainment). However, the team did a terrific job staging the event to the enjoyment of fans.

Check out how they did it below:


Which leads one to question... Dunkin' Donuts does so many great things to leverage their sports partnerships, particularly in Boston, but why have they not sponsored the "Dunkin' Donuts" ... a group of regular fans, out-of-shape fans, or acrobatics dressed in donut costumes (or as munchkins) dunking off branded trampolines at halftime? It seems like a no-brainer that plenty of fans would enjoy. Teams could find ways to drive traffic to retail based on the number of dunk conversions.. Just a thought!

Clippers Fans "Get Their Red On" in 2010

The Los Angeles Clippers celebrated their new brand new red jerseys and the start of the 2010-11 NBA season by featuring a "Get Your Red On" promotion that truly benefited fans. The promotion allowed fans who purchased a red jersey or red shirt on Clippers.com to receive a free lower bowl ticket to the team's game against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Clippers offered the deal on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limited number of tickets being made available. However, it served as a great way to drive merchandise sales, drive interest and awareness around the team's new jerseys, and build some early season excitement around the club, especially with the return of start PF Blake Griffin.

While some clubs may not have a comparable amount of lower bowl inventory available to run a similar promotion, upper bowl tickets would still present a compelling offer for fans.

Monster Energy and Prokos Rentals Align with Ohio Athletics

Courtesy of Ohio Univ. Media RelationsAt the dawn of the 2010 NCAA basketball season, Ohio University Athletics partnered with Monster Energy Drink to attempt a Guinness World Record for the most Monster Energy Drinks opened and consumed at one time.

The Ohio University Athletics marketing department teamed up with a local Pepsi distributor to bring in 2,200 cans of Monster Energy in for the men's basketball team's Hardwood Hysteria event, a practice session that offered high-flying dunks, a skills challenge, and an intrasquad scrimmage for fans to enjoy free of charge.

While Ohio University Athletics failed to distribute 2,200 cans of Monster Energy in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record, the event served as a great benchmark for sports organizations looking to set niche records. The promotion serves as a great example of ways that mid-major athletic departments can attempt to attract fans looking to be a part of a historical moment.

Courtesy of Ohio Univ. Media RelationsThe Ohio University Athletic Department also activated its partnership with Prokos Rentals, a local Athens realtor, at the Hardwood Hysteria event. Prokos Rentals allowed select registrants a chance to compete for the title of "Ms. Bobcat" through a series of competitions that included a costume contest, a dance competition, a skills competition, and a trivia contest. Lisa Kirk, an Ohio University Sports Management senior, was declared the winner of the competition, taking home free rent, a salon prize package, and $500 cash!

A special thanks to the Executive Board of The Ohio University Sports Business Association for their insights and contributions to this column. The Ohio University Sports Business Association is an organization of individuals who wish to enhance their educational experience outside of the classroom with like minded individuals who are all working toward a common goal of improving themselves and their peers through practical experiences. Follow The Ohio University Sports Business Assocation on Twitter at: @ohiousba.

The Nets Brought Virtual Good Luck to the NBA Draft

Are you looking for new ways to engage fans around a league draft? Are you looking for new ways to leverage social media platforms to drive water cooler conversations around your organization?

It has become a customary practice for NBA organizations to bring a good luck charm with them to the annual NBA Draft in anticipation of securing a top pick. While some organizations send rising stars, new owners, and sweepstakes winners, the New Jersey Nets turned to VaynerMedia and their avid social media following to bring them good luck in 2010.

The Nets and VaynerMedia created a microsite, http://netsgoodluckcharm.com, that utilized Twitter and Facebook social plugins to allow fans the opportunity to post good luck messages to the team without having to leave the page and participate via their social media accounts. With a 25% chance of securing the top pick, Nets fans left hundreds of good luck messages and shared their thoughts about the Net's future and the hopes of securing an elite prospect. The organization launched the microsite at 9am the morning of the Draft and kept it live until just shortly after the draft picks were announced. 

Unfortunately for the Nets, luck was not on their side and they ended up securing the 3rd spot in the Draft. While the result of the lottery is pretty disappointing for Nets fans, their virtual good luck charm was a hit. Look for some more related initiatives in the near future!

It's Time for the Dancin' Dawgs...

Are you looking for new ways to entertain your fan base? Are you looking for new ways to drive awareness for your organization's players?

The folks at the University of Washington are constantly pushing the envelope with new, creative marketing and sales tactics. The UW marketing team recently created an entertaining "Dancin' Dawgs" piece that is played on the video board when the men's basketball team develops a sizeable lead in the final minutes of play.

The clip is terrific in that it allows the athletes to demonstrate some of their personalities and it is a simple, yet very entertaining fan pleaser. Why not remind fans late in the game about how great their experience was?

Check it out below:

Source: Husky Men's Basketball Blog

NBDL Mascot Lives on Billboard to Sell Tickets

Are you looking for new ways to spur ticket sales? Are you looking to leverage a team mascot in a media campaign?

The Utah Flash of the NBA D-League recently called on their mascot, Flash Fox, to pull of an incredible stunt to drive season ticket sales. The team asked their mascot to live atop of a billboard along I-15 in American Fork, UT until the team sold 500 incremental season ticket packages... so he did.

On Friday, October 16th, Flash Fox took residence on a billboard touting the team's "Buy Tickets, Save Flash Fox" campaign and lived there for a full week until the team sold 500 season ticket packages. To pass the time, Flash Fox chatted with fans online, broadcasted his day-to-day actions to fans across the nation via Ustream, and camped out with a tent and a rocking chair.

The Utah Flash did a tremendous job supporting the campaign with a custom microsite (www.saveflashfox.com) that fostered Flash Fox's online fan interaction and linked to official Twitter/Facebook pages that featured frequent posts and video updates. The site featured tickers that detailed how long Flash had been living on top of the billboard and how many tickets still needed to be sold. It also mentioned local companies/persons who purchased tickets in support of the cause. 

When the team successfully sold 500 tickets, it called on the local fire department to help Flash Fox get down and filmed the entire story. Check out a terrific video of the entire campaign here:

Check out some of the media exposure the team received from the campaign:

The Celtics and Welch's Team Up To Create a Video Board Hit...

Are you looking for new ways to integrate the products of supporting partners into video board features? Are you looking for ways to incorporate corporate partners in memorable, fan-friendly initiatives?

The Boston Celtics have teamed up with Welch's Peanut Butter Jelly to create a classic feature that is shown on the video board during the team's home games. The clip features Welchy (Welch's Peanut Butter Jelly mascot) performing a variety of dance moves in what appears to be the Celtics locker room. The simple, yet engaging piece serves as a very effective way to drive fan excitement and awareness of Welch's affiliation with the Celtics organization. Check out the clip below:

A special thanks to Josh Hafer of the Columbus Blue Jackets for coming across this interactive in-game feature and passing it along.