40 Ways Sports Teams Can Utilize Foursquare

Foursquare is one of the hottest social media platforms driving business in 2010 and the opportunities for integration in the sports space are endless. Here are some tips for how your sports organization can utilize Foursquare: 

5 Key Tips to Remember When Implementing Foursquare Initiatives:

  • Foursquare should be primarily viewed as a fan engagement channel that offers indirect monetization opportunities (driving ticket sales/concessions/merchandise, promoting corporate partners, etc.)
  • Do not create promotions that just reward "Mayors" (those who have checked-in at X venues the most times) - this limits the promotional audience as there are oftentimes only a handful of people who can overtake the Mayor to receive the promotional discount
  • Set realistic expectations - While the number of users and check-ins are on the rise, expectations for Foursquare promotions should still be set relatively low until the sports industry begins to experience more of a mainstream adoption rate 
  • Foursquare promotions are not self-sustainable - Teams must market Foursquare promotions in-arena, on their team home page, through social media channels (Foursquare, Twitter), and find a way to incorporate notable corporate partners and team personnel (players, coaches, alumni, cheerleaders, mascots, staff)
  • Capitalize on Foursquare by creating venues within your venue (Stadium/Arena) to drive traffic to party decks, stadium gates, concessions stands, the team shop, corporate partner displays, etc.

40 Ways Sports Teams Can Utilize Foursquare

  1. Offer a team-branded Foursquare badge
  2. Give fans a 15% discount at the team store after their 5th check-in
  3. Reward the person with the most-checkins (the Mayor) at the team store with 25% off purchase (note that this must be accompanied by a seperate offer for the general public to be effective)
  4. Run a real-time treasure hunt that rewards fans for checking in at certain venues (arena, team shop, corporate partner retail locations, games, etc.) with free tickets, merchandise, etc.
  5. Encourage fans to check in at billboards/outdoor signs to receive rewards
  6. Encourage fans to post tips about their experiences (e.g. tracking fan feedback to see what arena experiences they enjoy the most)
  7. Have players check-in at corporate partner retail locations (to drive buzz)
  8. Run a promotion that encourages fans to check in at the arena for the chance to receive a Swarm badge (which is given out if 50+ people check in at one venue at one time)
  9. Run a contest to see if the team can set the Guinness Book of World Records for most check-ins at one location (Manchester City FC tried doing this in May - the record at that time was approximately 500)
  10. Offer fans who check-in for the 1st time at the ticket counter a premium discount or unique giveaway
  11. Utilize Foursquare like a Loyalty Card and offer different levels of rewards for X number of check-ins
  12. Promote Foursquare ticket offers (receive 25% tickets when checking in at the ticket box office and purchasing a pair on Wednesdays)
  13. Provide an incentive for bringing family/friends; Offer a free concessions item for fans that check-in with more than 3 people
  14. Run a special on the team's Foursquare page that allows fans to get 30% off a stadium tour when checking in at the stadium on a non-game day
  15. Provide tips to fans about the hottest things to check out at the arena on given nights
  16. Offer a unique experience for all fans who check-in at all regular season home games
  17. Highlight new party deck experiences at the stadium/arena via Foursquare
  18. Promote game day giveaways on the team Foursquare page
  19. Offer tips to fans about new concessions items and merchandise in the team store
  20. Offer tips for families and students about the best time to purchase ticket value packs
  21. Leverage corporate partners (e.g. Subway) by offering a $5 gift card to fans who check-in at select party decks, special events, or at the stadium gates 1.5 hours before the game
  22. Teams can utilize Foursquare initiatives to provide their fans with real-time, engaging offers on Twitter and Facebook (to bring those channels to life)
  23. Offer fans that check-in when the gates open exclusive access to a pre-game lounge where the team features a player appearance, etc.
  24. Host a social media panel where team personnel teach fans how to use Foursquare to become a more avid fan
  25. Tie in a cause marketing component to a Foursquare promotion - Run a "Foursquare Mayor Gives Back" promotion where a team (or corporate partner) collects can goods/clothing/donations and the Mayor of the Arena gets to choose which charitable organization the items get donated to
  26. Have team employees working at the stadium gates, concessions stands, and team store wear pins that tell fans that they can win $1,000 by "checking in" on game day
  27. Provide fans who "check-in" at the arena with fun facts about the team
  28. Use Foursquare check-ins as an additional fan database (that can be rewarded with virtual gifts, specials on ticket offers, etc.)
  29. View Foursquare as a means to reach tech-saavy fans that can be used as a control group to better understand new ways that technology can improve the game day experience
  30. Leverage Foursquare as a means for guerrilla marketing, where players/team personnel can "check-in" at Gate 4 outside the stadium and tweet out that the first 4 people that meet them at the gate can receive free tickets
  31. Reward fans who check-in at special team events with promotional codes for free ringtones, wallpaper downloads, etc.
  32. Reward fans who show a corporate partner badge (e.g. Subway) - Note: CNN just had Official Foursquare badges released for Official World Cup Watch Parties it held
  33. Offer a team badge that fans watching at home can receive by simply checking in with the team name in their post (the Boston Celtics/LA Lakers did this during the 2010 NBA Finals)
  34. Host Swarm Badge Team Watch Parties
  35. Offer a promotion where if fans check in at all four (4) stadium gates during their experience, they can receive a free team t-shirt at a select customer service desk
  36. Teams can reward employees for "checking in" (free coffee, free parking, etc.)
  37. Teams can leverage Foursquare at Job Fair booths where they reward job prospects with a free premium giveaway, etc. for checking in (an initiative that can help teams gauge which prospects are the most tech-saavy)
  38. Incorporate Foursquare into corporate partner B2B sessions as a means to demonstrate new thinking and opportunities for social media integration
  39. Track trends about fan behavior (by understanding when/where consumers are checking in, teams can consider new engagement opportunities, etc.)
  40. Distribute free virtual tickets at sports locations (sports bars, parks, gyms, etc.) that can be redeemed for real tickets to a specific game - The New Jersey Nets teamed up with VaynerMedia and Gowalla to execute a similar campaign

For more ideas of ways that businesses are leveraging Foursquare, click here.

VaynerMedia Shows that Geolocation is Here to Stay in Sports

Are you looking for new ways to capitalize on emerging trends in sports social media? Are you looking for new ways to leverage the emerging craze behind Gowalla and Foursquare?

If you're working in sports and you haven't heard of Foursquare or Gowalla yet, it's time to do your research. Why? The New Jersey Nets are paving the way for sports organizations to begin experimenting with the two aforementioned geolocation platforms to measure how they can deliver in the event marketing space. Geolocation platforms allow users to check into and engage with physical locations and events via mobile devices (here in this virutal setting, marketers can reward them for their loyalty/engagement).

Check out a terrific case study below that details how VaynerMedia teamed up with the New Jersey Nets to create an innovative Gowalla initiative that drove a group of select, influential fans to the Izod Center to check out a game live.

Huge opportunities lie on the horizon for sports marketers looking to utilize Foursquare and Gowalla - the key question at this point remains how readily society will adopt these geolocation platforms.

To download VaynerMedia's presentation (above) please click here.

A special thanks to Sam Taggart of VaynerMedia for his insights and contributions to this column... a must-see!