The Lightning Generate Buzz With Tampa International Airport Travelers

The Tampa Bay Lightning recently announced an unprecedented partnership with the Tampa International Airport that is designed to reward travelers, drive incremental interest in the team, and help grow the local tourism economy.

The Lightning and Tampa International Airport officials are partnering on several initiatives that will surely generate buzz amongst city residents and tourists traveling through the airport:

  • Promotional Contests
    • Beginning Tuesday, November 1, one person who parks in the Tampa International Airport designated parking lots will win a free four-pack of tickets to a Lightning game at the St. Pete Times Forum (the winner will be chosen randomly each day at the exit)
    • The Lightning gave away two (2) pairs of round-trip tickets on Edelweiss Air (the airport's newest International carrier) as part of its new "Seek the Seat" promotional initiative on Twitter
  • Branding Tactics
    • The Lightning wrapped a shuttle that connects the main terminal to Airside A with an eye-catching "Go Bolts" creative design
    • The voice of Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier greets passengers on the Airside A tram as they head to and from the main terminal

Check out the Lightning's "Go Bolts" Airside A tram wrap below and consider ways that your sports organization can partner with a local airport authority and effectively market to millions of airport travelers each year!


A special thanks to Caryn Switaj for her insights and contributions to this column!

The Lightning Launch a Seat Seeker Initiative to Reward Active Twitter Followers with Tickets

The Tampa Bay Lightning recently celebrated the start of the 2011-12 season by creating a promotional platform that rewards fans for interacting with the team on Twitter. As part of the platform, entitled the Tampa Bay Lightning Seat Seeker, fans can follow the team's official Twitter handle (@TBLightning) to receive messages when free tickets are placed at secret locations throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Once the message is posted, Lightning fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #BeTheThunder to unlock clues that zero in on the location of the tickets. Once the location is revealed, the first person who finds the tickets wins them.

The Lightning launched a landing page to host the Seat Seeker initiative, which features a camera that zooms in on the location of the tickets every time a designated amount of tweets occur. The site includes a countdown unit that shows how many total tweets have been posted (240+ to date) and how many are needed to activate the next zoom.

The lucky Lightning fan who won tickets for the team's Opening Night game found them at a McDonald's location on West Kennedy Blvd., showcasing how teams can effectively benchmark and utilize the social media promotion to drive traffic and publicity to corporate partners' retail locations. 

Check it out below - a great, engaging tactic!

A special thanks to Caryn Switaj of the Tampa Bay Lightning for her insights and contributions to this column!

The Florida Panthers Offer a Good Time Guarantee to Fans

The Florida Panthers recently turned to a new ticket sales strategy to draw fans to the Bank Atlantic Center in January. The Panthers are offering a "Good Time Guarantee" that ensures fans that they will receive their money back if they don't have a good time at any of the team's nine (9) home games during the month.

The Panthers are leveraging the guarantee and appealing single game ticket offers (game ticket and free parking for $9) to attract fans to the arena and assure an unforgettable live game experience.  The Money Back Guarantee applies to up to four (4) tickets for one (1) game during the month of January. The refund guarantee does not incorporate issues due to service, maintenance, parking, or building fees. 

Sunrise Sports and Entertainment President and COO Michael Yormark commented on the unique promo by saying, "We have been saying all season long that Florida Panthers hockey at the BankAtlantic Center is one of the best live experiences in South Florida, and the professional sports industry. Now, we are putting our money where our mouth is and guaranteeing that incredible experience or your money back.”

A "Good Time Guarantee" serves as a creative, unique idea for sports organizations looking for ways to spike attendance during months of slow attendance or poor attendance. It's important to note that the Panthers have played this strategy right - only offering it for a month-long period. Organizations can offer the "Good Time Guarantee" as a general slogan/cause throughout a season but they would not want to consider making a full ticket refund available for fans purchasing multiple game ticket packages.

Create Moments of Opportunity for Fans In-Game

Sports organizations looking for new ways to reward fans attending their games should consider creating "moments of opportunity" for fans. These moments, driven by corporate partner-led promotions, are terrific because they can generate excitement during dull moments in the action and can occur at any point during the game.

As teams look for new ways to generate interest and excitement amongst fans, more are turning to these type of rewarding moments. As an example, check out a "Bud Light Quench Time" promotion recently offered by the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL. The Steelheads identified a three (3) minute period in the game where if the team scored, all fans in attendance would be treated to a discounted price on Anheuser-Busch products for the rest of the game.

AB Scores with Mascot Can Race Between Periods

Are you looking for new ways to drive excitement around alcoholic beverage partners? Are you looking for ideas to enhance your in-game entertainment?

The Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL recently did a tremendous job bringing back the excitement of the Bud Bowl in an entertaining on-ice promotion between periods. The club featured a live race between a Budweiser, Bud Light, and Bud Light Lime can that was heightened by a intro piece that was very well done  While most teams simply execute a contest between periods, the Griffins really took the promotion to the next level with the creative training lead-in.

The Griffins' Mascot Can Race is a simple intermission tactic, but serves as an effective way to drive fan excitement for Anheuser-Busch brands when most fans are heading out to the concourse to purchase their favorite beverage! Check it out below!

The Wild and AB Offer a Snowmobile Giveaway

Are you looking to offer new, enticing promotions for fans? Are you looking to feature unique prizing elements in your organization's sweepstakes and promotions?

The Minnesota Wild have teamed up with Anheuser-Busch to create a unique Snowmobile Giveaway that will provide four (4) lucky fans the chance to win a team autographed Arctic Cat snowmobile and a Triton trailer during the team's home contest against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, January 27th.

For the chance to win the exclusive prize pack, valued at $10,000, fans 21 years of age and older simply have to complete and submit a simple registration form on the Minnesota Wild team website. One fan will be selected via the online submission process as well as three (3) lucky others who will be randomly chosen in the arena that night. Submissions will be accepted until 10pm CST on January 25, 2010, so hurry fast for your chance to win!


The Best Hockey Race You've Never Seen...

Are you looking to add a little humor to your on-ice entertainment? Are you looking for new ways to promote QSR and casual dining partners?

The Atlanta Thrashers recently held a hilarious on-ice race between three fans competing as Applebees entree items... As you watch the race, you will notice that the Thrashers called on the team's mascot and an inflatable sumo wrestler to add some unpredictability and excitement for fans.

A must see... Check it out:

Use the Penalty Box to Promote Green Initiatives

Is your hockey organization looking for new ways to "go green" on game day? Are you looking for new ways to promote partners who support green initiatives during the game?

A pair of green men have become local legends at Vancouver Canucks games after being shown on CBC television taunting players from opposing teams seated in the penalty box. When opposing players are forced into the box, the "green guys" come up with creative ways to distract the players and attract the attention of fans seated throughout the arena. The Canucks' "green guys" have established an official Facebook page that has generated 14,000+ followers and features a collection of pictures, videos, and fan discussions. 

It is hard to depict whether the "green guys" initiative is a team-run initiative (if so, it's becoming a tremendous ploy to drive fan excitement), but whoever is behind the stunt is doing a tremendous job attracting a loyal following. 

If league rules permit, other hockey organizations (from all levels) should consider turning the penalty box into a "green experience":

  • A team partner that supports green initiatives can feature "green-specific" signage in the box, brand two (2) green men seated adjacent to the box (who are there to drive attention to the cause), and distribute green vouchers/giveaways to select sections any time an opposing player is put in the penalty box ... A cheap, creative way to drive awareness for green initiatives!

Check out the Vancouver Canucks' "green guys" in action below:

Fans Shoot to Win Hams at ECHL Hockey Game

Are you looking for new ways to reward fans at games played during the holiday season? Are you looking to provide fans with a unique post-game opportunity?

The Reading Royals of the ECHL recently announced that all fans in attendance at the team's game against the Elmira Jackets on December 18th will have the chance to shoot to win a free ham courtesy of Berks Packing. As part of the Berks Packing Holiday Ham Shoot promotion, fans will be invited down to the ice after the game and will be given one chance to score a goal from a designated spot on the ice for a chance to win.

The unique promotion will be held in conjuction with a holiday food drive that the Royals and the Greater Berks Food Bank are hosting at the game on the 18th.  

The Predators Celebrate Halloween with JibJab

Are you looking to create new, captivating video board vignettes? Are you looking for ways to create holiday-specific fan entertainment?

The Nashville Predators recently celebrated their Halloween matchup against the Dallas Stars by featuring a creative JibJab vignette on the jumbotron during the game. The clip centered around a Monster Mash thematic with the faces of Predator players incorporated into the mix. The clip proved to be a huge hit with fans and was later featured on the team's Facebook page for all to enjoy.

Check it out below:

The Coyotes Look to Draw Fans with "We Win, You Win" Offer

Are you looking for new ways to bump attendance at home games this season? Are you looking for ways to rejuvenate excitement amongst your fans?

Heading into the 2009-10 season, the Phoenix Coyotes are offering a "We Win, You Win" promotion designed to drive attendance at select games tis season. As part of the team's "Join the pack" season marketing initiative, the Coyotes have designated five (5) home games this season where fans can win a free ticket to a future home game if the team wins.

The Coyotes will be distributing a voucher for a free ticket to an upcoming game to fans attending one (1) of the following five (5) Saturday games. If the team wins, fans can redeem their voucher for a free ticket exclusively at the Box Office.

  • Saturday, October 24th vs. Los Angeles Kings
  • Saturday, November 14th vs. Dallas Stars
  • Saturday, December 5th vs. Ottawa Senators
  • Saturday, January 16th vs. Minnesota Wild
  • Saturday, February 15th vs. Dallas Stars

The team's 2009-10 marketing efforts are designed to strengthen the relationship between the organization and its fan base after a rocky summer of buyout and relocation talks. It will be interesting to see if Coyotes fans respond favorably to the promotion and whether it is a move that will either generate incremental ticket sales or backfire down the road (e.g. fans waiting for another free offer to attend games vs. taking action and purchasing). Nonetheless, it is a creative way to drive interest in the team and fill the seats at the Arena.

Billboard of the Week - Fallsview Casino

Are you looking to leverage the affinity that fans have for sports without having any ownership of rights to marks, athlete endorsers, etc.?

Fallsview Casino recently created a tremendous billboard messaging campaign that capitalizes on the affinity Canadien consumers have for the game of hockey. Without leveraging any partnership rights (marks, logos, etc.), Fallsview Casino created a hockey-related tagline that will resonate with its targeted consumer base and drive consideration.

The company's billboard campaign demonstrates the influential power that sports as a medium can offer marketers. Companies with small marketing budgets should consider benchmarking Fallsview Casino's billboard campaign as a way to leverage fan affinity without actually paying for rights. After all, why not capitalize on such a strong passion point?

Consider new ways that you can use a touch of sports creativity to drive your brand!

The Panthers See Value in their Carls Furniture Partnership...

Are you looking to fill the furniture category with a new corporate partner? Are you looking for new on-ice promotional ideas?

The Florida Panthers organization have done a tremendous job leveraging their partnership with Carls Furniture & Design, a South Florida retail chain with nine (9) furniture showrooms and eleven (11) patio showrooms.

The Panthers partnership with Carls Furniture includes a mix of assets, highlighted by some initiatives that directly impact the Panthers fan experience at the Bank Atlantic Center:

  • Product Integration and Ownership of Outdoor Areas - The Panthers renamed their two (2) ground level outdoor patio and party areas as the "Carls Patios" and outfitted the areas with Carls patio furniture that can be purchased at retail.
    • Each time the Panthers play a game at home on a Friday night, the team features a "Carls Party-O on the Patio" promotion that features grilled-to-order food, Bud Light Lime specials, and live music
  • Featured VignetteDisplays - The Panthers refurnished four (4) vignettes in the Bank Atlantic Center - three (3) in the suite level and one (1) in the club level - with Carls Jr. furniture and designs
  • Murals Sponsorship- The Partners enabled Carls Furniture & Design the right to sponsor twelve (12) color glass enclosed murals in the suite and club level of the Bank Atlantic Center
  • Captivating On-Ice Promotions - The Panthers and Carls Furniture created an entertaining on-ice promotion that featured select contestants racing across the ice on mobilized patio furniture. The promotion (shown in the clip below) is a must-see!