The University of Florida Student Ticket Office Thanks Fans for Their Loyalty

Numerous opportunities exist in the sports space for teams and corporate partners alike to reward loyal fans for their perfect attendance during a season. While most professional organizations will periodically honor fans who have been season ticket holders for 10+ years, very few go the extra mile to thank fans for their commitment on a regular basis.

The University of Florida Student Ticket Office recently thanked season ticket holders for their loyalty with a simple, yet impactful gesture that should be replicated throughout sports. Travis Leyndyke and his team in the UF Student Ticket office emailed all ticket holders who had their tickets scanned for every home game during the 2011 football season to thank them for their support.

Fan congratulatory emails can serve as a great platform to integrate corporate partners as well, as they present an opportunity to tap into the University/team's most avid fan base and sincerely acknowledge/reward them for their support. Properties can also consider creating a virtual wall on their official website that features all fans who had perfect attendance throughout the season (a platform that could be sponsored by a brand who provides an exclusive promotional discount/reward).

Check out the University of Florida's email communication below and consider new ways that your property can acknowledge fans firsthand for their support!


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!

Harvard Rewards Students for Attending Sports Events with Crimson Cash

The Harvard University Athletics Department recently teamed up with the Undergraduate Council to create a unique initiative designed to drive attendance at sporting events throughout the year. The two parties collaborated to launch a Crimson Cash program that provides students with an opportunity to earn$1 of Crimson Cash for each Harvard sporting event that they attend on campus.

The initiative, designed to drive attendance and school spirit, allows students to earn a maximum yearly salary of $30 of Crimson Cash simply by swiping their student ID at several designated swipe tents located outside the student section of each event. With each swipe, students are also automatically entered to win a larger grand prize that is awarded at the end of each sports season. 

While some industry professionals may criticize the notion of paying students to attend sports events (notably Olympic sports events), the concept could serve as an effective way to drive attendance, interest, and sponsorship dollars on campus. Athletic departments could seamlessly integrate corporate partners (looking to target college students via swipe tent branding/activation, ID card branding, and student rewards/prizing. Athletic departments can also benefit from students cashing in their team shop dollars to purchase additional merchandise, etc.

Consider ways that your school can implement a similar initiative to drive attendance at sports events throughout campus!

The Florida Panthers Prevent Opposing Fans From Entering the Red Zone

In August 2011, the Florida Panthers announced a terrific new ticketing strategy that coincides with the team's new "We Are Red" marketing campaign and stresses the importance of fan unity. The team unveiled a new Red Zone section at the BankAtlantic Center where no fans of opposing teams will be allowed. The Red Zone area will span sections 105-114 and will only be available for full, half, and mini season ticket holders. 

While the team didn't reveal how they plan on policing the special seating area, the notion of the "Red Zone" is very intriguing because it serves as an easy way to create a loyal supporter section based on artificial demand. Fans rarely want to sit next to other individuals rooting against their favorite team, so why don't we see more organizations offering similar guarantees? If the area is policed appropriately, the Panthers' Red Zone could soon become a benchmark for many other organizations in sports.  

The Red Zone is part of a master plan that will unite Florida Panthers during the 2011 season:

“The RED Zone is a place for passionate and committed Florida Panthers fans – that may not already be season ticket holders – to be among their dedicated peers and set the tone for every Cats home game at the BankAtlantic Center,” said SSE president & COO Michael R. Yormark.

“In addition, our great partners at South Florida Ford are giving fans an opportunity to ‘see red’ even more in a 2012 Ford Focus. The RED Zone is just the latest extension of our ‘We See Red’ campaign and the full-scale red conversion of our franchise including the new red home jerseys, red lower bowl seats, red paint and signage in the arena and the new blood that will be featured on the Panthers’ opening night roster.”

Georgia State Offers a "Power Hour" Delivery Guarantee to Drive Ticket Sales

Georgia State Athletics recently announced an intriguing "Power Hour" promotion that is designed to drive ticket sales and buzz prior to the University's first football game on Friday, September 2nd.

On Thursday, August 18th, Georgia State Athletics is running a "Power Hour" ticket promotion guaranteeing that any fans who purchase season tickets between 10am-5pm that day will have them delivered within one (1) hour or else they get them for free. It's important to note that the guarantee is only good for individuals who live within a two (2) mile radius of the GSU Sports Arena but nonetheless, it's a terrific, captivating promotional idea.

The first ten (10) fans who take advantage of the Power Hour offer will also receive a free $20 gift card to Six Feet Under restaurant - an offer that is available to all potential ticket holders regardless of their home address. The GSU Athletic Department is also planning on featuring its mascot, Pounce, in a cage on top of the ticket box office to generate buzz and help the Department achieve its goal of driving 25 new season ticket sales that day. 

The Brewers Drive Season Ticket Sales By Offering 40 Fantastic Prizes

The Milwaukee Brewers are supporting their 2011 season ticket sales efforts with a "Fantastic 40" initiative that rewards 40 season ticket holders with 40 unique prizes and experiences over the course of 40 days (January 17th - February 15th). The terrific concept rewards all fans who sign up to become season ticket holders with the organization. Once fans' payments are received in full, they are automatically entered in the promotion, which offers some truly incredible prizes and experiences.

The Brewers are promoting the initiative by announcing the daily winners on a digital billboard in Milwaukee and posting an announcement, including a photo of the custom billboard, on their official Facebook page. The live billboard, complemented by a daily Facebook post, serve as a great call-to-action to entice fans and drive buzz in the weeks leading up to the season.

With an offseason of exciting acquisitions, ticket promotions, and fan-friendly incentives, the Brewers organization sold 1 million tickets for the 2011 season by January 19th, matching the earliest date that the club has ever reached that milestone. Season ticket and 9-Pack sales were deemed to be a priority for the club heading into the offseason.The Brewers tremendous "Fantastic 40" prize offerings include:

  1. Sausage for a year delivered by the Klement's Famous Racing Sausages
  2. Your photo on every single Brewers ticket for one game
  3. A game with Brewers legend Gorman Thomas in a club suite
  4. Groundskeeper at Miller Park during a game
  5. Experience a friendly game of catch with a Milwaukee Brewers reliever (10 pitches)
  6. Four (4) games of luxury seating in the Gehl Club, including a gourmet buffet
  7. Autographed bat and jersey from your favorite Brewers player
  8. Take the ultimate slide down Bernie's Slide at Miller Park
  9. $500 in concessions vouchers
  10. A game with nine (9) guests in the owner's suite with Brewers executives
  11. Watch batting practice with five (5) friends in the bullpen
  12. Co-present a jersey to a Brewers All-Star for the 2011 MLB All-Star game
  13. Win a private party in the visitor's clubhouse with (19) guests
  14. Announce the starting lineup over the Miller Park P.A. system
  15. Surprise your sweetheart with roses from the Brewers mascot on Valentines Day
  16. Take a tour and control the Miller Park roof
  17. Sit in the owner's field level seats with (3) friends
  18. Win an exclusive hitting lesson with tips from Brewers legend Dale Sveum
  19. Win a trip to the 2011 MLB Draft, including airfare, hotel, and a spot at the Draft
  20. Win a club suite for (20) with complimentary food
  21. Win pizza for a year from Palermo's
  22. Run the Klement's Sausage Race during a Brewers game
  23. Win a $1,000 private shopping spree at the Brewers team store
  24. A party with Brewers GM Doug Melvin and (9) guests in a club suite
  25. Autographed baseballs signed by each member of the Brewers starting rotation
  26. Opportunity to play video games on the Brewers new scoreboard
  27. A fully catered tailgate for (20) guests, including tickets to a game
  28. A party in the Dew Deck for (19) guests, including food and beverage
  29. An opportunity to manage the Mini Sausage Race for a Sunday game
  30. A chance to sit on a Wrigley Field rooftop with (3) friends for a Brewers/Cubs game
  31. A chance to sit in the owner's box at Wrigley Field (including train fares to the game)
  32. Experience a full broadcast in the Brewers TV booth, including the post-game show
  33. A chance to get a photo taken with the entire Brewers baseball club
  34. A VIP seat at the head table of the Brewers SSH Luncheon
  35. A pre-game dinner and (3) innings of a game in the Brewers press box
  36. A chance to watch a Brewers game live from the control room
  37. Autographed baseballs from each Opening Day starter
  38. A private party in the club level board room
  39. A softball game at Helfaer Field, including food and beverage for (20) guests
  40. A major league contract for a day, including a full uniform plus pay



January 2011 Partnership Activation 2.0 Newsletter

Thank you for coming to check out the January 2011 Issue of the Partnership Activation 2.0 Newsletter. After checking out the newsletter/site, I hope you have some time available to spend with family and friends, for that is the most important thing in life.

Let's make 2011 a great year! Thank you again for your interest in Partnership Activation and I look forward to having the opportunity to connect with you in the near future!

This month's newsletter features a collection of insights, including:

  • Marquette Athletics - BIGNOGGINS
  • Creative Promotional Tactics From Across College Athletics
  • Creating Concessions/Merchandise Apps that Benchmark the Carl's Jr. Happy Star Rewards
  • Synergy Events' Activation on Behalf of Reebok at the NHL Winter Classic
  • Hot Off the Press: Networking is a Contact Sport
  • Creativity in the Sports Marketplace
  • January 2011 Partnership Activation Rising Stars
  • Social Media Watch: Preseason/Post-Season SM Inventory
  • Brand Activation at the 2010 China Open
  • The Ashes Cricket Series
  • Three Things You Need to See: Word Lens, Interactive Digital Signage, and Multiple Dance Cams
  • Five #SportsBiz People You Must Follow on Twitter
  • Activation and Branding from the NHL Winter Classic
  • Creativity From the Idea Box

Click here to check out the January 2011 Newsletter and be sure to follow Brian Gainor on Twitter for additional sponsorship/marketing tactics throughout the month!

If you are interested in signing up for the newsletter, please send an email with "Subscribe" in the subject line to In the body of the email, please include your name, company affiliation, and contact information when subscribing. 

The Panthers Let Fans Pick Their Ticket Plans

Sports organizations looking for new ways to sell existing ticket inventory should closely examine a new strategy the Florida Panthers are implementing to kick off the 2010-2011 NHL season. The team is offering "The Perfect Plan" campaign, where fans can choose their preferred seat, name the price they would like to pay, and submit it to the team for a response in less than 24 hours.

The team is currently featuring a flash page on that redirects to a form that fans interested in the offer can fill out. The form provides available ticket inventory (with standard pricing) and allows fans to go in and submit a live bid to the team. If the bid is accepted by the team, the consumer's credit card is automatically charged and they instantly become a member of the Florida Panthers season ticket holder family. A great concept!


Looking for a New Way to Sell Season Tickets?

If your organization is looking to create a new OOH campaign to sell season tickets, consider creating billboards that say, "Looking for a Sign to Buy Season Tickets This Year? Here it Is". Organizations can take this call-to-action to the next level by accompanying it with a special promotional offer (discount on tickets, free premium item giveaway, unique experience, etc.).

Just remember - if you go ahead and use this idea... just remember to tell people where you found it!

Activation of the Day - Ford, MAC Championship

Are you looking for new ways to leverage auto partners in-venue? Are you looking for ways to enhance seating at your venue?

Ford featured an interesting "Best Seats in the House" exhibit at the 2009 MAC Championship, a game played at Ford Field in Detroit. Check it out below!

A special thanks to Drew Ossakow of the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration for his insights and contributions to this column.



Brewers Fans Receive Dollars for Dingers...

Are you looking for new ways to reward fans at the ballpark? Are you looking to create new ticket promotions based on team performance?

This season, the Milwaukee Brewers are running a "Dollars for Dingers" ticket promotion where fans can save $1 off a Loge Outfield ticket (regularly $28) for EACH Brewers home run hitover a 10-day stretch of the season. The promotion offers fans the chance to save a lot of money on their tickets based on the team's performance (if the team hit 28 home runs during the stretch, fans would receive tickets for free).

When the team offered the promotion from June 15 - June 25, the Brewers' power hitters slugged 12 home runs, discounting the price of the $28 loge seats to just $16 ($12 off) during a 2-game July homestand against the St. Louis Cardinals. Earlier this season, the team sold out their Dollars for Dingers ticket inventory in just 30 minutes, demonstratingthe strong support the promotion has received.

Look for more teams to showcase discounted tickets based on team performance!

Northwestern Offers Ticket Promotions for Local Youth...

Are you looking for ways to engage children attending school in the local community? Are you looking to create a promotional offer that is centered around academic success?

Northwestern Athletics recently announced that it will be offering two unique promotions that reward childen in the 8th grade and under in the local marketplace:

Wildcats 3.0 Program

Northwestern created a Wildcats' 3.0 program that rewards children in the 8th grade and under who earn all A's and B's on their report card. The promotion, inspired by the University's 183 student-athletes who earned Academic All-Big Ten Honors in 2008, will serve as a great way to get more families in the stands for Wildcat football games during the Fall. As part of the promotion, youth who excel in the classroom can receive two (2) free tickets to a non-conference Northwestern football game when presenting a copy of their report card at the Wildcat ticket office one week prior to a game.

The Purrfect Attendance Program

Kindergarten, elementary, and middle school students who present a copy of their perfect attendance certificate (a reward for going to every day of school) can receive a Family Plan season ticket package, equivalent to two (2) adult season tickets and three (3) children's tickets for the 2009 Northwestern football season. This promotion will certainly drive some parents to get involved and encourage their children in the classroom!

A special thanks to Taylor Wood of the Ohio University MBA/MSA Program and Athletics Development Frontier for his insights and contributions to this column...

Fans Get Excited About "Million Dollar Monday"...

Are you looking for new ways to drive excitement at the ballpark? Are you looking to feature an enticing offer that draws new consumers to the ballpark?

The Class A Cedar Rapids Kernals recently offered a tremendous "Million Dollar Monday" promotion that turned the heads of baseball fans throughout the state of Iowa. The promotional night, deemed the "perfect promotion", offered fans attending the game the chance to win $1 million if the team's pitcher threw a complete-game perfect game (getting 27 consecutive outs).

While the chances to win are slim ( places the odds of a perfect game at 90,000-to-1), the offer seems irresistible to fans who have to pay just a few bucks to get into the ballpark to enjoy some quality entertainment. The Kernals were able to effectively tie in a sponsor - Perfect Game USA baseball club/scouting service - to help underwrite the costs involved with implementing the promotion.

While the team didn't end up throwing a complete game, the promotional night served as a great way to get some new fans out to the ballpark!

The Dolphins Use an Interactive Viral Piece to Connect with Fans...

Are you looking for new ways to drive season ticket sales? Are you searching for new ways to engage and connect with fans?

Sarah Talalay of the Sun-Sentinel recently featured a great article on the Miami Dolphins' new season ticket holder sales piece. The Dolphins created an interactive vignette where the viewer can input his/her contact information to experience the full new signee experience.

The feature lets fans experience the excitement of signing a contract, high-fiving fans, and running through the tunnel with the team mascot all while wearing a customized jersey and seeing their name scroll across the screen.

Check out the generic version of the Dolphins season ticket holder sales piece (insert viewer name wherever the term Dolfan is seen):

Target Students with "Add a Slide, Get Free Tickets" Promotion...

Are you looking for new ways to attract college students and working professionals to your events? Are you looking for ways to make your team more revelant in the local community?

CoffeeCompany, a coffee shopping chain in the Netherlands, recently drew waves of attention by offering students a coupon good for ten (10) small coffees if they agree to add one of its six (6) branded PowerPoint slides into their presentations. The promotion served as an effective way for the company to turn students into brand ambassadors at a very minimal cost (CoffeeCompany is essentially sponsoring the students through the promotion). 

To receive a ten (10) free cups of coffee, students simply had to upload a photo or video of themselves showing the slide in class on the site Free Coffee 4 Students (the site even includes a Wall of Fame). The promotion enabled students to submit a photo/video for a free coffee once per month. Check out a clip below which demonstrates a student's submission for the promotion:

What are the implications here for sports marketers?

Sports organizations can consider mirroring the promotion with a "Add a Slide, Get Free Tickets" initiative. The promotional offer would serve as a great way to tap into local student bases (youth, students attending Universities) and local businesses. At the very least, it might just be a simple way to enhance the perception of your team's brand amongst students in the local community (who may be interested in coming to your games but are turned off due to prices, etc.).

To execute, teams should consider creating a microsite that features a number of fan-friendly elements:

  • A collection of team-branded Powerpoint slides for consumers to download and use
  • A function that enables consumers to upload photos/videos that they can submit online for free tickets once per month
  • A special offer from a corporate partner who is targeting students/young professionals (an additional offer, integration into the promotion, etc.)
  • An interactive feature where consumers can see what their presentation would look like on the team videoboard
  • A promotional opportunity for one lucky fan who submits photo/video to win the chance to have the team's mascot/players/coaches come to their classroom
  • The chance to take part in an exclusive "Back to School" event prior to a game later on during the season
  • Discussion Board / Wall Feature (to let consumers share their stories, etc.)

The Tiger-Cats Put Fan Photos on Season Tickets...

Are you looking for new ways to demonstrate value to your fan base? Are you looking to enhance your ticket operations?

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL recently announced a "Tiger Town Season Seat Photo Contest" that asks their season ticket holders to show their spirit for the chance to be featured on the team's 2009 season ticket stock. Fans are asked to submit their favorite pictures demonstrating their avidity for the chance to be one (1) of ten (10) fans selected to appear on the team's season ticket stock.

The promotion serves as an excellent way to demonstrate added value for fans in a cost-effective manner. After all, how many people can say that they were featured on a ticket stub? It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity fo many. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are also providing each of the ten (10) lucky fans with a framed copy of the 2009 season ticket stock and two (2) platinum tickets to the game that their image was featured on.

For a chance to win, consumers are asked to either:

  • Email a photo and a completed entry form to
  • Mail a photo and a completed entry form to Attn: Season Seat Photo Contest Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 1 Jarvis Street, Hamilton, Ontario, L8R 3J2