UT Chattanooga Uses April Fools Prank to Drive Ticket Sales

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Athletics Department played a clever trick on their loyal fanbase on Friday, April 1st (April Fools Day) that served as a great way to generate excitement around the upcoming football season.

UT Chattanooga posted an announcement on their Athletics Website declaring that the University would be officially changing their school colors from traditional Blue to an environmentally friendly Green. The extensive writeup included mockups of the new school logo, quotes from UTC Athletic Director Rick Hart, and even an official "Blue + Gold = Green" tagline that supported the overall campaign.

The real trick was played on fans when they attempted to click on several hyperlinks throughout the official announcement to learn more. The hyperlinks were directed to a landing page declaring to readers that the campaign was an April Fools Joke and as a reward for their active participation, they would receive a special one-day ticket offer for the upcoming 2011 football season. Fans could receive (1) free meal voucher for each of UTC's home games during the 2011 season with the purchase of season tickets.

UTC's April Fools Day campaign was very clever and well-thought out... a simple way to generate some buzz around non-traditional holidays throughout the calendar year. Per GoMocs.com, the campaign generated 2,000 unique hits in the 16 hours it was featured live on the site - four (4) times the amount of traffic a non-preview/recap story would normally receive. The campaign ended up generating 31 new season ticket sales in 16 hours, which is a pretty notable figure given the fact that the University has a season ticketholder base just over 2,600.

Click here to learn more about the results of the campaign.



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.

The Suns Sell Social Media Services In A Suite Way

Sports organizations looking for new ways to leverage social media to drive ticket sales should take a close look at a terrific new package the Phoenix Suns are offering local businesses.

Per Darren Rovell of CNBC.com, the Phoenix Suns recently unveiled a Suite and Social Night package that allows companies who opt to host their Holiday Party in a Suns suite to derive incremental value through the team's social media channels. The team's pitch is, Host your holiday party in a Suns Suite and become a digital marketing partner at the same time. Choose a package, pick a night, leave the rest of us."

The Suite and Social Night Package costs $7,000 but delivers a tremendous amount of value for companies, including:

  • (20) tickets in a one party suite
  • (6) parking passes
  • A catering package
  • Suns hats and foam fingers
  • (1) authentic Steve Nash jersey
  • (2) Facebook status updates from the Phoenix Suns (reaching 225K+ potential customers through their Facebook channel)
  • (3) Twitter mentions from @PhoenixSuns, delivering a direct message to the Suns' $45,000 Twitter followers
  • A mention in the Suns' Post E-Newsletter, a periodical that is sent to 55,000 avid fans

The Suite and Social night package really serves as a terrific way for teams to leverage and derive value from their social media channels during a time when there is some speculation about their true worth. It will be interesting to see if fans are receptive to the sponsored gameday messages, but if the Suns position them the right way, there shouldn't be any backlash... and it serves as a great way to drive additional value for team partners on gamedays!

The Yankees Launch Ticket Booth at Modell's in Times Square

The New York Yankees have teamed up with Modell's to create a ticket sales booth at the sporting good chain's retail location in Times Square. The unique sales location will offer tickets on sale at discounted prices, up to 50% off, starting at 8 AM for day games and noon for night games. Each customer willing to wait in line for tickets can purchase up to four (4) "Mo Saver" tickets, which will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Yankees and Modell's drove buzz for the launch of the new ticket sales venture on Monday by featuring former Yankees star Tino Martinez on hand to greet fans and speak to future opportunities. The booth is part of Modell's plans to turn its retail locations into more of an interactive experience for fans.

 The venture serves as a great way for the Yankees to drive buzz in Times Square and capitalize on selling tickets to tourists and busy fans looking to purchase tickets at a discounted price that are sold directly from the team.  The Yankees and Modell's senior management are expecting the new service to be an instant hit with locals and tourists alike.

Partnership Activation - January 2010 Newsletter

Are you looking for the latest and great best practices in the sports marketplace? Are you looking for new ways to leverage corporate partners?

Take a moment to check out the new January 2010 Partnership Activation 2.0 monthly newsletter. If you like what you see, please pass it along to four (4) friends in the industry.

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

  • Fan-Athlete Challenges
  • Non-Traditional Billboard Tactics
  • 27th Annual IEG Sponsorship Conference
  • Navigate Marketing's Take on the NY Jets Alcohol Ban
  • Details on Ron Seaver's Sponsorship E-Tips Newsletter
  • The January 2010 Recipients of the Partnership Activation Rising Stars Program
  • 2009 Grey Cup
  • Ways to Leverage a T-Mobile Partnership
  • Creative Activation Tactics

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

Check out the January 2010 Issue now... and don't forget to pass it along to some friends!

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...

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):