The AFC championship game is this Sunday and to say I am pumped up is a total understatement. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, I was raised a diehard Steelers fan who ironically, now lives in a nation full of Patriots fans…

Regardless, black and gold is in my blood and if I were to ever disown my team, my family would quite frankly, disown me. I grew up around Friday pep-rallies and Sunday viewing parties. If we couldn’t afford game tickets, you better believe we created our own game experience right in the middle of our own living room. Money that was supposed to go towards dance costumes, went towards Terrible Towels and football shaped cheese and veggie trays.

Today, sports fans everywhere are evolving. From how they express their support on social media to how they watch the game on their mobile phones, marketers have been faced with some real challenges, yet some real opportunities. One thing that hasn’t changed however, is what sports fans are willing to spend on “their team”.

A large flat screen TV in shelving unit in lounge

In 2016, consumers spent nearly 15.3 billion dollars leading up to the Super Bowl alone. The sports industry, in general, covers a lot of playing field all the way from mobile apps to merchandise, to team branded beer cans and chips & dip. It’s been estimated that $620 billion is spent annually by sports fans. And while highly anticipated sporting events such as the Super Bowl, March Madness, the Stanley Cup, NBA Finals, The Masters and opening day of Major League Baseball are all huge revenue producers for the sports industry, CPG brands and retailers across the nation also have a huge open pocket to score shoppers and put some serious points on their own scoreboards.

Sporting experiences, believe it or not, are actually more important than the actual game, says sports marketers. Thanks to mobile, sports fans are easier to reach, but harder to engage. Let’s be honest, it’s not really about getting people to research and buy the essentials prior to a big ticket sporting event, because they undoubtedly will. It’s more so about making that game-changing block on your retail rivals and building a path-to-purchase experience for these shoppers – targeting them at the right place, at the right time, in the right mindset, with the right messaging, and on the right platform.

“Think about your fondest memories at a sporting event. We don’t sell the game; we sell unique, emotional experiences. We are not in the business of selling basketball. We are in the business of giving you a chance to create shared experiences.” – Mark Cuban

Last year, ShopAdvisor powered a drive-to-store mobile proximity marketing campaign for a highly recognized CPG alcoholic beverage company in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. By onboarding two years of comprehensive sales data from participating Walmart store locations, ShopAdvisor was able to create a baseline for sales lift analysis against those stores. The campaign was designed to engage with Walmart shoppers in and around test locations via mobile ads during the AFC division playoffs and encourage them to pick up the beverage brand as part of the shopping experience. Through a collection of shopper insights, including sales from these locations that were measured against control locations, the stores that incorporated ShopAdvisor’s intelligence data had a 12.4% lift in sales over the prior year while the stores that didn’t had a 1% decrease. As we would say in the burgh’, Touchdown Downtown Antonio Brown!

So, while you may already have your big ticket campaign lined up for the showdown on Sunday, February 5th, there are a variety of opportunities to capture consumers around other sporting events throughout the year. Like sports fans are capable of developing an emotional, long-term attachment to a sport, team, or particular athlete, retailers and brands likewise, can capture, engage and create long-lasting experiences and relationships with shoppers and get their little taste of victory along the way too.

To read the full case study, click here!

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