How to engage NBA fans via mobile

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As I wrote on my last post, sports fans are a great mobile target and they are a far more engaged customers.

The NBA´s Salt Lake City based team, Utah Jazz, is offering fans a new kind of interaction called myJazzMobile, an interactive platform with mobile news, information and offers.

The main objective is to provide fans with a targeted and relevant mobile content. The team used a comprehensive solution for all types of content to improve the fans experience. The fans will be able to sign up for myJazz on the official team Web site.
All members will gain access to free real-time information, such as game alerts, stats, scores, team and player news. Yet they will get special offers such as discounted merchandise. This program will roll out as a text-messaging, with full mobile Web functionality.
During home games, Jazz fans will also be able to participate in a variety of contests and promotions. Also fans will be able to respond via text to trivia questions from arena video monitors.

Additional features, including in-game seat upgrades, special events and other promotions will be unveiled continually throughout the season.

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Mobile Target: Sports Fans

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Mobile subscribers are increasing every year in USA, it has increased 7,9% from 2007 to 2008. The mobile usage is so widespread in the US that almost every american could be a potencial audience for mobile marketers.

Yet sports fan are for more engaged in mobile campaigns and any other kind of interaction. According to the latests posts I wrote in July, about the three major sports brands mobile campaigns, sports sites video streamming and customers engagement, these fans represents the best audience for new approaches.

In 2007, Nielsen/NetRatings published a study showing that sports fans were predominantly male and tended to be more affluent, educated and technically savvy than the total population. These fans are willing to pay for premium content and merchandise and are accustomed to the presence of sponsors and advertisers around sports events.

According to eMarketer, mobile ad spending will reach $1.1 billion in 2009, up from $806 million this year and 40% growth in mobile ad spending next year will be majorly driven by sports fans.
US Advertising Spending by Media

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Coca-Cola and the credit crunch

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Despite the financial pressures due to the credit crunch, Coca-Cola is committed to sponsoring major football events such as the World Cup and European Championship.

Dominique Reiniche, the president of Coca-Cola's European operations, say they would continue to invest in sports notably soccer, at the top end and grassroots level.

"We don't see ourselves as sponsors, but as partners. Olympics, World Cup, UEFA European Championships will continue," she said.

Coca-Cola has already agreed to extend through to 2020 its membership of the International Olympic Committee's worldwide TOP programme, involving major corporations, which is the IOC's most lucrative sponsorship programme.

Reiniche added that Coca-Cola will also continue its investment at the local level in sport in a bid to reduce the problem of obesity, which IOC president Jacques said last month would also be his priority if he is elected for a second term.

Watch the 2006 FIFA World Cup Coke Commercial and Coca-Cola "Yao and LeBron" Olympic commercial

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NBA – The Business happens Here

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Due to this financial crisis, NBA team's values might decline if the economic downturn continues to worsen in 2009.

According to FORBES, some franchises will have a direct impact if this crisis continues. Season ticket renewals and new sales are down this season. The NBA recently laid off 9% of its staff on concerns over the economy. Also, some arena naming rights partners for teams like: American Airlines, Conseco, Ford Motor, United Airlines and Wachovia. Each of these companies saw its stock dive more than 80% over the past 12 months, and some sponsors might look to back out of their deals.
Despite all that, the last season (2007-08) was a success for the NBA. The league's most remarkable teams, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Laker, met in the finals, and TV ratings grew up 51% over the prior year.

League-wide revenues hit a record $3.8 billion during the 2007-08 season, 6% more than the prior campaign, and the average team posted a profit (in the sense of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $10.6 million, the highest amount since Forbes began tracking NBA finances 10 years ago.
The new agreements with ABC, ESPN and TNT that began with the 2008-09 season are worth $ 7.4 billion, 21% more than the prior deals on an annual basis.
Three teams experience double-digit gains this year, Portland Trail Blazer (up 21% to $ 307 million), Boston Celtics (up 14% to $ 447 million), Oklahoma City Thunder (up 12% to $ 300 million).

The Chart above shows the TOP 10 NBA's most valuable teams based on current arena deal (unless new arena is pending) without deduction for debt (other than arena debt).

In December the 4th, I wrote a post about how NBA is loosing attendance for NHL. Does NBA still a profitable sport?

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Top 5 profitable Sports Teams


#5 HOUSTON TEXAS (Profit: $57.6 million)

#4 FC Bayern Munich (Profit $62 million)

#3 Real Madrid
($83 million)

#2 Manchester United ($ 92 million)

#1 Washington Redskins ($ 108.4 million)

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NBA loosing attendance per Game

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For about 6 seasons the two most popular professional arena sports in North America are struggling to increase their average attendance.

Even though, during the 2007-08 season, the NBA averaged 17,396 fans per game (2% down from the previous year), and was still the third-highest average attendance in league history, compared to NHL´s 17,268 fans per game.

The biggest difference between the leagues may be this: 4 NHL teams play to less than 80% capacity, compared to 8 NBA teams. Four NBA teams (Charlotte, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Memphis) are currently averaging fewer fans per game than the team with the lowest attendance in NHL.

On the other site, NBA still has higher attendance than the NHL and even with a attendance declining in the past 2 seasons, last year´s average still ranked among the best in league history.
The chart below shows the despite all the buzz around this topic, NBA attendance is dropping and NHL´s is increasing . So the NHL is definitely gaining on the NBA in attendance, even if not as dramatically as has been portrayed.

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Discover how US Government now owns one of the most visible sports sponsorships in the world

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After the $85 billion Federal Reserve's $85 takeover of insurance giant AIG in return of 79.9% and management replacement, gave US government control of Manchester United sponsorship.
AIG's $100 million shirt sponsorship deal, signed two years ago, was the largest at the time.

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