Episode 87 Snippets: Katlyn Gambill Serves the Fans and the State of Hockey for the Minnesota Wild

On episode 87 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Katlyn Gambill, Digital and Social Media Coordinator for the Minnesota Wild

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

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Episode 87: Katlyn Gambill Helps the Minnesota Wild Provide Valuable Content their Fans

Listen to episode 87 of the Digital and Social Media Sports podcast, with Katlyn Gambill for the Minnesota Wild.


54 minute duration. Show format contains separate parts. Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or listen on Stitcher

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Review of Los Angeles Lakers Game Sponsorship and Content

The LA Lakers have one of the strongest, most storied teams in professional sports. With a brand that transcends their sport, brand association is no doubt a valuable proposition for corporate partners. While the Lakers have their share of activations on game night, it is clear this partnership association holds the most value, thereby lending credibility to more traditional, less active approaches.

I attended a game on January 31, 2017, and here is a brief look around at marketing, engagement, and sponsorship elements that caught my eye.

Upon arriving at Staples Center, walking through LA Live, one can see Lakers wraps to show that, tonight, Staples (also the home of the LA Clippers, LA Sparks, and LA Kings) is home to the Lakers. Lines to get in through security were slow and long (~ 25 minute wait; issues with ingress is real. Egress would be far easier). Like the wraps, the ‘Team LA’ store is full of Lakers merchandise, while ticket tables are peppered throughout the concourse and the floor and dasherboards are adjusted to Lakers. Notably, Lakers.com was the main digital property promoted, as opposed to any social media, in addition.


Throughout the game and between game play, the eyes are constantly drawn to the Staples Center video board, and the Lakers content and eye-catching graphics. The Lakers know where much of the attention is going and show their sponsor messages in that line of vision. It’s not a lot of ‘presented by’ elements or integration, but organic content and graphics to attract/earn the attention, while also borrowing some attention for sponsor messaging.

This is not to say there isn’t room for more active sponsorships and more elements that can organically tie in a partner, while providing value for fans. But instead of the Toyota Halftime Highlights, it’s just Halftime Highlights. Similarly with other on-screen elements and fan engagement features like the ‘Bubble Cam,’ Kiss Cam, Dance Cam, and more.


While there were fewer booths and activations of any sort overall at the Lakers game version of Staples Center than the Clippers’s version I attended weeks earlier, there were will some effective sponsor activations around. These were all, notably, on the first floor, whereas the Clippers had some on the upper levels, as well. There was a Verizon-branded activity (shooting for basketball games, changes for hockey games and concerts) that was popular, even during the game. The Los Angeles Times was also giving away t-shirts to market their newspaper subscriptions.

The most memorable and unique activation was the StubHub memento maker. Fans could sign up with name/phone number/email, get their photo taken, and then customize an image to be printed on the spot and shared digitally. A fun and creative way to get some shareable content and a commemorative ticket lanyard to wear it around. An excellent and effective activation.

The Lakers also had their own data capture activation, with an enter-to-win VIP tickets to a game/event. These digital sweepstakes are active for every Staples Center event. There were also a few ticket sales tables peppered throughout.

While there were not a lot of directly sponsored elements in-game, there was one late in the game as the Lakers sought to close out their victory. In the fourth quarter, the scoreboard exhorted fans to Make Some Noise. Jack In The Box is a fixture late in Lakers home games, as fans get free tacos if the team holds their opponent under 90 points.


Overall, the Lakers are not overly blatant, nor overly novel or engaging with many of their sponsor activations and in-game entertainment elements. The traditional brand has a handful of major corporate partners and hammers home these relationships with repeat impressions and positioning as true partners, as opposed to just sponsors.

Episode 85 Snippets: Reva Labbe and ESPN College Football a Fun, Engaging Companion for College Fans

On episode 85 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Reva Labbe, Social Media Producer for ESPN College Football.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287 Connect on LinkedIn

I Went to the UCLA-Arizona Game, But Nobody Knows

I was lucky enough to attend a highly touted game between Pac 12 powers UCLA and Arizona in late January. But, outside of some Tweets and Snaps, I let no trail behind.

I was the anonymous fan.

A friend has two tickets, using the “Pass” option, which guaranteed him two seats to every conference game, at a flat rate, with seat location dependent on availability, and sent to his mobile app 48 hours before game day. (This innovation merits another article altogether). Upon entering, the two bar codes in his app were scanned and UCLA only knew the identity of one of us attending.

Before the game started, I ventured around the concourse, with food options and sales tables abounding. My only stop was to purchase a bottle of water, for which I paid in cash. Again, my anonymity remained. En route to my seat, I logged on to the free, non-gated WiFi. The WiFi was money and, while my app and browsing activity was certainly tracked, my identity, for all intents and purposes, remained unknown.

The game was fun, the atmosphere electric, and it even included a halftime ceremony honoring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to go along with the posters handed out to fans upon entering Pauley Pavilion. UCLA lost, I returned to the parking garage (for which I had paid cash to enter) and my incognito day was complete.

There is so much retargeting, digital marketing, CRM, data warehousing, and the like than ever before. While the reams of data produced by social media, by Google searches, and by website visits allows for precision targeting and marketing on those channels (none of which applied to me in this case), the fans in the building are the ones actually consuming the product. There is no hotter lead than the fan in the building yet to be added to the database. I had a great time at the game and, no doubt, UCLA would welcome the opportunity to remind me of future games, to get me to come back.

But they don’t know who I am, remember?


The anonymous fan continues to keep sports marketers up at night. Whether it’s my situation, accompanying a friend who had bought the tickets, using tickets from a school or community event, going along with a group and getting tickets from the group leader – these are all missed opportunities to add new fans, new potential future ticket buyers, into the database and marketing and engagement funnel.

There no easy panacea, but there are some potential solutions that exist. The next step is testing each of them, evaluating effectiveness, minding the lead source to fully appreciate the value of that lead, and investing in a thoughtful approach to capture the identity of these heretofore anonymous fans.

There are enter-to-win sweepstakes, data exchange or WiFi, a free ticket or souvenir or concession deal that requires giving information to receive, various calls to subscribe or follow or download.

There is no one size fits all, but one thing each organization successful in this space has in common is they recognize the problem and put time, thought, resources, and effort into discovering a good solution. Every business has a cost per lead, a cost to bring that new fan into the funnel, into the CRM database. We pay for search ads (not just to sell tickets, but to drive traffic and purchases on owned platforms), for social media ads and resources, and for all sorts of other channels and attempts to acquire a lead.

Would I have given over my email address for a free bottle of water instead of paying up $4.50? You bet. Would I have paid with a credit card to save $1? In a heartbeat. A lead has a value and it behooves organizations to invest in adding as many fans, especially those in the building at their games!, as possible. It may cost a little money, but that’s the cost of doing business.

You know the problem, so put resources toward solving it. It’s time to introduce yourself to the anonymous, and give them a reason to identify themselves. Everyone can win, then.