Working in sports requires long days, longer nights, holidays on the job, and working every weekend. But you can’t help but get goosebumps when the game is just starting up, the crowd is cheering with unbridled enthusiasm, the music blaring, and the atmosphere in full effect. It’s a cool job.
There is something special about the feeling of being part of a community of fans, a united, emotionally invested experience. It’s why we have visceral recollections of a rendition of Take Me Out To The Ballgame or a second round of The Wave at a ballpark, the sight of thousands standing in unison with their hands in the air, waiting for a basket to drop, or the collective experience of…throwing rats on the ice?
Teams have become ever more cognizant of the power of shared traditions and experiences. Of creating sensory and shareable, magic and memorable moments. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- The Anaheim Ducks NHL club wanted to create a unique tradition for their fans to embrace. Something to invigorate the live experience at games even more, giving fans that goosebumps-induced feeling that’ll make them feel something special. With a handy accessory, too, this is not only a mobile branding tool, but a potential sponsorship asset in the future. What is unique about attending your games? What makes the experience different, memorable, and exciting? What makes it worth talking about the next day, the next week, the next year?
2. The Atlanta Hawks have been deservedly praised for establishing and owning their brand across all marketing channels, with social media the most salient. But it’s not just about echoing a social voice, it’s about cultivating that community at the games, too. A simple thing, which helps foster the kind of fan fervor seen more often at college games, the Hawks activated a “VOLTOUT” for their playoff opener. Not only did it create a visually stunning, united experience, it also tied in marketing objectives – driving merchandise sales and app downloads. How can you tie in a special, FOMO-driven live game experience and also tie in related marketing objectives?
3. Another recent entry from the NBA playoffs, that has been seen in other sports across the world in similar ways, too, #WeTheNorth brought together all the fans to create something truly unique, memorable, and united. That feeling being part of something bigger than oneself, perhaps interrupted for a Snapchat or Instagram post, is exactly that which we can all aspire for fans at every game. How can you unite your fans to accomplish something spectacular together?
4. For years, the Florida Panthers have celebrated “rat tricks.” Along with the more recent Panthers phenomenon involving a Kevin Spacey space-themed sweatshirt as their nightly top player prize, the throwing of rubber rats on the ice in celebration from Panthers fans is one of the most unique in sports. It is something Panthers fans can call their own, something every fan can eagerly anticipate at the arena, and no doubt inspires stories and social media posts. What are fans excited about each time they walk in the door and experience the live game?
We’re not in the business of building fan bases, we’re raising communities. It’s not a club, but a nation — with shared histories, loves, traditions, hopes, and dreams. Fighting and cheering together. Create and cultivate that atmosphere. One unique, memorable experience at a time.