For Sports Teams and Organizations – Who Owns Mobile?

It’s no secret fans and all consumers are spending more and more time on mobile. They’re on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. They’re taking selfies and recording videos. They’re texting and messaging friends and family. They’re checking email and checking scores and news. They’re shopping. They’re swiping. They’re opening push alerts. They’re interacting and engaging.

Breaking news: The ability to call someone is pretty far down the list of uses of the phone for fans.

But it’s that versatility that makes it so difficult for teams and athletics programs to get a handle on it all. Who should own mobile? There is no right or wrong answer, and the real answer is that almost everyone has a stake in it.

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I’ve had the privilege of working with several dozen organizations on their mobile strategy, with their mobile app. (Not everyone has their own app, of course). And it never ceases to amaze me that the where mobile resides in the organization varies a ton across the board with the teams, venues, live events, and college programs.

For some, the same person running social media is put in charge. Others reside in marketing. Then there’s those with whom it resides with business operations, with content, with a dedicated digital manager, and even the multimedia management rights companies that work with colleges will often run things or a grad assistant will take the helm from Athletics.

Because so much can happen on mobile, it’s so important to get everyone in the organization together, to get on the same page, to use a cliche. The sales and marketing person wants to get promotions out in a personalized, timely manner; to reach those engaged eyeballs. The social media team wants to drive active engagement, along with the game/event operations. Ticketing has a role with mobile being the primary way for many to manage their tickets, buy them, transfer them ,and present them on game day. Partnerships know that active and attentive fans are good fodder for valuable sponsor activations. The content team needs to mind mobile and use it to amplify what they’re producing. Media relations wants to make sure all the stats, schedules, and stories are right. Broadcasting makes sure their video and audio is easily accessible for mobile fans. Those overseeing the brand and design must make sure it all looks and feels aligned with all of the other platforms. And of course, there is a huge service and fan experience element to it all.

That was a long paragraph for a reason. It’s quite a crowd when you put together all the voices that need a say in a mobile presence and mobile app.

Social media is probably the closest analogue, and its rise from different departments across different organizations is not dissimilar from what mobile is going through right now. Everyone needs to make sure they have their say, but they’re not sure who tell it to, who is in charge. It’s a new channel for which the org chart was not designed.

It wasn’t exactly figured out in social media; what happened was social media became so big and important that full-time roles were established to oversee the platforms, and work with others to maximize it. Will the same happen to overseeing and maximizing how fans interact, engage, transact, and manage on mobile?

We’ve long since graduated from mobile strategies to just strategies for a world that is now majority mobile, with no turning back. So where does mobile fit in your organization? It may be a question worth considering and a conversation worth having.

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