In our far-flung society, it’s often the case that a fan is living far away from his or her hometown team. And while various media outlets can keep one current with the hometown action, there’s nothing that beats attending a game in person for the true blue fan.
United Airlines, which sponsors eight Major League Baseball teams (and transports 12 via charter), is offering far-flung fans of some of those teams a chance to return home to catch a game in person through a new social media advertising effort.
“The idea is really meant to focus on fans that have moved away to another part of the country because of life's unexpected journeys,” Karin Moan, director of social media at United, tells Marketing Daily. “As the official airline of these teams, it is a perfect opportunity to reconnect our customers to their roots.”
During this social media effort (called “Route for the Home Team”), fans of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, who submit photos of themselves (during a staggered schedule during the summer) showing their loyalty along with the appropriate hashtag (#CubsFansUnited, #WhiteSoxFansUnited, etc.) will be eligible to win a trip for two to their team’s hometown, along with hotel accommodations and tickets to a game.
The airline is encouraging fans to get creative with their photos, to illustrate that physical distance hasn’t affected their loyalty. Moan suggested ideas such as a Cubs fan at the Statue of Liberty or a Nationals Fan at the Golden Gate Bridge. “It could even be something as simple as a fan on a plane,” she says. “We are trying to get people to show their love of the team, and travel.”
The decision to focus on fans who have moved outside of their favorite team’s area is designed to foster the community of sports and strengthen the bond people have with their teams, Moan says.
“Throughout the year, we have other opportunities to send customers on vacations away from where they are. It's a nice change of pace to bring people back,” she says. “Everyone remembers their first game on the home field. With this contest, fans have the chance to relive that experience.”