Getting to Know the Fans
The roar of the crowd after a three-pointer is a sweet sound to the management of WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks basketball team. Yet marketing execs have only recently begun to find out more about the fans who fill the seats at game time.
The team has started using loyalty marketing software from Delaware-based Smart Button Associates, which has more than 2.5 million consumers enrolled in its database.
“The days of throwing your business card in a fishbowl are over,” says Smart Button CEO Philip Sugar, whose 10-year-old company has also established loyalty programs for the San Diego Padres, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Oakland Raiders. “More and more teams are offering rewards to their most loyal customers.”
Sports teams often have difficulty learning about their own season ticketholders, since such packages are often shared among many people. The L.A. Sparks loyalty program enrolls fans in a “Home Court Advantage” program, then awards points to those who attend home games and other designated community events. Rewards include everything from replica jerseys to a game of Horse with an L.A. Sparks player.
“If a patron is going to give up their anonymity as part of a loyalty program, they want to get something in return that they might not otherwise be able to receive,” adds Sugar.