Mobile Mania Hits Madison Square Garden

Text-to-Screen-Verizon-B

Madison Square Garden plans to announce Thursday that it will rely on Phizzle's mobile marketing platform to power campaigns for the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and New York Liberty, along with regional television networks MSG and MSG Plus, and the company's digital marketing database the MSG Insider.

Phizzle's self-service mobile marketing platform, PhizzleMobile, will allow the network of sports and event teams to interact with fans. Report and analytic features allow the teams to build databases that serve as direct marketing tools. The platform aggregates data from SMS messages on the backend.

From that database, clients like Madison Square Garden can generate leads and learn more about customer behavior. "They use the SMS channel to sell more tickets and fill up any empty seats," says Ben Davis, Phizzle CEO. "That's the top-level goal to gain a return on their investment. Then it's about generating revenue for sponsors and advertisers."

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Mobile-savvy Gen Y consumers -- 85% -- regularly send or receive SMS/text messages, compared with 57% of all U.S. consumers over age 18, according to Forrester Research's The State Of Consumers And Technology Benchmark 2010 U.S. report released Wednesday.

The professional Gen Y consumer, who is particularly fond of user-generated content, fits nicely into Phizzle's market strategy. For Phizzle, a proprietary piece of middleware supports the technology that enables its clients to take user-generated content, process data and display it in real-time on a Jumbotron video screen during live events. The software also works with television campaigns. During an Arby's promotion, the fast-food chain ran a campaign where sections in the live event competed with each other. Each section needed to text a specific letter.

Unique graphic output allowed Phizzle to show in real-time that each texted letter received ate away at the image of the burger on the Jumbotron in real-time. The winning section won a free Arby's value meal.

The deal with Madison Square Garden Interactive, which manages the digital properties for the sports teams, concerts and events, "will significantly increase" traffic, challenging the company's infrastructure, but Davis says Phizzle is ready to support the flow. Managing the data becomes the biggest challenge -- harnessing the information to determine fans' behavior. The data from these "feedback campaigns" requires Phizzle to sift through demographics, numbers, sentiment and intent.

Madison Square Garden will incorporate a variety of text-messaging campaigns including Text-2-Win promotions, Text-2-Vote polls and surveys, and Text-2-Screen.

Cleveland Cavaliers, San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia 76ers, and Oakland Raiders have also used the platform since 2007.

Interestingly, Phizzle's technology has begun to infiltrate the medical industry to alert professionals such as doctors. The University of Maryland's medical center uses the text-messaging service to convey specific job functions.

Davis expects medical brands like Smithkline and Beecham to adopt the product too, alerting people via SMS message to take medication. For example, the technology could alert Alzheimer's patients through a text message who might forget to take their medicines.

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