Commentary

Promotional Sports Giveaways As A Value Tactic

Promotional giveaways at sporting events have always captured my attention, both as a market researcher and as a fan.  I can recall multiple conversations with team marketing executives regarding the optimal strategy for offering promotions as key elements of partnership programs and as sweeteners to optimize schedule dates that presented attendance challenges.

The non-scientific consensus seems to be that teams are most apt to deploy promotional strategies where there was a logical tie-in with a sponsor and to do so on those dates where attendance expectations were particularly low.  Further, these promotions were most aptly targeted to the casual fan with low recency, frequency and spending profiles.  Season ticket members were not the fans for whom these promotions were typically designed.

I’ve shared previously in this space that research has traditionally shown a meaningful segment of longer-term season ticket package buyers were less likely to present upsell potential as a result of promotional programs or giveaways.

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But good strategically deployed promotions can have a meaningful impact on increasing share of wallet with the more price-elastic, single-game-ticket-buying public.  And that phenomenon strikes me as more critical today, as we see a more tenuous economic situation potentially having a negative impact on fan behavior among these less committed segments.

Our research currently shows some warning lights about future spending on single game tickets. Specifically, the number of fans who strongly agree that they are being forced to make more difficult decisions about discretionary purchases than they did five years ago is up 14 points since November, and at its highest point in over a year. In the same late April data we see future anticipated luxury spending down 12 points from its November comparable, with budget consciousness at a seven-month high.

I spoke in a recent column about the “K-shaped” economic recovery that continues to put those outside the upper income tiers in a more susceptible place than the higher-end luxury buyers who are disproportionately more likely to purchase multi-game ticket packages.

This suggests that promotional giveaways could be an effective short-term hedge against spending worries in this environment.  To that end, we took the opportunity, last month, to survey sports fans about the potential impact of various types of promotional items, looking specifically at those which would drive the highest perceived value, and thus could tip the scales towards making the plunge for already value-priced tickets on less favorable game dates.

We found that logoed apparel items like T shirts, caps and mock jerseys were significantly preferable to promotions like tumblers, magnets or trading card sets.  Even branded items like bobble-heads did not fare as well as apparel.

The good news is that there continue to be sizable numbers of fans who are motivated by promotional items.  With the economic tea leaves still suggesting marketing challenges at the lower end of the market, getting the give-away equation right could be an even more effective tactic in driving ticket sales.

1 comment about "Promotional Sports Giveaways As A Value Tactic".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, May 14, 2024 at 11:22 p.m.

    Jon, much of the promotional sports advertisement has moved online. I would consider Twitter as the leader.  Many sport clubs will give away higher valued prizes signed jerseys, baseballs, footballs and more. By doing so, the club's marketing receive data and do so at a lower cost.

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