NFL connects displaced football fans to their teams
September 25, 2013
The TNF Xtra app
NEW YORK – An NFL executive at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 conference said that mobile is helping the 50 million displaced football fans in the United States interact with their home teams.
In the “Bread Crumbs Lead: On the Move from Profiling by Demographics to Profiling by Intent” session, the executive discussed the many ways that the NFL is leveraging mobile to enhance the football experience beyond the stadium. The company is using mobile applications, geo-location, second-screen functionality and augmented reality to reach football fans all over the country.
“There are 50 million displaced football fans in the U.S.,” said Manish Jha, general manager of mobile at the National Football League, New York. “You live in a market that’s outside of your home team.
“The amazing thing is that the passion for your team doesn’t dissipate - let’s say you’re a Patriots fan and move to LA, it doesn’t dissipate just because you move to LA,” he said. “So much of football is about having a beer and hanging out with your friends and watching a game together.”
One of the ways in which the NFL lets consumers connect with football teams is via the app Thursday Night Football Xtra. Fans can interact with the app whenever and wherever they are.
Features within TNF Xtra include stats, exclusive live video, trivia and polls. Fans can also predict plays and outcomes within the app.
The great thing about providing TNF Xtra is that it seamlessly translates into a second-screen experience. While fans are watching a game on TV, they can simultaneously interact with the spot via mobile.
According to Mr. Jha, 70 to 80 percent of football fans that are watching games on television have their smartphone or tablet in front of them. By offering extra features within an app, the NFL provides an alternative to checking email and Facebook and other distractions.
The NFL is currently running another second-screen initiative with Visa. Visa account holders can post their football fantasies on Twitter or Instagram for a chance of having their dreams fulfilled (see story).
The company also partnered with McDonald’s to roll out a mobile game called NFL Runner: Football Dash (see story).
In addition to mobile apps, the NFL has also dabbled in augmented reality. The feature lets the NFL blur the real and virtual world to let consumers engage with their favorite teams and athletes on a new level.
The company recently ran a campaign with Dick's Sporting Goods that asked fans to “catch” Deion Sanders by scanning a poster of him and unlocking an augmented reality feature. Fans who “caught” him were entered into a sweepstakes to win a prize trip.
Deion Sanders creating the Dick's campaign
A campaign such as this one engages football fans beyond the game itself.
“We think that there are limitless possibilities with leveraging augmented reality and real world triggers to activate the fan engagement to create unique content to create unique marketing opportunities, whether it’s at retail, whether it’s at stadiums, we think it’s a tremendously exciting area,” Mr. Jha said.
Manish Jha is general manager of mobile at the National Football League, New York
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