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Minnesota Timberwolves drive fan engagement with new mobile app

The Minnesota Timberwolves are attempting to drive fan engagement and reward loyal consumers with exclusive content and live game coverage via the team's revamped mobile application.

The National Basketball Association members, who were the first NBA team to launch a mobile app back in 2006, are leveraging the free app to accommodate the increasing growth of fans? mobile Web usage. The Timberwolves are also partnering with Papa John's for an online-only promotion offering discounted large and extra-large pizzas the day after a team win.

?Providing content on mobile platforms for our fans is incredibly important,? said Bob Stanke, senior director of digital media for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minneapolis, MN. ?Like most other professional sports teams, we have seen a dramatic increase in mobile traffic, so we are always looking for ways engage these visitors. 

?Two years ago we started developing all of our Web platforms to be responsive, so having a native app for Android and iOS was a great addition for us and our fans. Mobile apps just give us another great way to leverage the other marketing platforms we have and reach additional audiences.?

Exclusive content
Fans will be able to use the app to check the Timberwolves? schedule, conference standing and roster. Users can also follow along during live games and view the stats, shot charts and scores.

The app?s Game Tracker offers the ability to view relevant conversations taking place on social media apps and sites. Fans at live games can join in by uploading their videos and photos to Twitter and Facebook with the #timberwolves hashtag.

The app is expected to offer ticket integration in the future

The Timberwolves have been focusing on boosting social media awareness following their participation in the Lifetime Fitness Commitment Day Instagram promotion.

Users are encouraged to share photos of their healthy lifestyles via Instagram, using the hashtag #WolvesCommitmentDay. Sponsors will choose 25 randomly selected winners, with eligible prizes including two tickets to a Timberwolves suite and lower-level tickets to a team game.

For on-the-go consumers that want to stay up-to-date with the team, the redesigned app provides news articles about the Timberwolves, original videos and recent photo galleries.

The app is free for iOS and Android devices.

Future enhancements
Features that are expected to be added in the near future include ticket sales integrations, exclusive membership content and fan experience modules.

The Wolves are also partnering with pizza chain Papa John?s to help drive fan engagement. A limited promotion offers customers 50 percent off a large or extra-large pizza at regular menu price the day after the team wins a game.

App users can ensure they will never miss a game

Fans can use the WOLVESWIN promotional code to receive the pizza discount, which is valid on online orders only.

The Timberwolves are the latest sports team to offer a revamped app to sustain fans? increasing appetite for digital and mobile offerings. The New York Jets, a National Football League team, recently rolled out an app that leverages live-streaming from practices and post-production facilities to offer users content not viewable anywhere else (see story).

Using a live video backpack, cameramen are able to shoot team interactions on the road, on the sidelines and in the locker room.

More consumers are demanding apps that are complementary to live sporting events. Second-screen additive content is imperative in maintaining fan engagement and increasing brand or team awareness.

?So far the feedback has been great!? Mr. Stanke said. ?We have had fans comment on how well the app functions and that they love the live game content.

?We will be looking to expand the app even more in the coming months, so we are always looking for feedback from our fans.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York