As a new team, Seattle NHL are looking to build a fan experience from the ground up through physical and digital interactions with fans. One of the major challenges for all sports team is to not just engage fans while they are at a game, but also outside of the stadium. We believe by building a mobile application that provides value to the fans inside and outside of the stadium, Seattle Sockeyes can differentiate themselves from other teams in Seattle and in the NHL and turn single ticket purchasers into loyal fans.
Based on our analysis of the environment we have honed in our target market to current sports fan millennials, ages 18-35 (younger than the average hockey fan, who is around 38 and middle-aged), primarily ones located in Seattle, as well as current hockey fans aged 38+. The data shows us that Seattle and the demo we chose to go after is lucrative because:
- It’s one of the fasting growing cities in the nation – it’s been in the top 5 for growth over the past 5 years.
- It’s growing specifically with millennials. Between 2007 – 2017 the number of 25-to-39-year-olds in the city increased by about 69,000, which is a growth rate of about 43%.
- Seattle ranks 7th in average income and is the 2nd highest average income city without an NHL team. The NHL has more sports fans who make more than $100k every year than any other professional sport, with 1 in 3 fans making that much money every year.
- First of its kind demand. Oak View Group says it acquired 10,000 NHL season ticket deposits in just 12 minutes while it had surpassed 25,000 in a little over an hour. It took the last new NHL team, Vegas Golden Knights two days to get 5,000.
- Seattle sport fans are loyal. Seahawks and Sounders fans continue to rank amongst the highest in the NFL and MLS.
We conducted a survey with which we received over 100 respondents. The results reinforced our target market and strategy initiatives.
We are looking to understand our customer habits, which will help us cater our strategies as we work to convert game watchers into more loyal fans via the use of our app. We will use content activation in social (influenced by industry trends) to build our app’s brand awareness of its content/features/benefits and convert those exposed to app users by embedding exclusive social elements in the app.
We’ve tapped into a consumer social media habits report that will help us better understand what fans are doing on their phones while at the game. The social media strategy and engagement team will leverage the report to better understand and act on the shift in mediums used so that they use the correct channels when sharing content with the target market.
Examples that bridge the content activation & social media to loyal app adoption are:
- Leveraging video – on our social networks we will show highlights, interviews etc. However, we will note for more in depth coverage and behind the scenes stories go to our app for more.
- Understanding the geo proximity of customers will have us varying our content. For those in 1hr out or more we will not be promoting game day ticket sales but rather suggested watch party locations. Those within a closer radius to the arena we will focus our strategy around ticketing packages and experiences.
- User generated content – fostering the community to share their positive experiences (game day easy ticketing, food ordering etc) and promote discussions on team happenings (game performance, possible trades, etc). On our social networks we can promote how the use of the app lead to benefits that could have only been gained through that. Thus converting viewers into app adopters.
Millennials are looking for engagement, entertainment, and a personalized experience. They expect to be involved in processes related to institutions/organizations they are interested in and prefer/expect instantaneous responses, special events that are social in nature with educational elements, and access to digital technology. By targeting current hockey fans, which are an older demographic, we are creating a more balanced approach to create our fan base, as well as creating a strategy to help initially fill seats and gain revenue while we build the loyalty and excitement in our millennial segment.