Future of Location Based Services in Sport

Post by @tscheine. Ty is a Social Media Executive at Brafton where he manages social media strategies for their clients.

I read an article earlier this week that states mobile spending is going to increase over 50% in 2012. Given this statistic, it is safe to say that Location Based Services (LBS) will have an even greater impact in sports this year.

In the beginning, fans were not being rewarded for ‘checking in’ to stadiums or venues. At its core LBS was used as a way to let your Facebook friends or Twitter followers know where you were, what you were doing and who you were with. How long could this last and how could organizations capitalize on this opportunity?

The key is to offer incentives for utilizing these mobile apps by rewarding the fan with some discount that can either be used on-site or at a later time. These incentives build great rapport with your fan base that they will in turn share with their friends, family and social networks.

The roadblock teams may find with this approach are the lack of people who use LBS either because they don’t see the benefits, mobile networks aren’t reliable or are scared of the privacy issues. Fortunately, a study done by Coyle Media Inc., found that sports fans embrace LBS more than the average mobile user. Hence, teams need to take advantage of the revenue, fan engagement and visibility that LBS can offer.

For example, big events such as the Super Bowl would be a perfect venue to take advantage of geosocial services. There is an abundance of mini events that take place leading up to and on game day, where fans can ‘check-in’ to certain fan activities such as the Super Bowl Village, or the NFL Experience. There is plenty of traffic and money being spent allowing teams and leagues to partner with their sponsors and integrate with different LBS platforms to offer users rewards, discounts, coupons, and different prizes that they can earn by ‘checking-in’ into these events.  Creating the first ever Social Media command center in Indianapolis is a great step in encouraging the use of location-based services.

Overall, I believe we just scratched the service with mobile apps and LBS in 2011. Look for teams and leagues to begin to incorporate mobile and LBS into a majority of their marketing efforts to interact with fans, increase revenue and illustrate their online presence in a positive way.

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