RECENT ARTICLES
  • Forward Passports: Schools Prepare for Bowl in Bahamas

    by Dan Wolken, @DanWolken, USA TODAY Sports June 2014

    Every day this week from 9a.m. to 5 p.m., Marshall University has set aside space in its football office for something that might not even matter by the end of the season. But Mark Gale, the assistant athletics director for football operations, would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to getting passports for a possible trip to December's Bahamas Bowl. Because the first-year bowl will be in a foreign country, schools in Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference already are working on securing passports for their players, coaches and support staff.

  • Big Data Helps Sports Teams Understand Their Customers

    by Bob Cohn June 2014

    During the last Penguins' season, Abby L., a 34-year-old fan from Evans City, attended 14 weekday games at Consol Energy Center. She sat in the upper bowl and spent an average of $83.50 on tickets. She bought nachos, sushi and beer during her 11 concession visits and purchased nine merchandise items, including a Sidney Crosby jersey (small). The club has access to this information, and more, because Abby L. participates in Pens Points, a loyalty program that offers a wide range of perks and privileges in return for her dogged support. Members also enjoy a personalized game experience, further increasing their likelihood of remaining dedicated fans. Abby L. is known as a "power user," and the Penguins want to keep her.

  • Atlanta's New Stadiums Focus on Fans in Different Ways

    by Tim Tucker; Staff June 2014

    Seats that would vibrate with each hard hit on the field didn't make the final cut. But a 100-yard-long bar and a fantasy football lounge did make it, along with a roof that is supposed to open and close in about seven minutes. The Falcons last week received complete design drawings from their architects for the team's downtown stadium, a milestone in the transition from the planning to building phases of the project. The Braves, meanwhile, said their architects continue to refine the design and amenities of the team's planned Cobb County stadium, with particular emphasis on the connection between the ballpark and an adjacent entertainment complex. Both stadiums are scheduled to open in the spring of 2017, if all goes as planned. Both teams vow the venues will significantly change the fan experience, albeit in different ways.

  • Four Steps to Link Sponsorships to LEED Certification

    by Dr. Lana Huberty June 2014

    Athletic facility managers have made a commitment to green design, sustainability and reducing their facilities' overall environmental impact despite shrinking resources. Often, these environmental initiatives include a facility achieving LEED certification. In a time of limited funds, facility managers are exploring new ways to offset this investment. Along with traditional revenue streams such as ticketing and membership sales, some facility managers are utilizing sponsorship sales. Due to the relative newness of LEED certification in sports venues, there is little experience and shared knowledge on how to use LEED certification to entice sponsorships and generate revenue.

  • Photo: Purdue to Put Fan Photos on Football Helmets

    by Michael Gaio June 2014

    Trying to market a college football team coming off a 1-11 season can be a difficult challenge. But sometimes tough times can inspire the most creative solutions. Take this latest idea from the Purdue Boilermakers for example: The football team is running a promotion that will give fans the opportunity to have their mug plastered on the team's football helmet.

  • Overcoming Gym Membership Retention Challenges

    by Dennis Van Milligen May 2014

    The rise of lower-priced clubs have put greater pressure on gym owners to create an environment that keeps members happy while also empowering them to feel confident that their gym membership investment is well worth it. Ultimately, though, they may lose those members to lower-priced alternatives, writing off the member loss as simply a financial decision. The reality is that the warning signs were there; they just failed to see what was right in front of them.

  • Barclays Center to Add Environmentally Friendly Roof

    by April 2014

    In an effort to become a better neighbor to the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., The Barclays Center, home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, is about to get greener — literally.

  • Blog: Are Event 'Swag Bags' Worth the Cost Anymore?

    by Mary Helen Sprecher April 2014

    I registered for a community fun run/walk not long ago and as I was walking away from the entry desk, I checked through my race packet. Race number? Check. Safety pins? Check. Flyers for multiple upcoming races? Check, check and check. 

    And then – paper. Lots of paper. Coupons, advertising circulars, take-out menus, subscription postcards for magazines and business cards for local establishments. As I was heading for the exit, I heard the person behind me complain, “This is all ads. Didn’t we used to get more stuff in these things?”

    Admittedly, we did. I can recall when things like socks, sweatbands, can koozies, pens, packets of energy gel, sunscreen and lip balm were routinely tucked into those bags. These days, not so much.

    And that’s not really surprising. Event organizers are scrambling for sponsors, and some sports events’ major sponsors have dropped out. And those who are able to keep their sponsors are often faced with the choice of having funds that potentially could defray the cost of the event – or gimmes to put in the swag bag. It’s not surprising that many organizers are opting for the former, rather than the latter.

    When you get right down to it, companies just aren’t buying as many inexpensive souvenirs to be used as giveaways. A colleague who works in promotional merchandise, noted that trends in merchandising have changed. Slap bracelets, key chains and so forth are not as popular as they once were. Why? Because companies know they’ll get tossed as soon as the recipient gets home. Items have to have inherent value in order to be useful as promo pieces these days. Companies tend to invest in putting their logo on more expensive merchandise (earbuds, thumb drives, etc.) and they save those for events to which they have made a sizeable sponsorship donation – and in which people have paid significant funds to register.

    Many times, organizations that sponsor events, particularly smaller events, do it in exchange for publicity, meaning having their coupons or other materials dropped into the swag bag. Those bananas and cereal bars at the finish line? The trade-off was the coupon or the take-out menu.

    Generally, people just go through the swag bag and pull the materials they want, and discard what they don’t. And as long as they put their trash in the can (and not on the ground), organizers have done their part.

    Sometimes, though, companies really want to give out freebies, but the choices on a bare-bones budget are limited.  I think my head-scratching moment came when I went through a race packet and came across a postage-stamp-size piece of fabric (honestly, no bigger than 1” x 1” square) that was marketed as a way to vanquish fingerprints from the screen of a smartphone. Nice, but – where to store something like that? And while I appreciate the gesture, I can’t say the item made it home with me.

    In this day and age of sustainability and cost-cutting, goodie bags are an endangered species. Increasingly, people are coming home from smaller events empty-handed. And maybe that’s a good thing. 

     

  • Social Media Revolutionizes Campus Rec Marketing

    by Paul Steinbach April 2014

    As the literature on the bulletin board went unnoticed, Chris Butler could see the writing on the wall.

  • News and Notes From the IHRSA 2014 Trade Show Floor

    by Michael Gaio March 2014

    There’s nothing like attending a good trade show, especially in the fitness industry. The equipment, the innovation, the music, the energy, the people… Whether it’s our show or IHRSA, I consider attending these shows to be one of the perks of my job.