Thinking Outside the Box Office with Geolocation and Geofencing

Gate-crashers, be gone. College athletic departments are increasingly incorporating location-based data to personalize the college sports fan experience—boosting sales, sponsorships and fan engagement in the process.

    College sports teams are leveraging fan geotargeting with two methods:

  • Geolocation: Uses fans’ built-in mobile device GPS systems to identify their approximate location
  • Geofencing: Draws a virtual boundary around a physical area (stadium, parking lot, campus, etc.) using GPS or RFID technology and notes which users are currently within those perimeters

Because these technologies use the existing capabilities of fans’ devices and wifi and data plans, the low overhead of geotargeting makes it an ideal option for college sports organizations whether they have a bootstrapped infrastructure or a blow-out budget.

Here are a few ideas for how to start using geotargeting to directly engage your fans.

Streamline the Live Game Day Experience

From parking and ticketing to weather updates, connecting location information into your fan mobile app can streamline practical logistics on game day, such as:

  • Sending parking lot availability and driving directions as fans enter a geofenced area
  • Pushing ticketing gate and seating information in a fan app when they enter your venue
  • Providing fans in the stands with notifications about the length of concession and restrooms lines

Drive Game Day Sales

Geo-targeting breathes new life into standard promotions. Running a deal on concessions? Send a push notification with a coupon to fans in your stadium about it. Hit with sweltering heat on game day? Notify fans in the area on where to buy sunscreen and umbrellas from your retailers.

If you already have a fan loyalty program set up, location data could also be used to automatically increase fan points and activate special discounts only for those who are within a geofenced area.

Offer Integrated Sponsorship Packages

Focused fan targeting also unlocks a wider variety of real-time advertising for your sponsors and partners.

Take a regular local restaurant sponsor that offers game-day discounts or promotions for ticket holders. Instead of letting the sponsor choose from a static print or display ad, you could send fans who are nearby the game or the restaurant a notification about the deals, even if they weren’t looking for it–a modern twist on the ticket stub discount.

Widen the Reach of Fan Engagement

Segmenting your fan base geographically extends not only how and when you can drive fan interactions, but makes it easier to reach fans when they are most likely to interact with related content. Folding in location data enables you to increase engagement by:

  • Notifying fans who are waiting in ticket lotteries, tailgating or cheering on the bleachers about a specific social media campaign hashtag to use when posting updates
  • Sending satisfaction and fan feedback surveys while fans are still in your venues, instead of by email after the fact
  • Promoting special offers by your Athletics Department, Student Union or other campus retailers following a win to fans who are nearby those locations in the days and weeks following the game

The sky’s the limit (literally) when it comes to using location-based marketing for fan engagement. No matter what your school’s size and fan base demographics look like, geolocation and geofencing are essential methods for driving fan outreach.

Hopscotch is a leader in mobile-platform technology.