Take a look at a sports fan’s phone and you may notice a lot of ways they follow scores, news, and feature content about their favorite major pro teams. They use the ESPN SportsCenter app, Twitter, The Score, and any number of other options. But it’s not as easy for a minor league or junior team fan. Their fans may not be in the multi-millions, but their thousands of supporters want and deserve just as good a mobile fan experience and opportunity as the majors.
All this adds up to why minor teams need a mobile app more and why their fans (and sponsors want to reach those fans) stand to benefit more.
Here are four factors that scream out why minor league teams and their fans deserve a need a mobile app even more than those in the so-called big show.
Right now, a fan of a minor team without a superior app is likely faced with one of three options – a desktop-built website requiring a combination of pinching and squinting, a mobile-responsive site that reduces the real site to a stripped down version looking like an artifact from the MS-DOS era, or a very basic app that is a glorified news feed that reminds you of the days of Windows ’95 and Nintendo Classic. None of the above three options offers neither a good fan experience nor opportunity to delight fans and engage and monetize. You know fans want to be able to access scores and features on their mobile devices. It’s not easy for fans to go elsewhere for such info and content, so they turn to the teams themselves. It’s up to the teams to decide whether they want to provide the optimal experience, and to serve the method with which the majority of their fans are wanting to engage with them daily – on mobile.
Most minor teams don’t have lavish and lucrative media rights and licensing deals. Nor do they necessarily break the bank on ticket sales; concessions and merchandise revenue is a nice drop in the bucket, but typically not too much more for most teams. When you run out of sponsorship space on the outfield wall or rink dasher boards, all of a sudden your team’s sponsorship revenue hits a frustrating wall. However, minor teams are no longer confined to reaching their fans only inside the venue. There are websites and social media, email and, of course, the medium that fans are on the most – mobile. When you provide an engaging mobile fan experience in an app, all of a sudden reaching a few thousand fans at your venue a couple times a week becomes engaging thousands more 24/7/365. The geyser then erupts for ways to integrate sponsors and deliver value for them, as well as for fans. Minor teams need all the sources of revenue they can get and teams and brands every day are finding that in an app.
Most minor teams, like their pro peers, have their core diehard fans, the ones that have been season ticket holders for decades. But the majority deals with fickle fans with a flood of entertainment options and a propensity to buy tickets last-minute or to only use freebies. While a major pro team encounters this very issue, too, they have massive marketing budgets to target these fans and capture their data through advanced ticketing software. For a minor or junior team lacking this ability, a mobile app can be an incredible tool for improved marketing. It’s unfortunate that, in 2015, many teams are still trying to get fan data with the old pen-and-paper enter-to-win sweepstakes. In 2015 fans are accustomed to using their device for everything and they’re much more likely to act if they don’t have to move from their seat and go to a table in the concourse. A fan that goes to a major pro team’s game for a first or single time is more likely to follow that team on other channels than the completely casual minor fan attracted by dollar beer night by his college buddies. A mobile app to make marketing to the casual fans streamlined and simple is essential for the minors.
Major pro sports teams get a lot of free publicity. Outlets like ESPN, Yahoo, and the local nightly news constantly produce content and coverage of the major pros in the area and all around the country. They’re promoting their upcoming games and star players to a receptive fan base. While many minor teams get decent coverage from a local newspaper (with likely diminished distribution), the ability to get publicity and marketing messages to fans is far weaker than their pro peers. You can cross your fingers and pray fans visit your website daily and organically see your social media posts every time (good luck with that) or you can proactively be a part of their daily lives with a mobile app. Just the power, alone, of having your team’s logo on their mobile home screen keeps your team top-of-mind with no need for shout-out on SportsCenter. And the power to push a notification about breaking team news is something new and magical for fans in the minors. With a dedicated mobile app, minor teams can proactively engage and delight their fans, and not simply rest on the hope the fans will engage the team themselves first, every time.
It is no longer a matter of if, but when every minor team needs a mobile solution that is superlative for fans. It’s a mobile-first world. There is value to be gained for all – teams and brands, sponsors, and both major and minor teams. But the minors need it more than most and many are already starting to play like the pros.
Want to learn how Hopscotch is helping minor teams make the most on mobile with an app? Request a personalized demo!