On Tuesday, Sporting Kansas City announced a a deal with fan engagement technology company Experience, to provide in stadium technology and experiences for the Sporting faithful. Beginning with the 2014 season, Sporting fans will be able to use Experience within the team’s Sporting Club Uphoria App for the iPhone and Android. In 2013, the Uphoria App allowed fans to view highlights and listen to game audio while in their seats. The new partnership with Experience will allow fans to buy game experiences at the match, including on field experiences, seat upgrades and more. The integration will be up and running for the team’s home opener.
Sporting is not the first soccer team to work with Experience, but given the team’s focus on technology, this seems like a partnership made for both organizations. The product has been live for about two years and the company has relationships with teams across the sports spectrum. I had the opportunity to speak with Experience President Ben Ackerman about his product and the partnership with Experience. He said that Experience had a goal to establish a relationship with Sporting, because of how innovative and forward thinking Sporting has been and how focused the organization is on the fan experience. Mr. Ackerman also told me that the goal is to provide targeted fan experiences that improves the game day experience.
The App represents the next wave of targeted marketing opportunities for teams. Experience can assist Sporting in offering opportunities to fans based on their demographics and prior choices. Whether fans are hard core supporters, families out for a weekend event or attending a corporate function, the App can guide fans to in-stadium experiences that meet their needs. The technology aside, this offers another potential revenue opportunity for teams with fans already in the stadium. Interestingly, Mr, Ackerman told me that Experience’s financial model is “success based” with Experience not charging Sporting anything up front, but only if fans purchase opportunities through the App. In Mr. Ackerman’s view, the success model incentivizes both the team and Experience to make the partnership work.
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