(Loop & Tie is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
It’s common practice for professional sports teams to reward their most loyal supporters and season ticket holders with a gift at the end of the season. This helps teams build strong relationships with those fans and keep them coming back year after year.
Loop & Tie has introduced an interesting wrinkle into this process. Instead of teams simply sending a gift or gift card to fans, they can send an email with a link to curated collection of gifts that fans can choose from. Teams can curate these gifts themselves or use collections previously curated by Loop & Tie.
Now in their fourth season of partnering with Loop & Tie, the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers are seeing the benefits of the customer gifting platform. The team sends a gift to each of their 18,000 season ticket holder accounts each year and fans have a wide array of items to choose from. Fans receive an email with a link to the available gifts, they make their choice, and Loop & Tie sends it their way.
According to the team’s Director of Membership Service & Suite Activation Dustin Albertson, the platform can also be used as a service recovery tool. If fans submit an issue via the team’s mobile app, service representatives follow up on those issues, resolve them and close the loop by sending a gift, should the situation warrant it.
“One of the biggest benefits of working with Loop & Tie is our fan and client engagement,” Albertson states. “If you actually look at our redemption rates, for example, the season ticket holder gift that we did this year, we got a 95% open rate on our emails. I think if you talk to any team across any sport, they would tell you that anything over a 50% open rate is unbelievably fantastic.”
As the 49ers started to utilize Loop & Tie more and more, Albertson and team found that it drove more value than their own loyalty program did. They weren’t seeing the kind of engagement on our loyalty program that we were on Loop & Tie. The 49ers subsequently shut down their loyalty program in 2018 and have solely focused on Loop & Tie to reinforce their value of season ticket membership from the standpoints of physical gifting and loyalty.
“You’re never going to make 20,000 people happy,” Albertson says. “But what I can tell you is if you give people the opportunity to make their own conscious decisions, they’re going to leave much happier than if we push something on them.”
In addition to strengthening fan relationships, Loop & Tie also saves the 49ers copious amounts of time in this department.
“It cuts down drastically on our need for the hand-to-hand combat part of gifting. Once we hit send on the email essentially, Loop & Tie takes it from there. In terms of operational efficiencies, there’s no one better in the business. It essentially streamlines our entire gifting products process and takes it off of our plates completely.”
The 49ers have also begun using Loop & Tie for sending gifts to their staff as well as their partners. Gifts can also include donations to various charities and non-profit organizations. By adding this additional layer, 49ers fans can not only feel like their team is providing them with quality choice, but they also have the opportunity to contribute to their team’s off-the-field efforts.
“I think a lot of teams have gone out, picked a gift, and then hoped that it resonated with the people that they were giving these gifts to,” Albertson remarks. “The beauty of Loop & Tie is the ability to have not just one or two choices but several choices. The last couple of years we’ve actually opened up a part of it for donations to our foundation. The 49ers Foundation is actually one of the gift options. It’s really empowering for our fans and our season ticket members to not only feel like they have options for what their gift is on an annual basis, but they also feel like they can be giving back at the same time.”