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How the Edmonton Oilers and SQWAD Are Pulling Off Unique In-Game Giveaways

Thanks to a new partnership, the Edmonton Oilers have developed a very inclusive, innovative way to increase engagement with fans who attend their games.

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Photo via SQWAD

(*SQWAD is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

Last NHL season, the Edmonton Oilers averaged 18,347 fans per game at Rogers Place. Engaging all of those fans at once in a fun and meaningful way isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish. This season, however, they have been able to do so with the help of SQWAD.

Specifically, the Oilers have implemented SQWAD’s Mobile Scratchers activation. Through the team’s mobile app, each fan gets a digital scratch-off ticket that (if they are a winner) will reveal a prize when they swipe with their finger.

For Lindsey Gullett, Oilers event presentation manager, the activation made perfect sense for the organization.

“We got to talking to Nick Lawson in the offseason and saw some of the things they had to offer,” Gullett remembered. “The Mobile Scratchers game was exactly what we wanted. It’s a very inclusive, easy way to give prizes away to our fans. That format is something they’re familiar with from lottery tickets and whatnot. It’s just been a matter of integrating it into our regular game flow. We’ve been able to give away some great prizes thanks to our sponsors.”

Nick Lawson, founder and CEO of SQWAD, has taken notice of how successfully his company’s tech has been implemented by one of Canada’s biggest sports entities.

READ MORE: ‘Bundle All the Fun Together’: The Art of Sponsorship Activations in Vegas

“It’s always great to work with a team that is looking to push digital activation into their game day experience,” Lawson remarked. “The Oilers did an amazing job incorporating our Mobile Scratchers activation into their game authentically, while connecting fans to multiple sponsors. Overall, in-arena digital connection is becoming more and more important to brands and fans; Lindsey and the Oilers are on the forefront of adapting with their market.”

Companies that sponsor the Oilers often provide prizes for the giveaways as a way to further connect with the fans in Edmonton. Prizes given away include gift cards, jerseys, autographed memorabilia, and concert tickets for upcoming shows at Rogers Place. Every night provides a new opportunity to build the relationship between sponsors and fans.

Fan response to the game has been very positive, due in large part to the simplicity of the game. The backend of the system is also incredibly simple, which has made the experience even more enjoyable for the Oilers’ marketing team.

“It’s a simple piece of software to use. It’s very user-friendly on the backend,” Gullett remarked. “We can easily change the odds of the game, what kind of information fans need to play… There’s a variety of things we’re able to do that allow us to make sure that we’re finding our winners and that fans are getting their prizes. On top of that, they’re always making improvements to make it even easier for us to tweak things when we need to.”

Because of the Oilers’ ability to integrate sponsors into the games SQWAD has created, the marketing team has also been able to further solidify its own relationships with these companies. Since fans are so attracted to the game, it’s an easy sell for Gullet and company.

“It’s a reliable tool. We’re not having to recreate the wheel when sponsors want to do a giveaway. Our fans are going to it on their own. It’s allowed us to have this system in place that we can just run with, and our fans have responded well to it.”

After signing with SQWAD in September of 2018, the Oilers are enjoying the partnership and the opportunity that SQWAD gives them to engage with fans and sponsors in a whole new way.

“The research says that fans have their cell phone in one hand and a drink or food in the other at events. So how do you take advantage of that? We like to provide some interactive avenues for fans. We liked the scratch-and-win game because it’s unique. SQWAD was not only first to the table with that idea, but they’re executing it well.”

(*SQWAD is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

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Game Changer MVP’s ‘Filter Fan Cam’ Ramps Up PBR’s In-Arena Atmosphere

PBR began using Game Changer MVP’s fan cam last year — and this year, you’ll be able to catch the Fan Cam at every event in the Unleash The Beast series.

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Photo credit: PBR

(*Game Changer MVP is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)

One of the most enjoyable aspects of camera-integrated apps like Snapchat and Instagram is playing with filters.

Game Changer MVP brings this fun to sporting events on a larger scale with its “Filter Fan Cam” technology. Cameras at a given event film the faces of fans and the video feed runs through a computer where the fan filters are applied and broadcast onto the arena’s jumbotron.

Professional Bull Riders (PBR) began using Game Changer MVP’s fan cam last year in Las Vegas — and this year, you’ll be able to catch the Fan Cam at each of the 26 events in the Unleash The Beast series throughout the country.

PBR Arena Video Director Kelly McCommons attests that the Fan Cam has helped bring a great level of energy into arenas full of bull riding fans.

READ MORE: Game Changer MVP Offers Unique In-Stadium Media for Australia’s KFC BBL

“It really it brings a lot of attention to the jumbotron in a way that is new and exciting for a lot of our fans,” McCommons states. “It’s a really great way to get people to interact with our content and our own custom filters that Game Changer is able to provide for us. We love it because it gets the fans engaged.”

McCommons also sees potential in the tool to integrate it into sponsorship packages in the future.

“I think it’s a great tool that eventually will play a part in our sponsorships because it is one of the most interactive things that we do and it gets people’s attention pretty quick. It really gives a chance for us to showcase the names of potential sponsors recognized on the screen with something that’s very cool and interactive.”

Because Game Changer’s technology is easily portable and straightforward, McCommons and the video team are able to integrate within all the different arenas that the Unleash the Beast Series travels to.

In doing so, they catch the eye of fans and tech professionals alike.

“We travel to different venues all over the country, but we travel with our own LED screens. Sometimes we use the in-house screens depending on how good they are. But we get a lot of different markets that don’t have the technology that this software brings to the table. So we get a lot of interaction from different people around the country who have not seen this type of technology before that are really engaged by it and very surprised by it.”

As a partner of Game Changer MVP, PBR works closely with COO Matt Coy to make sure the Fan Cam continues to work seamlessly and add to the fun of the event.

“They’ve been great over email as well as over the phone,” McCommons states. “They come out to events when they can and they’re very responsive on new projects that we’re working on and any changes we need for content or graphics. They’ve been awesome since the start.”

For more on how Game Changer MVP is leading the charge in high-quality in-stadium media, visit its website here. You can also schedule a demo by calling 1-800-464-9445.

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Managers on a Mission Gave an Equipment Manager a Lifelong Network

Participants make connections with the people they serve alongside as part of MOAM — and this certainly was the case for TSU’s equipment manager.

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Photo credit: Managers on a Mission

(*MOAM is a Proud Partner of FOS)

In the nearly six years since the organization’s beginning, Managers on a Mission (MOAM) has been giving young people within the sports world opportunities to grow professionally and spiritually through service projects all over the United States as well as the world.

In nearly all cases, participants make lasting connections with the people they serve alongside, as well as learn valuable lessons about what a career in sports entails. This was the case for Andrew Johnson, an alumnus of MOAM and now head equipment manager at Texas State University.

Johnson graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2013, where he became an equipment manager for the football team. While working as an equipment manager for the New York Jets in 2014, Johnson heard of MOAM’s work through the organization’s founder, Drew Boe. At first unsure of whether he would be a good fit for the program as a post-grad, Johnson eventually applied and accompanied MOAM on a mission trip to Malawi in the summer of 2017.

“The experience of the trip was awesome,” Johnson describes. “You go there thinking at first that you’re going to have this huge impact in the life of the kids, but they teach you as well and you end up leaving as this totally new person. My biggest takeaway is just how awesome it is to be able to work with people that are from totally different backgrounds as us. These people obviously don’t have the same resources as most Americans. So it’s an uphill battle from day one for them, but they keep the faith and they do what it takes to make it.”

READ MORE: How MOAM Gave a Basketball Coach a Whole New Perspective

In addition to leading daily prayer and devotions of faith, Johnson and company led local children in daily games including basketball, volleyball, soccer, and American football. They accomplished this despite a significant amount of their equipment going missing upon arrival. Ironically, this inadvertently helped teach Johnson the biggest lesson he learned while in Malawi.

“The trip taught me the importance of being able to adapt on the fly and do what you need to do to make it in that situation,” Johnson states. “When we first got to Malawi, half our luggage was lost. So we just had to make do and change our schedule because we didn’t have our equipment. You never know what hand your going to be dealt during a game or in life, but you have to adjust on the fly and take care of it and keep the faith.”

Since returning from the trip, Johnson still regularly finds time to connect with the other participants from his mission trip as well as other contacts he has made through Managers on a Mission.

“Everybody that’s ever been on a trip is in this group chat,” Johnson explains. “In addition to things like prayer requests, we also try to connect people in the group that are looking for jobs with open opportunities that we know of. Every major sport at all different levels is represented. For a young person in the industry, it is a great way to branch out and grow professionally.”

During his travels, Johnson will often chat with these contacts in person and occasionally try to help recruit new participants for the program.

“I still donate and anytime I see them at a convention, I’ll stop by the booth for a little bit. I gained so many lifelong friends and business connections through MOAM. It’s just an amazing group of people.”

In addition to still frequently communicating with his colleagues in MOAM, Johnson hopes to lead a domestic service trip sometime in the near future. For any young professionals considering applying for a Managers on a Mission project, Johnson doesn’t think you will regret it.

“If you’re nervous about leaving the country or being away from home, MOAM will make sure you’re ready to go. They’re not going to send you if you’re not ready to go. If you feel that you’ve been called to do this, take that step and give it a shot.”

(*MOAM is a Proud Partner of FOS)

Deadline to apply for the summer trips is March 1! Applications for the 2019 summer mission trip can be submitted here. Potential applicants should contact MOAM Director of Discipleship Seth Ralston at sralston@managersonamission.org with any further questions.

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Inside the Atlanta Falcons’ Social Media Presence With Kyle Benzion

Throughout all of their content, the Atlanta Falcons utilize three different hashtags that each play their own part in telling the team’s story.

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Photo via @AtlantaFalcons

(*Team Infographics is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports)

Here are two things that are difficult — but essential — to achieve in sports social media: Establishing a balance in tone, and capturing the voice of the home city. In recent years, one of the best examples of doing both can be found in the Atlanta Falcons’ social presence.

To show how they have achieved this, Falcons’ social media coordinator Kyle Benzion provided some insight. For starters, the Falcons’ Twitter account reaches a nice balance between humor/clever copy and emotional storytelling.

“We really focus on creating a balance between what our audience wants and what our football team represents,” Benzion says. “Everything we do starts from insights. Our goal is to understand what our fans are feeling and then develop content and share news that they are interested in. Whether it means being the source of the news, interacting with other teams or brands, pumping up one of our players, or creating strong emotional videos, there are always insights that are tied to our decision making.”

This past season, the Falcons put forth another example of their strong storytelling abilities with the Falcons’ remix of “Welcome To Atlanta.” The team released the song and video at the start of the 2018 season to get fans excited about the upcoming year.

“The Falcons remix of ‘Welcome To Atlanta’ illustrated the strong connection between the city of Atlanta, the fans and the football team, but it wasn’t just a song about the football team,” Benzion clarifies. “Although it represented the continued growth of the Falcons Brotherhood and what this team can become, it was really a song about the city of Atlanta. The words embrace the past, yet, similar to the team’s mindset, are also focused on owning the future.”

Benzion goes on to credit team leadership for establishing a path for the social team to connect with fans as opposed to being transactional both with the “Welcome To Atlanta” video and with other social campaigns.

“We’re always encouraged to think big, really big,” Benzion adds. “In this case, it took a ton of planning from a variety of members throughout our organization. Everyone had to be on the same page to pull off a season launch like this. The video was the most shared video on Facebook in professional sports the first half of September and it was an incredibly fun and rewarding project to be a small part of.”

For in-game content, the social team keeps fans updated with scoring-drive motion graphics that it creates hand in hand with Team Infographics.

“Team Infographics is a great company to work with,” Benzion testifies. “I originally worked with Team Infographics when I worked for the Nebraska Huskers. I really liked what they were able to bring to game day and their fantastic customer service. We have worked directly with Team Infographics for two years and they have been nothing short of incredibly responsive and easy to work with. We look forward to continuing to work with them.”

Throughout all of their content, the Falcons utilize three different hashtags that each play their own part in telling the team’s story: #InBrotherhood, #RiseUp, and #TogetherWeRise. Benzion explains the thinking behind these.

“#InBrotherhood, #RiseUp, and #TogetherWeRise live simultaneously but each carry their own equity. #RiseUp is a call to action or a rallying cry that represents what Falcons do. #InBrotherhood represents the relentless spirit in which we work for each other, support each other and fight for each other on the field. Each equity allows us to bring the team, the city and the fans closer together in different ways.”

#InBrotherhood was originally created during the team’s 2016 playoff push that ended with a Super Bowl appearance. Our goal was to create something that helped bring the football team together with the city and the fans.

“For the Falcons and Head Coach Dan Quinn, “Brotherhood” is not just a word we toss around, but rather a way of life and something the team strives for every day,” Benzion adds. “Our entire city was able to relate to the traits that the ‘Brotherhood’ representes such as toughness, grit, hard work, and getting back up again and again no matter the circumstance.” 

One unique undertaking for the Falcons’ social team in the last year has been promoting the opening of Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which the Falcons call home. Benzion and company consider themselves fortunate to help tell the venue’s story alongside digital team members dedicated solely to the stadium’s channels.

As Benzion puts it, “Making people fall in love with a place requires a different strategy than falling in love with our team; but it’s not hard to do with the world-class technology, architecture and community connection that our owner, Arthur Blank, has built. During the lead-up to the opening of the stadium, we worked hand in hand with our communications team, dropping monthly time lapses, drone videos, and other stadium ‘firsts’ or reveals that were always incredibly high-performing pieces of content. Any new news on the stadium, fans loved. It was very unique because it allowed us to break out of our usual NFL fan base and reach completely new audiences.”

At the end of the day, Benzion believes that in order to achieve a high ranking digital position in the NFL is to avoid having a one-dimensional skill set.

“My biggest advice to a college student that hopes to be in my position one day would be to be multidimensional. Be great at what you do. Be a master of it and have a variety of skillsets. The more you can do, the harder it is for a potential employer to say ‘no’. If you can do graphics, video, social insights and analytics, photos and write, you are setting yourself up for success.”

(*Team Infographics is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports)

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