The US is a country that loves to gather around sporting events. Whether that means attending a live game or gathering a group of friends to watch the big game on TV, we love to cheer on our favorite team.
So, it makes sense that creating a successful sporting event that drives brand awareness, enhances consumer engagement, and attracts new clients can be an incredibly valuable experiential marketing tool for your business.
The key to effective sports event planning is to make it memorable. Think of sporting events that people are still talking about today, like their favorite Super Bowl, Cinderella story win, or the recent US Women's Soccer win that captivated the nation.
We’re here with five key ways to perfect sports event planning so you can satisfy both clients and sports enthusiasts alike, giving your audience the best possible fan experience they won’t soon forget!
Level Up Your Food and Beverage Experience
Food and beverage is a huge component of sporting events. While sporting events likely bring to mind images of hot dogs, burgers, and beers, the culinary aspect of your event can be a huge opportunity to do something unique and memorable.
Innovative Group’s mobile experiential marketing assets can help you do just that. For example, DRAFT, IG’s dynamic restaurant aboard a fire truck, was a big part of the University of Notre Dame’s Fan Fest. Event-goers enjoyed more than 1,000 pounds of different meats—all smoked and barbecued atop DRAFT at the stadium. All enhanced with ice cold beer served from DRAFT’s multi-sided 12 beverage tap system.
Doing something out-of-the-box when it comes to food and beverage can give your sporting event a more prestigious and luxurious feel that impresses your top clients and customers. Plus, themed catering experiences or live chef demonstrations mean your guests will be fed and entertained! This knocks out two birds with one stone, and creates shareable moments (such as snapping a pic of some gourmet tailgate food to share to Instagram) that can amplify the reach of your sporting event.
Keep It Comfortable
Most of the tailgates you’ve been to probably involved standing around outside under the hot sun or in the extreme cold. However, this doesn’t have to be the case! Maximizing comfort can go a long way in helping your event stand out from the rest—but how can you create the perfect setting to entertain the most important clients at your sporting event?
Innovative Group’s INSITE mobile hospitality suites are a one-stop-shop for all-inclusive, premium hospitality solutions. Multiple suite options offer all the comforts of home while enhancing your event experience with the best luxury amenities, such as climate-controlled air conditioning or heating, private restrooms, and full service catering and entertainment capabilities.
For example, a luxury hospitality village was built for the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the University of Alabama and Clemson University. The Governor of Alabama, University President, and 500+ guests were able to tailgate in style with eight suites complete with private catering, DJs, and numerous beverage stations. The extra comfort and prestige delighted guests and made the whole experience more pleasant, unique, and memorable.
Provide Additional Entertainment
Your sporting event planning checklist should always include some form of additional entertainment to keep your event-goers engaged. Need some ideas? Live music or celebrity chef demonstrations are always crowd pleasers!
In fact, Innovative Group created and oversaw a post-game concert series featuring top artists such as Pitbull and the Steve Miller Band to drive attendance at Miami Marlins weekend games. With a custom built pop-up stage, fans could come onto the field after Saturday ballgames for an up-close and personal musical experience.
From a culinary and elevated entertainment perspective MAXimus, IG’s mobile culinary activation venue, can host a celebrity chef demonstration for your guests that can reach a sea of event-goers with oversized monitors and a high-powered outdoor speaker system. Mecum is one client who uses MAX to his full extent. At the Mecum Auctions Event, guests were entertained for hours at the “Mecum Midway Stage” activation with full culinary demonstrations, live band entertainment, celebrity chef appearances, and other live entertainment, all shown on Max’s large monitors, along with the auction so event goers could sit and relax and still be part of the action.
For a current and fun trend, you could even incorporate eSports or other interactive games into your sporting event. IG created an interactive PS4 Game Zone at the e MLB All Star game experience so attendees could feel immersed in the fun and play the game of baseball virtually with their friends at the same time.
Make It #Shareable
In today’s smartphone obsessed world, promoting an event on social media is essential for success. So, as part of your sports event planning process, you should consider two things:
- How you will promote the event ahead of time to gain traction and garner excitement amongst your target audience; and
- How you will make your event shareable while it is actually occurring?
Before the event, you’ll want to share engaging content promoting the event to your social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat. This could include an event flyer, short video, gif, etc., and should provide the necessary information about the event (the data, time, and location, etc.) as well as show off why guests would want to attend. Make it fun and easily shareable so people will want to press “retweet” or share it with their social circles on their own pages, further amplifying the reach of your event.
Then, when designing the event space, you’ll want to create strategic places for social interactions that lend to shareable content. Maybe you’ll have a photo booth, or a virtual scavenger hunt that requires posting pictures with a certain hashtag.
Setting a hashtag for the event that is displayed on promotional materials can encourage event-goers to snap pics and post them online. You could even consider creating your own Snapchat filter! Promoting an event through social sharing can be an incredibly powerful way to garner attention and brand awareness—so much so that when IG brought MAXImus to the Mecum Midway auto auction, event photos reached over four million social media users in just one year!
Show off Your Brand
Sporting events create endless opportunities for custom branding and sampling. Therefore, your sporting event planning checklist should include identifying, designing, and creating the types of branded items you’ll have stocked at the event. This may include branded cups, decorations, pens, or sports specific items—such as handing out souvenir golf balls or a box of tees with your logo on it at a golfing event.
For example, when IG was tasked with creating a unique Stella Artois fan experience for the Miami Open tennis tournament, they built a temporary lounge stocked with branded lounge couches, signature pillows, glassware, coasters, and even picnic baskets. The immersive experience was 100% Stella Artois!
These kinds of sports event marketing materials can go a long way in making your event more memorable. Handing out fun souvenirs will delight your guests in the moment, but the value continues long after the event is over as a constant reminder of the fun they had at your sporting event, leading to long-term brand loyalty.
It is almost a guarantee that the next time an attendee of the Miami Open goes to pour a drink in their Stella Artois glass, they’ll be reminded of the personal connection they’ve built with the brand—which makes them more likely to pick up a case of Stella next time they’re at the store.
Innovative Group’s mission is to connect people and brands through rich, innovative, and memorable experiences. They truly believe a well planned and successfully executed sporting event can be a powerful experiential marketing tool.
If you’re looking to increase brand awareness and consumer engagement while driving long-term brand loyalty and revenue, hosting a sporting event could be a smart move.
Ready to learn more about how IG can help you check off every box on your sporting event planning checklist, from original conception, to creating promotional materials, to implementation and event management. Contact their team of Solutionists™ today!