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Dec 19, 2019

Postseason Football Strategies

Cheers to all of our community members who made the postseason Bowls and the FCS Playoffs

It’s fantastic to see so many of our community members participating in the thrill of the postseason! 



The games are exciting to be a part of, but they also present unique challenges for ticket sales. The turnaround time from Selection Sunday to gameday is very quick and games are usually in neutral territory for both teams, requiring additional effort to fill the stadium.


During the busy holiday season, it can be even more challenging to keep your messaging in front of fans.  Providing ticket enhancements, cross-sellling events, including donation opportunities, and running digital marketing campaigns with targeted messaging are some of the innovative ways that teams are engaging with their fans during the postseason to make sure the stadium is full.



Experiential Ticket Enhancements


MississippiState-BowlIncentive.pngFor the Music City Bowl game in Nashville, Mississippi State is enhancing direct ticket purchases by offering future experiential incentives in addition to the game tickets. Fans who purchase bowl tickets are invited to attend a spring 2020 football practice with a post-practice meal with Coach Joe Moorhead, a 50% discount for their Alumni Association Pregame Tailgate and Bulldog Club rewards points.  This helps extend the excitement of the bowl game into the 2020 season keeping fans engaged in the off-season.


With multiple locations to purchase tickets, Mississippi State does a fantastic job of highlighting the benefits of purchasing from the atheltics program by communicating with their fans through emails and social media posts. This adds value to the ticket purchase, helps promote the tailgate event, and sets up an opportunity to re-engage with those fans as the 2020 Football season kicks off.




Cross-Buying and Donations


GeorgiaS-cross.pngGeorgia Southern crafted a custom set up in their purchase process making it easy for fans to quickly purchase two items with prompts cross-selling related items.  They used this during their postseason marketing efforts to promote purchasing tickets for both their bowl game and pre-game tailgate. When either item is added to the cart, a lightbox with the other event pops up asking the fan if they would also like to add it to their cart.  This keeps both items in front of the fan during checkout and simplifies adding them to the cart, streamlining the process for those fans intending to purchase both.


GeorgiaSouthern-Donations.pngGeorgia Southern is also encouraging those who cannot make it to the game to donate tickets through their Wings Program.  The program allows fans to donate tickets that will be distributed to veterans, underserved youth, and other local charitable organizations. Once the tailgate was no longer on sale, they used the same cross-selling functionality to prompt fans to include donation tickets in their order.


This is an easy way to give fans the opportunity to demonstrate their giving spirit and provide an amazing experience to someone who otherwise would not have been able to attend, while also filling the stadium.




Geographic Targeted Messaging


With games taking place all over the country, getting your postseason message to the right fans requires a slightly different strategy. In addition to speaking to your local fans and encouraging them to travel, it’s important to reach fans who live in your game location. 


Illinois has segmented their postseason campaign for the Redbox Bowl to customize their messaging for their local fans plus fans living in the California Bay Area near Levi’s Stadium.  Illinois constructed geo-targeted segments within their digital marketing campaign to create unique messaging for each.  This gives the campaign a more personalized experience for each fan despite using the same visual creative.




Comprehensive Digital Marketing



Virginia Tech’s Belk Bowl campaign cuts through the holiday noise by using a comprehensive digital marketing campaign, keeping their ads in front of their fans until the ticket purchase is completed. Using Google search, retargeting and prospecting display ads, and social media creative reminds fans about the game wherever they are on the internet and streamlines the purchase process when they are ready to buy. 






Attendance Initiatives


JMU-1.pngAs a host and participant for the FCS Semi and Quarterfinals, JMU has a unique opportunity to offer their students and season ticket holders additional perks to help fill their stadium.


Season ticket holders have the option to reserve their seat and enjoy the game from their usual location if they order before the priority deadline. Once the priority deadline has passed, single ticket orders are assigned in order of Duke Club Priority points, rewarding those who have engaged with the program. To support local fans Valley residents are also eligible for discounted tickets through a FEVO partnership. 


jmustudent-email.pngAdditionally, the purchase process provides fans the option to purchase additional tickets that will be donated to local Harrisonburg charitable groups.  This simplifies the donation process by allowing fans to pay for their donation and tickets in a single transaction.


To encourage their students remaining in the area to attend, each student is eligible for a free ticket and can purchase additional guest tickets at a discounted rate.  Additionally, the first 3,000 students at the game will receive a commemorative placard. To provide an even stronger incentive for students to attend, JMU has also created a number of different contesting opportunities including a chance to win free Family Weekend 2020 tickets, an upgraded faculty parking pass for the 2020 Spring Semester, as well as the Grand Prize of having their Spring 2020 tuition waived!  On gameday they will also be hosting a contest to “Get your sign on ESPN” with rewards for students with the top three signs.


JMU has used creative out-of-the-box thinking to encourage fan and student attendance to create a memorable bowl game experience for everyone by filling the stadium with excited fans.  



While there are unique challenges to marketing postseason football, it also provides an opportunity to new try creative strategies to reach your fans.  Including experiential ticket enhancements, relevant discounts, donation opportunities and student incentives to the postseason ticket buying process allows you to add the most value to your ticket, ensuring your fans have a winning experience.



Contact your Client Partner, Ecommerce Operations Specialist, or Digital Marketing Strategist for more information on how to incorporate these best practices into your strategies.