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Foursquare and Professional Sports


I’m always amused every four years when some patriotic American exclaims, “Who cares about World Cup soccer…the Superbowl is the highest rated sport on the planet!”

Well, if you do the math…which Americans are not so highly rated at…you’ll understand a full half a billion more people worldwide watch the World Cup final than the Superbowl.  It’s ok Captain America, you didn’t know otherwise.

Regardless, passion about sports is undeniable.  That’s one reason foursquare created a badge opportunity for not only the NBA Finals, but also the World Cup.  Indeed, NYC based foursquare recently spoke at a Forrester Research conference regarding the Boston Celtics and the Bruins.

Granted, the Celtics made it further this year in their respective sport, but the opportunity for fans to identify with a brand online was unprecedented.  Identifying with either of the NBA finalists was as simple as a check in on foursquare with the phrase #go(finalist team) and #NBA.

World Cup check in badges were harder…either you needed to do it at a venue in South Africa, or at an official CNN sponsored watch party in the U.S.  You also needed to follow CNN on foursquare.  For a small market city like SLC, these badges were impossible to get, yet still built brand recognition for those who cared about foursquare and the World Cup.

Right now, badges are a big deal for foursquare.  I don’t see the business future in badges and their founder Dennis Crowley has stated he wants to limit official foursquare badges.  The fact is, a legitimate foursquare check in to a business is much more important than a punch card or a loyalty card.

With the ability to share check ins to multiple social media platforms, foursquare has a multiplier factor as big as any user’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blog audience.  When I check in and share to my entire network, I’m giving a personalized commercial to over 1500 people.

And I don’t have a big network!

Dennis Crowley doesn’t want to create a bunch of badges, but it seems to me an obvious product is a digital loyalty card using his service.  It’s a whole lot easier to manage and reward great customers using foursquare than any other platform.  If you get a free drink, coffee, sandwich, appetizer or entrée from a loyalty program, isn’t foursquare the best platform to share it on?  The answer is yes and Crowley and company need to develop and capitalize on this realization.

Foursquare can spend a lot of time and energy developing badges for professional teams and that will certainly develop a lot of cachet for their brand, but everyday experiences, if properly monetized, can provide a whole lot more for the customer, retailer and foursquare.

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  1. July 20, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Nigel,
    Actually Foursquare didn’t speak at the conference, representatives from the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins did.
    Will be summarizing and linking to this on my blog soon.
    Blog on,
    Janet

    Like

  2. seobyswaby
    July 27, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    This is an email from the Boston Celtics Internet Operations Manager, Peter Stringer –

    Currently, the Celtics are not using Foursquare at all but we’re always exploring new ways to engage our fans. The NBA did some stuff with it during the NBA Finals when we played the Lakers, but we had no direct involvement.

    That said, we’re actively exploring the space and will likely use this type of technology in some capacity this season.

    – Peter

    Like

  1. July 20, 2010 at 11:55 am

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