Thanks to Lenny Goh, Director of Business Development for Tradable Bits for sharing his experiences and insights in the sports industry.
If you missed the conversations on the #ama channel, you can read the transcription here including the followup questions from other members.
Q. seancallanan: I’ll get the ball rolling can you give everyone a quick history lesson about Tradable Bits and how the platform has evolved over the past few years?
A. lennygoh: Thanks for having me Sean. Always good to chat with all my Sportsbiz friends here at Sports Geek Nation.
So where do I start?
Tradable Bits is a fan data platform built specifically for the Sports/Music/Entertainment industry. Our mission is to help our partners build better fan experiences by truly knowing who their fans are so they can market smarter.
How do we do this?
We built tools for that major departments in a sports team (sponsorship, marketing, sales and data/crm) could use to centralize their fan data in one place. Marketing teams can then create the necessary automation to market to the right fans in real-time with more personalized messaging and creative.
Who do we work with?
In Sports: Major teams across the NBA, NHL, NFL, College and international groups like the International Ice Hockey Federation.
In Music: We are a global partner with Live Nation and work with many of the major music festivals across the US and around the world like Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Voodoo Festival.
So with that, I’ll end my long answer with a video you can watch:
Q. Johannes Wohlert: Hi Lenny, I have a bunch of questions… Do you work with clients that send offers on game day to fans? What type of offers or information tend to be appreciated and what type of information/offers should one be really be thinking twice about sending? What communication channels are most efficient for your clients, for example would you recommend all sports teams to develop their own app to communicate with fans? Will desktop websites even be relevant in the future?
A. lennygoh: Hi Johannes, I think this is very dependant on the team’s strategy.
I would take a step back and say always think twice about what you send to your fan and in what context it is being sent in. Does the offer or message provide any value to the fan. If so, than proceed to step 2. Which fans will actually find this offer useful.
It’s important to define your audience in context first, so you can deliver the right message with the right creative and tone that’s useful for the fan. Hyper-targeted messaging will always work better rather than a wide spread blast.
So, if you know which fan entered a sponsored sweepstakes (let’s say by KIA for example) and are able to understand WHO of those fans also have tickets for the upcoming game, it will be valuable for the fan to receive a message to say “come early to the game, in partnership with KIA we are giving away limited amount of special toques at select gates today”. That will be powerful and of value to that fan.
A cool thing the Trail Blazers do is create a limited edition t-shirt that they sell at the team store. If you have bluetooth on and have the app, when you’re in the arena you will get a notification as you walk by to tell you about the limited edition merch and to come check out the design.
Sophistication behind how you track redemptions to offers will also matter in determining what type of offer and messaging works.
We try to provide the ease of being able to segment these sets of audiences so you can choose HOW to communicate with them when a message has relevancy.
Apps are a different animal, they can be a necessary evil for driving mobile ticketing etc. but it can be a big and expensive undertaking. I’m a fan of using mobile web or a chatbot to deliver a lightweight experience for the fan.
I’m sure desktop websites will have visits, but I’d always recommend to design mobile first.
I hope that answers your questions!
Johannes Wohlert: Thanks Lenny, it did. It's super interesting, using it as an sponsor activation like in your example but also on a more integrated level as a part of building the relationship with fans. I guess how you segment the fans differs too. This seems to add the possibility to segment them according to their behavior instead of just demographics.
lennygoh: Exactly. The behaviour element is key because it’s contextual. If we know things that spark fan passion like your fav player not only can we deliver messages tied to merch but it feeds intelligence on the type of content to create for fans in the future. Perhaps a day in the life video etc.
Q. Rish: Hello Lenny,
I’m actually submitting a first draft for my Chapter which is about the Sports Fan of the Future! Great that your company is actually doing some of that stuff already.
My dual-question is (1) what broad areas do you see opening up in the sports business that could grow rapidly (I.e. along with VR and A.I)
And (2) what ‘niche problems’ do you think sports organizations are still facing or how can this be discovered – for entrepreneurs who wish to enter the arena?
A. lennygoh: @Rish so much to cover! Thanks for your questions.
1. There’s so much opportunity in terms of tech. On the sports business end, VR is a bit cumbersome, but it can help to create that immersive emotional experience. I think it’s great for luxury sales of courtside seats or premium experiences. I remember reading about the Sacramento Kings doing this.
Mixed reality will be a bigger player as you open up a whole new way to engage fans and bring new inventory to sell for sponsorship assets as well.
The other major driver on the NA side of sportsbiz will be legalized gambling. Engagement on games will be on the rise as you can now legally bet outside of Nevada. Whether you have a $1 or $500 riding on a game, you’re that much more invested, so I see a lot of opportunities to gamify the experience live with prop bets and other things of the sort. This has also lead to the rise of live data in the sports (like NHL) which will be used by coaches but also as new avenues for gambling.
If you’re interested to see more interesting takes on the future of digital in sport check out Jess Smith’s blog too. She’s the queen of #SMSports but has same great takes here too: http://socialnsport.com/things-to-consider-in-digital-sport-in-2019/
2. Niche problems – I think every league has their own problems in some way or another. Restrictions they have based on rights etc. So I think it’s better to build a relationship with the people that are living it day-to-day and pick their brain. Find out what drives them insane, and what would make their life easier. That’s the key to finding that solution. Ultimately a lot of features we’ve developed have come via this route working with our partners and having a better understanding of their business!
Thanks for your questions and keep them coming!
Rish: Thanks Lenny – real, clear, practical advice!
Q. joliegee: Hi @lennygoh can you give us the top three TB projects you like most and why
A. lennygoh: Wow. So many to choose from…
It’s tough to pick 3.
Years of working with our partners at the Portland Trail Blazers – we’ve done a lot to get their fans into a Fan-CRM. They’ve been a pioneer helping us to understand what is useful and how we can become a hub to route their fan activity. Over the years we’ve grown to handle all their digital campaigns for sponsorship, creating AR filters to display on jumbotron (See video below), integrating with their mobile app, and also creating their wifi captive portal to capture users at their venue via FB or Spotify!
MLSE projects. There’s been a lot too! Raptors Hit or Miss is one of the latest. A new custom solution we rolled out with the Toronto Raptors in their mobile app for a sponsorship activation with the Ontario lottery. Fans choose on game day how many free-throws they think the Raptors will make and how many the opponent will miss. We even were able to sync this up with a stats feed to automate this process (See video below). Aside from powering turn key digital campaigns we’ve been their custom shop that helps to deliver on their sponsors needs. They’re pushing the envelope and always giving us new opportunities to innovate.
Our work in the music industry. It’s actually our biggest category for Tradable Bits. We work with some of the largest music festivals in North America to capture their fan data, understand artist affinity (related to Spotify) incorporate ticketing and driving ticket sales thru personalized social ads with best in class ROI. It’s the big reason we’ve been able to evolve and innovate our product, and the features that have crossed over into sports & entertainment.
*There’s lots I could choose from as I enjoy working with all our partners. This next year will have a lot of exciting new projects as well.
Thanks for the great question @joliegee!
Thanks also to all who participated in the discussions and asked their questions. Watch out for the next Sports Geek Nation AMA.