Getting Creative: 2020 Virtual Campaigns
Despite the restrictions on fan attendance and season tickets sales for the current collegiate athletic season, we must remain committed to supporting our partners as they strive to maintain their relationships with their boosters, fan bases and student-athletes. Given the restrictions on attendance numbers, our partners and sales teams across the country are creatively designing new experiences for their fan bases. Not only do these unique events allow fan bases to stay engaged, they help with offsetting the financial losses of the 2020 Football season. Our partners at Colorado and Virginia Tech have effectively created Virtual Homecoming/Sellout Campaigns during the past month. With these measures, our sales teams have continued to support our University partners in their efforts to provide for their student-athletes on and off the field while catering to their fan bases and markets.
Virginia Tech Athletics launched its Virtual Sellout campaign roughly two weeks ago. The campaign, in partnership with corporate sponsor Coca-Cola, offers fans the opportunity to purchase a virtual seat, row or section in Lane Stadium. Fans that make a purchase are offered an array of exclusive prizes and opportunities if they choose to purchase a ticket, row or section.
Virginia Tech is already seeing an incredible amount of support from Hokies fans, as they have sold 5,010 tickets for $64,215 to date. Interestingly enough, many of the Virtual Sellout customers are new to the database. This will allow for increased support and an expanded Hokie fan base as we move into the future.
We caught up with the Hokies Associate AD for Marketing and Fan Development, Lauren BeLisle, to find out more about the initiative and provide you with some additional details.
What is your initial reaction to the sales results of the Virtual Sellout thus far?
- “Overall, we’re pleased with the response from Hokie fans. After right around a week of being on sale, we’re nearing 5,000 tickets sold (as of 10/2), have cleared our anticipated expenses, and are thrilled with the way our fanbase has bought into this initiative.”
How do you imagine building off of this campaign in the future?
- “Well, now that we know it’s possible to sell tickets to a fictitious event, we certainly will look to do similar initiatives as appropriate. Someone on our staff has already asked if we’ll do this for basketball too. There are lots of possibilities out there, and if it provides some revenue in these crazy times, a partner opportunity for our multimedia rights team, and yet another way to engage with fans from a distance – we’re all for it.”
Why did you think this was something that was important to initiate?
- “We have initiated a number of different “products” in the last several months, and will continue to do so. This particular initiative was one that stood out due to the simplicity of the concept and the potential revenue. We’re always looking for different price points to offer, as we know each fan is different in what they’re capable of doing, and we know our fanbase loves seeing Lane Stadium sold out for football games. It was a no-brainer to do it, and the teamwork leading up to the launch and since it has been launched has further proven that the idea was worth doing. We’re all in on it, and can’t wait to have yet another sold-out Lane Stadium!”
If you ran this campaign again, is there anything you would do differently?
- “I would look at offering more “ticket” options and price points. After seeing a few other universities launch something similar, I would think a 4-pack or something in between the section and the stadium offering might have provided additional opportunities. We may look to do some packages and flash sales down the line when we feel it’s time to put some more momentum behind the effort.”
On top of this, the Hokies continue to run their Keep Jumping Fund, an effort to collect donations and save fans’ 2020 football deposits.
The Colorado Buffaloes launched their Virtual Homecoming initiative last month. Similar to Virginia Tech’s virtual campaign, the event is sponsored by Safeway, a corporate sponsor. Fans have a chance at exclusive Buffs items when purchasing a ticket to the virtual event, depending on the type of ticket they choose. Among these prizes are a Virtual Homecoming t-shirt and commemorative 2020 Homecoming ticket. The Buffs have a similar goal to the Hokies, as they hope to sell out Folsom Field for this event. To date, our partners at Colorado have brought in over $15,000 from this initiative. The team at Colorado continues to market this opportunity to its fan base through digital ads, touch points and social media.