Why the Boston Bruins Became a Media Brand
Professional sports teams have been an enthusiastic user of new media and social channels, but the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins have just taken that up a notch by integrating all of their media channels and content into an integrated program with an analytics package behind it.
From the Boston Globe:“The Boston Bruins are launching an ambitious effort Monday to bundle all of their digital, mobile, and social online assets under one umbrella brand, so the team and its fans will more easily tweet, friend, and pin each other.The new Bruins Digital Entertainment Network will include more than a dozen properties, including the team’s Facebook and Pinterest pages, Twitter accounts, a mobile app, and a YouTube video channel. The team is also planning to use the network to better understand the digital habits of its younger fans, who are heavy users of the Internet and mobile devices, and to develop new marketing and sponsorship initiatives.”
This strategy accomplishes two goals in the search for revenue growth. It allows the Bruins to build a tighter relationship with customers a.k.a. ticket buyers, especially those in younger generations. Building long term customer relationships are critical when you are selling season ticket packages that can run as high as $5-6K per seat. Expensive seats can be easier to sell when you are winning, but more of challenge when not riding high. By building a stronger community, the Bruins are going to recognize a higher lifetime value from their fans.
The media channel strategy allows the Bruins to offer integrated packages to sponsors for a true multi channel, integrated program that delivers real ROI. In the past most non-ticket revenue was raised from merchandise sales and arena signage. There is a cap of how much signage they can sell due to space limitation and it does not provide real return for the buyer. It was always more of an ego/buddy buy than a savvy marketing purchase. Now, the Bruins can offer sponsors a true marketing channel to engage with fans.“This is a recognition that the Bruins are really a media company,’’ said Amy Latimer, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We generate so much original content, on so many channels, that it makes sense to pull it all together.’’Latimer said the goal of the network, in planning for nearly a year, will be “to get our content to our fans, in whatever way they want to get it.’’
It is a matter of time before all pro teams across move in this direction and become media brands. They have valuable content and a built-in audience, now all they need to add are the channels and the integration. It is also important to point out; the Bruins are also monitoring the analytics of their media channel, as this is critical to monitoring the success of the content. Over time the Bruins will lessen their need to depend on paid advertising as they develop their own media channels. And, hopefully insulate ticket sales from losing seasons. The Bruins deserve a lot of credit for innovation and investment at a time when they are selling out every game and their brand is riding high.