Why Location Intelligence Is Essential for the NFL

Why Location Intelligence Is Essential for the NFL

Unless you’ve been on a lengthy mid-summer night’s dream, you probably know what’s coming: FOOTBALL SEASON!  The NFL is the biggest name in sports due to its incredibly strong (and consistent) branding, dominant digital presence and strategic partnerships. But, ultimately, the NFL is a powerhouse because of the fans.

What makes the NFL resonate with their averaged 16MM viewers? In short, they’ve figured out how to excite their existing consumer base and convert non-football fans (even if it involves tank tops and tattoo views of the lovely Adam Levine). They managed to convert people who don’t watch football into watching football!


The Psychology Behind NFL Team Loyalty

Location Intelligence for NFL Fans

The NFL as a brand is also a product of the success of its teams. So why do fans choose their favorite teams? For some, it’s based purely on geographical proximity. We like the team of where we live or where we grew up.

But with only 32 NFL teams in the league, there’s a large population not in close proximity to an NFL team. Yet,  some fans are intensely loyal to teams across the country. The relationship between a fan and a team is complicated and is based on a number of psychological, social, and historical factors. 

With such a diverse range of geography, demographics and ages spanning each team’s loyal fans, it’s important to understand who these fans really are and what keeps them excited.


Loyalty is Critical to Success


To simplify the key drivers of success for NFL teams, it’s fans and revenue. To increase fan engagement, ticket sales, social media activity, and customer acquisition, the marketers of each team need to know their customer! With such a passionate fan base, the marketers behind each NFL team can get an understanding of what drives engagement through social media, but is that driving the dollars? Possibly not, as the 2018 regular season saw average attendance at 67,100, which is the lowest average since 2011.

It’s expensive to market to the masses and the ROI is small. Irrelevant, confusing, and impersonal messaging can deteriorate a brand. The team (the “brand”) MUST resonate with their fans and continue to excite them. Excitement drives attendance, retail sales and sponsorship dollars. And a jam-packed excited stadium (with well-planned amenities) is a GREAT experience.


Perfecting the GREAT Fan Experience with Location Intelligence


Adding Location Intelligence into the strategic data mix helps uncomplicate the factors that drive fan loyalty. Here’s how incorporating mobile location data can help:

1. Deliver a top-notch fan experience

Location intelligence uncovers behavioral insights and data points that helps teams understand (anonymously) what their fans do in and out of the stadium. Some key insights include: foot traffic patterns, dwell times at bars & restaurants, restroom line wait times, parking lot patterns, and retailer visits in-stadium.

Location Intelligence Fan Engagement Seat UpgradeThese insights drive informed operational decisions that improve the fan’s experience and improve the chances of repeat attendance. They also help in-stadium vendors maximize their revenue and cater to fans at the right time in place.

Examples include:

  • Put a pop-up retail shop in a high traffic area.
  • Advertise drink specials at the bar during lulls.
  • Offer order-ahead options for food and beverages.
  • Deliver in-app messaging based on location to drive engagement.
  • Deliver in-app rewards / upgrades to frequent visitors.



2. Lower cost of customer acquisition

Location intelligence also gives a full picture of who their fans are, what they like, where they go, and what they do. These insights are translated into more personalized messaging, more relevant loyalty programs, and better ad-targeting ROI.

Location Intelligence for NFL Stadiums & Fans
Geofenced Mile High Stadium for Fan Engagement

A clear picture of what fans like across geographies helps drive better decisions on brand partnerships, sponsorships and events year-round to stay relevant and top of mind. For example,

Location-based insights show that 30% of Broncos fans visit a sporting goods store the next day.

  • Engage with fans in-store with relevant promos at nearby sporting stores via geofencing.
  • Drive to e-comm site for special fan deals.
  • Offer in-venue retail specials/limited time offers.


3. Increase app retention & sponsorship dollars

Location Intelligence is a critical component of app retention and delivering the optimal in-app experience. Fans expect a consistent cross-channel experience and expect to get the information they want when using the app. Whether it’s a team’s own app, a stadium’s app or a larger conglomerate (like ESPN or NFL Mobile), location intelligence provides a lot more than just knowing where your fans are.

Location Intelligence for App Fan Targeting

For example, knowing if there’s any local, fan-based events coming up. NFL-related app users are of course interested in the game schedules and player updates, but also want relevant info that reflects their interests, such as:

  • Upcoming fan-based events in their area
  • Dates/times of ticket sales
  • Hotel deals for away games
  • Local viewing parties
  • New / limited edition merchandise

Consistent and helpful updates make for a great app experience and encourage repeat usage. More users equals more ad revenue opportunity, which turns into even more app features and functionality! Unlike the outcome of most games, it’s a Win-Win!


Enhance Your Brand with LOCALLY’s Verified NFL Audience Segments


We at LOCALLY love the NFL and strive to provide teams, stadiums and their affiliated brands with the necessary insights that help deliver the best fan experience. As a result, we developed anonymous audience segments of confirmed fans who have visited each of the 32 NFL teams’ stadiums during the season. These segments are available to satisfy a wide range of marketing needs and insights.

Easily activate our audiences in your next digital marketing campaign through any of our marketplace partners, or through the LOCALLY Discover Audience Data & Insights platform. Custom segments available on request. Contact us to get started and see you on the winning side of ROI!

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