Working in sports is interesting, because—as we affectionately say around our offices—we are marketing a product that we have absolutely no control over. This is a blessing and a curse. But it’s always exciting to see what storylines we can promote, no matter the basketball team’s record.
Some fans may not realize that the Hawks' social business has a revenue-generating side. The social media team is responsible for more than creating viral content and using the latest memes or pop culture references.
One of our most successful initiatives happened around a well-known American holiday: Black Friday. In November 2018, we advertised a slate of games against high-profile teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trailblazers, Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers. The idea was to publicize exclusive Black Friday “doorbuster” prices that made it more fan-friendly to attend a game against some of the NBA’s premier teams.
To accomplish this initiative, there needed to be collaboration between marketing, creative design, video production, advertising, brand communications and ticket operations. The first thing we needed to do was choose desirable games. We latched on to teams with winning records. Second, we needed to work with ticket operations to set aside inventory for those games in upper- and lower-bowl sections. Our plan was to sell 100-level seats for $49 and 200-level seats for $9.
Nic Bell will take attendees even further behind the scenes of the Hawks' social team as part of The Social Shake-Up, May 6-8 in Atlanta.
Throughout November, we used organic and paid social media and press releases to get out the word about our sale. Each week, we teased a different game that was added to the slate. The idea was to have two three-hour sessions for ticket sales: 9 p.m. to midnight on Thanksgiving and 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Black Friday.
We worked closely with the ticket operations team to have ticket reps on-call at those times to help fans navigate the sale. Social media coordinators acted as the initial contact for customer service. They served two functions: placating buyers who were having trouble finding tickets, and relaying word around minor glitches to our ticketing team.
We had a very successful rollout and an even better turnout. We quickly sold through our allotment, to the point where we added inventory and even had to extend the sale on Black Friday another two hours, until noon. The real proof of success showed when it came time for the games. Attendance was abundant and the fans were loud. Go Hawks!
Connect with Nic: @ATLHawks