In the sports industry, it's no secret that best practices and successful ideas are commonly shared or reinvented. It's a best practice to study best practices. Just be mindful of how you implement a best practice from another market into your programming. Think it through, rebrand the element appropriately or modify the idea to speak to your fan base. Installing a best practice can fail without thoughtful planning and strong execution.
Using fan experience giveaways on social media is a highly underutilized form of promoting and driving awareness about an event. The best example of the success and power these giveaways can have is the social media plan we implemented to promote and sellout the University of Washington Alumni Game. An advertising budget didn't exist for the event so we developed a cross-promotional plan with UW to hold contests on Facebook featuring really unique fan experience giveaways. Examples included the opportunity to win a chance to be an honorary ball kid, a dunk contest judge alongside a celebrity panel, sit in courtside tickets and even a chance to compete in the 3 Point Contest! Each contest reached new levels of engagement and added overall awareness. We also saw spikes in ticket sales along the way but the real success shined on game day. Every single remaining ticket sold to walk-up buyers. The UW ticket operations and admissions staff estimated that an additional 2,000 fans were turned away at the ticket sales windows due to Alaska Airlines Arena reaching max capacity. Incorporate some fan experience giveaways in your next marketing plan and test it for yourself.
Always defer to the lyrics or the sound of a song when theming an element of your event presentation. Error on the side of being literal with your theming of song selections. Song titles and band names most likely won't register as quickly - if at all - with fans and the theme will be lost. Be deliberate with your theming by focusing on the lyrics, cueing and overall sound of your selections.
Playing themed music at the appropriate time during events - especially sporting events - can have a major impact of fan experience and developing a home field or court advantage. Providing a first-class audio experience is something we take very seriously at every event we produce and something we stress to every client we consult with. It's nice to find statistics and research that support our way of thinking - even if I'd argue the number seems low.
Including court or field diagrams into the back of your game scripts or rundowns is a fairly common practice for stage managers in professional sports but is seemingly less common at the collegiate level. This simple practice allows stage managers to quickly draw or demonstrate the presentation of elements or contests to contestants in order to properly prepare them for their time on the court of field. Remember, most fans haven't been on the field of play as a contestant or participant before, so the better prepared they are, the better chance of flawless execution.
Pre-game, in-game and post-game mentions are common methods of incorporating an "Item of the Game" in a presentation. Some additional ways to keep the item top-of-mind for potential consumer is to have contestants wear them, use them as prizes for contests, add compelling concourse signage or by having your mascot or performance groups incorporate them into their "on stage" moments.
The key to preventing rough audio transitions is clear preparation of elements and the effect use of countdowns by the game director or producer. It's important these timings are well synched to ensure smooth transitions from one element to another - especially between audio and video elements.