So you don’t think attention is on your fan’s phone during your sports games…

I hear this a lot from teams. And it is a bit scary. In fact, I heard this recently from a notable team:

“I think you are overstating the number of times fans are looking at their phones on game day.”

My jaw immediately dropped (it was a phone call so luckily they didn’t see it).

At SQWAD we are all about fit. If there isn’t a fit for our platform, I won’t push. If you really think that and are making organizational decisions based on that thought…our digital assets probably won’t be a good fit.

But I’m also all about helping educate to this shift of attention toward digital in and out of your arena. So I’m hoping this changes some minds.

At SQWAD we try to get out to as many client games as we can.

Why? Well, that is where we learn the most about fans.

As I started to head to these games, I saw one of the purest representations of this shift in visual form. This phenomenon kept happening…so I decided to get the evidence on camera.




I want you to look and notice all the white dots of lights in the stands.

Those are fans on their phones paying attention to something else.

Could some of them be taking videos of what’s happening on the ice? Maybe.

But if you look closely you can see that a lot of them are hunched over looking down.

Each one of those represents a loss of revenue unless you are the one grabbing that attention.

Now, this was taken at an Edmonton Oilers game and as a client, I can say they do amazing things to grab that attention back through the phone with multiple digital activations.

But many teams don’t.

Many teams run sponsorship end of the period, quarter, and half activations that don’t get the attention your sponsor expects.

Why? Well, the phone grabs all of our attention. It is like a magnet.

When brands watch this happen at your games they start second-guessing the value of your assets.

I’ve seen this happen live. I’ve seen a sponsor at a game see this, notice it, and realize the end of the period commercial they were running was almost like pouring money down the drain.

That sponsor the next meeting asked what digital assets we had (this was pre-SQWAD) and when we didn’t have them cut their spend in half.

Where did our brand marketing spend we lost go? Facebook ads.

How do I know?

Brands have straight up told me they are spending less with a team to put more into digital ads because they are working so well.

Whether you agree with it or not, whether you like it or not, if you have the mindset that your traditional assets will keep selling you will as a team lose.

You won’t lose to other teams (well maybe if you have a team in your market offering digital), you will lose to Facebook, Google, and Snapchat ads. Just as Toys R’ Us lost to Amazon and Blockbuster to Netflix.

The hard thing about this is you can gain this insight by simply looking into your crowd during breaks in your game.

You can see it happen live.

There is an easy fix to this…simply add more digital assets to your packages and game day. More ways to pull that interaction back your team and sponsor through the mobile phone.

My grandfather was a sportswriter, and he had a buddy in the ad sales department who had a saying that will resonate to the end of time in advertising: Brand Dollars Follow Fan Eyeballs.

As those eyeballs shift to the phone, our assets must shift as well if we want to survive.

The evidence of that shift is right in front of us and in the photo below. We can’t continue to fight it.


Our goal at SQWAD is to help you take that first step easily into this new era. The image above is the reason we did. Because this is what your sponsors see when they walk into the arena.

The image above is the reason why if you aren’t offering digital assets they move their money. This, on top of the power of those ads, is the reason

“I don’t think fans are on their phones as much as you are saying” is a losing philosophy.



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