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Author Topic: Building A Fan Base  (Read 17217 times)
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Chris
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« on: December 07, 2011, 01:19:37 AM »

I was just wondering if Josh or any of the team owners or players wanted to elaborate on their plans for building a fan base? Obviously this venture will only be viable if the fans are interested. Also what are the team owners expectations and hopes in terms of attendance?
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2011, 02:54:36 PM »

There certainly isn't one standard answer, as there are endless possibilities of getting people interested to check out a game.  Number one on our list is trying to engage the Ultimate community where we can - these are the people that love and understand the sport and will be the ones most willing to support it.  Getting our players, coaches, fans, etc. to discuss the AUDL in their circles is huge and we hope the social media aspect will be a big driver in building that fanbase. 

When it comes to the general public, working with youth camps or leagues, schools, universities, charities, sponsors, media outlets, etc. is a big part of this - as well as hitting the streets and educating folks about the sport overall.  There is a lot of different ways each team is going about this, but we feel that an all-encompassing approach will be key to getting fans in the seats and growing a fanbase.  Open forum to posters on this site - if you had a team, what would you do to get fans to come out for a game?  We love feedback and ideas!
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AlleyCat
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2011, 03:08:48 PM »

We always want to hear your ideas. Even if we thought of it just hearing it reinforces that it was a good idea, so post away. In Indy we will have a season ticket campaign that includes traditional methods with ads (billboard, newspaper, radio). We will get some media coverage and use that as a promotion too. Internet ads craigs list, facebook, ect.. Public appearances with players such as meet and greets, ticket sales barnstorm (locally). School clinics with players, and sponsorship of the high school club tournament. Company outings there are marketing firms that set these up, as well as direct email and mail campaigns. Interestingly a friend of mine actually owns a successful business that goes business to business as well as door to door and including another product on the routes would be simple. Just a few of the obvious, but would love to hear more.
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Chris
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2011, 07:57:16 PM »

Getting our players, coaches, fans, etc. to discuss the AUDL in their circles is huge and we hope the social media aspect will be a big driver in building that fanbase. 
Totally agree that this is a great marketing option at this point, because it's cheap, easy and pretty organic.

That said, to help facilitate this I'd be trying to get all the established independent ultimate hubs to do a write up on the new AUDL and at the end of everything that is published I'd ask people to spread the word, whether that be through liking the league/teams via facebook or email friends, etc etc. Just have something like "If you like the look of the AUDL like them on Facebook (with the link) to help spread the word".

People don't mind helping out with spreading the word, you just gotta tell them how to help and then make it easy for them to help.

Ultitalk put up a list of popular Ultimate resources on its homepage:

 BlockStack.Tv
 ffindr!
 IC Ultimate
 InjuryTimeout.Org
 PlayUltimate.Blog
 PlayUltimate Media
 RSD Newsgroup
 The Huddle
 The Ultimate Skills & Drills
 The UltiVerse
 UltimateFrisbee.Com
 Ultimate Handbook
 UltimateTalk.Com
 Ultipedia
 UltiTalk.Com
 UltiTraining.Com
 UltiVillage.Com  upYouthUltimate.Com

I'd be contacting all of these and requesting that they do a write up and I'd also offer to be interviewed for information for their articles.

I'm assuming you both saw the Skyd Magazine write which I thought was great, the more information and video/images about the league the better - and that stuff really starts a buzz going (just look at the comments or responses on RSD). So I'd be drip feeding that sort of stuff out at least on a weekly basis, if not more often, but I'd make sure that at the end of everything published online you got a line telling people how they can help, ie facebook likes, emailing friends, buying season tickets, etc.

Text articles are good, but audio, photos and video are even better. It's easier for people to consume.

I don't know if you guys are already pursuing him, but I'd be having a chat with Brodie Smith at least to get him to have a chat with you guys about the AUDL so that he can make it into a video and post it up onto his youtube channels. I think a lot of people in the ultimate community are very interested in his thoughts on the league, and what teams he's considering trying out for, and it would be a good way of getting more people talking about it and would just be a massive endorsement for the league in general - but still once again make sure you get the plug for the AUDL facebook page and website, etc.

I'd actually be taking the opportunity to announce any big player interest in/joining the league because I think this is one of the biggest reservations lots of people have and there is nothing like social proof to get more people interested.

On the topic of the AUDL website I'd be cleaning that up a little (ie making information easier to find) and bulking it up with more news and information so that people that read one article (like the press release) that links to your site at least when they get there they are going to be able to get lots more information.

I know it's not a top priority, but I have spoken with a few ultimate players about the league and they go away check out the website (given that that is the logical place to start looking for  information) and they often come back to me saying there wasn't too much on the website and that it was difficult to find information on the website, and I just think that there are so many people that are sceptical about whether this league is going to go the distance that you want to be doing what you can to get people as much information as possible so that they can be confident about the league when they are talking about it with their friends rather than speculating on what might be wrong with the league.

I know that that vast majority of the information I have collected about the league so far has been from emails I have bounce with you guys, other team owners and players trying out for teams that have more information than the general public.

So I think it's great that you guys are now out on the forums and facebook posting the same information you mentioned to me in emails… because I know a lot people are asking the same questions. I'd almost be posting the replies I'd written to every email I got somewhere online rather than responding to the same individual emails and because I imagine there are a lot of people out there that desperately want the information but for whatever reason don't think they should email team owners or other players.

Plus once the league has created enough buzz within the ultimate community itself a larger more mainstream audience may become interested at which point you want there to be a central repository of information that caters to their needs.

Quote
When it comes to the general public, working with youth camps or leagues, schools, universities, charities, sponsors, media outlets, etc. is a big part of this - as well as hitting the streets and educating folks about the sport overall.  There is a lot of different ways each team is going about this, but we feel that an all-encompassing approach will be key to getting fans in the seats and growing a fan base.  Open forum to posters on this site - if you had a team, what would you do to get fans to come out for a game?  We love feedback and ideas!
Yeah I'd be getting the guys on the squads to head out to as many as schools/colleges as possible to teach kids/students of all ages how to play, and I'd be giving away tons of freebies like opening game tickets, frisbees, jerseys etc, and encouraging them to like the league/team on facebook and helping to spread the word.

I'd be doing anything I could to get as many people as possible to that first home game, to create an awesome atmosphere - you might run a promo of kids are free for the first game just to get the parents to come along. I'd be having competitions to win free stuff if you liked the team or league via facebook etc, ie saying that everyone that likes the league or team on facebook goes into a draw for season passes, frisbees,  jerseys, etc… stuff like that. I think these sorts of things would be great to promote at games themselves as well (especially the first game).
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Tenk283
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2011, 07:55:19 PM »

Chris, you seem to have jumped on this AUDL band wagon and i'm not sure why... I've sent you a PM about another possible opportunity.
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Chris
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 10:13:26 PM »

Chris, you seem to have jumped on this AUDL band wagon and i'm not sure why...
I can't get my head around why more ultimate players aren't getting behind it.

We have next to nothing to lose as ultimate players from supporting the venture. This is what the sport needs to go to the next level.

A lot of elite level ultimate players spend hundreds of hours a year playing or organising ultimate and spend thousands of dollars a year to play at the highest levels.

If there is an opportunity to compensate or even pay elite players and organisers then anyone with a genuine interest in seeing the sport grow should get behind it. There is no downside for the majority of ultimate players, we carry no risk in this venture, it's all being borne by the team owners and league owner.

At this stage none of the team owners are asking anything of the ultimate community other than to be supportive and help spread the word (which costs nothing) yet it pains me to see a community that prides itself on being so inclusive and accepting generally being so negative towards the idea just because it's not perfect...

Even if this league doesn't pan out, it will have drummed up a lot of media interest, exposed ultimate to more potential players, helped create more legitimacy and hopefully encourage a lot of new players to join. Every decision that is being made by the AUDL is reversible, so what do we really have to fear...

People that don't get behind it either have an irrational fear of change, like playing devil's advocate or at worst are just haters...

That's why I support it. It's that simple.
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Chris
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 03:02:48 AM »

On the topic of building the AUDL fan base I just thought I'd share the results of something that I tried recently.

So it was briefly mentioned in one of the comments on the AUDL Facebook page that an expansion map had been published on the AUDL site. I thought this was really interesting just in itself, but when I had a look at the map it said that another 5 teams had already been bought by team owners and would be playing in the 2013 and 2014 seasons!

To me that is BIG news! The ultimate community want to know about this sort of thing - especially given that many have been critical of the cities that had been chosen thus far!

This is the sort of news that I would have created a press release for and sent out there to drum up some buzz (sure it's not earth shattering, but lots of ultimate players want to read about this sort of stuff). Then I would have definitely posted something on AUDL facebook page, written something up for the AUDL website, and would have made sure that it was announced on big ultimate hubs like RSD and potentially tried to get other ultimate resources (as mentioned in previous posts) talking about it.

Of course at the end of all of these articles I would have had a statement to the effect of - "like the AUDL on their facebook page - link" to make sure people subscribed to the AUDL facebook feed.

Anyway because it seemed that there was going to be no official announcement I thought I'd throw it up on RSD to see how it went:

http://www.rsdnospam.com/index.php?t=msg&th=36832&start=0&

In just over 24 hours it has received over 1000 views so far and I'm quietly confident it help you get about another 50 likes on your facebook page. The only reason I say "I'm pretty confident" is because you had about 630 likes 24 hours ago, but about 6 hours ago brodie smith posted a video on youtube asking his fans to like the AUDL facebook page, at which point you had about 685 likes and it pretty quickly jumped up to 715.

So I imagine the brodie comment has probably netted you guys another 25 - 30 likes (so far) and the post on RSD probably picked you up 45 - 55 likes (so far) in the space of 24 hours.

So the moral of the story is that EVERYTHING newsworthy needs to be promoted.

Each item can generate quite a bit of interest within the community which can get your more likes on your facebook page which gives each future piece of news greater opportunity to be spread and for more people to become more aware of and excited by the league.

So what's newsworthy - pretty much everything, marquee player signings, roster announcements, new team franchise owners, AUDL plans, sponsorship deals, partnership deals, everything - all news worthy.

Any team news like signing a marquee players or a roster announcement I'd be writing up a press release and once again making sure that at the bottom I had a statement telling people to like the team on facebook if they liked the latest announcement. You got to get people to subscribe to those facebook feeds so that you can keep in contact with them and distribute fresh news and keep their attention.

Same goes for any league news - I think it's freaking awesome that the AUDL has signed another 5 teams owners. Why weren't press releases written about this?

Nothing sells like success, and other people seeing that the league is getting liked will get more people to like it, which will then grab the attention of the people we really want to be interested - TV networks.

So why don't these things get mentioned on public forums like RSB and ultitalk?

It doesn't take long to make sure these things happen and I don't know what you guys are valuing a facebook likes at, but I'd be valuing them at anywhere from $5 - $25 as brand evangelists depending on how conservative you want to be, but even at $5 a like, if a piece of news can net you 10 likes that's $50 worth of brand evangelism over the space of a season and that justifies making sure a press release and a facebook announcement get sent out...

What do you guys think?
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 07:28:54 AM »

Facebook is critical and it is amazing. Someone recently told me it was dead and twitter was the future, but as newer ideas and technology progress I would'nt dig facebook it's grave yet. I went from someone who always said "I will be the last one on facebook" to a huge promoter of it through the AUDL experience. When I got involved with the AUDL I knew I would have to use it and from the day I  got serious about doing so the AlleyCats likes went from 150ish to 300ish (now I understand we got miles to go). It is direct marketing at little to no cost and powerfully so. It can be a game changer for a lot of things.

Why more players don't get behind the AUDL is a question we all ask, but the answer is still relatively simple. One people simply in general don't like change, while others have an honest and genuine concern for how the sport is presented to the public (which is understandable and noble). Others I believe we usually call "Haters" just are who they are. The great thing about America is we're all allowed to be who we wish to be and I embrace that! I suggest that when you look at complaints about the AUDL if you look hard enough you'll see the motive regardless of the sugar coated wrappings it comes in.

We in Indy will embrace the journey over the smooth road and rough and enjoy the trip the good, the bad, the ugly with warts and all. Nothing is perfect from the get go just look at history of the most successful sports leagues as opposed to the flops baby steps work better.

Here in Indy we have been greeted with open arms and have had such a great expereince with people wanting to this for us or that. Complete strangers offering help and support and not just a few bunches. No matter what someone on RSD or any forum may say negative , about the AlleyCats, the AUDL or me the personal experiences I had with the "Ultimate community" leave me with a tremendously positive attitude and opinion of them. Now it actually becomes US as I am fortunate enough to now be part of this.
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Tenk283
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2011, 04:36:06 PM »

Chris, you seem to have jumped on this AUDL band wagon and i'm not sure why...
I can't get my head around why more ultimate players aren't getting behind it.

We have next to nothing to lose as ultimate players from supporting the venture.

Referees are the reason why most ultimate players aren't getting behind this.

All the other rule changes people could have accepted. Wider field, stall count, sure thats all fine. By introducing Referees, not observers, they have fundamentally changed the game for the worse.

They should have kept observers and kept ultimate what it fundamentally is: a sport that lets you make plays. As soon as you introduce refs, you introduce professional fouls.
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Chris
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2011, 07:05:51 PM »

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Referees are the reason why most ultimate players aren't getting behind this.

All the other rule changes people could have accepted. Wider field, stall count, sure thats all fine. By introducing Referees, not observers, they have fundamentally changed the game for the worse.

They should have kept observers and kept ultimate what it fundamentally is: a sport that lets you make plays. As soon as you introduce refs, you introduce professional fouls.
I agree - it is a bit of s shame, but it's not the end of the world.

I think my bigger fear is that if you are going to introduce referees then you need to have enough referees to be able to monitor the whole game to stop professional fouls and at this stage I don't think they have enough referees. There will be too much happening on the field for just two referees to catch the majority of things (my biggest concern is their failure to be able to call picks and defensive players fouling cutters because they are not being watched).

Like in NFL they have seven referees despite the fact only 11 players are on each team because there is so much going on. Ultimate is quite similar and I'd think you'd need at least 4 referees to do a decent job of monitoring all players.

I'm actually hoping that the AUDL decides to leave some of the calls up to the players to both reduce the number of required referees and to keep players honest and responsible for playing a high spirited game.
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« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 04:15:16 PM »

I also agree that introducing refs has changed the game. But in order for Ultimate to get more exposure and more interest a professional league is one of the best ways to go about doing that, and there's no way they could have a professional league without refs. Also while spirit of the game is a crucial aspect, no matter what you will always get people who will not abide by "spirit" when the game is on the line. Having refs hopefully will eliminate that possibility and should increase the sports legitimacy to those that have never really been introduced to ultimate, and are only used to sports like basketball and football.
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2012, 04:20:31 AM »

I also agree that introducing refs has changed the game. But in order for Ultimate to get more exposure and more interest a professional league is one of the best ways to go about doing that, and there's no way they could have a professional league without refs. Also while spirit of the game is a crucial aspect, no matter what you will always get people who will not abide by "spirit" when the game is on the line.
Having played at the highest level of the sport and having both won and lost my fair share of double game point games. The vast majority of the time, an active referee isn't needed.

Quote
Having refs hopefully will eliminate that possibility and should increase the sports legitimacy to those that have never really been introduced to ultimate, and are only used to sports like basketball and football.
Having refs will just create a "different sort" of problem. I wouldn't be putting much faith in refs "fixing" the sport or increasing its "legitimacy".

The sports "legitimacy" will be determined only by the number of people playing and watching it.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 04:22:45 AM by Chris » Logged

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