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Choice Hotels targets baseball fans with app sponsorship

MLB Advanced Media – the interactive media and Internet arm of the MLB – partnered with game studio PrePlay on the initiative. The app is available for iOS devices and can be downloaded for free from Apple’s App Store.

“Choice Hotels guests are incredibly loyal, tech-savvy and they are on the move – thus relying heavily on mobile technology,” said Christine Lynn, vice president of marketing services at Choice Hotels International, Silver Spring, MD.

“Choice has been on the leading edge of technology in the hotel industry,” she said. “After the Apple iPhone first came on the market, we were the first hotel company to develop a mobile app for our loyal customers. The Choice app has now been downloaded more than 2 million times. Loyalty among baseball fans runs deep, so partnering with the tech-arm of MLB seemed like a natural fit.”


Lucky winners
The Choice Hotels sponsorship of the MLB PrePlay app includes a mention of the brand on the homepage of the app as well as banner ads that run along the bottom of the app.

The copy for the banner ads encourage consumers to click for a chance at winning tickets.

When tapped on, the ad brings up a landing page where users can enter their email address for a chance at winning two tickets to the 2013 World Series.

After entering their email address, users can also tick off boxes to opt-in to email newsletters from the MLB and Choice Hotels.

From there, a landing page is brought up that thanks users for entering. Consumers can then click to exit the screen and continue browsing the app.

Although the sponsorship is simple, it is effective given the app’s content. Consumers browsing through the MLB app are most likely looking for quick information on their favorite teams – therefore a more extensive, interactive ad campaign might not be the most effective method for the company.

Additionally, the Choice Hotels sponsorship is relevant to users, meaning that consumers will be more likely to interact with the advertising since it is contextual to their app experience.

“We want PrePlay users to be able to make predictions from wherever they are — the couch, a sports bar, a stadium, a friend’s house — and the one device you have with you in all those places is your handset,” said Andrew Daines, founder/CEO of PrePlay, New York. “With sports being as social as they are, this ability to move with our user is particularly important.

PrePlay crosses a lot of genres and categories, but the data shows that we are, above all, a TV companion app with more than 85 percent of our users playing while they watch sports on TV,” he said.

The MLBPrePlay app

Bet on mobile
The MLBPrePlay app acts as a complementary app for sports fans to use during live games.

Users can predict the game’s outcome, including the winning team and stats on individual players. Consumers can set their picks up to three days before a game.

Additionally, consumers can also challenge and connect with their friends to match up their forecasts and chat during the game.

The app also includes a standing board of the top players.

Marketers are increasingly using second-screen applications as a way to connect with consumers while they watch TV and most likely have their mobile device in hand.

Sports fans in particularly are often glued to their devices to check other scores and standings while watching TV.

“Our games make sense to marketers, sports properties like MLB and brands because of the duration of engagement between the user and our games,” Mr. Daines said.

“Our games hook a user for upwards of 45 minutes of continuous engagement at a time, so we’re able to do a lot with brand awareness as well as more action-oriented marketing during this long period of time,” he said. “With such a long average user session, we can message a user in a wide variety of ways and that’s appealing to our partners.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York