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Harlem Globetrotters’ app lets fans buy role in world tour

The Harlem Globetrotters are leveraging a mobile application during the legendary basketball club’s 2015 World Tour by letting select fans buy a role in an honorary tip-off to start the game and be presented with an official game ball, among other experiences.

Fans also can use their mobile devices to purchase a VIP experience and upgrade seats. The program points to the ability of mobile, with its immediacy and reach, to drive fan support and boost sales in sporting events.

“Mobile is playing a significant role for sports fans on game day,” said Ben Ackerman, president of Experience, an Atlanta-based fan experience technology company, which developed the app. “This is true for professional and collegiate sports including football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and the list goes on.

“Mobile is a necessary offering for today’s fan and one that extends well beyond static information viewing,” he said. “Fans want to interact with their device to create the best event experience possible.”

Basketball artistry
The Globetrotters, founded in 1926 and a unit of Herschend Family Entertainment, have entertained hundreds of millions of fans in 122 countries, including popes, kings, queens, and presidents.

Their ball-handling wizardry will be on display during the world tour, sponsored by World Vision, Greyhound Lines and Baden Sports.

Globetrotters promotion.

When a Globetrotters’ fan goes to hg.expapp.com, he or she selects the Globetrotters game of choice, and enters his or her name, email and mobile phone number. The user can then view the experiences and upgrades offered for that particular Globetrotters game.

Once the experience or upgrade is selected, the fan pays for the opportunity and can redeem it easily with a mobile device.

Purchasing a spot in the post-game ceremony at center court entitles the fan to receive a basketball used during the game, an exclusive full-team photo opportunity and access to an autograph session to get up close and personal with favorite Globetrotters players.

Every game, a limited number of fans can sit shoulder-to-shoulder with players on the Globetrotters bench.

Connecting with fans is the most important part of a Globetrotters game. With the Experience app, the club can have an impact on more fans and offer the opportunity to create a personal memory with its highly skilled players.

Ticketed fans will be notified through dedicated emails prior to games.  In-venue signs and announcements will let fans know about the service and how they can take advantage of the offerings.

Live events
Experience, which works with more than 200 live event properties throughout North America and Europe, has handled seat upgrades for MLB.com, the online home of Major League Baseball, and the National Football League (NFL.com). It also is the preferred partner for Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster.

Experience app.

“Today, more fans are connected and have their device with them everywhere – especially at fun, unique events like a Globetrotters game,” Mr. Ackerman said. “With their mobile device in hand, it makes sense to offer fans access to unique in-venue experiences via mobile.

“A fan’s preferences can change based on the event itself, the weather, the time of the event, the venue and with whom they are attending,” he said. “Experience provides fans with a fast, simple and easy way to completely personalize each and every game.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York