In a show of fan appreciation, the San Diego Chargers will give 5,000 Chargers season ticket holders a customized digital gift card in the form of a CD to redeem on the Chargers’ online team store during the upcoming season.
Fans will begin receiving the wallet-size cards in early September in time for the Chargers’ Sept. 17 home opener and have until summer 2007 to redeem them. The card is a mini CD that fits into a computer’s CD ROM drive. Fans will access the card’s offerings by using a provided password that takes them to the Chargers’ Web site where they can apply for a 10% discount for purchases made on the site.
In addition to the merchandise discount, the gift card will deliver a personalized message from San Diego Chargers’ President and CEO Dean Spanos. The card also features a brief collection of video highlights as well as links to different areas of the Chargers’ Web site. The cards are produced by Royal Oak, MI-based imX Solutions, Inc.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to reach customers in a way that has never been done before by an NFL team,” said Jim Steeg, San Diego Chargers’ executive VP and COO in a statement.
The Chargers’ choice of a gift card to reward loyal fans is part of the burgeoning $90 billion gift card industry, said David Farris, director of sales and marketing at imX. “By 2010, that number is projected to reach $500 billion,” Farris said. The industry is growing rapidly primarily due to the flexibility that gift cards offer consumers, he added.
For the Chargers, gift cards may become a novelty item among season ticket holders, Farris said.
The sports team chose gift cards to reward fans because they “are trying to do more with fans online both in terms of strengthening the relationships with them and increasing revenue,” Farris said, “and a digital gift card is a perfect medium for any sports brand to be able to achieve those objectives.”
In a separate development, another San Diego sports franchise is working on building fan loyalty.
Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres have selected Newark, DE-based Smart Button Associates, Inc. to support its loyalty marketing campaign and give Padres management insight into fans’ interests, habits, trends, and buying behavior. The Smart Button initiative works with the team’s existing Compadres Club Rewards program.
As part of the program, kiosks dubbed Compadres Club Rewards Centers were set up throughout Petco Park during the baseball season. Fans earn points by swiping their card at the centers where they get an up-to-the-minute profile that details their purchasing history, rewards points earned, and additional promotions from the Padres. They also receive coupons that offer savings on items around the ballpark. The more fans use these kiosk-issued coupons, the more the Padres learn about their buying patterns and personal preferences. The information is then used to customize offers, rewards, discounts, promotions, and more to each individual fan’s tastes, trends, and interests.