A few weeks ago we caught up with Amy Scheer, Chief Commercial Officer, and Joseph Stetson, VP Marketing & Communications at New York Red Bulls, in advance of his speaker role at the 200 speaker Sports Performance Data & Fan Engagement Summit in San Francisco to talk a little more about how they are building a brand within an ultra-competitive marketplace.
What approaches are NY Red Bulls making to develop an engaging relationship with fans and the wider soccer community to increase brand awareness and value?
Our organization’s mission is to Develop, Engage and Inspire the Soccer Community. That spans across all areas from in-arena experience, touch points with our season ticket holders (“Red Members”), community involvement, youth development, training programs, digital engagement and grassroots.
We have a dedicated staff with a singular focus - build strong organic relationships with our Red Members.
To ensure we are performing at a high level and our Red Members feel they are receiving best in class service, we survey our Red Members annually on how our team is performing and year over year our Member Services team consistently scores in the 90thpercentile.
As for the entire soccer community – our Red Bull Training Programs operates 54 weeks a year and we currently penetrate the majority of the market and push to continue to grow in this area
How is the NY Red Bulls aligning their commercial strategy with creative digital content to develop brand value? Can you share with us any exciting, recent projects or partnerships?
We hired a new Sr. Director of Content and Communications to maximize our engagement levels and focus on growing our reach and frequency via content platforms and aligning with earned media opportunities. We have developed a content strategy that includes key, high engagement content strands that are sellable assets. “All Access” is a behind the scenes look at team training heading into a match. “91st Minute” is a post-game interview content strand that was just recently sold to one of our biggest partners, Yanmar.
With the sports entertainment industry being so ultra-competitive, not to mention the launch of a second MLS team in the New York area - New York City FC - how is your team getting its message through the noise? While much of the league’s overall growth has been organic, what can the Red Bulls do to promote the game further?
Over 10 professional sports team in our market alone, means we have to find a key differentiator and ours is fan experience. JD Power & Associates recently completed their 2nd annual sports fan experience study and for the 2nd year in a row, we were not only the highest rated in our market in NY, but also the highest rated across all the top rated across each market that they surveyed. Key messaging for us is the fan experience.
The Red Bull Arena is the third-largest soccer-specific stadium in the US. How are ever more sophisticated digital suites supplementing fan experiences and adding revenue streams?
- Content, content, content…
- It’s our most effective way to engage with fans and try to reach new ones via compelling storytelling.
- It is also the best “white space” for creating new sellable assets for partner inventory.
- Partners want relevant and direct association between their brand and ours, and brand integration within our content is one of the most effective ways of accomplishing that.
- We are also in the process of developing our team & venue mobile app which will also provide some additional fan experience touch-points and add revenue streams
How are you providing better fan experiences and rewarding loyalty with your season ticket holders?
We have a full time member services team so our Red Members have access all of the time to their dedicated rep and a full team of professionals to ensure their experience is perfect.
We have concession stands that are for our Red Members only
We have an affinity program called “Members+”. Loyalty is rewarded with exclusive gifts, smaller unique events with limited capacity (30) where there is real interaction with players and money can’t buy access
Our San Francisco Sports PDFE summit will be inviting over 100 different sports to share their experiences and work in fan engagement. Has there been any commercial approaches in the sporting world which have particularly impressed you over the last 12 months and why?
We are watching leagues move their content/programming/games to OTT
We are watching the ticket business evolve – mobile tickets, data gathering, secondary market, emergence of Amazon in this space, consolidation of market places but keeping system open for more channels to sell
Finally, what are you hoping to share and who do you hope to network with at our Sports Performance Data and Fan Engagement Summit in San Francisco next January?
We hope people see that MLS has arrived. There is no more top 4 professional sports leagues…there is a top 5.
For more information on the summit visit