Written by Matt Pross, Staff Writer at TEQ Magazine of the Pittsburgh Tech Council. Originally published on May 2nd, 2013 by SF6. See original story here.
The Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t exactly shy about leveraging new technology to enhance their fans’ experience. In fact, the team has been a pioneer in the NHL in technology implementation, leading the way in terms of high-tech arena design and mobile app development. Just recently, the Pens launched the PensPoints rewards app, which gives fans the opportunity to win attractive prizes by earning rewards points through their smartphones. In the first three weeks after the Penguins launched the app, it was downloaded more than 30,000 times and garnered more than 100,000 unique fan actions.
Fans can earn PensPoints from game attendance, concession purchases, merchandise purchases, radio broadcasts and PensPoints events. Every 100 points automatically earns fans a free 7UP voucher at a Pens game (you get 25 points for each game attended or 5 points for entering a radio code), 400 points nets a Pens T-shirt and 800 points will get you a Pens hat. There are also “Leaderboard” rewards for monthly leaders and the season leader. For example, the winner in February 2013 earned an expenses-paid trip to a Pens game in Philadelphia. The PensPoints leader at the end of the season will earn a Penguins game-used jersey, a player meet & greet and 2 tickets to a Penguins home game during the 2013-2014 season. Pretty sweet, huh!
Perhaps even cooler than the rewards you can receive through the PensPoints app is the story behind how the app was created. The Penguins worked with LoyalTree to create PensPoints, which is the first totally mobile loyalty rewards platform in professional sports.
“The guys over at LoyalTree are brilliant,” David Peart, Senior Vice President at the Penguins, said. “For about 2 1/2 years we have been trying to create a fan loyalty program, but we struggled to find the right platform. Late last year, we went to LoyalTree and they were able to build us a mobile app from scratch in a few months.
“We wanted to create a loyalty program that first and foremost rewarded our most loyal fans – the season ticket holders,” he continued. “The PensPoints app allows these fans to earn points (and rewards) for merely doing what they do already.
“But, we also wanted to create a scalable program that would allow other fans to participate as well. That’s the most exciting thing about the PensPoints reward program, you don’t have be a season ticket holder to participate and win prizes.”
Brock Bergman, CEO of LoyalTree, was equally excited about the collaboration.
“We have built a very unique product for the sports & entertainment industry, and working with a forward-thinking organization like the Penguins as our first professional team has been a very natural fit for us,” he said. “We have both seen the tremendous value that LoyalTree can bring to their organization (and their fan base), and they have an uncanny ability to think long-term about how to continue to perfect their brand and overall fan experience into the future.
“The Penguins clearly care about their fan base more than just about any organization in sports, and it shows. PensPoints was built to help them solve some very challenging problems that have existed in the industry forever while, at the same time, thanking their fan base for their affinity with the team.”
The outstanding initial success of the PensPoints app isn’t surprising considering the ravenous fan base the Penguins enjoy. The project not only afforded the
LoyalTree team the opportunity to work with one of the most successful professional sports franchises in the country, it allowed them to create a unique piece of technology for their hometown team.
“More than anything, the concept itself is what we get really excited about,” Bergman continued. “We’re fans ourselves, so when we are able to create an experience where fans are being rewarded for everything they do with the team they love, that’s really the fun part. We have some exciting new pieces coming that we both believe will make the product even better moving forward.”