Tampa Bay Lightning Utilize RFID Technology to Change Fan Behavior and Improve Fan Experience

Professor Darin White

Posted: November 2, 2014

During a recent visit to the Lightning facility with the Alliance for Sports Business, Steve Yzerman, Vice President & General Manager, told us that the building is now filled with “Tampa Bay Blue” thanks in large part to the RFID chipped jerseys. The Tampa Bay Lightning embedded an RFID chip into the sleeve of jerseys given to all season ticket holders. Fans that wear the jersey to the game get a 25% discount in the club store and on all concessions. The Lightning have seen a huge increase in fans wearing team colors to the games. “Before we started this program our arena was a mixture of colors from all across the world of hockey. Now Tampa Bay Blue dominates the building.”

The Tampa Bay area has a heavy “snowbird” population made up of transplants from colder parts of the U.S. and Canada. Many of these people are lifetime hockey fans of teams from their home cities. Thus, thousands of fans would show up to Tampa Bay games wearing team jerseys from these other teams.

In an effort to create a stronger Tampa Bay Lightning home arena culture team management needed to find a way to motivate fans to wear the Tampa Bay colors. Coupled with other fan experience improvement strategies, the RFID jersey concept has allowed the Lightning to significantly increase season ticket sales in just a few seasons.







About Professor Darin White

Darin White (Ph.D. in marketing, University of Alabama), Professor of Marketing, serves as the Chair, American Marketing Association’s Sports Marketing Academic Society (SIG), the leading international scholarly body charged with expanding the knowledge base of the field of sports marketing. He is founder & coordinator of the Sports Marketing program in the Brock School of Business at Samford University. He is writing a new Sports Marketing textbook for McGraw Hill with Kirk Wakefield of Baylor University which will be released in 2016. You can connect with Darin in the following ways:

Twitter: @Sports_Biz_Prof