Super Bowl 50 activations

Author Brye Payton, University of San Francisco

Posted: April 29, 2016

Tagged: fan motives

When it comes to major sporting events such as Super Bowl 50 Fan Fest, sport marketers and NFL corporate sponsors are looking at how they can engage sporting event consumers with elements that motivates sport consumers to attend such events to create an overall fan experience. With sport consumers, there are multiple factors being consider on how to make a once in a lifetime fan experience, increasing merchandising revenue, attendance, attitudes, and how to motivate sport consumers to keep their loyalty to such events and brands.

Major sporting events rely on merchandise revenue because the revenue plays a crucial part of an organization or team since it creates an overall fan experience and can increase the involvement of fan participation (Pons, Giroux, & Mourali, 2014, p. 22). According to Chris Weil, CEO at Momentum Worldwide, “If you keep the consumer experience in mind and bring them closer to the game, the brand’s a hero” (Lefton, 2016, p. 8). That being said, increasing fan participation increases the motive for organizations or teams to increase fan experience which increases gate revenue, TV/radio rights, sponsorships, advertising, etc. (Pons et al., 2014, p.22).

Super Bowl City fan fest was a week-long event where organizations such as Verizon, Bud Light, Pepsi, etc. had created activations and promotions to motivate sport consumers to attend their events. Motivational factors are to influence event attendance and to provide sport consumers, in Verizon’s case, a chance to win Super Bowl tickets and bill discounts towards Verizon customers (Lefton, 2016, p. 8). Using motivational factors is a strong marketing strategy to allow Verizon to identify non-Verizon consumers and allow them a chance to see what they offer and persuade them through activation to switch wireless companies.

The Sport Fan Motivation Scale (SFMS) measures the motives of fans and explains specific factors such as group affiliation that allows sport consumers at major sporting events to affiliate with different social groups such as friends, colleagues, and supporter groups (Pons, Giroux, & Mourali, 2014, p. 26). Verizon and Bud Light were able to use this scale to their advantage so consumers are able to be a part of a network and purchase their products if offered.

Verizon offered #Minute50 text-to-win sweeps that offered tickets and discounts and along with their “better matters” networking campaign and Go90 mobile video network that rewarded customer loyalty and leveraged Verizon’s relationship with them and the NFL (Lefton, 2016, p.8). Consumers rely on technology regardless of the event they are attending and so Verizon used their “Access Zone” to shape attitudes, impressions, and opinions of sport consumers by offering information, experience, and a chance to win for those in attendance or watching from home (Funk & Lock, 2015, p. 38).

It is vital that organizations identify the consumer demands and what their overall experience and participation is going to be to be able to increase forms of revenue. Also, identify consumer motives regarding their attractiveness to a team, access to the event, economic factors, and socio-demographic factors to reward or gain new customer loyalty such as Verizon’s message during fan fest. Using the research model SFMS and media to identify consumers, companies like Verizon would be able to maintain consumer and brand loyalty because they are able to use activation and sponsorships at major sporting events that creates an overall fan experience.


Reference List

Funk, D. C., & Lock, D. (2014). Sport consumer attitudes: Formation, function, and effects on information processing. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 37-50). New York, NY: Routledge.

Lefton, T. (2016, February 1). Sponsors go deep to develop buzz-worthy activation. SportsBusiness Journal, 18(40). Retrieved from

Pons, F., Giroux, M., and Mourali, M. (2014) Consumer behavior and motivation: Why are sport event consumers so special? In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 21-36). New York, NY: Routledge.

About Brye Payton, University of San Francisco

Newly located to the Bay Area, Brye is a current graduate student at the University of San Francisco in their Sport Management Program. Graduating from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Sport Management with an emphasis in Sport Marketing along with a Minor in Finance, Brye pursued an internship in Marketing and Fan Development with Arkansas Athletics while gaining experience as a Finance Assistant with the College of Education and Health Profession at Arkansas. Currently, Brye is working at True Capital Management in Client Relations and Accounting in San Francisco while increasing his knowledge on the business side of Collegiate and Professional Sports. You can connect with Brye via,, and @bryepayton13. This article is an edited version of a paper Brye prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, "Macy's Super Bowl 50 Kickoff Show", Accessed via Creative Commons license.