The Nets Gowalla Slam Dunk

Vaynermedia, the social media consulting brainchild of Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk, brokered a partnership between geolocation startup Gowalla and the New Jersey Nets to prove the benefits geolocation services can provide to live events.  The result: without any traditional advertising, Vaynermedia gave away 500 tickets (250 pairs) to a game featuring the worst team in the NBA and brought 76 lucky winners into the arena that night.  15.2% of the winners went to the game, usually with a friend using the other ticket.  This isn’t bad considering the team, their record and solely promoting the contest on Gowalla.

For the Nets, the partnership with Gowalla put “butts in seats” that otherwise would have been empty.  They sold concessions, gave away prize packs, and introduced new fans to basketball and the team.  A man who found the tickets and brought his son has probably given the Nets a fan for life.

But the real secret sauce: those Gowalla winners talked up the contest, their experience and the friends they made on Twitter.  By using Gowalla, the winners were already a step or two ahead of most people in technology adoption and the spillover was additional buzz for the partnership.  Those people had such a great time finding the tickets and going to the game as (nearly) VIPs that they wanted to spread the word. 

A few years ago I drove to Cincinnati with some friends to see the Reds play the visiting Red Sox.  As Sox fans we couldn’t buy tickets just for those première games, we had to buy a slate including three additional dates later in the year.  Clearly, we weren’t driving back from Boston to see the Reds play the Pirates in September.  StubHub?  Nope.  There is no secondary market for Reds tickets.  We couldn’t give them away, and most of the people there were visiting Red Sox fans like ourselves.  If I could have turned them into a virtual item and left the tickets in a Cincinnatti pizza shop, I’m confident that it would have made someone’s day.  Just like the Nets.

For the case study itself, head on over to Vaynermedia.  It won’t take long to read but it will make you think how can my business/event/school PCC take advantage of geolocation.  A local version of The Amazing Race? Sign me up!

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