Model bonding with fans has helped the Los Angeles Clippers achieve peak performance. The Clippers trail the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA title playoff series this week, but they are still within reach of an NBA Championship – this year or very soon. Tonight’s sixth game of the series at STAPLES Center will be nothing short of historic.
When the Clippers are not playing at home at STAPLES Center, they motivate fan support with viewing parties of their away games. Tuesday night’s event was held at the Howard Hughes Center mall near the campus of Loyola Marymount University. Fan enthusiasm and good organization transformed the sports bar at Dave & Busters into a supercharged cheering section. The nonstop photo opps work well with the Clippers saturation approach to social media. Whether Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, fans get all Clippers all the time if that’s what they want. Lots of raffles and skill based contests kept the event moving at a fast pace to keep up with the pace on the playoff court.
The Clippers team likes challenges, so it is only fitting that dedicated fans get their share of challenges, too. Playoff game five’s “NBA Spelling Bee” fit the bill perfectly. Think about it. How many last names of players on opposing NBA teams can you spell? How many NBA team names can you spell? How do you spell the name Hedo Türkoğlu when the letters “ü” and “ğ” do not exist in the American English alphabet? Not so easy, eh? This people pleasing pastime is on the way to making ordinary half-time shows obsolete.
This kind of viewing party also shows small and medium sized businesses how they can play in the majors leagues of sports marketing. Smaller firms that do not have the big budgets to buy $100,000 spots on playoff game broadcasts can still bond with fans and build their brands with giveaways at and prizes at these kinds of live fan appreciation events. Gift cards are especially popular and effective. The most coveted prizes, of course, are tickets to see more NBA games.
The Clippers’ talent for engaging fans is a powerful morale builder for the entire team on the court and in the back office. Let’s wish them more luck as the try to tie the series tonight during Game 6 at STAPLES Center.