SBJ/December 19 - 25, 2005/Facilities

Kasten opens firm to further fan wireless options at venues

Former Atlanta sports executive Stan Kasten has formed a new sports marketing company aiming to establish a niche in wireless applications for stadium and arena operators.

In-venue text messaging creates opportunities
for sponsorship ties for sponsorship and marketing.

The new Atlanta-based outfit, FanDrive Media, has struck a licensing deal with Impact Mobile, a Canadian wireless company active in the performing arts industry, to bring its products to American sports teams and arena operators.

The emerging technology allows text messages and photos sent from fans’ wireless devices to be shown on arena scoreboards, and also paves the way for interactive fan voting between wireless devices and scoreboards. Such applications have been available previously in a more limited form, but FanDrive executives say their system is a next-generation product that allows the wireless communication to become a revenue source.

“All of this is new inventory that can be sponsored and attached with a logo very easily,” said Jeff Vick, FanDrive Media president. “What’s even better is that this is the beginning of a new form of database marketing. Fans are sending you text messages, and you now have a new and ever-flowing set of names and addresses to do opt-in marketing, and it’s all on the back of a corporate sponsor.”

Specific events possible with the technology include text-to-win contests, fan selections of top players for a particular game and trivia games. The system works with either standard scoreboards or 360-degree LED facia boards now common in most new buildings.

Along with Vick, Kasten has staffed the company with Lee Douglas, a former executive vice president for Kasten with the Atlanta Hawks, and Will Sanders, chairman of SayMedia and former chief financial officer of Turner Communications Corp.

FanDrive Media already has struck deals or is drafting contracts with operators of several major arenas, including Madison Square Garden in New York, Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Philadelphia’s Wachovia Center and Atlanta’s Philips Arena. Revenue-hungry minor league baseball teams are also being approached.

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