The Cleveland Cavaliers have created a digital operations department to drive online revenue.
Last month, the Cavs rehired Mike Maleski as vice president of digital sales, marketing and operations. Maleski rejoins the team after leaving last year to open the Cleveland office of mobile marketing company Phizzle.
Maleski will lead a new six-person team that combines digital content development and sales into a single department. He will report to Cavs chief revenue officer Brad Sims.
The department’s goal is to drive at least $2 million in revenue, derived primarily from the sponsorship of digital content.
“There is a lot of ramp-up that needs to take place, but a sports team with a strong brand presence should be able to drive $2 million in [digital] revenue,” Maleski said.
The team is working on two new digital initiatives. One is a new Wi-Fi network in Quicken Loans Arena to be installed by the start of the season. The team is close to a deal with vendor on the network, along with a sponsorship deal. Both deals are expected to close within weeks.
“We did not have Wi-Fi throughout the building last year, and it creates a whole new partnership element for the team,” Maleski said. “It will be a free network for fans giving them online access throughout the building.”
The other major digital initiative is a team-branded mobile application that will be linked with the Cavs’ social network page, called CavFanatic. The team is also rebranding its video player content on Cavs.com.
The new mobile app will include daily deals on ticket sales along with bar codes to allow fans to scan their smartphones at retail points of sale.
“Most apps give scores and information on how to buy tickets, but the difference for us is that fans will be able to access our social network page from our app,” Maleski said. “We want to give fans a reason to open up the app multiple times a week.”
Verizon Wireless is the presenting sponsor of the new app, though the team is planning to sell other partnership deals within the app.
The Cavs are using Detroit Labs, owned by team owner Dan Gilbert, to develop the mobile application.
“Our new department will allow us to focus on a large area of growth in sports,” Maleski said. “It is not just providing great content, but also about some great revenue opportunities.”