Throughout the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs fans turned to their mobile devices to do everything from follow their team, connect with each other and get the latest updates on their team. The NHL saw the opportunity to engage with fans through mobile and raise awareness amongst passionate fans and connect them to local Dick’s Sporting Goods’ locations to purchase their team’s Stanley Cup Playoffs merchandise.

By enabling the NHL mobile app with Gimbal’s mobile engagement and location-intelligence platform, the NHL was able to program value-added, location-specific engagements to opt-in users of their app.

The campaign consisted of a macro and micro-location components. Macro-location (geofences) were set at a 100-yard perimeter around more than 150 Dick’s Sporting Goods locations to encourage people to enter. Approximately half of those stores had micro-location services (BLE beacons) enabled to see if fans accepted the offer and entered the store to provide an experience once in store.

For the user, breaching Dick’s geofence boundary produced a push notification on their mobile device that made them aware of NHL merchandise within the store, and instructed them to turn on their phone’s Bluetooth for special in-store experiences. When they were within 25 feet of NHL merchandise, beacons triggered relevant content (videos, imagery, etc.) that rotated based on the local team’s Stanley Cup Playoffs activity that night or week.

The Result:

During the course of the two and a half month of playoff hockey, in excess of 91,000 unique customers with the NHL app totaling more than 296,000 visits entered the 160 geo-fences and were eligible for messaging. Beacon activity in the 86 stores across five NHL markets registered nearly 10,000 notifications during the six weeks they were live.

NHL fans thrive on targeted and relevant engagement. Proximity based messaging and offers on the NHL app enabled us to drive traffic and conversion at Dick’s Sporting Goods around Stanley Cup Playoffs merchandise. – Dan Near, Director Consumer Products Licensing – National Hockey League

This was a groundbreaking sports and retail campaign because it provided real-world insights that are typically only available in online mediums and it shows the value of leveraging mobile app audiences. Overall it confirms the potential of engaging customers with relevant, personalized content that encompasses macro and micro-location strategy.