Today, we announced the Phoenix Suns are teaming up with BlueJeans to deliver a “Second Screen” experience that gives fans a new, safe and interactive way to watch and engage with their favorite team and brands across the NBA.
After a months-long hiatus in the 2020 National Basketball Association (NBA) season due to COVID-19, the Phoenix Suns got back on the court last summer with no fans in the stands. Playing in a “bubble” that the NBA had created at Walt Disney World in Orlando to restart the season meant the team had to quickly find innovative ways to engage its fan base and retain members.
The Suns looked to BlueJeans Events to complement their livestream of the game, providing fans with additional streamed video content they could interact with in real time using polls, chat interactions, “hand raise” and other platform features during games. This content included interviews with NBA legends and insiders, contests, and promotions for the Suns and its partner brands, and the personalized touchpoints only continue to get more creative and frequent today.
Considering about 95 percent of the Suns fanbase has never had the opportunity to watch a game in person, these specialized, virtual experiences over BlueJeans offer a great way to bring these fans closer to the game, fostering team affinity and brand advocates moving forward.
"Products like BlueJeans allow us to give behind-the-scenes looks, interact with our team personalities, and allow fans to engage with us in a way that feels more intimate than on social media or simply watching a game on television,” said Dan Costello, Phoenix Suns Chief Revenue Officer & SVP, Business Innovation. “What BlueJeans is doing to help custom-create things for us is wonderful, it’s a tailored experience for our organization, and more importantly, for our fans."
BlueJeans also enabled the Suns to preserve sponsorships, by providing a platform for partners to continue to promote their brands and interact with a wider audience. For example, unable to continue its ritual of throwing free T-shirts into the stands for its sponsor, Fry’s Food Stores, the Suns did this virtually instead. Fans got a chance to win a free T-shirt when they watched a show on BlueJeans—using the “hand raise” feature to determine those interested in receiving one. And if they were eligible, they could pick up their prize in person at a designated Fry’s store.
For the Suns, this next wave of sports innovation is all about creating frictionless transitions for fans both in the physical and virtual worlds to develop better relationships with them and bolster loyalty—something that’s already paying off in dividends. Whereas in the past, online interactions with fans were largely passive, BlueJeans Events has allowed the Suns organization to be more proactive, discovering new ways to engage fans by connecting with followers in two-way digital conversations, such as through VIP lessons with the Suns’ personal trainer.
“Our fans, and our brand, thrive in this digital world and the partners we’re aligned with, from an innovation perspective, are coming to us to help meet our fans where they are, which happens to be heavily in these digital spaces,” said Costello. “Our fans are coming to games with digital tickets, using digital payments, and our vision is for them to interact with us digitally throughout the game. For us, this all leads into this innovation territory where we want to be at the center of it with our partners.”
We can't wait to hear about all the creative new ways the Suns continue to use our platform to drive meaningful experiences for fans and partners of the NBA!
To learn more about how the Phoenix Suns plan to use digital technology to connect with a new generation of sports fan, check out the full Case Study and download your free trial of BlueJeans Events today.