Yesterday (Sunday) I was treated to my first NFL game.
I went to see the LA Chargers take on the Oakland Raiders. I was nervous, having been told over and over again that Raiders fans are 'crazy, dude'. Actually, they were delightful people.
I had a fantastic time. I also feel it was a learning experience.
I understood that after the initial appalling shock, Bud Light is a perfectly acceptable beverage.
I discovered that randomly standing up and screaming profanity in the general direction of the field of play, irrespective of what might be happening in the game, is a borderless, global, form of communication and camaraderie.
Also, garlic fries linger beyond 24hrs.
But importantly there were three key takeaways that I can tenuously link to marketing. So here they are.
1) Invest in a good pre-game: Tailgating, (the act of parking in the stadium fifteen hours ahead of the game and enjoying good food, bad beer and strong chat) is as important as the game itself. I know we always invest a lot of time and money in the marketing punchline, but more needs to be looked at to warm up the audience.
2) Unique identity is everything: The Raiders undoubtedly have 'hella good culture'. No matter what happened in the game (they lost) the spirit amongst the fans was quite something. It seemed unique to the Raiders and is probably why, as a roaming team (they were based in LA, now Oakland and in a couple of years are moving to Las Vegas - because, America), they attract adoring fans.
3) More information is good: I was blown away by just the amount of information shared throughout the game. Not just team stats, but individual facts and figures, key rivalries and data trends throughout the game. For those who want to ignore it they can, but actually, it spices up the experience to have some accessible data.
So there we have it. A great day out that not only resulted in the discovery of bacon wrapped hot-dogs, but also some interesting insight into marketing.
I guess I can expense the tickets now?