The Fan at the Center: 4 Things Basketball Taught Us About Shoppers at Code Commerce

Updated on March 27, 2024

What can commerce marketers learn from sports merchandising? A lot! We had the pleasure of hearing two industry leaders, Michael Rubin and Adam Silver, speak about the evolving world of sports marketing at Code Commerce, a conference covering all things shopper-related in NYC’s Meatpacking District, this afternoon.

Rubin is the executive chairman of Fanatics. Through an innovative, tech-infused approach, Fanatics has become a global leader in sports merchandise commerce, selling directly to consumers. Silver was unanimously elected NBA commissioner in 2014 by the NBA Board of Governors and leads one of the largest providers of sports programming in the world. In 2016, Silver was No. 1 on Sports Business Journal’s list of 50 Most Influential People, one of the 100 Most Influential People by Time, and among the 50 Greatest Leaders named by Fortune.

These are the game-changing marketing tactics they talked about:

1. Seize the advantage with offline. 

On how physical locations are integral to a satisfying consumer experience, Rubin remarked that at Fanatics, “We really listen to the fans. They want to buy online and pick up at the venue. Venues have become an important part of our revenue.”

2. Provide optimized omnichannel experiences. 

Rubin believes in providing a best-in-class omnichannel journey that benefits fans, however they want to buy — and that utilizing consumer data can drive this effort. “The retailers that win will provide a technology rich, omnichannel experience. And you won’t just win on price.”

3. Embrace new ways for people to consume your content. 

There’s no question that fans are absorbing and watching sports in different ways. “The more that we can create different ways for people to consume content, the better,” he says. Furthermore, mobile will continue to grow in influence. Like many fans, Silver will “watch a game on my iPad because it’s easier than a traditional cable interface.” 

4. Drive engagement for the slam dunk.

Silver went on to say, “There’s been a sameness in NBA broadcasts for a long time. Now the programming business is asking, ‘How can we serve it up in a different way'” to get people more involved? Maybe it’s audio that wasn’t previously available (like the ability to hear referees talking to players on the court). Or perhaps it’s the interactive element, using AR (augmented reality) or VR (virtual reality) to replicate an experience.

For the latest on what’s happening on Code Commerce, as well as other global events we’re attending, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

Michelle Pruett

As Global Head of Content at Criteo, Michelle leads a high-performing, multi-disciplinary team of marketers packaging insights, copy, design, and video into integrated campaigns. Her own writing has been featured in Entrepreneur, Business Insider, AdWeek, eMarketer, and more. Before joining the ...

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