Strategic Activation at the NFL Draft Experience

Last week I had the chance to be in Nashville attending the SponsorshipX conference leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft. On the Thursday afternoon during our lunch break, I took a walk around the NFL Fan Experience area just outside Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans.

I couldn’t help but notice all of the league partner activations going on, and in particular, how many of them included key strategic components from data collection and social integration to product education and rewards. This is an area of the business we are particularly passionate about based on our KORE KONNECT activation platform for brands and rights holders.

I took several pictures that you can see below and shared some of my thoughts on how each activation effort aligns to the brand’s partnership goals. Enjoy!

Pizza Hut

The Pizza Hut tent encouraged fan to hop on stage and dance with JuJu Smith-Schuster via an AR experience. Everyone that did this had a chance to opt-in afterwards to get a copy of their dance video, so we already have digital data collection. They were also encouraged to share via a branded hashtag to distribute this content to a wider audience, which will also be measurable via that hashtag. And of course, they all got a free slice of pizza!


Visa had a very large activation space that was focused on educating fans about their tap-to-pay technology in their newer credit card products. I talked to one of their on-site staff who mentioned this is a key initiative as most consumers will receive a card with this feature soon, and it creates a more secure experience.

They tie this education together with fun examples, such as “tap to turn on the jukebox,” and incentives, such as tap to win a prize or $5 to participate in a tap to pay demo. Finally, they use the activation in partnership with Chase to reward Chase Visa customers, reinforcing the value to NFL fans of being a Visa card holder.


Similar to the Pizza Hut example, Bridgestone created a fun way for fans to be interactive with the brand, first with a football toss through Bridgestone tires to win a prize, and then the longer line which allowed fans to catch a pass while diving into a Bridgestone foam pit. It was that 2nd option that their staff captured via video for each fan that, with opt-in, could be shared with them and in turn shared to social media.


Verizon kept it simple with a few branded Verizon “trucks” and staff on-site to engage with fans one-on-one. Staff could sign up fans on the spot for Verizon services and answer questions from existing and potential customers.


Snickers powered the “Network Desk” experience where fans could be on-stage and at the broadcast desk for NFL Total Access presented by Snickers. Staff would take a photo/video of your time at the desk, and with opt-in be able to share that content back to the fans.

The NFL 

The NFL itself put a lot of energy into mobile-based data collection via a dedicated app that encouraged fans to check-in at various stations throughout the Fan Experience. The app was required for fans to play the various NFL branded draft/combine style activities, such as the Vertical Jump and 40 Yard Dash. Fans also had the chance to win prizes by scanning the QR code at various locations throughout the Fan Experience. This platform represents a tremendous data collection opportunity for the league.

Other Brands

Here are a few more photos of other brands and fan engagement opportunities I saw during the event. I hope all of the examples above and below give you some good ideas on how to think about your experiential assets in a strategic and data-driven manner!

KORE is the global leader in engagement marketing solutions, serving more than 200 professional teams and 850+ sports and entertainment properties worldwide, providing practical tools and services to harness customer data, facilitate sponsorship sales and activation, and create actionable insights.

Partnership Optimization Activation Engagement Starts Here.

Partnership Optimization Activation Engagement Starts Here.

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