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Sports Authority drives charity donations via mobile social networking

January 31, 2011

The X Games attracts young, mobile-savvy consumers who are big social networkers

Sporting goods retailer Sports Authority is targeting extreme sports fans attending the X Games with a mobile-social call-to-action to support the fight against breast cancer.

During the Winter X Games 15, Jan. 27–30, attendees who attend the games at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, CO, can check-in to Sports Authority at Winter X Games 15 on location-based mobile social network Foursquare. Sports Authority is donating $1 per check-in to Boarding for Breast Cancer, one of X-Games partner non-profit, up to $1,000 per day.

“Part of our digital strategy is going where our customers are and engaging with them in relevant ways,” said Clay Cowan, vice president of ecommerce and digital marketing at Sports Authority, Englewood, CO. “Partnering with Foursquare allows us to do that and add real value.

“They are a great partner, and as their user base grows and capabilities expand, we have opportunities to leverage their platform in innovative ways,” he said. “Our customers are increasingly moving towards platforms like Foursquare and Twitter—our goal is to shift as our customers do.

“These platforms are fundamentally social, and provide a great fit for supporting and extending our cause-marketing efforts. Donating $1.00 to Boarding for Breast Cancer for every Foursquare check-in to Sports Authority at X Games 15 is a perfect example of this.”

Sports Authority is one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the United States. It operates more than 460 stores in 45 states.

The company’s ecommerce Web site at is operated by GSI Commerce Inc.

Sports Authority taps Foursquare
Sports Authority has a tent at ESPN’S X Games, and the Foursquare fundraising initiative is an additional program that the retailer is running in tandem with that presence.

The retailer and its partners primarily rely on social channels to get the word out about the Boarding for Breast Cancer campaign.

“The word of mouth nature of these channels is powerful – particularly when it is such a great cause,” Mr. Cowan said. “But we do look for relevant opportunities to get the word out on our Web site.

“In this case, we created an X Games landing page to highlight all the exciting things we’re doing around the event, including the Foursquare donation program,” he said.

In addition, for those who cannot check-in on Foursquare in Aspen at the X Games to support the cause, they can follow Sports Authority on Twitter @SportsAuthority for the chance to win some extreme sports gear.

Supporters of Boarding for Breast Cancer can also check-in using hashtag #Xcellent on Twitter to spread the word about the fundraising initiative.

Sports Authority also ran a Black Friday promotion with Foursquare to drive traffic to its 460-plus bricks-and-mortar stores nationwide (see story).

“Sports Authority continues to be one of our most innovative partners, experimenting with the Foursquare platform in many different ways,” said Tristan Walker, San Francisco-based director of business development at Foursquare.

“We’re thrilled that they will be encouraging all of the X Games attendees to check in for such an amazing cause,” he said.

Final Take
Winter X Games 15

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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