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Sports bars tap 29 Club Sports mobile app to drive loyalty

April 9, 2013

Several sports bars and restaurants are leveraging a new mobile social gaming application to drive customers into their locations.

The 29 Club Sports app enables users to create their fan clubs or find existing merchant clubs to connect with other users, play pool games and receive special discounts from participating merchants. During the pilot, six merchants have been participating, including Bridges Bar & Grill, O’Hara’s and Charlie’s Place San Luis in California as well as Canal Bar & Grill, Champion’s Bar & Grill and F Bar in Maryland.

The merchants’ offerings sent out from the 29 Club Sports app can be targeted to specific individuals or groups that the merchant has high confidence will want to receive the offer rather than the ‘spray and pray’ offerings currently being sent out by today’s other loyalty programs,” said John Townsend, president/CEO of 29 Club Sports Inc., San Diego.

“Unlike today’s loyalty offerings, 29 Club Sports’ offers from merchants can include a voucher redeemable via the member’s smartphone, making the voucher receipt and redemption process simple and trackable so the merchant can measure the efficacy of the promotion,” he said.

Mobile offers
The free 29 Club Sports smartphone app enables users to join social circles they choose in order to privately communicate, exchange pictures with other members, play pool games, submit photos for weekly contests and create clubs to arrange a gathering.

Users can also buy food and drinks directly from their smartphones and receive discounted food and drinks from all participating merchant locations as well as special promotions for their circle of friends.

Sports bars and restaurants can push personalized offers and promotions to specific social circles of sports and then measure the efficacy and success of each program.

The app is initially targeting millennials by reaching out to students at universities with prominent athletic programs.  Socially-connected student interns sign up their fraternity members.

Once the app is downloaded, users receive a promotion from a local merchant.

Social experiences
New members are encouraged to invite their Facebook friends and other contacts to join.  All invited friends that download the app also receive the same new member promotion and friend invite call-to-action.

The full release of the app hit the Apple App Store and Google Play on April 5. The app has had nearly 500 downloads so far.

Mr. Townsend reports that the “Challenge” feature is proving popular with users as it enables them to create their own games in addition to participating in the Pik’em and 29 Club pool games that come with the app. Additionally, the private messaging feature is popular with members who want to banter without fear of their texts becoming public information.

The mobile redemption feature does not require any changes nor integration into the merchants’ POS system,” Mr. Townsend said. “The ability to include tips into the merchant pricing has proven valuable as servers and bartenders are motivated to promote 29 Club Sports unlike heavy discounting offers from other loyalty programs like Groupon and Living Social.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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