Sports and social media sound like a match made in heaven. We got together with Rob Gaddis of StadiumBuzz, a new iPhone app that lets baseball fans play against each other by placing bets on which players will get the most hits in real-time games. StadiumBuzz is already making waves, so we wanted to get down to the bottom of the product development process and all the marketing that took place before the release.
Little Jack: How did you come up with the idea for StadiumBuzz?
Rob Gaddis: First, we are Chicago Cubs fans. My family has gone down to Arizona for a week for the past 12 years to see a few games in Spring Training. One year, we played a game while watching, called “Pick your Player”. Every time your player gets a hit, you get a dollar.
This evolved to putting odds on players. Then we thought, “Wouldn’t this be a good idea to develop into an app?!” Bleacher fans at Wrigley could pick their players prior to the game and then occasionally check to see how they were doing.
LJ: Why did you choose to build an app rather than a website?
RG: This was a tough decision for our team. We ultimately decided to go the app route because we wanted to build a Minimum Viable Product as soon as possible. Apple has Game Center and we could use their Leaderboard and ability to challenge players. We could also use the iTunes account for users to select features to purchase. Those two areas we would have had to build from scratch. The third reason was that we could market using the App Store.
LJ: What marketing tactics did you use early on in the process?
RG: First, we hired 3 social media interns from the University of Wisconsin Sports Business Club to help us during the summer. The interns created status updates and monitored conversations to participate in on various social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook.
Second, we organized a group of 5 interns who matched our demographic. This consisted of individuals ranging in age 18 to 28, both male and female. We trained everyone on the app, how to approach people, and a flexible script to present app. Then we went to Miller Park stadium in Milwaukee, passed out brochures, and demonstrated our app to people while they were tailgating. We found that the fans were interested in the app and also wanted to help our startup.
LJ: What kind of response have you received from your audience?
RG: We have received some great testimonials in the App Store from users. Everything, from “This is a great game” to “Watch the game with this, it is addictive”. Prior to developing the app we did do focus group reviews a couple of times to get a sense of the level of interest in playing a game like this. We have been excited to see great engagement and retention metrics.
LJ: What marketing strategies haven’t you tried yet that you might work for your product?
RG: We will be partnering with sports marketing companies, having athletes promote the product, and using advertising in national sports magazines and sports websites.
LJ: What’s next for StadiumBuzz?
RG: We are working on obtaining some additional seed money to develop two more sports that will be available for iPhone and Android fans.
As you can see, it looks like the StadiumBuzz team really did their homework with market research and both online and offline marketing leading up to the launch. You can check out the StadiumBuzz app at the iTunes store.