TD Garden ties LinkedIn into new B2B program
By Christopher Botta, Sports Business Journal Staff Writer
Published April 14, 2014
TD Garden this week is debuting a business-to-business program that features the integration of LinkedIn for business leaders and other fans in the arena’s premium-seating areas.
The program was slated to be announced last Thursday, timed for this week’s start of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the Boston Bruins.
Membership in the program, called the TD Garden Business Network, will be complimentary for partners and sponsors of TD Garden, the Bruins and the NBA Celtics. It will provide those representatives with the opportunity to attend meet-ups in the newly designated LinkedIn Lounge in The Premium Club at TD Garden.
The arena also plans to host networking events with local and national business leaders as part of the new program.
For LinkedIn, the group’s legal counsel approved the use of the brand’s marks for the arena’s business network, but no sponsorship dollars are involved at this time. Instead, organizers said, TD Garden is leveraging the social channel for in-arena purposes, and the platform gets the bonus of the exposure and promotion. The Premium Club at TD Garden comprises the arena’s exclusive, members-only areas that include the venue’s premium-seating and hospitality spaces. The new LinkedIn Lounge area is debuting as a temporary, casual-meeting space, built out in one of the main quadrants of The Premium Club with capacity for 100 people.
Building it out as a more permanent space could follow if the program is popular enough among members not only through the NHL playoffs but also for events at the arena during the summer months.
With the program, members of the TD Garden Business Network will be able to access a targeted area of an in-arena app that’s available to all in-house fans. That feature will let those members see which of their LinkedIn contacts and fellow network members are in attendance at that particular event.
The service is available via iPhone and Android devices.
Organizers expect that with a few thousand fans using the app on any given game night, a few hundred will access the private, LinkedIn/networking features of the offering.
“There are so many ways for partners and prospective partners to connect digitally, but this is a way to bring people face to face when they’re at our games and events,” said TD Garden President Amy Latimer. “Our events often bring out a ‘who’s who’ of Boston business. This gives them the opportunity to get together.”
While group membership will be limited to the arena’s Premium Club clients and corporate partners, select invitations will be sent to senior Boston business and community leaders, as well, even if they may not necessarily be Premium Club members.
Latimer said the business network was created by the arena’s marketing department, which is led by Jen Compton, vice president of marketing. The mobile app was developed by B3 Connect, which has created other apps for the Bruins, the Buffalo Sabres and the Colorado Avalanche, among other NHL teams. The arena’s other partners in the business network project are Umbel (data analytics), Cisco (Wi-Fi infrastructure) and Activate Sports & Entertainment (digital strategy and implementation).
“It’s the best of both worlds,” Compton said. “The network gives us more ways to communicate with our partners and ways for our partners to connect with each other.”
According to Activate President Jim Delaney, the program’s LinkedIn integration is “the first in the sports industry doing anything this extensive with LinkedIn and B2B audiences.”
Delaney said the groups involved are exploring the potential of a more official partnership with LinkedIn if they were to move forward with a permanent lounge location for the concept in the fall.