By Lisa White, Venues Today
In conjunction with the Boston Bruins hosting last week’s National Hockey League Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston’s TD Garden debuted a new LinkedIn business-to-business program for premium seat ticket holders.
Membership in the program, called the TD Garden Business Network, is free for partners and sponsors of TD Garden, the Bruins and the NBA Celtics.
“The business network is a great use of technology to connect our clients first and foremost, and then connect Boston’s business community who comes to the Garden, as well,” said Amy Latimer, president of TD Garden. “It also is a great tool for us to prospect, like clients such as premium ticket holders.”
The group’s legal counsel approved the use of the LinkedIn 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.
“We started brainstorming about this program last spring, but didn’t put the plan together until this past fall,” Latimer said.
The arena partnered with Austin, Texas-based Umbel, Cisco in San Jose, Calif., and Boston’s Activate Sports & Entertainment, to develop the new business network. The service is available via iPhone and Android devices.
“We didn’t want to create anything too difficult, and most people in the business community are already familiar with LinkedIn,” Latimer said. “We also won’t over-manage the content but, instead, just put information out there and let the group facilitate the discussion.”
With this program group members can see who is in attendance at TD Garden events, connect digitally to other members and respond to on-site meet-up invitations.
The first meet-up invitation was sent to the 500 people who joined the network last week. These members are linked through the venue rather than through a particular industry.
These face-to-face networking opportunities will be held in the venue’s new LinkedIn Lounge, a space for 100 that is located in TD Garden’s Premium Club. A more permanent space may be built out in the future, depending on the program’s response. This would be utilized through the NHL playoff and for summer events.
“The meet-up space is not a permanent area right now,” Latimer said. “We’re testing a couple of spots before we come up with a permanent location.”
The first meet-up event took place during the first intermission of Friday night’s Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Redwings playoff game. Latimer hosted about 100 Premium Club clients, corporate partners and business leaders in the pop-up LinkedIn Lounge on level six of the Premium Club.
The business network was created by the arena’s marketing department, which is led by Jen Compton, vice president of Marketing.
“TD Garden’s business network is something we wanted to offer the business community to add value to our current clients,” said Compton.
The arena also debuted its new mobile app last week, which is available for iPhone devices at the App Store on iTunes and for Android phones on Google Play.
Developed by B3 Connect, which has created apps for the Bruins and other NHL teams, the new app can be used to purchase tickets and get information on TD Garden events; win prizes for attending events at the venue; find information on parking and what’s nearby; download TD Garden events to a mobile device’s calendar; access and share event information through social media; upgrade seats for Bruins games; and view the venue’s photos and videos.
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.
“The goal was to integrate the program with our app to create networking opportunities,” Compton said. “[In terms of the meet-ups], we also plan to create something more structured, like an executive speaker series, in the future.”