180pxiceburgh As the Penguins smacked the Fliers into submission today with a 6-0 victory, and are moving onto the Stanley Cup finals, I thought you’d find interesting how they’re scoring with mobile marketing off the ice.

I couldn’t link to the AdAge story (buy a subscription here- hint), so here it is in its entirety.

Penguins Sell Tickets via Cellphone Alerts
Team Scores With Effort to Sell Empty Seats, Now Trying Contests, Updates

Jeremy Mullman

Published: April 21, 2008

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) — Several major marketers have found themselves
stonewalled when it comes to measurable and effective uses for mobile
technology, but a National Hockey League team is scoring big with a
text-messaging program.

Hot ticket:
Fans of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins form around-the-block lines when
discounted seats are advertised via text message.

Faced with persistently unsold tickets and a bevy of would-be attendees
priced out of the action at area colleges, the Pittsburgh Penguins in
2006 started sending news of available, severely discounted seats to
college kids on the mornings of home games. The messages noted how many
tickets were unsold, letting students know if they needed to camp out
all day to get one of a few available, or if tickets were ample enough
that they’d be available at the booth just before the puck was dropped.

Get ’em while they’re young
Jeremy Zimmer, the team’s
director of new media, said the promotion helped fill otherwise empty
seats and strengthened the Penguins’ bond with students it hopes will
grow up to become season-ticket holders. "We want to engage them while
they’re young, and get them excited about the team early," he said.
"This was a great way to do that."

The around-the-block lines of students waiting to buy $100
tickets for $20 on some days proved as much, but the Penguins — who
feature two of the NHL’s top young stars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni
Malkin — improved enough this season that every game sold out on its
own, leaving the division-leading team searching for a new way to reach
out to younger fans.

So the team tapped mobile agency Vibes Media to run a series
of contests and giveaways via cellphone. In one, it promised to give
away a puck autographed by Mr. Crosby on the young star’s 21st

Messages went out to 2,000 subscribers, and 1,800 replied for a shot at
the signed puck within the first hour. "That response shows that we’re
tapping a fan base that’s just rabid," said Michael Cahan, Vibes’
director-sports and media.

The Penguins also offered a mobile program aimed at its
general fan base, sending team news alerts, including game recaps and
each game’s three stars (a nightly hockey honor awarded after most TV
broadcasts end) to 20,000 fans this year, compared with 8,000 a year

The team has yet to tap the channel as a major new source of
sponsorship revenue just yet, but that may be coming. Pizza Hut has
sponsored some of the alerts and has also delivered free pizzas to fans
camping out for a shot at text-promoted tickets.