Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs attending the hockey team’s draft party tonight will receive special offers and have the chance to win prizes through the Leafs’ mobile app, thanks to mobile engagement technology from a Toronto startup.

The Leafs have partnered with Rover, the Toronto-based developer of a mobile engagement platform that uses Apple’s iBeacon technology along with GPS to help connect marketers with their customers with the right offer at the right time, via the retailer/brand app the customer has already downloaded to their smartphone.

At tonight’s draft party in Maple Leafs square, where fans will watch on the big screen as junior phenom Connor McDavid gets drafted (almost certainly by the Edmonton Oilers first overall) and the Leafs make a bet on their future with the fourth overall selection. There will be free BBQ for the first 3000 fans through the gate, appearances by Leafs alumni Darryl Sittler and Wendel Clark, and lots of prizes to be won, from season seats to a shopping spree at Real Sports.

And many of those prizes will be triggered and won through location-based mobile technology. Rover and the Leafs will use iBeacon technology to deliver content through the Maple Leafs mobile app. Through their smartphones, fans at Maple Leafs Square will be able to win prizes, interact with the Legends Row and explore other activities that are part of the draft party.

“Our priority is creating the best experience for our fans, whether it is in-arena or at events like the draft party, and the technology available through companies like Rover provides some exciting possibilities,” said Shannon Hosford, vice-president of marketing and communications for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, in a statement. “We look forward to exploring new interactive options to ensure our fans are always as close to the action as they can be.”

Rover isn’t just working with professional sports teams. It is also bringing the proximity marketing technology to the retail space, including leading brands in grocery, pharmacy and specialty retail.

“Across all of the verticals the platform serves, we are seeing extremely impressive engagement rates of 45 to 85 per cent for proximity-triggered content,” said Rover CEO John Coombs, in a statement. “We see the powerful results of proximity marketing every day as we help our customers take advantage of it. Professional sports is a natural fit for this technology and we look forward to working with innovative teams like the Leafs who are building the fan experience of the future.”

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