As recent three-time Super Bowl winners, the NFL's New England Patriots enjoy a large fan base eager for information about the team, its players, and its opponents. To satisfy the increasing amount of information fans expect-everything from injury reports on their fantasy players to the name of the third-string receiver in the depth chart-the team created a mobile presence, Patriots.mobi, to complement its Patriots.com site.
"We decided to create a mobile site, but we didn't want something that required a lot of extra work on top of our online presence," says Fred Kirsch, digital content publisher for the New England Patriots. "What we have now on Patriots.mobi is photos, all the main sections from the website like news, roster, and schedule, and the very popular cheerleading section."
Fans who access the mobile site see a page configured for their model handset or smartphone. That's one reason Kirsch says the team chose Quattro to supply the back-end technology for the site. "One of my biggest concerns was functionality for the users," he says. "The content on our site is automatically configured for hundreds of different phones. We want people to have a positive experience even if they don't own an iPhone."
Fans can also use the mobile site to access the team store and buy apparel, souvenirs, and collectibles. Overall Kirsch admits that it's early for "m-commerce" (mobile commerce) to take hold in America, but he's hopeful that the mobile traffic to the store increases. He's also exploring advertising to support the mobile site, and expects to have sponsors within the next year or so. Even if that avenue doesn't materialize, though, he says the mobile experiment is worth the effort.
"I justify the site even without any increased revenue because of all the in-house promotions we can run through it and the information we get out to our fans," he says. "This is something fans have been asking for, and it's a function we owe them."
The team is now working on adding audio and video to the mobile site, but needs to redevelop the content available online so it makes sense for mobile use. A 20-minute daily show or an hour-long radio broadcast- content now available online-wouldn't appeal to fans using their handsets.
"We're working on finding what the sweet spots are for mobile content, and now that there's more demand we're reaching a critical mass where we can do that," Kirsch says. "America is catching up to Europe and Asia in smartphone use, so as a brand we really had to get in the game."