FCB Develops Palm’s Game Plan

They may not replace the venerable paper scorecard anytime soon, but the San Francisco Giants are inviting fans to use Palm Pilots to keep track of games in Pacific Bell Park.

The high-tech approach was created with the help of Foote, Cone & Belding’s sports marketing division, which brokered a deal between Palm and the Giants. The aim is to educate fans on how the handheld device works while making the games a little more fun to watch.

The project supports Palm’s ongoing marketing effort, which is handled by AKQA in San Francisco.

Keith Bruce, svp and director of sports marketing at FCB, said the agency’s 18-person sports arm was hired in early 2000 to help expand Palm’s marketing mix through sports sponsorships. He said the client is making a seven-figure investment in sports marketing programs.

The device is also being used by spectators to follow the action at select PGA golfing events. In fact the “beaming station” technology now used in Pac Bell Park was honed as a result of Palm’s partnership with the PGA Tour, which began last year.

The three “beaming stations” inside Pac Bell Park enable any fan with a Palm Pilot to access a scorekeeping application with updated rosters, statistics, lineups and player bios—all free of charge. Fans are encouraged to participate during a two-minute video that runs during the top of the second inning. There are two prominent Palm billboards on the outfield walls.

Fans at Pac Bell Park and PGA Tour events are typical of Palm’s target audience, said Mike Lorian, client vp of education marketing. Lorian added that Palm wants to promote the use of its technology in more mainstream activities.

In the first 12 home games this season, 2,100 scorecard downloads were collectively recorded, Bruce said. “We know we’re not going to get all 40,000 attendees to do this,” he said. “But if we get 500-1,000 fans to bring their Palm and use it, then it’s a success.”