How The Columbus River Dragons Collected Hundreds of Phone Numbers with Text-to-Win

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Learn how one text-to-win contest helped the Columbus River Dragon's subscriber list soar into the triple digits.

In Deloitte’s 2019 Trends Report for Sports Marketing, “Personalizing fan engagement” was one of the top areas of focus. If there’s a team out there that knows the importance of connecting with fans, it’s the Columbus River Dragons.

An expansion team based out of Columbus, Georgia, the River Dragons play in the Federal Prospects Hockey League—the fifth tier of North American Pro Hockey.

When one of their sponsors, B&B Beverage Company, approached the team at the start of the season with the idea for text-to-win contests, Scott Brand, River Dragons GM, and his marketing team were quick to jump on the opportunity.

“In minor league sports you have to turn things around pretty quickly,” notes Zak DeBeaussaert, VP of Communications. And he wasn’t kidding. From the time he created his first keyword to their contest going live, only two days had lapsed!

Learn how Zak got up to speed with text marketing at breakneck speed, and the plans this pro hockey team has to completely text-enable their brand by summer.

One Contest, 400 Subscribers

The Columbus River Dragon’s text marketing strategy is all about the long game. Zak and his team knew that their key to success begins with a strong and engaged subscriber base.

He wanted to get as many fans familiar with texting before they started to experiment with game-based interactivity. In order to grab and retain, fans’ attention, he needed a compelling reason for them to share their phone numbers.

The solution? A text-to-win program.

Thank you for entering the River Dragons Ticket Contest, if you are a winner you will be alerted 48 hours before the scheduled puck drop!

River Dragon fans are encouraged to text “win” to 888-706-4625 to be entered into an ongoing giveaway for 4 free tickets to the next home game. As long as they’re subscribed, they remain eligible to win the free tickets.

With the season nearing the halfway point, subscribers eager to win the prize are texting in by the hundreds. Luckily for them, if they don’t win the grand prize, they’ll still receive exclusive offers, discounts, and other perks from the team once their text marketing plan enters what Zak calls “phase two.”

How Do The River Dragons Advertise Their Keyword?

The continued success of the Dragon’s text marketing program is due in large part to the visibility of their keyword. Fans are exposed to it across a variety of mediums both digital, radio, and print-based.

Scott and his team work closely with their local radio affiliates 10+ stations to periodically run ads about the contest. Additionally, thanks to B&B’s relationship with Circle K, there are also several posters hanging in nearby locations advertising the contest information.

“There are close to 400 people active in the contest right now, and people are really responding well to it,” notes Zak. “Now that we’re into the second half of the season we can transition it a little more into phase two which is special text-based offers. Things like interactive activities on the jumbotron during games and ticket-based offers via text.”

How Easy Is It To Run A Text-To-Win Contest?

For any organization that wants to gather more subscribers, a text-to-win contest is a great introduction. The good news is, they’re simple to set up, even for someone new to the task.

“I was familiar with text-to-wins but I had never done one or created one,” Zak shared. “Thankfully, this was a quick and easy learning process for me to get it going. Our keyword WIN was added on October 23rd and our first contest was on October 25th. It was such a quick learning process and once we had it set we were able to just let it go on its own to accumulate contacts.”

To help automate things even further, Zak even set up a trigger to automatically provide additional information to people who subscribed because of the contest.

For more information about the River Dragons call us at 706-507-4625 or visit our website

Once the River Dragons reach off-season, the work will hardly come to an end for Scott and his team. With support from their sponsors, Zak plans to continue to scale up their texting service by providing more deals and exclusive content to their growing base of subscribers.

Over at SimpleTexting HQ, we’ll be cheering “Go River Dragons” as this stellar marketing team continues to provide top tier experiences to their fans.

If you’re a fellow sports marketer who wants to take after the River Dragons and try text marketing, be sure to sign up for a free trial or schedule a demo today!

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