The NHL Pittsburgh Penguins are finding success from its PensPoints fan loyalty program.

The team uses the two-year-old program to accomplish the following:

  • Engage and reward fans
  • Access data to improve operational efficiency
  • Provide a new activation platform for sponsors

The Penguins also use the program to generate new sponsorship revenue. The team has secured roughly $400,000 in incremental revenue by positioning PensPoints as a sponsor activation platform.

The smart phone app rewards fans for going to games, purchasing sponsor products and participating in activities in the Consol Energy Center and the community. Fans can redeem points for team merchandise, on-the-glass seats and other perks.

Members acquire points by scanning a special code with their phone.

The program has 90,000 active members--exceeding expectations for 12,000 members, said David Peart, the Penguins’ senior vice president of sales and service.

Members have scanned 4.2 million codes over the past two years, surpassing expectations for 45,000 scans in the first year of the program. 

Using PensPoints As A Sponsor Activation Platform
The Penguins use PenPoints as a sponsorship activation platform by rewarding fans who purchase sponsor product and attend sponsor events.

The team in 2014 has upsold three sponsors on the program: Enterprise Rent-A-Car, First Niagara and Pizza Hut.

Enterprise, for example, ran a 30-day promotion that offered 200 PensPoints for a three-day car rental. The team promoted the offer on and the PensPoints Twitter feed.

And sponsors are seeing quantifiable results. Local Toyota dealers gained more than 1,500 test drives as a result of a PensPoints promotion, said Peart. The promo was the most successful test drive offer the dealers have conducted, he said.

Sponsors also can use PensPoints to drive traffic to events outside the Consol Energy Center. For example, Miller Lite uses the program to drive traffic to Penguins viewing parties at local bars and restaurants.

Consumers earn double points at the Miller Lite viewing parties by staying for the entire game, said Peart, noting that Miller Lite brand ambassadors provide codes that PensPoints members scan at the end of each game.    

“The PensPoints program is the most effective activation tool that we have,” said Peart, noting that roughly 20 of the team’s 140 partners participate in the program.

The Penguins also use PensPoints to track on-site purchases. The team uses the data to make tailored offers to members and change concession offerings when needed. “We’re capturing behavioral data that we can use to make better business decisions.”

The Penguins developed the app with LoyalTree, a Pittsburgh-based company that makes loyalty programs for restaurants and retailers. The team pays $75,000 to $100,000 a year to run the program and $50,000 on prizes and program execution.

Peart credits the success of the program to its mobile platform.

“Someone doesn’t have to use a reward card or log on to a computer. The program is no more than an arm’s length away from consumers.”

The Penguins promote PensPoints in game broadcasts, digital platforms, publications, point-of-sale locations and on merchandise receipts.