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  • Brett Zalaski

Guest Technology Blog: DASH - Digital Auction Showdown

This article was written by Jonathan Hufnagel, Founder of DASH, Digital Auction Showdown, a company that has digitized charity auctions for professional sports teams. DASH currently works with almost 70 professional sports teams. That's a lot.

Today’s fastest growing brands are spending billions of digital activation dollars trying to capture the digital attention of consumer’s. And why not? According to many studies, Americans spend more than 5 hours on their cell phones each day! Sports teams, like big brands, should be no different, relentless, or any less creative when it comes to capturing a fans digital attention and extracting every penny out of it.

Hello, my name is Jonathan Hufnagel and I am the Founder of DASH Auction. DASH is the only digital auction platform built specifically for professional sports teams and their fans. After having my ‘ah-ha’ moment while working at FC Dallas from ’10 – ’13, it took until April ’16 to find and bring the pieces together. Our team of 5 took the concept from idea, to revenue generating in 60 days, and have since extrapolated DASH’s digital auction offering to now 65 teams who have and are working with DASH.

We proved quickly that digitizing auctions not only brought more convenience to fans, made team personnel lives more efficient and broadened their auction audiences, but also helped to put butts in seats, activate with partners, collect a ton of fan data (names, numbers, emails, etc.,.), act as a mobile merchandise platform, and amplify the fans’ gameday experience.

How you may ask, do DASH powered digital auctions have the capability to do all these things?

The answer: by working with really smart people who know what to do with the digital ‘attention’ that fans give auctions.

Auctions are an experience familiar to both sports teams and fans so there is no learning curve. The chance to win items directly from the game fans are attending or experiences with their favorite player sets the stage for an ongoing, personalized relationship between the team and their fans.

From NHL Teams transacting nearly $500,000 each season during gameday auctions, to seeing a fan bid 47 times in one auction on DASH, there’s no question that digital auctions garner a significant amount of attention from fans willing to engage in a digital auction experience.

As a sports team, what you do with that attention, can help you drive butts to seats. I’ll share a few examples of what you can do:

Scenario One:

In 2017 - the New England Black Wolves of the National Lacrosse League, gave us all an ‘ah-ha’ moment.

Six weeks prior to their big St Patrick’s Day jersey auction the Black Wolves offered youth lacrosse teams attending the game the chance to win proceeds from the jersey auction. The winner would be announced during intermission and brought on to the field for a check presentation. What was the catch (b/c there’s always a catch)?

Not much: Winners had to be present to win. Meaning, they had to buy a ticket. The more youth lacrosse players and families who bought tickets and were in attendance, the higher the odds of winning the pot were for their team!

One youth lacrosse team went home with $3,000 that night.

This simple idea can drive hundreds of tickets to a game and be a TON of fun for those attending and creating memories that last forever. Not to mention, 18 happy fans who just won their favorite player’s game worn jersey to go home and brag about.

Scenario Two:

I always tell teams, whether your auction last 7 weeks, or 7 hours, the most engaging time for fans is the final hour. And if your auction concludes at 9pm Saturday night, at 9:02, people will know if they won, if they lost, or what the ‘hot’ item of the night sold for. And fans will move on from the experience of your auction.

So how can we change this and extend the digital attention fans just gave us?

The Answer: Through a Secondary Offer introduced within 60 seconds of the main auction concluding.

The offer can be anything… from tickets, merchandise, sponsor discounts, VIP Gameday Experiences, etc.,. the ‘surprise and delight’ moment for fans is a mechanism that will keep them coming back time and time again.

Have a slow Wednesday game after the Saturday night sellout? Introduce a Secondary ticket offer: $15 tickets + access to the Budweiser Club.

The trick is to keep the secondary offer genuine. If it’s jersey fights cancer night, offer $5 rebate on the secondary offer to a local advocacy group.

These are two great examples that can each move hundreds of ticket sales, but there are many more and we are happy to share at DASH.

I hope this has helped you. Please feel free to reach out for further ideas on how to use digital auctions to put butts in seats, act as a partnership activation tool, collect a TON of data, act as a mobile merch platform, and amplify a fans’ gameday experience.

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