- FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/858,263, filed Nov. 9, 2007, which is incorporated herein as if reproduced in full below.
The present invention relates to methods and devices for buying content which then gives the buyer or others the chance to receive an award or prize for participating, watching and/or attending live and/or televised events, wherein individuals may qualify for example to win an exciting prize, such as a special meeting during or at the end of the event with a star entertainer and/or to be given a seat in close proximity to the entertainer or sports team during the event. For example, a fan may get to sit or stand on stage with their favorite entertainer(s) during a performance or sit with their favorite sports team (or in the team owner's sky box) during a game. Qualifying to win such prizes is accomplished via use of a personal wireless communication device, e.g., text messaging (SMS), entry form, computer and for a free method of entry they can enter via a multiuser kiosk or hand written ballot. The terms lottery or drawing as used herein should be interpreted so as to always be in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations, wherein if a lottery as defined by a jurisdiction is not in compliance with the law, the invention shall be used so as to comply with the law even if referred to as a lottery. The present invention is directed to creating more fair and open access for such dream opportunities to become a reality for more people, whereas currently only a select few get such opportunities by having great wealth, great fame, or through having suffered extreme and/or undesirable life events.
If one wishes to get up close to a famous entertainer while they perform, they can spend exorbitant amounts to have special seats. Billionaires buy sports teams so that they can participate in the game in ways that the typical fan can only see from a remote distance if they are fortunate enough to afford a ticket. Fans that cannot afford a ticket often miss their favorite team's games when the games are blacked out of local TV due to insufficient ticket sales. Sometimes, lottery tickets are given out at events to attendees that donate to a cause, or purchasers of a program might receive a prize, for example a meeting with the cast of a show at an “after-party.” Thus, only a lucky few ever experience these types of intense and intimate experiences.
Thousands of live events of all kinds take place across the country every day, including sporting events, theater, concerts, etc. Prizes are sometimes given to some patrons attending these live spectator events, however, there has never been a system in which everyone at the live event has an equal chance, through a lottery and text messaging (SMS), for example through use of a wireless device, to win a seat on stage, on the field, or in the dugout, and thus to have an experience that only a select few ever experience in their lifetime.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, there exists a need in the art for greater and more affordable chances for the average sports fan, music fan, or other live event attendees to gain closer access to the stars and/or the entertainment, so that they can participate in a manner that many would consider one of the greatest experiences of their lives.
The needs and desires expressed above can be met by a lottery that uses standard wireless communication devices during live events, wherein players will receive content and merchandise also can be entered into a lottery or drawing to win the ultimate prize of a lifetime and/or other prizes. Qualification to win a prize or prizes are adopted to be consistent with state and federal laws, and generally provide that purchasers of a product (e.g., cell phone, wallpaper, or ringtones) or service are automatically entered into a drawing should they choose to be entered, while entry into the drawing is possible by complying with alternative entry opportunities that do not require a purchase, such as by filling out an entry application on paper or via an electronic data entry device or a kiosk.
In an embodiment, by text messaging a code from a mobile phone or other device that has internet-access, a user receives desired content, usually for a modest fee. For example, for a fee, a user could download a song by an artist playing at a concert that the user is attending, and the user will be asked if they would like to be entered into a lottery to win a trip, the ultimate backstage pass, and/or an amazing once in a lifetime experience. Persons that do not have the ability to download or enter the contest via a personal device can enter the lottery or drawing by filling out a form or using a kiosk (there may be more than one method of entry or kiosk to ensure adequate access to the drawing is given to people who do not purchase a product and/or pay for a download).
In an embodiment, the invention provides that the program will always have a free method of entry for every drawing, for example by having booths, kiosks and/or tables where users can enter the drawing or lottery for free through various types of kiosks/electronic boxes—as well as being able to enter for free on-line through various websites affiliated with the various different events/programs that are being offered through this program.
In an embodiment, the invention comprises each patron who has a text messaging capability in their mobile phone, or other wireless device, to enter a lottery by just texting/SMS a given number, with the possibility of winning the best seat in the house of an event they are already attending. This can be done at any music concert, sporting event, theater or kids' event, fashion event, or any other spectator gathering. Imagine sitting on the side of the stage, feeling the sweat fly off of your favorite Rock Star. Imagine smelling the rubber from your favorite racecar driver's car. Imagine being given the baseball from your favorite pitcher, after he just struck out the last hitter in the last inning of the last game of the season. Imagine your child singing and dancing on stage with his or her favorite character. All of these opportunities can be attained by winning the prize in the lottery, entered just by a simple text/SMS.
An embodiment of the present invention can be summarized as a method and system for enhancing the entertainment and enjoyment of a spectator or participatory event, wherein participants and/or spectators automatically receive an opportunity to enter a drawing for a prize upon using a wireless communication device to make an electronic acquisition of interest. For example, upon submitting a request via a communication device for a ring tone performed by an artist and authorizing a fee to be charged to an account associated with the communication device, the user is offered an opportunity to be entered into a contest to receive prizes at no additional charge by entering an approval response. In jurisdictions where such promotional prize lottery contests cannot charge a fee and wherein no purchase can be required in order to participate in the prize drawing, individuals wishing to participate can fill out entry letters with requisite information, enter data in fields as indicated, and/or enter data in response to queries at automated kiosks or computer terminals.
In a preferred embodiment, a fan of an entertainer will attend a concert by the entertainer and during the show use a cell phone or similar electronic wireless communication device to purchase a song, ring tone, or wallpaper, and in association with the ordering process, will be asked if they wish to be included in a drawing to identify a person or persons that would get to sit or stand on stage up close to and watch the artist perform.
An example of the opportunities for benefitting from the invention is demonstrated by baseball. During an 8 month baseball season there is an average of 5 to 6 games played a week—perhaps 15 games going on every day—in front of an average of 40,000 people. That means that on any given day, there is an average of 600,000 people across the country going to watch a baseball game, live. So, in one week there is an average of 3 to 4 million people attending baseball games. Baseball fans are a captive audience, inning after inning. The screens in the ball park could be used as the marketing tool, for example the screen could say, “If you text between now and the 7th inning you will receive content and possibly get the chance to come down and watch the rest of the ball game next to the dugout of your favorite team”. At Children's Events, many parents would want their child to be part of a musical experience wherein their child gets to go on stage with one of their Hero's, this is the ultimate kid's fantasy.
When fans attend a concert, and while buying food, beverages and t-shirts, including before the show even starts, all of the video screens inside and outside the venue can offer to the fans the opportunity to send a text message to try and win a seat right on the side of the stage during the encore or other part of the concert. Fans cannot get any closer than that to the performers, unless they actually can get up on stage and play with the band, which might be a prize as well.
- FURTHER DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
All it takes is a text message to be part of the lottery pool with a chance to win the best seat in the house. An event is a captive market place where everyone is a fan and will do almost anything to get up close and personal. All the participants need to optimize the opportunity is a PDA, Pocket PC, or any wireless device, preferably a mobile phone, and to watch the screens inside or outside the venue. The screens, or their wireless devices, will inform the participants when and what to text, and then they text/SMS away. In an embodiment, when screens and/or wireless devices do not work well, or where a concert cannot be interrupted by noises from electronic devices, seat and row numbers with a code can be given, and an usher can go to the winner's seat during a break to advise them of their prize. In an alternative embodiment, screens or displays on the individual's seats or on the back of the seat in front of the winner will advertise the contest and/or advise if the person is a winner.
Further details of certain embodiments of the present invention will now be described, which are provided as illustrative examples of the invention so as to enable those of ordinary skill in the art to practice the invention. The further details provided are not meant to limit the scope of the present invention, but to be exemplary. Where certain elements of the present invention can be partially or fully implemented using known components, only those portions of such known components that are necessary for an understanding of the present invention will be described, and detailed descriptions of other portions of such known components will be omitted so as not to obscure the invention. Further, the present invention encompasses present and future known equivalents to the components referred to herein by way of illustration.
To increase the enjoyment of a live performance at a live spectator event, at indoor/outdoor stadium events, such as sports events, music concerts, auto racing and live entertainment events, also including television shows and fashion events, a spectator has the chance to text (SMS, MMS) from their personal wireless device, (cellular phone, PDA, pocket PC, two way pager, landline telephone, desktop computer, etc.) to get the chance to win a prize.
As soon as ticket sales begin, this lottery can be advertised through websites and/or by display using signage at sporting and entertainment venues, indoor and outdoor. In the case of television and fashion events, prizes can be won prior to the event. Marketing for the lottery can be done by advertising through any or all of the following: artist websites, fan sites, cellular websites, cellular service providers, television, radio, printed on event tickets and in publications including, but not limited to, daily and weekly newspaper publications, indoor/outdoor venue signage, including banners, JumboTrons, Diamond Vision, and on all monitors used at a live event to broadcast the event itself.
Participants playing the lottery/sweepstakes could all win a specified prize and content, however a limited number of entrants could also win a grand prize of a lifetime experience. Depending on state and other laws participants could either pay money per text (SMS) to be entered to win the grand prize or buy content/merchandise including, but not limited to, ring tones or wallpaper, in which case, as a result of their purchase, they are automatically entered to win the grand prize. The grand prize may consist of a view of the event/performance from an exclusive VIP seating section that only the artist/athlete has the privilege to experience. The winners could also leave the venue with photographic proof of their lifetime experience.
Other participants could have a chance to win other prizes such as ring tones, wallpaper, and/or automatic admittance to a fan club, merchandise or streaming video from the event. Lottery winners can be randomly chosen by a computer system and be prompted through but not limited to their cellular device, PDA, pocket PC, or two-way pager or big screen monitors as to how to receive their prizes.
In an embodiment, known methods and systems for operating mobile lottery games using a mobile phone lottery system are adapted to carry out the unique lottery method and prizes envisioned by the present invention. An exemplary mobile lottery game system that operates via a wireless network is described in U.S. Pat. No. 7,163,459, assigned to Nokia Corporation, and is incorporated by reference as if reproduced in full herein below. While such prior art systems have focused on traditional games of chance with traditional gambling rewards and costs in either money or points, the present invention involves purchasing a known product with a commensurate price, while also including a free entry into a contest wherein the odds may be much better than in traditional cash lotteries. For example, millions may play a cash lottery, with only one big winner. In contrast, a purchaser of a product, such as a song from a favorite artist that they are watching while at their concert, may be one of very few persons in the concert venue that actually enter the contest for a special seat or back stage pass. So, with the present invention, more people will have greater access to their favorite artists in a fair process. Since the more one enters the greater the odds of winning, the present invention increases the chances that a loyal fan will be rewarded with a special up-close and personal experience with a favorite artist. Since a purchase is not required, the rich or well-to-do won't have an advantage.
Fans at an event, or at home, may be able to text a number for the chance to win the lottery. The text message becomes a part of the lottery pool and a limited number of grand prize winners are texted/SMS back instructions on the actual day of the event as to where they should go to redeem their grand prize, or they will be texted/SMS back that they won and they could find instructions on signage or monitors. The grand prize could be a seat on the stage of a concert, front row at a fashion show, on the sidelines or dugout at a sporting event, in the winners circle at NASCAR, or a spot on a television show.
The grand winning prize may be the best seat at any given event, giving the winner a life experience of viewing the event from an exclusive area in which only artists and athletes have access. The prize may also include a photograph of the winner in this highly exclusive area. Winners and participants could also receive merchandise items as well as ring tones and wallpaper.
Participants, upon receiving a series of numbers through various marketing avenues, are prompted to enter those numbers into their wireless device, at which time they are charged a small fee, such as $0.50-$5.00, per text/SMS entry, which may increase or decrease depending on the nature of the event, the product being purchased, and on other factors appreciated by those in the particular industry involved. The fee for the text/SMS entry will be displayed in all marketing so that participants are advised in advance. The texted numbers are then sent into a computer controlled lottery. The computer system, or similar device, will randomly select a limited number of entrants, who will win a prize. The randomly selected winners will be notified via their wireless device, monitors at the live events, PDA, desktop computer, two-way pager, cellular phone, or any other two-way wireless device in their possession. At this time, the winners are sent information via their wireless device, notifying them that they have been selected to receive a prize. Participants may also receive instructions via event monitors or PA announcements at the venue during the event. The grand prize winners will follow instructions to receive their grand prize of a lifetime.
In an embodiment, one may text message for entry into a lottery to win VIP-level travel to and from and tickets to a future event, such as a concert by a favorite artist or to see a favorite team or event. For example, a fan could enter a contest using a text message, via the internet, or via a free method, to attend a concert at a future date in another city, with the grand prize being first class travel to the event, VIP seating or back stage seating, which may include VIP lodgings and other benefits. Advertisers of various products may sponsor such prizes, consistent with legal requirements, so that no purchase of any product or service is required.
The prize may or may not include moving from their ticketed/assigned seats to a designated special area, from which they will be escorted to a “behind the scenes” view of their favorite entertainment/sports personalities. There has been outlined, rather broadly, significant features of the invention in order that further details of the invention may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. The subject matter of the claims is supported by any portion or portions of the specification, whether in the summary, description of further details of the invention, the claims, and/or related art incorporated by referenced.
The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways, and as such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. Therefore, the claims should be regarded as including all equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.