There is so much talk in the sports industry right now about making programs (collegiate and professional) both smarter and safer.
With an increase in research on the effectiveness of safety equipment and individual performance during a game, in addition to advances in wearable and equipment technology, everyone is talking about collecting more data on teams and players.
But are sports teams really collecting all the data that’s available to them? As someone who talks to Marketing, Ticketing and Sponsorship teams, I would answer that data collection at most sports organizations is still fairly narrow.
What Data is Missing?
The data being collected on players and teams helps improve performance and reduce injuries, but teams are missing the other half of the equation: the fans.
Teams are constantly trying to ensure that they provide the best fan experience both at the game and online. By expanding the data they are collecting on players to include fans, sports teams will be able to create personalized experiences both online and offline. So what type of data should sports teams be thinking about?
Transaction Data: Teams most likely have merchandise, ticketing or concessions data, but is it organized enough to where you can see trends and understand your fans? Are you able to see the relationship between who is in your venue and purchasing concessions and merchandise? Chances are your team does not have the bandwidth to mine this data quickly and take action on it. There are many solutions out there that can enhance your existing “plumbing” (like Umbel).
In-Venue Data: Want to know who is sitting in your seats (and not just who purchased the tickets)? Beyond the POS and concession data, you have the ability to capture the fans in-venue through Beacon, gating Wifi, geo-fencing, and in-app activation through sound. These technologies are up-and-coming in the sports industry because they will give your team insights on who is really at your event and what they are doing.
Email: So much information can be gained by having a person’s email address, but the key to keeping fans engaged is hyper-targeted emails. Are they a single game ticket purchaser or do they have a season tickets that they use with the family? Customized messages to your email database will make a difference in how the fan sees you and will help foster a more meaningful (and profitable) relationship with them.
Brand Affinities: If you pull in social data and combine it with the other data points listed above, you can see not only what brands your fans love, but also see if fans have affinities for individual players on your team. Having this type of data combined with data points, like past purchasing behavior, allows you to target giveaways and events accordingly. Moreover, those brand affinities will allow your sponsorship teams to sell and retain sponsors, because they can offer solid data points that show what brands your fans love the most.
All of this data currently exists for you, your team and your fans. The question is are you capturing it? And if you are capturing it, do you have the tools to query, segment, gain insights and take action on this data as a whole?
Data is a powerful tool that can help players rise to the top, but it can also be used to sell more tickets, find better sponsors and transform the fan experience.