Teams know when their schedules are released that there will be “easy” and “hard” games to sell. Typically, we see our clients rank their games based on opponents, start time and day of the week. Those rankings shift over the course of the season as team and opponents performance changes, but, these factors—who you’re playing and when—are key to your marketing and ticketing strategies. When leveraged correctly, they’re the foundation for targeting segments that will deliver you and your team the most revenue– of course, they’re not the only factors.
Beyond knowing the schedule, teams have data on their fans spread across the organization. The key to making the most of your data is having enough depth of data to segment across your fan database: If you have the data in one platform, or a brilliant in-house analytics department, creating segments to leverage the data you have (e.g., ticketing, social, email) will lead to higher-converting marketing and sales teams. Let’s dive into six targeted segments we’ve found to maximize revenue for sports teams around the world.
Opponent-based: You have tickets to sell both at home and away games, but how effectively are you using your data to sell those remaining seats? Creating opponent segments can be straightforward (and your marketing and sales teams are likely doing it now) or more involved. If limited data is available, start by creating a segment for each game that shows all past ticket purchasers to this opponent’s game.
However, if you have access to rich first-party data, you can create more detailed segments that aren’t solely reliant on past behavior and thus expands your teams’ reach.
For example, the Florida Panthers created an evergreen custom segment for each of their opponents that included:
- past ticket purchases,
- demographic information (e.g., zip codes surrounding the opponents’ base),
- and brand affinities that are local and relevant to the opponent.
This allowed them to target ticketing campaigns for both home and away games when playing this opponent.
Players: With the rise of social media and personal brands, players on your team are likely to have just as many – if not more – followers on social media than your team. MLB players even launched their own social network to connect with fans. You likely have fans that follow your top players on Facebook, but don’t follow your team page. Teams can ask players to promote certain events, games or promotions on their pages, but you can take this a step further if you have access to in-depth first-party data.
Creating a segment of fans following high-indexing players and then targeting them with ticket sales, player signed merchandise or even a chance to meet the star player, allows you to enhance the fan experience, increase your data depth and drive conversion (i.e. revenue).
Weekend vs weekday: Unless it’s a playoff, you know that a Tuesday night game is going to be a hard sell, especially if it’s ranked a “C game” because of your opponent that night. Your team has the past purchase ticket data at hand, but are you leveraging it? We’ve seen that people that purchase for Tuesday are also likely to be available for another weekday game.
By creating and targeting a segment of all weekday ticket purchasers and layering people on top of that who have signed onto your Wi-Fi at previous weekday games—fans that are possibly not in your ticket purchase data—you’ll get higher conversions on the hard-to-sell games. This segment of “all weekday” gives your sales team more people to target, streamlines their outreach and gives them higher conversion—especially when tickets are released by the visiting team.
Super fans: And, of course, your super fans. You know the ones who show up early, wear all your apparel and paint their faces, but what about your digital super fans? Fans today aren’t only liking your official social pages (and your players pages as discussed above), but they’re active on fan generated/unofficial pages as well. Knowing who these fans are and being able to target them with campaigns (including trivia, a locker room tour sweepstakes, etc.) geared toward collecting leads or selling tickets will increase your revenue and your reachable database for your sales team.
Special interests: Almost every team has theme nights and events focused on a few key demographics (ladies night, first responder night, family night, etc.). Typically, we see teams use their past purchase data to market and sell the same events year after year to the same fans.
The more data you have, the more you can expand your reach for these themed nights. You can even help discover new groups to create a theme for and cross market to these new segments–wouldn’t be great to tie in “family nights” with clinics and camp promotion during the off season?
Think that you’ve thought of everything? Dig into the data. The Panthers, for example, found that they had a bunch of Deadheads in the audience with an unusually high affinity for Jerry Garcia and all things Grateful Dead that they turned into a theme night.
Premium buyer: Your sales team likely has high targets for premium individual and season tickets and they also probably have a strong list of past premium purchasers and corporations in your area. This is a great place to start when creating a premium buyer segment, but what happens when a premium season ticket holder falls through and your wait list falls short? Or when the visiting team releases premium individual tickets for a Tuesday night game?
Having a segment that includes not only your past premium buyers, but also high-income fans, and fans that have luxury brand affinities can make the difference between your sales team selling those high-value seats and not.
Regardless of where your team is on the “data journey,” layering data onto any of the segments—past ticket purchases, first-party brand affinities, household incomes, etc.—will increase conversions on your marketing and ticketing campaigns, and increase your revenue all while keeping a focus on the fan experience.