Opening Day. Two words that symbolize hope, new beginnings and a whole lot of excitement. No matter how last season ended, your team is 0-0, in first place (even if only for a day), and your fans are eagerly awaiting for the gates to open and the season to begin.
If your home openers are anything like the ones I’ve experienced, you’ve probably got an Opening Day street festival and your first game is sold out (or close to it). Let’s be honest: all the optimism and excitement surrounding the start of your season makes selling tickets for opening day one of the easier games to sell. That being said, Opening Day doesn’t only represent the start of a new season—it’s also an excellent opportunity to collect valuable fan data to help keep your stadium full on those less glamorous games (I’m looking at you, game in the middle of the season against the worst team in the league).
Leverage your best days to prepare for your worst days
Your home opener and other marquee matchups present a tremendous opportunity to create activations that your team can use to collect valuable fan data that helps you better understand your fans. Imagine how powerful it would be if your ticket ops team was able to create segments of fans based on the information collected from these activations. Or how much more effective your ticket sales reps might be if they knew detailed information on your fan’s interests or favorite players on other teams prior to calling. Now think about how much more valuable that information would be if it came directly from the fans themselves. That’s called first-party data because it’s information about fans, from fans.
How activations can live beyond the stadium
Opening Day doesn’t only excite the 20-80,000 fans in attendance for your home opener. You’ve got thousands more fans who will be watching at home, too! What if I told you that you could create an activation that could generate leads to help your ticket sales team sell tickets throughout the entire season? By creating an “Enter to Win” sweepstakes that’s easy to enter with a really cool prize that’s activated on your team’s social channels, you can learn more about the fans both inside and outside of your stadium. What’s better is you can use this information to identify which fans bring the most value to your franchise.
Acquiring first-party data is one thing, but the real value comes in what you do with this information. For instance, you could use this data to create numerous fan segments so you can better target potential ticket buyers when those less popular opponents come to town. You could also use this information to identify which fans to target for that concert in your venue when the team is out of town. Another great use case for how fan segments can drive ticket sales comes in the form of theme nights and giveaways. In fact, during the 2016 – 2017 NHL Season, the Florida Panthers used information they acquired about their fan base to implement and execute various theme nights. For example, for their “Grateful Dead Night” the team targeted people who had affinities for the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia and other jam bands to reach ticket buyers outside of their traditional fan base. On average the Panthers earned a 14.6x return on ad spend on their theme nights throughout the season.
Nothing lasts forever, and a full stadium on opening day can turn into a stadium that’s half or two-thirds full in just a few weeks once the newness of your season wears off. By leveraging the key dates on your calendar and other marquee matchups to acquire fan data, your team can prepare for the upcoming winter or dog days of summer.