The Numbers Game: Big Data and the Business of Sport | Collecting big data – Case study 3: Milwaukee Brewers and internal data

The Milwaukee Brewers are described by Major League Baseball (MLB) as “the model” for the sport’s use of offfield analytics, despite being one of its smaller-market and, in playing terms, less-successful franchises.

The Brewers use both primary and secondary data in their analysis projects, but put a strong emphasis on prioritising the data they have within the organisation before contextualising it with demographic data from outside.

“The key elements that are the main drivers of any analysis are the current and historical purchases of our fans on both the primary and secondary markets. Past buying behaviour is a key indicator of future buying behaviour.” Diny Hurwitz, Data Analyst, Milwaukee Brewers

Alongside ticket purchase and usage information, the Brewers also track fan behaviours and attitudes through a number of other sources across the organisation:

• Survey data, including self-noted demographic information and fan experience rating

• E-mail data, including textual analysis as well as open and click-through rates

• Online purchasing through both the Brewers’ shop and MLB.TV.

The accelerating migration of purchasing and interaction online is pushing the Brewers’ data capture systems in the same direction, with web-based systems allowing them to collect more and more data each season and evolve the analytical processes they apply.

“The majority of individual game purchases are now conducted online, so having the ability to easily capture these sales and enhance the user experience is key to the growth of the online space.” Diny Hurwitz


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