After many months of uncertainty, lockdowns and restrictions, things seem to be slowly going back to normal. Live events are again allowed, but attendance is still limited, especially in closed quarters. This means that the sports and entertainment industry got back some of the historical revenue sources, at least partially. But nobody knows exactly on what level.
To get all the details about current audience engagement and revenue opportunities, sports teams and organizations need recent, accurate data, which they can present to managing boards and advertisers. Current and projected ticket sales, event attendance, visibility of advertising inventory at the venues, ancillary revenue… those are things you need to discover and understand. And if you don’t the infrastructure that supports this discovery process, you might already be falling one step behind the competition.
What insights can you get out of available data?
When the pandemic broke out, one out of many sport leagues that were stopped was the NBA. After a couple of months the season continued, but without the audience present at the courts. In the meantime, clubs were struggling to find ways how to engage with their audience in these new circumstances. Using social networks is a great way to do that, so clubs started wondering what they could do more to reinforce the connections with their fanbase.
The analytics team at HBSE, the company that owns the Philadelphia 76ers NBA and the New Jersey Devils NHL teams, was tasked to look into the existing data and find opportunities for increased audience engagement. After they did the deep analysis, it was clear that the “behind the scenes” videos, where players shared interesting stories on how a NBA team works, were significantly more successful in driving engagement. So the content team expanded the production of such videos, bringing an even further increase in engagement with fans, and also managing to effectively bridge the communication gap while the league was paused.
This is just one of the examples how data can be used to create opportunities. Organizations which are extraordinary when it comes to utilizing the benefits of data, such as HBSE (with a small help of Adverity), already had all the information in one place. They know all about the basic things, such as ticket sales, social media engagements, advertising revenues, but also about other, interconnected KPIs of their sports businesses. By using data the right way, they manage to discover brand new insights, derive new ideas, and build new revenue streams.
Prospering with the help of data
But these quick wins were all in the past. The situation has again changed, and the data with it. Yes, you now have venues at 50% or 25% capacity, but does it mean that you can just use the historic data and just split it in half or a quarter to understand the current opportunities? Who knows, maybe the audience behavior and engagement patterns have changed even more than you’d expect? Maybe your hard-core fans are still uncomfortable with coming back to the stadiums and courts? Or they have decided to come to the games, but save on additional expenses, such as merchandize or food and beverages? You can either ask them to find out, or just look into the data points from the recent games.
And don’t underestimate the effects of external factors. One of the findings of the 76ers’ data team analysis was that there is a strong correlation between weather conditions and game attendance. Knowing that, they can now estimate revenue of future games based on the weather forecast for the day of the game, and if the forecast is unfavorable invest in promoting this game through various channels to increase attendance and revenue potential.
Using data in a tool like Adverity, with its intelligent features, can help teams actually predict business outcomes. This platform continuously analyzes all data coming from various sources and can highlight any trends or anomalies that can largely affect results, primarily revenue and ad budget spend. Features like the ROI Advisor analyze performance of individual channels driving website traffic and ticket sales, and can identify the best performing ones. By choosing the best performing channels for promotion, marketing teams at sports organizations can improve ticket sales and revenue, which in the time of limited budgets is particularly important.
Position your club as a valuable partner
Let’s get back into the present. The business decision makers at your advertisers and sponsors have also been waiting impatiently for the live events to restart and the audiences to come back to the arenas. But in order to maintain their investments in advertising with your clubs, they need up-to-date information on the ROI of their campaigns. Offering them stale, outdated stats about your venue attendance and ad impressions from 2019 will not reassure them that maintaining an investment with you is a good decision.
Therefore, forming a data infrastructure that supports informed decision making has become a vital priority for many sports organizations. Positioning yourselves as a reliable and powerful partner to advertisers and sponsors has never been so important, and as you can see from the example of the 76ers, you can find many ways how to use the intelligence acquired by analyzing all your data in a single place. And let’s not get too carried into the business topics to forget the audience – by providing them with new ways to interact with your club, you will only fortify its position in their hearts and minds. And what’s better for a club than a large, highly engaged, faithful audience.
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For more details on how the Philadelphia 76ers used Adverity to get the most out of their data and enhance their business in the times of the pandemic, read the complete case study.