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Welcome to the Modern Sports Franchise: Revolutionizing the Fan Experience with Analytics

Today we’ll dive deeper into the operations of the modern sports franchise, focusing on how analytics can revolutionize the arena experience. When it comes to arena operations, franchises are primarily concerned with two things—attracting new fans to increase revenue and making the fan experience as engaging and enjoyable as possible to maximize fan retention. To do this, teams should look to centralize the whole experience, from purchasing tickets, to receiving real-time highlights and stats during the game, to buying gear after the final whistle, into a single “fan app”. 

Our first post on the future of the modern sports franchise looked at how analytics could be used to effect top-down change in an organization through the creation of executive-level dashboards. Today we’ll dive deeper into the operations of the modern sports franchise, focusing on how analytics can revolutionize the arena experience. When it comes to arena operations, franchises are primarily concerned with two things—attracting new fans to increase revenue and making the fan experience as engaging and enjoyable as possible to maximize fan retention. To do this, teams should look to centralize the whole experience, from purchasing tickets, to receiving real-time highlights and stats during the game, to buying gear after the final whistle, into a single “fan app”. 

This is where analytics, coupled with a robust mobile app development platform, comes into play. It gives organizations a single tool to build apps to optimize arena operations and the fan experience. 

The fan experience is about much more than just attending a game; let’s take a moment to think about all the different ways that an analytically driven mobile app could revolutionize the franchise-fan relationship.

It all starts with purchasing a ticket. A fan should be able to open his team app and purchase a ticket to a game, and it should be immediately delivered to his device. Based on that fan’s profile, which would include demographic information, purchasing history, and more, he would receive targeted promotions in advance of the game. A fan attending her first Washington Wizards game might receive a special offer on superstar John Wall’s jersey, while a long-time fan might receive a promotional code for the jersey of the newest star to join the Wizards, Paul Pierce.

Once fans are outfitted with the right gear, how can the franchise make sure that their time at the arena is memorable and engaging? Communication and convenience. To improve communication, organizations could set up devices around the arena that trigger popup messages in a user’s mobile app. The notifications would be tailored to a user’s profile and provide insights and stories about specific locations at the venue. This would help build the fan’s knowledge of team history, solidifying the connection they feel with both the team and the venue. 

The other aspect to consider is convenience. Once in their seat, people don’t want to get up and stand in line to purchase food and drinks, missing precious action in the game they paid to watch, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want concessions.  To address this unmet demand, organizations need to make it convenient for fans to continue to spend directly from their seats. Creating a marketplace on the fan app where people can easily order from any retail location in the arena and have it delivered to their seat would improve satisfaction and greatly increase revenue from concessions. 

These analytically driven mobile apps would also allow franchises to make real-time merchandising and retail offers based on in-game events. Imagine, if Bradley Beal gets the ball with .3 seconds to go and hits a buzzer beater to win the game for the Wizards, clinching a spot in the Eastern Conference finals, fans are going to be in love with him. With this type of mobile app, marketing could take advantage of this crucial moment by triggering a real-time offer to all fans in attendance, giving them a 20% discount on Bradley Beal jerseys. This type of context based promotional offer will increase sales by giving fans what they want, when they want it. 

Mobile analytics is going to completely change the way that fans experience the games that they love. The modern sports franchise is going to heavily rely on mobile applications and analytics to provide fans with the best possible arena experience. These apps create a dialogue between the organization and fans, which is a win-win situation—fans receive a more tailored and engaging experience and franchises optimize retail sales and maximize loyalty. 

In the next post on the modern sports franchise we will be looking at how analytics can be used in scouting, player tracking, and roster optimization—so be sure to check back soon!

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