The Business of Sport

Using data to drive more profitable business operations.

C24 Business Analytics Football


The sports sector is perhaps one of the most advanced non-tech sectors that utilises analytics across the board.  Historically used to drive performance, big data is now being employed by large person venues and sports teams to drive better profitability and help to make better business decisions.

Here are just a handful of areas where big data is being regularly used to drive business profitability:


Managing Players and Transfer Decisions

Sports clubs are now utilising algorithms to help them make better decisions about which players to purchase or move around.  Analytics can look at scoring predictability based on a huge range of factors to spot patterns; such as stadium capacity, how far the team have travelled before a match and weather changes.


Venue Management

A subject often overlooked in sports, is how efficiently sports venues are managed.  What is the experience like, did the kiosks sell out of burgers too soon?  Or maybe there were long queues to enter because there weren’t enough staff at the ticket office?

Analytics can help identify trends that allow venues to improve the end to end experience for visitors, from looking at usual causes of long queue times, methods to rectify the issue at specific times in the day or better allocation of staff resources based on historical trends.


Fan Insights

By offering out free Wi-Fi connectivity to fans, venues are able to collect insights from fans based on information they enter to access the in-venue Wi-Fi or through data collected about how fans used venue-developed mobile apps during matches.  These analytics can be used to drill down into fan preferences in order to better plan and map the customer experience during an event.  For instance, if a fan is using your in-event mobile app to review offers but then doesn’t make a purchase then it may be a sign that your offers are not appealing effectively to fans.

Or, perhaps you find that you spend a lot of money staffing the box office at the venue when in fact only 2% of tickets are sold in person, therefore utilising fan preference data to deliver more efficient services.


Targeted Marketing Initiatives

Employing buyer data can help with creating more focused and targeted marketing campaigns in the future by analysing which campaigns resulted in specific outcomes; such as which campaigns drove the most visitors to the website, vs. which campaigns resulted in higher ticket sales compared with marketing targeting food purchases at the venue.

Continually extracting data and combining it with your existing operational data (such as ticketing systems, web traffic etc) ensures that you can make your marketing content more targeted to specific fans based on the wider data you have collected around fan demographics and buyer behaviour.


Increase Sponsorship Revenues

Sponsorship revenues are incredibly important for any club or venue, but even more important is demonstrating the return of investment that the sponsor is receiving.  The data you collect from fans and visitor behaviour are valuable sources of information when agreeing sponsorships – as you are able to accurately demonstrate who will be seeing the sponsor’s branding, content and messaging based on demographic information and consumer behaviour data.

Being able to deliver insights collected from across the fan base enables you to make your sponsorship programs more compelling and targeted to deliver more value to both you and the sponsor.


Ticket System Analytics

At the very least, analytics should be employed to review the data coming from your ticket ordering systems.  Being able to accurately identify any ‘blockers’ to consumers purchasing a ticket is critical and is the easiest way to show how data can be employed to impact revenue levels.  There is a range of cart abandonment analytics software available nowadays to track at what point do non-buyers abandon your website or shopping cart, and analytics can help you to find out what could be changed to increase the conversion of sales.

For instance, rather than customers queuing up to purchase a ticket and waiting for upwards of an hour, would it be more efficient to have ticket sellers moving up and down the aisle with mobile tablets to process ticket purchases on the fly?


These are just a handful of ways that big data can positively impact the business and operational side of venue and sports management.  We will also be looking at some of the clever technology and developments on the sports side where analytics is being employed to drive better player performance.


Photo courtesy of La Priz.


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