Enhancing Ticket Operations at the Old Ball Game

Some say life begins when the season starts, and baseball is alive and well! Major League Baseball finished the 2016 season with a total attendance of 73.16 million. With the 2017 season just under way, the NY Mets have tallied 184,844 fan attendance across 12 home games… and we’re still in the first inning.

Technological advances for in-home viewing have improved in recent years with smart devices, hi-def apps, and 4k screens, but the live sports experience still remains an integral part of the American lifestyle. It’s as American as apple pie. One of the biggest challenges facing sports industries is harmonizing the fan journey across ticketing and hospitality touchpoints. In recent years, advancements have been made in converging the two for a more holistic approach to fan engagement.

Sports are a ‘people’ business, where providing experiences at the human-level with integrated technology is the way of the future. Citi Field, home turf for the Mets, saw an opportunity to modernize their ticketing operations and partnered with Avaya to do so for their 3 million+ visitors each year. Utilizing Avaya Aura® and Avaya Fabric Connect, the Mets operations team will be laying the foundation for enhanced fan engagement that helps us root for home team.

Avaya’s 21s-Century technology supports advanced unified communications and contact center solutions that impact the overall Citi Field experience leading up to, during, and even after the game. Integrated CRM and reporting features give contact center and ticketing service agents the information they need instantly, which helps to reduce call time and deliver a more personalized experience for individual and season ticket sales. Accurate, real-time reporting enables more efficient resource allocation to ensure the right number of agents are available at the right time for maintaining high levels of satisfaction.

Tom Festa, New York Mets Vice President of Technology is excited about the ability to custom-tailor interactions with their customers. Festa says, “If we can identify the customer calling, we can say, ‘By the way, Happy Birthday.’ Nowadays that’s the kind of service that people expect.” Creating these types of micro-moments elevate the customer engagement experience so that it can live harmoniously in a data-driven, mobile-first society. The experiences is everything in the world of sports.  

Festa also points out upgrades to the organization’s conferencing capabilities that enables the ability to handle over 1,000 callers with SIP trunking (Session Initiation Protocol), noting that by “moving to the SIP world, we gained better coverage and more flexibility to move calls around, for less cost.” Reducing administration costs while handling higher quality volume is a grand slam when you consider the average MLB ticket in 2016 was $31 with an an average 30,807 attendance per game this year. That hits cost-saving, revenue boosting models out of the park.

The use of technology to more efficiently and effectively sell tickets is a mega-trend for pro sports teams across all leagues. Avaya and Integration Partners, Avaya Partner of the Year, designed an optimal network infrastructure to help the Mets do just that by addressing their wish list of features, such as: improved conferencing, increased mobility, instant messaging, extendable network, all-star support services, and a new contact center running the bases on 100% Avaya data core.

The shift in buying behaviors influenced by variable channels, methods, and technologies has impacted the way sports organizations manage their ticketing services and operation centers. Phone calls may never fade, but an omni-channel approach is the best bet utilizing a mixture of email, chat bots, text messaging, social media, video and other integrated technologies. The Mets’ upgraded contact center will enable over 100 employees to provide a more contextual and efficient customer experience with Avaya Aura® through a digital interface.

It’s fan engagement for the digital age.

Everyone in the sports and entertainment industry aims to deliver the best fan experience possible and Avaya’s world-class solutions are the Mets’ pinch hitter. Get out there. Catch a game. Live.  #LGM #AvayaSports