Fanalytics—Solving the Fan Data Equation

Fanalytics: Solving the Fan Data Equation

The professional sports industry in North America is projected to reach $73.5 billion by 2019 (PwC Sports Outlook Study). But how do sports clubs and stadium operators ensure that they’re getting their piece of the industry pie? Let’s do a math exercise to put this into perspective.

Take the top 4 professional sports leagues in North America: NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB (Statista 2016).

  • NFL is a 32-team league with 16 games per year and an average 68,4000 per game attendance.
  • NBA is a 30-team league with 82 games per year and an average 17,849 per game attendance.
  • NHL is a 30-team league with 82 games per year and an average 17,481 per game attendance.
  • MLB is a 30-team league with 162 games per year and an average 30,366 per game attendance.

This is an average and doesn’t factor into account playoffs, specialty games (like All-Star), minor leagues, or other in-venue events. From a top-down view, that’s a lot of per-game, per-fan opportunity. From a more-detailed calculated view, that is a 35 million (NFL), 43 million (NBA), 43 million (NHL), and 147 million (MLB) fan-impression opportunity. This is just opportunity here. We’re not even accounting for actual spend.

The Fan Cost Index, average cost for a family of 4 to attend a sporting event based on minimum purchase factors, guesstimates an average $85 spend per person for NFL, $55 per person spend for NBA, $62 per person spend for NHL, and $31 per person for MLB (Team Marketing Report). Again, that’s based on minimum purchase factors. But what if I said you could influence fan spend by analyzing, predicting, and prescribing additional or enhanced purchase factors? What if I said you could increase revenue? What if I said you could gain better insight into converting fans? You would ask me how. And the answer is simple, with data.

Data takes form in many shapes and sizes but is ultimately derived from a connected, smart stadium. A smart stadium effectively paves the way for extracting, aggregating, and leveraging data to create new, enjoyable fan experiences through digital touch points. Smart stadiums have socio-economic implications. Data can be pulled from mobile apps, network usage, Wi-Fi access, purchases, ticketing, social activity, content consumption, etc. For all of this to work effectively, stadium operators have to be in it for the long game, investing in the future of the club, the players, the fans, the stadium. This can manifest in starting from scratch or retrofitting existing hard and soft infrastructures to meet the demand. You’re laying the foundation for what comes next.

Information Extraction

A conduit for information extraction at smart stadiums is Fanalytics. Fanalytics (fan analytics) is a cloud-based software platform that connects all of the data trends from digital touch points to visualize the fan engagement journey and create an optimized buying zone that is mutually beneficial to the club, stadium, and the fan. This can be sliced and diced through standard and predictive KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) on a per-stadium, per-event basis or aggregated across multiple venues and multiple events for maximum exposure.

Fanalytics also provide organizations with increased awareness on impulsive fan purchasing triggers. A valuable hypothesis we can test is whether a fan’s sentimental attachment to a sport, team, product, or service directly influences purchasing behavior, which ultimately should enable marketers and clubs to sell to fans more effectively. A deeper, more powerful understanding of direct, indirect, planned or impulsive actions and spending can help organizations increase (or decrease) revenue.

The massive amounts of fan data that can be pulled from digital touch points on a per-person or group basis through the extraction of qualitative and quantitative data enables club owners and stadium operators to create more engaged, satisfied customers.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these touch points:

  • Wi-Fi Network: Gathers device IDs and information from users on the network across location, entity and time.
  • Beaconing: Leverages localized services and automated communications from systems like a mobile app.
  • Ticketing: Processes ticketing behavior trends and transactions in accordance with games and events.
  • Stadium Mobile App: Provides constant connection to user profiles before, during, and after games or events.
  • Geo Location Services: Triggers targeted promotions and messaging using GPS coordinates or proximity for location-based interests. The information can also be used to determine crowd movements in aggregate.
  • Fan Engagement Wall: Delivers insight into engagement levels, popular content, and interactions with fan-generated content.
  • Contact Center: Streamlines communications channels to identify fan-to-venue and fan-to-club relationships.
  • Surveillance: Enables venues operators to access hot zones to help identify and mitigate potential threats or document fan misbehavior.
  • Social Media: Measures actions, sentiment, and trends for pre, during, and post-game fan levels.
  • Merchandising/Concessions: Relates merchandise and concession buying behavior to user profiles and persona groups for predictive insights.
  • Venue/Team/Event Web Sites: Aggregates essential behavioral data across various venues, teams, and events.
  • Team/League/Event APIs: Gathers key data on statistics, scores, and figures from leagues, organizations and events.
  • Wearables: Interact with other digital touch points to incorporate fan and player physio-data sets.

Fans and fan behavior are the primary sources for turning all this data into actionable insights. These sample stadium touch points increase a stadium operator’s ability to identify when the fan is in the buying zone for tickets, concessions, merchandise, etc. throughout the pre, during, and post stages of the fan journey. When stadiums invest in building out digital touch points and creating a connected, smart environment, they are in turn investing in the longevity of the club, the future of the stadium, and the overall satisfaction of the fans.

Keep in mind this can extend beyond the physical space of a single venue—for example to a park or village like at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Barra Olympic Park is the main competition center and meeting point for the 17-day event. The complex covers 1.18 million square meters across 9 venue installations with an aggregate capacity of 95,000 per day.

The power of data for multi-space venues like this is just tremendous and even extends internationally to viewers like us at home. Extracting and leveraging data from second screens, access points, purchase behaviors, wearables, etc., can help brands, sponsors, and vendors fine-tune messaging, spark content, and dynamically pivot sales or offers throughout the 2016 Olympics … and after. That’s a potential 4 billion fan impression opportunity worldwide.

Summing It Up

One element that makes Avaya’s predictive Fanalytics platform extremely powerful is that our standard (current and past data) and predictive KPIs (machine learning) are able to gather industry-based data across multiple events, teams, and venues in or outside the same league—providing stronger, premium data sets.

This strategic, mobile-led, data-driven approach to the fan journey increases the probability of converting casual fans to loyal fans or even season ticket holders by creating contextually relevant, meaningful experiences. It’s the socio-economic evolution from carefree to casual to committed to aficionado to fanatic. The more stadium operators and sports clubs succeed in getting devoted fans to invest their time, passion and money into stadium business/experiences, then the higher the potential social and economic impact. It’s our job to innovate today to build experiences that stand the test of time for stadiums of the future.

Basically what this all boils down to is having the tools in place to take your game day experience to the nth degree.

Sample, simple math where n equals 2 results in dynamically doubling your $85 fan cost index (NFL) to $170 for your 43 million (average per game) fan impression based on the power of data.

That’s a potential $3.6 billion opportunity that I’d say is well worth the investment.