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Using Data to Boost Season Ticket Sales

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Season ticket holders are a team’s most profitable fans. They not only attend nearly every game, purchasing concessions and merchandise with each trip, but they also wear their apparel and evangelize for the team throughout the year.

But with so many other forms of entertainment competing for fans’ attention these days, operations directors need to offer more than just season tickets, bobble heads and dollar dog nights to keep fans coming back year after year—especially if the team is on a losing streak.

While not every season ticket holder will renew each year, you can increase renewals and bring in new ticket holders by making better use of the data you’re probably already collecting from your fans. Here are three ways to use data to boost season ticket sales.

1. Mine the Data You Already Have

Start by better organizing the data you already collect. Where do your fans live? When do they renew? Do they buy tickets for a full season, half the season, or multiple sets of tickets in different locations? Are they buying for personal use or business purposes?

Group these fans into categories that can help you provide service, benefits, and add-ons that will best serve them — and keep them loyal.

For example, if you find you have a large percentage of fans who live in a city 100 miles away, consider adding a charter bus that will do most of the driving. This value-add can not only increase the likelihood this group of fans will renew, it could also increase your valuable on-premise alcohol and concession sales, as these fans won’t be driving right after the game and will need to ensure that they’re well fed before hitting the bus. (Use your best concessions selling tools, such as the aroma of fresh popcorn and an on-premise smoker or barbecue, to entice fans to buy.)

You can also offer extra perks to business owners who give tickets to employees and clients, such as single-game dining or parking vouchers, rather than a season-long single card.

By using better data sorting techniques, you can group season ticket holders based on specific attributes and even assign them a loyalty score based on their likelihood to renew.

 Some indications of loyalty you can gauge from data include:

  • Number of games attended last season, based on ticket scanner data
  • Distance traveled to attend home and away games
  • Whether they contacted the team or responded to a survey

This enables you to target them more efficiently and provide more relevant offers. For instance, if you have a group that chronically renews late or may not renew at all based on past behaviors, offer them an early-renewal discount, bonus team apparel item, or some other gift to get the renewal handled before your sales team spends a lot of manpower on them.

2. Listen to Your Sales Team

As the primary human contact with your season ticket holders during the sales process, your salespeople are a huge source of data about what benefits are successful and which tactics don’t work. They can give you concrete examples of the objections your fans have, rather than you relying on inferences from local media or other teams’ experiences.

If they tell you, for example, that fans say the recent price increases are too high, give them tools to show what value season ticket holders receive. If your tickets are discounted, show how much a season ticket holder saves per game versus the single ticket purchaser. If improvements have been made that benefit mainly season ticket holders, give the sales team the talking points they need to communicate with your season ticket holders.

3. Mine More Data Sources

In addition to the data you’re already collecting, your fans are sharing much more about themselves through other channels, such as social media postings and response to email and other marketing campaigns. You can use third-party providers to append data from other sources and add it to your arsenal.

In addition, you can follow-up with post-season surveys to gather more information about your fans’ preferences. These additional data sources can help you create a more complete picture of your fans. Not only can you use these fan profiles to design customized season ticket experiences to existing fans; you can also use them to sell to new groups of fans.

Using the demographic data, identify the types of on-premises perks that will be most appealing. You know that your highest-value purchasers likely want more exclusive access perks, but do you know which group of season ticket holders will be most swayed by a team apparel discount? What about those who will be most likely to attend an autograph event? Your season ticket holder profiles can help you structure packages that meet your fans’ needs and encourage those who were on the fence to renew for another season.

Finally, don’t be afraid to share best practices for collecting and using data with other teams. Because teams are so geographically diverse, it’s likely you’re not in competition, and you can both learn a lot from how you’re helping fans remain loyal.

DATA Communications Management has the technology and expertise to streamline and manage every aspect of your season ticket holder program, from data management and personalization to printing and delivery. To learn more about our event ticket solutions, contact us today.

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