At every game, the same scenario occurred: Many empty seats at game start. Then gradually filling up during the game – even in the high-priced sections. A bad overall experience for the fans, it did not look good on TV, and it was an eyesore for the CEO.

We saw the pattern at even high-profile, sold-out games. So we felt a strong need to discover the underlying reasons and understand the fans’ behavior,” explains the Director for Strategy & Analytics. Were people arriving late? Were they actually in the venue? Could something be done to avoid similar situations in the future?

A project was set up to bring the scanning data into their data warehouse, enabling game-by-game analysis of the fans’ behavioral patterns. Immediately, some quick wins were identified:

  • Some fans used the wrong gates, making the gate load uneven – an issue which was improved through clearer and more effective communication.

  • Other fans arrived just before the game started, but went to buy merchandise, food and drinks etc., instead of going straight to their seats – a situation which also was addressed in the pre-game communication, making it easier for fans to pre-buy or encouraging them to arrive earlier.

As they looked deeper into the data, the team also tested further hypothesis: “We started mapping no-shows to other data points like: Had the ticket been resold? Where did the customer live? Was the customer a first-time visitor? With every analysis we wanted to increase our understanding; see how we could predict and prevent the no-shows”.

As an added bonus, the analysis also strengthened the relationship with season ticket holders, as the Communications Team could now set up relevant messaging to fans who were not showing up to games. Likewise, desired behavior, such as attendance or early arrival, could be rewarded triggering loyalty points that could be used in the team merchandise stores.

As the ambition is to have people in the venue and in the seats, the team is now working to predict who will be absent at specific matches, making it easy to transfer or resell tickets. Overall, this will result in a better experience in the arena, the fan relationships will be enhanced, and will ultimately improve business.

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