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A2 Radio: How Sports & Business Analytics Can Play Off Each Other
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Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/28/2014 4:34:16 PM
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@SaneIT, it would be interesting to see how the MLB determines where to place MiLB teams. I'm sure it uses some sort of formula, including fan base, proximity to other parks, taxes, etc. 

There's also a Frontier League team that plays in the area too, closer to the city. That's the Schaumburg Boomers, part of a midwestern circuit. (Schaumburg Flyers used to play where the Boomers do now, but I think the team ran into business problems a few years back. I don't recall if they were official MiLB team or part of some other league.) Anyways, lots of opportunities to watch the sport, at all levels, around here!

 

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/28/2014 9:17:24 AM
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I'd like to see some numbers on that.  I live in the land of spring training and we've had many failed talks about bringing in a minor league team.  I've also seen some minor league teams that started with a bang but died off incredibly quickly.  I'm not sure it's just ticket prices driving that, part of the draw is being able to build an identity that the hometown crowd can tap into.  

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/25/2014 8:28:34 AM
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Hi SaneIT -- I haven't seen any formal measures on this, but I'm guessing that outrageous Big League ticket pricing has helped out minor league teams fill their stadiums. Here in Chicago teams like the AHL's Chicago Wolves and the MiLB's Kane County Cougars are big draws, especially for families... a little cheaper ticket wise (not to mention a little kid friendlier crowd wise). 

 

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/25/2014 7:17:46 AM
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"that despite the depressed state of the city's economy, people could still find something to be so excited about. Would you agree?"  Yes I agree that the sense of pride for local teams is something to be excited about.  

The issue of a single game ticket holder spending more money inside the stadium does not surprise me at all, they are there for the experience as much as they are there for the team.  My problem is that it makes stadiums become adult theme parks complete with theme park pricing.  That makes it hard to want to go out to a game.  I typically only go when given tickets since the teams I grew up watching are thousands of miles away from me now.

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/24/2014 8:41:40 AM
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@SaneIT -- two things. First, my husband thought the intensity and size of the crowd at the Redwings game was pretty heartening -- that despite the depressed state of the city's economy, people could still find something to be so excited about. Would you agree?

Second, this conversation has me thinking about an interview I did quite a bit ago with the analytics director with the Orlando Magic. So, I dug that out. One of the points he made is that the Magic, and presumably other teams, are figuring out how to capture the attention of the single-game fan more so than the season ticketholder (although retention efforts are certainly important). But, apparently, from ancillary buy perspective, the single-game fan is the one that's going to spend more at stadium shops and at concession stands, than the season ticketholder. 

So, I guess it's all a matter of priorities in terms of how to direct the analytics resources!

 

 

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/24/2014 7:25:11 AM
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Well being a Wings fan and having spent quite a bit of time at the Joe I can say that since about 2000 games have almost always been packed.  The Redwings are one of those teams with a very loyal base and even when the team struggles people don't jump ship so retention of that core fan base is easier than say a newer team that has recently moved into a market.  Another good example would be the Green Bay packers, people leave season tickets to their family members in their wills.  I've seen a couple different types of season ticket holders, those who have the team in their blood and those that thought this might be fun so they gave it a try.  The ones who feel that lifetime closeness to the team are much easier to retain than the ones who had money burning a hole in their pocket so they bought tickets.  I'm sure there are all kinds of models built around how to keep from frustrating the season ticket holder who has been around for decades but bring in new fans who will eventually become that long term ticket holder.  As far as the general marketing goes though I think a lot of it is hitting while the iron is hot and being able to capitalize on positive attention.  When you have something like a great player who is traded to your team you need to ride the wave of attention for as long as you can as we're seeing with the current situation in Cleveland.

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/23/2014 9:12:30 AM
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@SaneIT, well, I do suppose you have me there. I was thinking from a fiscal responsibility standpoint -- discretionary spending on season tickets for a losing team going by the wayside during down times. But that'd be too logical for many fan bases! My husband & son went to a home Red Wings game a couple months ago, and said the stadium was pretty full and the fans absolutely crazy. If a team in as beleagured a city as Detroit is can bring 'em in, I suppose any team can. (And speaking of $70 jerseys -- that's a crazy phenomenon to me.) Go to a Chicago Blackhawks game and everybody, from grandpa to newborn and all in the same family, is sporting those jerseys. Such a huge investment, on top of the ticket prices. But still, teams do have to work at retention -- isn't it far easier/less costly to retain a season ticketholder than to gain a new one?

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/23/2014 7:30:59 AM
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Amazingly yes they will.  I have friends who have been season ticket holders for decades riding out horrible years including the most recent.  They complain about the team's performance but loyalty keeps them going back.  It's a bit Stockholm syndrome I suspect but that seems to be normal for many teams.  The core will stay no matter what it's the casual fans that really need urging to buy tickets and products.  Let's look at LeBron James and his switching teams, when he left Cleveland people burned his jersey, how many of them do you think went out and bought a new jersey when he came back?  Someone angry enough to set fire to something that runs about $70 will run out and buy the same product again when a player comes back.  That's brand loyalty. 

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/22/2014 11:35:50 AM
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@SaneIT, with today's ticket prices, will a fan base stick by a perennially losing team? I think a lot of sports marketing efforts to retain fans are probably pretty close to what other businesses look at in terms of customer retention analytics.

Re: Sports teams as microcosm of analytics
  • 7/22/2014 7:44:38 AM
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I think it's good to look at sports analytics vs sports marketing.  Professional teams have been very good at marketing for a long time and all of them have incredibly loyal fan bases. It will be interesting to hear how business analytics change when you are dealing with a consumer base that will stick by you through thick and thin but has no problem being incredibly vocal about the decisions a team makes.

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