Since 1991, Team Marketing Report calculates the Fan Cost Index for major sports leagues. The Fan Cost Index is a metric estimating the cost for a family of four to attend a live sporting event. It combines average ticket prices with the cost of parking, food and beverages, merchandise, etc.
In 2016 the NFL’s Fan Cost Index was $502.84, which is also the cost of a 55” HD television. With the litany of tech and comfort options increasing the appeal of watching games at home, fans are presented with a choice of an in-person or an at-home experience. For many this choice is not a particularly difficult one, and with more and more fans choosing the at-home option teams constantly seeking to add value to their on-site experience.
Similarly, service and retail brands have to evolve along with market conditions in order to offer consumers meaningful experiences. Online shopping and discount websites pull a lot of consumer attention, so brands offering unique and innovative customer experiences are the ones leading the charge to stay relevant.
One of the challenges both sports and retail brands have in common is developing a customer engagement strategy that will produce repeat business and nurture loyalty. With the ever-increasing consumer touchpoints producing a healthy flow of data-driven insights, it’s now a matter of effectively using the available data-driven insights to guide decision making.
Since the NFL only has a regular season lasting 16 weeks, teams have to maximize their limited opportunities before becoming less relevant during the off-season. Fewer engagement opportunities means marketing efforts have to be targeted, developed, and implemented effectively the first time around.
This is what makes data so valuable to sports teams; it enables them to track, analyze, and predict fan behavior to guide ongoing strategies and maintain organizational agility. From a business standpoint, these are things all marketers hope to accomplish.
Here are a few ways sports marketers are leveraging data to connect with fans throughout the year:
According to Proxbook, beacon technology is currently being used in 75% of NFL stadiums. Teams are able to reach onsite fans through their mobile phones to monitor foot traffic or deliver exclusive ticket and sponsor promotions. The emergence of secondary ticket sellers and ticket trading makes it nearly impossible to identify individual fans on a game-to-game basis. Geo-targeting allows a team to reach its most engaged fans with targeted content impacting real-time decision making which offers unique value for those who watch games in-person.
Strategic Social Media Activity
Online social channels are not an option, they are a necessity. The Whistle Sports Network claims that nearly 90% of 13-24 year olds use social media to consume sports content. An omni-channel social strategy is essential to keep up with the growing list of popular social apps and platforms. By having a presence across varied social networks, teams can track interaction and engagement levels to identify the most effective content or campaigns.
Holistic Data Integration
The more access to data sources a team has the more complex their data sets become. To leverage the full value of data-driven insights, teams are working to organize and combine their varied data sets to produce one master source in which all fan data lives. Through this effort, key decision makers will have a singular source to access for all their data needs. Furthermore, cross analysis of different data sets will reveal deeper insights supporting decisions, processes and campaigns across all internal departments.
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