While the passion of a sports fan makes them a unique customer, the bottom line of a sports team is the same as any other business; sell product.
The common standard for gauging success within a sports organization is attendance and brand advocacy; in other words, selling tickets and selling merchandise.
Thinking as the owner of a sports organization, consider the following numbers:
- Home game sellout rate: 100%
- Season ticket wait list: 13,000+ fans
- Consistently ranked a top-3 fan base
- Consistently ranked a top-10 stadium experience
- Consistently rated “most intimidating atmosphere” by opponents
From a high-level view it looks like everything’s coming up roses, right? Considering these are real numbers, they certainly are for Major League Soccer’s “Rose City” Portland Timbers. Since having launched its team in 2011, the Timbers have remained atop nearly every category for determining organizational success.
Clearly there is a strong sense of passion and pride among the “Timber’s Army,” however this loyalty reaches beyond the team’s on-field performance and connects with the local community on a much deeper level.
With technological advancements creating an at-home environment many fans find preferable over attending events in person, teams are challenged with offering an in-game experience and a unique value proposition fans cannot get anywhere else.
Furthermore, since neither fans nor operations staff can impact the team’s on-field performance there has to be value for fans even when the players aren’t performing well.
In order to remain a front-runner within Major League Soccer, the Portland Timbers have taken a detailed, strategic approach to understanding who their fans are in an effort to consistently deliver memorable experiences.
Rather than simply relying on attendance figures to measure success, the Timbers front office considers various metrics to measure customer loyalty.
As stated by Cory Dolich, senior vice president of business operations for the Portland Timbers, “We look at a variety of key indicators, including but not limited to retention rate, show rate (at matches), digital engagement (via social and web), and net promoter score. We also conduct a variety of surveys throughout the year and ensure we consistently reach out and have conversations with our supporters too.”
Like any other business, data collection is only one step in the process. The key challenge faced by every brand hoping to leverage data is converting insights into action. So far, the Portland Timbers seem to have a pretty good recipe for success.
To read more about the Portland Timbers’ fostering of fan loyalty using data-driven insights, CLICK HERE.
If you’d like to establish your own strategic approach for using data to create impactful brand experiences and strengthen loyalty, let us show you the way. For over 30 years we’ve refined our proven approach converting insights into actions, and we can do the same for you.
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