Fan engagement is essential for professional sports franchises, and most sports teams are developing their data capabilities to help their marketing and sales teams better reach and keep fans happy. The teams are particularly focused on season ticket holders, who are their most loyal fans, providing reliable ticket revenue and merchandise sales.
âSeason ticket holders are really the lifeblood,â said Neda Tabatabaie, vice president of business analysis and technology for the San Jose Sharks. âWhen you buy a ticket for a match, you just sign up for one match. But when you buy the whole season, you commit to 44 or 45 games. And like every other business, we know that the cost of retaining a customer is less than the cost of bringing in a new customer. “
Tabatabaie, of Iranian descent, immigrated to Toronto at the age of 20 and spent nine years working in database marketing for the Toronto Maple Leafs before moving to San Jose as vice president of the Sharks’ business intelligence in 2015. Measure campaign ROI and unsubscribe risk for subscription holders and also had issues with siled data.
âThe nature of our business really put us in a situation where we started out with disparate or siled data sources,â says Tabatabaie. âAlmost all teams have a ticket salesperson and a food and beverage salesperson. You have a retailer on the side, and sometimes there’s a third party online. Then you have a mobile application provider. Your website is that whole other entity. And some of these things are legacy systems. “
Back then, the Sharks could track ticket sales and email opens per fan, but couldn’t correlate the two events to understand how an email campaign translated into ticket sales. .