Data Driven Fan Engagement Game Programming

Ryan Halkett, Senior Vice President, Sports Experiences, Lagardère Sports
Ryan Halkett, Senior Vice President, Sports Experiences, Lagardère Sports

Ryan Halkett, Senior Vice President, Sports Experiences, Lagardère Sports

Every day, fan engagement game producers work to find new ways or the right way to engage and deepen the connection between fans and their team experience. Producers want to entertain, give their team the hometown advantage, leave memorable impressions, add value to sponsors and please ticket holders so they keep coming back game-after-game. The challenge of pleasing “everyone” is constant, always changing and even frustrating at times. Producers are often left saying, “Well, I thought it would work, but they just didn’t respond”.

In my experience, many producers create programming through their own visions, individual/group influence, or best practices, and for the most part, they do a great job entertaining fans in short segments.

But is this the right process to create and sustain success? Is this approach maximizing their overall impact in a way that drives fans to engage with the team, its sponsors and other ancillary business units like retail, concessions, etc. where they can influence business growth?

Today, with advancements in data collection technologies the immediate opportunity exists for producers to start collecting and using relevant data to develop their entertainment, activations, content and overall programming models.

But with all of the available technologies, why isn’t this already the norm? One reason, as we know, is that finding out and understanding who is sitting in our seats every game has its own challenges. We wish we knew what kind of music they like, what social channels they’re active on, what types of content they consume and how, what other types of entertainment they like, what they like to eat, what price points would encourage them to spend more, and if they are activating with any of the sponsors they see at our games. Wouldn’t it be great to have these answers and routinely develop game experiences based on this knowledge to enhance the overall fan experience and drive business success? Of course, it would.

 Today, with advancements in data collection technologies the immediate opportunity exists for producers to start collecting and using relevant data to develop their entertainment, activations, content and overall programming models  

Even with all of the advancements in collecting data, this isn’t standard practice because most organizations lack the centralization of data and do not provide complete access to data to all groups. Additionally, too many data silos exist, and the gatekeepers don’t always understand the true power of the data they have or how beneficial it could be to their co-workers. We know that ticket, sponsor and marketing groups all gather data. But how often does this data get to the fan engagement producers?

Producers will immediately benefit when given access to the following types of data:

•  Customer analytics – When producers gain a deeper understanding of who their fans are and their behaviors, it will help them create stronger targeted programming models.

• Brand Affinity- Understanding brands that share common values will help producers see successful programming models that their fans are also attracted to. Implementing similar programming methods will create stronger targeted relationships with your fans.

• Social Data – Producers can discover what types of food, music and entertainment they consume, how they view your team or what they are saying about the team and their experiences with it. This information allows producers to further develop targeted programming models and content.

• Transaction Data - Trends found in ticket, merchandise and concessions data will help producers schedule the right promos at the right time that feature the right products to help drive revenue.

These are just a few examples of the kinds of the data producers can benefit from. Your organization may have the ability to offer more data insights that game producers can utilize to further enhance their programming model to better connect with fans and elevate game programming.

This is the perfect time for fan engagement game producers to get access, start mining and connect the data-dots so they can make programming decisions based on key learning’s from data. Not only will this help drive their programming models, it will elevate engagement, enhance the fan experience, increase revenue and most importantly, keep your fans coming back game-after-game.

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