Sports teams and clubs deal in what is known as ‘big data’. Hundreds of thousands of fans attend physical games each year. From soccer to hockey, tennis to athletics, there is much to consume and plenty to process.
There, it is inarguable that sports brands and stadium administrators must keep track of their figures. In terms of privacy and data clarity, cleaning, and purifying information has never been more critical.
Data is hugely important in the sports industry for a variety of reasons. For example, a football team may use an audience or ticketing data to fine-tune how they appeal to prospective attendees. What groups should they market with their ticket sales? Which demographics tend to buy tickets in specific seats and rows?
Also, managers and coaches rely on data to see how well their teams perform. The very nature of sports such as football, ice hockey, and basketball revolves around big data crunching. Management will need to see how many baskets or goals players score, season on season. This data can help them to calculate whether or not a signing is worthy of their budget.
Crucially, data collection, and management in the sports industry is mainly about competition. Sports teams and brands will use data to analyze if they have the best players, resources, and strategies. They will also use data to understand how their rivals are making strides in current leagues and seasons.
As mentioned, data in sport also breeds revenue. Without clean data and precise records, sports brands are at risk of making expensive mistakes. It is just one reason why keeping data concise and accessible is so vital for their survival.
Data privacy and processing is a chief concern. They transcend many industries and is not unique to sport and leisure. For example, many US sports teams bind to the CCPA or the California Consumer Privacy Act. Much like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with EU data, the CCPA demands information safeguarding. In this case, naturally, it refers to the data of sports fans from California.
Taking the CCPA as an example, it demands consumers have the final say over their data. They must know where a company holds data, for what purpose, and consent to data selling. Much like GDPR, it is establishing basic human rights.
For sports bodies, this can be difficult. Bigger clubs work with big contracts. Brands and teams collate contact details and behavior data across the board. Therefore, refining this data so that it is ready for fan consumption – should it be demanded – is a mountainous task.
Many sports teams will collect data to gain insight into customer habits. Essentially, one can use it to improve services. However, it may also be useful in establishing who is most likely to benefit from VIP benefits and loyalty bonuses. Knowing who will make the most of deals and offers, however, is a data-driven conundrum.
Orlando Magic, in the NBA, offers an interesting perspective. They support a ‘Magic Money’ VIP scheme, which is largely app-driven. Magic offers money off and premium upgrades to specific users.
However, they tailor their data and their application to drive deals to those who are likely to want them. They have analytics in place to ensure that regular courtside attendees access and activate deals. It is purely a numbers game, all about efficient conversions.
Algorithms and customer targeting are all well and good. However, again, it is a case of being able to pool this data efficiently. A sports team may have incredible VIP schemes in the pipeline. However, without a clear data cache, using it to make loyalty more efficient is nigh impossible.
Sports and leisure are burgeoning industries. Soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and even tennis all have ‘gate numbers’ to process. These are numbers larger than many on the outside might generally expect.
As an example, let’s consider general attendance figures and numbers for the NHL. Hockey is big money – with the Vegas Golden Knights having taken $101 million in 2017/18 alone. It is by far the most money taken in the league.
Hockey attendance was colossal for 2018/19. Chicago Blackhawks took attendance figures of 932,098 for the season. The figure calculates at an average of 22,734 per game.
Regardless of duplicate attendees, this is still a lot of data to crunch. Each attendee will likely register payment information, address details, and agree or disagree with targeted marketing. This data all has to pool somewhere.
The most efficient teams and clubs will pool this data to run VIP schemes, as mentioned. However, again, they will do so for security purposes, as well as to monitor satisfaction.
Big data is at risk of pooling in messy piles. There is a risk of duplicate data and a lack of clarity. Also, the more gate data piles up, the trickier it gets to consensually reuse this information with third parties.
Many of the world’s leading sporting brands love processing big data in new and exciting ways. For example, many use apps such as iBeacon, which allows them to provide enhanced app experiences in-stadium. It is just one way in which data can help to tailor a memorable day at the diamond or the racetrack, for example.
More and more sports teams are bringing on data cleaning and collation. WinPure, for example, works with leading clubs such as West Ham United, one of the largest soccer clubs in the English Football League. Boston Celtics, too, are working closely with WinPure to process basketball data collection with greater clarity than ever before.
Data analytics in sport is hugely important. As established, clear data is crucial in helping to improve stadium services. In the case of Orlando Magic, too, it is essential to ensure the most loyal fans get the best treatment.
In line with increasing data regulation such as GDPR, too, information clarity is a must. Fans must be able to see how their data is processed and used. If asked, sports clubs must be ready to share information with their customers with immediate effect. If not, depending on the regulations that bind them, heavy penalties may ensue.
WinPure is already helping many big sporting brands with their data management. A key example is the work we do with England Hockey. We helped to process their 162,000 strong customer database with standardization and refinement. There are zero duplicates, and every address on file receives full verification.
WinPure is helping sports bodies change the way they manage their CRMs. Cleaning, refining, and re-establishing data may be a necessary undertaking. With sport unlikely to grow unpopular any time soon, even the smallest of clubs and brands can benefit from data realignment.
WinPure helps brand employees to take greater control of their data. We help make data easier to consume to meet regulatory demands. We also help to ensure teams and clubs are ready to give their attendees a choice. Whether it is privacy concerns or VIP treatment, the fan’s experience has never been more pivotal.
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SportsMechanics is a data analytics company which partners with sports organisations to enhance and manage performance effectively. SportsMechanics were the first company in the world to introduce revolutionary systems like match coding and data conversion systems, online mentoring and remote coaching tools, all round athlete management system and the world’s first real-time decision support system for T20 Cricket.
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