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Ticketing Analytics in 2020

At SSAC20, Rob Sine, Adam Grove, Kristin Bernert, Patrick Ryan and Shira Springer spoke about ticketing in professional sports, among other areas. A few highlights.

Do we measure what matters? When asked what the opportunities are in the industry, Sine said, “going from season ticket units to revenue which keeps the lights on.” We can imagine a time when season ticket sales were a good proxy for revenue but with the secondary markets, public spaces, and better televisions at home people go to games less. Plus, people are busy. The successful teams will head back to ‘first principles’ and re-focus on revenue.

Who is your customer? “When you look at the data, an account holder for a full season goes to thirty percent of the games, the half season buyer goes to about sixty percent, and the quarter buyer goes about eighty percent. So you’re kinda servicing the same person,” explained Bernert. It’s a case of JTBD. It’s a question of, what are they hiring me to do?

Are there latent needs? When asked if the season ticket is dead, one panelists wonders if they were ever alive. “Teams and venues have always had to recreate what the fans are looking for,” said Sine. Patrick Ryan suggested teams talk to the ushers to hear what the fans are saying—not necessarily what they are asking for.

What are the intangibles? “There’s a lot of pride in being a season ticket holder.” “There’s a great benefit to saying, ‘I was there.'” “A lot of the L.A. Dodgers season ticket holders said the biggest benefit was the person checking them in at the premium station knowing their name, and how that impressed the clients they were with.” The best returns on an investment are the ones with the smallest cost, intangibles are often just that.

Are there latent needs, part 2. One growing request from customers is something Rory Sutherland calls this the airport lounge problem. What some customers want is not one visit on each trip to the airport, but one visit on some trips and a family pass twice a year. Teams like the Orlando Magic are offering this, buying back unused tickets for full face value and allowing that money to be used in the gift shop, concessions, upgrading future tickets, or special events.

One thing that SSAC offers is the chance to hear from people on the ground who may not often speak about their experiences. This was certainly one of those panels. Thanks again to Jessica and Daryl.

Your random fact of the day: Only two college bowl games sold out last year (2019/2020) (45:45).