Special events are a staple of large sports venues. They enable owners and operators to generate revenue via promotions and on days when home teams are away.
Promotions can turn what would otherwise be a weekday game into a money maker. Big events including musical groups, famous comedians, and shows filled with special effects can draw sell-out crowds. These events may also bolster the reputation of a stadium or arena as a major stopping point for performers. This has become increasingly important as the competition for acts grows.
The task of producing these shows has grown more complex, mandating an ability to coordinate many different tasks. Knowing who or what to schedule requires a keen knowledge of not only what’s trending culturally but what will attract audiences. Discounts and giveaways may work better one day than another. Some entertainers may draw better than others depending on where they appear and at what time of year.
In the past, operators and owners relied on precedent and judgment—their own and the coordinators who are more involved in daily decisions—to make decisions about what shows would work best. They weighed such information as sales and expense figures.
But an increasing number of operators are turning to predictive data analytics to help them do their jobs better. Predictive data analytics can provide clear, quick information about audience demographics, their buying preferences, and a range of other factors that can directly or indirectly determine the success of an event.
Such tools can help pinpoint what entertainment to schedule and when. They may also help venues determine a range of operational details, including the different types of employees needed at particular events and the food, beverages, and merchandise that are likely to sell well.
The abundance of kids at “Disney on Ice” or Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus are going to buy different merchandise, food, and beverages than a show geared to adults. A soft-rock star or retro performer will likely require more ushers, vendors, security personnel and maintenance staff than a Metallica concert. Some shows may sell better in summer than winter. Weather can also have an impact on planning: Hot weather can boost beverage sales but may limit food consumption.
Several venue owners and operators have implemented cloud-based technologies to slice and dice data on ticket sales as well as revenue from merchandise, food, and parking. Among them is the Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and the owner of Fenway Park, the team’s home turf. The company is using predictive data analytics to reduce expenses by identifying how many ticket takers, ushers, and security personnel it will need for games, including those offering promotions and giveaways. The system looks at historical experience but also incorporates current events like the weather and possible transportation gridlock due to a visit by President Obama, for instance.
Employing proprietary algorithms embedded within its predictive modeling system, the company compares data on all these factors to allocate its resources. It has become much better at predicting consumer behavior, including how ticket holders travel to the stadium.
The data analyzed is detailed and precise. For instance, the company sought to discern the effectiveness of a promotion called Dollar Beard Night, where anyone with a real or fake beard who showed up at the stadium got in for a dollar to that night’s game. While ticket sales were low for the prior game, sales skyrocketed for the promotion and the company was able to learn from the purchasing patterns of this unique group of people to inform its spending needs at the following year’s Dollar Beard Night.
By defining ways to better understand customer preferences, the company has been better able to serve those needs, driving more revenue with less inventory and personnel costs.
If you would like to learn more about sports event planning and facility management, you can request more information about the online master’s in Sports Industry Management program offered by Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies or contact an admissions representative at (202) 687-8888. If you are ready to enroll, simply apply now.