The NBA's Team Marketing and Business Operations division can
see data across all teams at a league level, said Amy Brooks,
senior VP of the division. The group consults with its basketball
clubs, providing insights on tech tools and best practices for
ticket sales, seating, fan retention and, of particular interest to
marketers, sponsorship-campaign measurement. Over the past few
years the group developed its customer-analytics database,
consisting of more than 26 million unique names of fans who have
bought tickets or all-access passes or interacted with the league's
teams over the past 10 years.
The league applies a score to each fan based on his propensity
to buy tickets and provides teams with updated fan scores each
"Our teams are becoming increasingly sophisticated at using data
to reward fans, retain fans, acquire new fans and prove that
[sponsor] partnerships work, so they're very cooperative and very
eager to use not just the data that we provide but other types of
data as well," said Ms. Brooks.
The NBA's Phoenix Suns tested a service from Verizon's Precision
Marketing Insights last season that tracks fans' mobile phones from
the auditorium to sponsor locations to gauge impact of in-game
sponsorships. Though Verizon provides measurement data in
aggregate, such novel tracking technologies as present
controversial privacy concerns.
"In the last five years we've been in this massive
data-collection phase," said Steve Seiferheld, senior VP of Turnkey
Intelligence, a research firm that conducts sponsorship surveys and
provides software to clients including NBA and the National Hockey
League's Tampa Bay Lightning. Today, clients are beginning to
invest in staff and consulting services to learn from that
information, he said.
Before the Chicago Bears began using Oracle's Eloqua software to
integrate disparate databases, someone who bought team gear online
and also signed up for a Bears email newsletter may have received
two promotional team emails in an hour or two. Now, the team knows
where there's overlap.
The football club analyzed results data from promotions and used
it to inform a new approach for marketing its annual draft party to
season-ticket holders who typically don't attend them. After
offering special incentives to season-ticket holders who purchase
draft-party tickets in a pre-sale -- such as expedited wait times
in player-autograph lines -- the Bears sold out draft-party tickets
in around an hour.