How can sports clubs unlock the wealth of information in their ticketing data?

Published 14/06/2019 by Mark Dewell, Managing Director, Management

How can sports clubs unlock the wealth of information in their ticketing data?

In our second blog focusing on the challenges facing sports clubs today, we take a look at reporting and business intelligence - and how clubs can better understand the valuable information contained within their ticketing data. Without the ability to analyse this mass of information, clubs are missing out on huge opportunities to maximise the potential of their business.

In the past, clubs have relied on skilled employees to write their own reports, perhaps using Crystal Reports, Web Queries or our own tool, ART. However, there is a pressing need for change and a number of factors are driving this:

  • Clubs are operating a tighter business model, with greater emphasis on reporting and accountability

  • Marketing teams want to spend more time identifying trends so they can enhance segmentation

  • Ticketing teams need to track how a fixture is performing and compare it to previous seasons

  • Management want to view real-time attendance versus capacity

  • Stadium Managers are looking to find out which stands and stadium areas are selling best and fastest, so they can answer questions about suitable pricing and whether renovations are required to maximise turnout

  • Clubs need the ability to run reports remotely, and at any time, in order to increase efficiencies

  • It is important for the Marketing team to understand how effective individual promotions have been and which campaigns are driving most sales.

To address these needs, we have integrated our TALENT ticketing solution with Microsoft’s Cloud-based business analytics service, Power BI. This will provide market-leading business insight to help clubs sharpen decision-making and streamline operational processes. We have also invested in the development of a Service Bus to deliver TALENT data to an Azure database from which Power BI can report. Clubs can then further enhance this best-in-class solution so it becomes a central reporting tool for them.

Power BI allows data to be analysed and displayed in attractive visual reports that can be easily accessed on any device to deliver key insights. We have created a suite of specially crafted, out-of-the-box reports that are ready to be applied to a club’s data. They will deliver the business intelligence that a data-driven sports organisation needs today. The reports include a revenue analysis for the Finance Director, live ticket sale dashboards for the Ticket Office Manager, allocation and availability reports for Stadium Managers and customer insights for the Marketing team. The reports are connected to the live TALENT database via a data warehouse, so are updated in near real-time with no impact on ticketing website users or any other selling activities. Reports can be exported easily to PDF or Excel formats, and editing is intuitive and simple due to pre-configured data filters. There’s even a Power BI app for easy access while on the move.

Power BI also offers the ability for clubs to create their own reports to reflect specific needs, drawing on an intuitive data model that provides access without requiring expert knowledge.

Replicating a club’s ticketing data in real-time to an Azure database can be the start of a hugely valuable project to centralise all data and subsequently have the ability to analyse from all data feeds. Our digital solutions team have wide experience consulting on integration strategies; using the three-step ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) method so we can blend data to build a centralised data warehouse. Once a club’s ticketing data is standardised, sanitised and centralised in the Azure database, we can work with the club to embed latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The principles behind Machine Learning are nothing new, but it requires two key things – huge amounts of data and sufficient computing power. These elements are both now available for sports clubs, and we will be working with clubs to understand how compatible services such as Azure Cognitive Services and Machine Learning Studio can be deployed to help them further their business objectives and lead the way in their market.