“Ticketmaster's Data Analytics team has been tremendously useful and lucrative for us at Rice Athletics. We’ve used the detailed data append to increase sales of tickets, licensed merchandise and sponsorships, and just to gain a better overall understanding of our fans. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of all the possibilities it provides. I’m constantly digging in the data to try and learn something new – there’s no question data analytics has been a game-changer for us.”- Paul Lockhart-Korris, Director of Business Strategy for Rice Athletics
With six professional major league teams, 36 minor league and semi-pro teams and four college teams within the city, Houston is a competitive market to sell tickets, move merchandise and increase sponsorships. Rice University’s athletic department knew this fact all too well. To gain a competitive edge in the Houston market, the athletic department needed sophisticated information on customers in order to market more effectively.
Rice University turned to Ticketmaster’s Data Analytics team for help. Ticketmaster’s holistic approach combines the live event industry’s most comprehensive database with other data sources such as demographics, financial information, life stage clusters and live event behavior. This approach identifies data attributes that predict the type of event or experience someone might be interested in, allowing Rice to target fans with relevant content and customized messaging.
Having worked with many athletic departments over the years, Ticketmaster understands the complexity of the college segment. Unlike professional sports, when marketing to customers, college athletics have to consider alumni, season ticket holders, group buyers, current students, donors, and single ticket buyers. Additionally, college athletics have multiple sporting events and have to work under tight budget constraints. Armed with this situational fluency, the Ticketmaster team helps colleges and universities enrich their database with nearly 300 data attributes, enabling athletic departments to identify and segment fans.
Paul Lockhart-Korris, Director of Business Strategy for Rice Athletics, put the data into action by focusing on new season ticket prospects, enhancing email campaigns as well pitches to local stores to increase the amount of Rice licensed merchandise on the shelves.
“There’s a field for propensity to buy a given sport, so the propensity a fan is going to buy football, basketball or baseball tickets. We use that as one ingredient in scoring our prospects and have our sales reps call out to these potential buyers. The data has also helped raise awareness of the purchasing power of our fans. I can combine data points to show the quantity and net worth of people living near a given store, which makes our pitch to retail partners much more compelling,” Lockhart-Korris explained.
By using Ticketmaster’s data science services, Rice Athletics learned more about their fans, allowing them to market and sell more effectively. As a result, Rice saw an increase in ticket and merchandise sales and even signed new sponsorship deals. Moreover, Rice gained an estimated $275K in gross licensing revenue over the past two and a half years. Results were also favorable with prospecting and email campaigns. Using Ticketmaster’s database, Rice gained about 50 new accounts with a total spend of about $20K, based on sport propensity and RFM data. Lastly, a targeted email campaign resulted in a +5.7% increase in downloads of the Rice Owls Gameday Live mobile app.