Pro Sports Teams Want ‘Big Data’ and Targeted Deals in Ticket Marketing

May 22, 2013

In the next five years the ticket market will likely look nothing like the scenarios you’ve grown up with, which, depending on your age, either involved waiting on line outside for ticket offices to open, or hitting “refresh” until tickets went on sale online.  As often happens, a startup will be vying to disrupt the market, but this time the startup doing the disrupting won’t be run by 20-something Silicon Alley wunderkinds, or even Silicon Valley vets.  In this next market turn, the startups will be professional sports teams looking to recapture the billions of dollars in market value that has slipped through their hands over the past 20 years.

In this fight, teams are embracing data: big, small and everything in between, and in ways that were unimaginable 10 years ago. In your dad’s ticket market, Ticketing Vice Presidents relied on radio, print, TV, and their gut instincts to price tickets and attract buyers.  Today, the smartest of those VPs think like traders, and organizations understand the power of a pixel.  There is a shared belief that convergence of these two skill sets inside of team front offices may have as big an impact on the market as StubHub did 20 years ago.  And if those VPs are right, the ticket market of the future may in fact look a lot more like the ticket market of the past, one in which teams, and the old-fashioned box office, were the only games in town.

But first some history: The Internet had a profound impact on the ticket market unlike many other industries.  Previously an inefficient and local market, online sales pushed ticketing into the light and brought margin-trimming efficiency, virtually (pun intended) overnight. In what was already a cut-throat market, those that didn’t understand how to use the Web disappeared, and new, tech-savvy players emerged. The main driver of this new-found efficiency was a company originally called LiquidSeats and now known as StubHub. The liquidity and access that it introduced caught many sellers, including sports teams, flatfooted. ... Read the rest of this article at