The Impact of Data Visualization in Sports

The Impact of Data Visualization in Sports
by Katie Morgan – November 2014

Teams constantly research to find new data sources to enhance business. Data is the life blood of the organization. Data provides the ability to make key decisions based on factual information rather than projections based on personal experiences.

Big Data Questions

Some of the biggest questions teams face when finding new data sources include:

  • Now that we have all of this data, where do we store it?
  • When our data is in a usable format, how do we compile the information for our decision makers?

The Texas Rangers currently use a data warehouse to store all of our various data sources including:

  • Historical and Current Ticketing Data
  • Demographic Information
  • CRM Data
  • Team Performance Data (present and historical)
  • Weather Information (present and historical)
  • Secondary Market Data

Why do you need a data warehouse?

Justin Foote
Justin Foote

Justin Foote, Interactive Database Coordinator with the Texas Rangers, highlights benefits of using a data warehouse to store data.

“The use of a data warehouse has given us the ability to store and report on data, both past and present. Access to fan’s previous purchasing habits is crucial in determining future trends amongst our fans. Without the warehouse, the reports and visualizations we are using would have taken days to create, as opposed to  a couple of hours.”

Data provides you the information to help with various initiatives such as:

  1. vetting the best leads to distribute to sales representatives,
  2. provide real time visualizations,
  3. offer information on purchasing trends,
  4. provide the ability to do comparative analysis year over year, and various other projects.

Visualization with Tableau

The Texas Rangers, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates all chose to use a data visualization tool, Tableau, to provide dashboards on various initiatives and projects.

Jason Witzberger
Jason Witzberger

At the Pirates

Jason Witzberger, Manager of Business Analytics with the Pittsburgh Pirates, has been a Tableau user for just under a year. He states:

“The Pittsburgh Pirates use Tableau to visualize sales and marketing trends in real-time.  With Tableau, we have access to the most up-to-date information represented in a dynamic visual format, all available from any location.  Tableau makes the data easy to understand so that we can make smarter and more proactive decisions.”

Jason points out several key benefits to using a data visualization tool:

  • Access to the most up-to-date information. Whether you are making a key decision with your data, or trying to show a new trend, having the most up to date information is of utmost importance. The Texas Rangers update data every fifteen minutes in order to provide the most accurate information to the individuals using the data resources.
  • The data is easy to understand. When providing data to decision makers and others working on a specific initiative, you always want to provide easy-to-understand information. A simplified visualization provides imperative information in an readily comprehended format. Remember the audience and cater visualizations to their needs.
Chris Calo
Chris Calo

At the Reds

Visualization tools, and in this case Tableau, offer several different ways to represent data. Chris Calo, Business Systems Analyst with the Cincinnati Reds, uses several different types of visualizations to highlight important information for his organization.

“Tableau has helped Reds management view data in a totally different way.  Whether it is a stadium heat map, viewing suite availability in real-time, or filtering through data reports, Tableau has made the understanding of data a much easier process with their visualization tools.”

At the Rangers

The Texas Rangers currently use Tableau to showcase the following information:

  • Real Time Ticket Sales updates
  • Actual Sales vs Budgeted Sales Comparisons
  • Sales Representatives Inbound and Outbound Calls
  • Real Time Game Day Turnstile Reporting
  • Real Time Merchandise Sales
  • Breakdown of Ticket Sales in our various box offices, concierge, and phone room
  • Cell Phone Anaylsis
  • Seasonal Employee Payroll Monitoring

Use your data visualization tool to showcase data in easy to view, eye catching, and easy to understand format. These tools provide you with a plethora of options, and it’s key that you find the visualization that enhances the data you are showing so that a quick and productive decision can be made for your organization.

An abundance of unformatted data can seem like a daunting task. However, with the appropriate plan in place any team or organization can convert the data into a usable format and begin visualizing real time information in a brand new way!


 

 Cover photo courtesy of http://www.tableausoftware.com/ 

 

Sponsorships: Win/Win Brand Partnerships

Sponsorships: Win/Win Brand Partnerships
by John Dillon – November 2014

How do you win corporate partnerships?

It’s no secret the world of marketing has become exponentially more complex over the last several years.  Gone are the days of screaming your brand message through TV or radio, and expecting to hit exactly the target you wanted.

As you look to take your brand or team to the next level, how well do you understand your consumer base?  And as you look to corporate partners, how well do you understand THEIR objectives as well as your own?

[re]Think Segments

For an established brand like Denny’s, we’ve spent quite a bit of time listen — really listening — to current and potential guests.  We quickly realized just how diverse their needs were.  It’s led to some exciting and successful initiatives running a broad range of targeted partnerships with:

  1. AARP to speak directly to our active boomer (50+) generation,
  2. Social and digital media efforts with branded content with partners like College Humor, Funny or Die, DumbDumb, and
  3. Continual dialogue with younger guests on Tumblr, among many others.

Recently we launched a successful partnership with Atari, appealing to multiple generations including kids, millennials and Generation X who have sparked to sharing the experience of the classic Atari games like Centipede and Asteroids, turned into relevant games downloadable and playable under our Denny’s inspired names like Centipup and Hasteroids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEZGjYdXnfI

dennys-hobbit-menuSimilarly, we’ve partnered with major movie releases such as The Hobbit to appeal to generations both young and old.  Our kids menu has become re-energized this year with a wonderful partnership with National Geographic Kids – a brand that research proved had strong appeal to both kids and parents.  A wide array of partners enable us to drive sales and traffic counts against multiple targets simultaneously, not one at the expense of another.

What’s in common?

Each of these partnerships have commonalities:

  1. They are unique. No one else is doing anything like it.
  2. They hit specific targets at a time where they are most receptive–where they are and when they’re naturally consuming the media vehicle we’ve selected.
  3. And most importantly, they are partnerships that truly create win/win situations for both brands.  Each of us (our brand and the partner brand) allows the other new avenues to target key customer groups in ways that we don’t necessarily naturally reach.

How does this translate to sports marketing?  Having been on both sides–the team and the brand–I can attest that it does very clearly.

Within the team sports space, our best partners understand our brand and the particular target we’re trying to reach in that market AND the particular business objective we’re trying to hit.  Is it a value sensitive market?  If so, how can you help us get our value message across?  Is it a heavy Hispanic market?  If so, let’s make sure that important demographic is clearly a part of the partnership proposal.  A market with a high representation of families… or millennials?  You get the idea.   A little research by the team goes a long way and leads to truly breakthrough results for BOTH of us.  Come with THOSE ideas, and you’ll prove there are indeed positive, powerful win/win partnerships.

 

 

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