NBA reprograms how it makes money off fans
by Steve Kyler, USA TODAY Sports
Surprise and delight.
Sounds like a simple enough concept for how to treat fans.
The Orlando Magic have used that philosophy when it comes to interacting with their season ticketholders with the aid of advanced data to help identify fans who might be considering not renewing or those looking for more from their visits to the Amway Center.
“One of the examples we love to use is to see if a family comes to the game every night and their halftime ritual is to go to Cold Stone Creamery,” said Anthony Perez, the Magic’s vice president of business strategy. “Maybe one of the servers wants to give them a surprise and delight moment and brings the Cold Stone to them. ‘Hey, here’s some Cold Stone, I know it’s something that you like. And maybe we can catch up at halftime and see how the season is going for you.’
“It’s just those little touches that we can now add that don’t seem like a big deal, but to our fans it’s all about the details.”
The Magic have been among the top 10 in season-ticket renewals in the NBA for the last five years, and they credit not only their on-court success — they made the playoffs in all five seasons — but also their aggressiveness on the business side.
The team is out front in its level of understanding among teams in the NBA, but the Magic are not alone. The Phoenix Suns are involved in a similar program, and the league has a team marketing and business operations group that shares information and best practices.
“I think our teams are incredibly sophisticated when it comes to realizing the power of data to make smarter decisions faster, and that takes a variety of angles for a team,” said Chris Granger, the executive vice president of the league’s group. “Teams do things like retention modeling. What are the things that make a season ticketholder more or less likely to renew? We can now isolate at a very granular level what makes a difference. It helps us with our prioritization, and we can target our different accounts differently … [For more on NBA reprograms how it makes money off fans, click here.]