2003 to 2014: Sports CRM Even More of a Necessity Today

I stumbled across an article entitled “CRM Scores With Sports Fans” from the August 2003 issue of CRM magazine and thought it’d be interesting to contrast the post’s content with more recent times.

The article states that if you attended a sporting event “recently” (assuming recently is anytime during the year 2003), you paid “$7 for a 12-ounce cup of domestic beer and $5 for a hot dog. You probably muttered about the high prices under your breath before returning to your $40 seat to wave your $12 foam finger and root for the home team, all while wearing a new $26 T-shirt from the team store.”

Now, fast forward to the year 2013 and beyond. A fancier beer costs you between $8.50 and $9, or even more if you’re at one of those ballparks that charge upwards of $.60/ounce for that cold plastic cup of brew – the highest price for a cup of beer in all Major League Baseball. I personally don’t know anyone who would pay $12 for a foam finger, but I found a Red Sox one online for $10, so let’s just assume foam fingers are no longer as “in demand” as they were 10 years ago.

The point here is: for the most part, prices keep going up, and fans, or in this case let’s refer to them as “customers,” more often than not now need more than “the love of the game” to get their butts and their families’ butts to a game. When taking a family of four to a ball game costs hundreds and hundreds of dollars, a bit more of an incentive is oftentimes needed — and who can blame them?

For many sports organizations around the globe, the solution is sports customer relationship management (CRM) – a way for professional sports organizations to gather predictive and descriptive customer data for delivering targeted information and offers to customers that increase ticket sales and renewals, and drive fan loyalty. Customer profiles derived from sports CRM help define targeted offerings to customers while driving new revenue-generating opportunities.

According to the before mentioned article, one team has been reaping the benefits of sports CRM as early as 1995, that team being the San Diego Padres: “Since that time attendance has never dipped below 2 million per year, according to Brook Govan, the Padres’ manager of fan programs and new ball park technology. The Padres also have seen the average number of games attended by loyal fans increase to 10.7 per season in 2002, up from 6.5 in 1995.”

I also wanted to address a comment left on this article stating, “Treating a sports fan like a customer in a commercial enterprise does not make sense. Sports fans are fundamentally different and the mechanism for reaching out to them and managing them have to be driven by a separate strategy. Traditional CRM will be a force fit.”

Do you think the commenter is right? Is applying CRM to sports like trying to put a round peg in a square hole? I have to say I disagree. CRM is a customizable entity – you are able to make CRM work for you in the way you see fit. And, in essence, a fan is very similar to the “traditional” enterprise customer – after all, a sports organization is ultimately selling many products, and the fans are the consumers whose needs must be met in order to sell those products. All in all – happy fans = profitable organization.

For more information on sports CRM, head over to our CRM for Professional Sports page.

By | 2017-10-17T19:11:12+00:00 January 17th, 2014|Sales & Service (CRM)|0 Comments
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