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Dec 23, 2019
Sports organizations run lean operations and often struggle with the rapidly increasing demands to increase fan engagement and lifetime value. Teams need to be hyper-focused yet agile in finding the most effective ways to use their time. You’ve heard the ubiquitous saying “work smarter not harder”, and for sports organizations this means utilizing tools to automate manual and time-consuming efforts. Technology has vastly changed how organizations interact with their fans and the benefits of automation (the best being backed by machine learning capabilities) is giving teams back valuable time to focus on what they do best – creating great fan experiences and growing those lifelong fans through a sense of connectedness.
How are teams saving time by increasing efficiency? Read about the benefits automation and machine-learning are providing to key departments.
When it comes to ad-hoc requests, analytics personnel are inundated with requests from all departments within their organization and there is never enough time to address all the requests in the tight turnaround time that is required.
Increasingly, analytics teams are seeing the benefits of the StellarAlgo Customer Data Platform’s self-serve capabilities for sales, marketing, and service teams, while allowing executives to quickly view sales pacing for an upcoming game and year-over-year trends. These capabilities are freeing up time, from hours a day to entire weeks for analytics teams throughout the year, allowing them to focus on other organizational priorities. For example, organizations like the Vegas Golden Knights have been able to sunset manual daily reports, freeing up over 5 hours a week of the analytics team’s time through the automated reporting that the platform provides.
The automation of data collection and machine learning-derived insights from fan data systems such as ticketing, CRM, marketing automation, website and social interactions, and data warehouses heavily reduces the manual hours spent on requests from sales, marketing, and service teams. Using machine learning to add predictive capabilities such as propensity scoring and retention analysis, CDPs provide organizations with an accessible and actionable single customer view which empowers personnel across departments.
The Houston Dynamo were able to save significant time in data assembly and QA testing by leveraging StellarAlgo’s modern data infrastructure and automated, predictive scoring capabilities. As retention was a major focus this past season, the team capitalized on their new ability to identify at-risk package buyers throughout the season to prioritize service efforts. The Dynamo credit these new automated capabilities with $90,000 worth of time savings by sunsetting manual reporting processes. Read more about how the Houston Dynamo are tailoring their strategy to fans as a data-driven organization.
“StellarAlgo’s robust analytics capabilities and partnership driven approach has resulted in immediate value for our organization. The platform has materially freed up our internal analytics and ticket operations resources while adding another level of sophistication to our ability to understand fan engagement and propensity in an automated fashion.” – Frank Arnold, VP Administration for the Houston Dynamo
It’s well known that segmentation and personalization create great returns on marketing spend ROI. Unfortunately, many fans are sent repeated messaging unrelated to their interests or past purchase history. Have you ever sent an email to a fan for a game or event for which they have already purchased a ticket? A lot of organizations have even without realizing it, we see it in our own inboxes everyday! It’s a dangerous practice and a major cause of unsubscriptions and decreased engagement.
Marketing teams face the challenges of uniting siloed data and siloed fan experiences. Siloed data produces limited understanding of a fan and creates a fractured views of the overall fan experience. Campaign decisions are often made at the channel level and results in extra hours spent duplicating outreach efforts, which provides lower conversion rates. Customer Data Platforms can help marketing teams better understand multi-channel attribution, saving marketers’ time by helping them focus on messaging fans on the right channel at the right time.
Marketing teams across the industry are accelerating their segmentation capabilities using StellarAlgo’s Cohort Builder feature which helps them build more targeted lists in order to better personalize campaigns. In a few clicks, users are able to pull segmented lists that go beyond simple transactional data from one data source – something that wasn’t previously possible for non-technical staff. On top of that, the automated Cohort Analyzer closes the feedback loop on list performance across any channel giving marketing teams concrete metrics on revenue generated and unique identifiers of those who did convert. Why is this important? It doesn’t add work to the ever-growing marketing task list but it does refine and speed up current processes.
The ability for marketing departments to create their own targeted lists and learn from the performance of those lists has resulted in conversion rates for campaigns to spike anywhere from 2-6x.
“Getting data-driven answers to our questions used to be laborious and time-consuming, but StellarAlgo’s platform provides us with user-friendly ways to answer questions instantly. The platform synthesizes data into easily interpreted visualizations, delivers sales and marketing insights and makes it easy for us to act on those insights. StellarAlgo has accelerated our ability to identify and capture opportunities as they occur.” – Lisa Rollins, Director of Analytics & Research for the LA Galaxy
For sales teams, efficiency has never been more important. Every call a sales rep makes is important and sales leaders are looking for ways to maximize those conversion rates. More and more, organizations are looking to automation to help identify the top leads for their sales reps as the realization that one-time lead scoring exercises aren’t yielding the expected results. With the fast-paced nature of the sports & entertainment industry, it’s imperative that reps are always working with the best lists possible every single day.
For the Kansas City Royals, efficiency has been the key to their success. With a relatively small sales staff by MLB standards of 16, Steve Shiffman, Senior Director of Sales and Service believes that even small teams can outperform larger ones if you hire the right people and give them the right tools to help them get the most out of every day.
“It’s all about knowing who your fans are, who’s coming through your gates, and how best to reach out to them to bring them into the family – that’s what the data helps us do. Being one of the smallest markets in MLB, we need to be as efficient as possible. With only 16 sales reps, every phone call matters. Our sales reps need the best leads at their fingertips, every day, and that’s one of the ways StellarAlgo is helping us level up our capabilities.” – Steve Shiffman – Senior Director of Sales and Service for the Kansas City Royals
The Milwaukee Admirals have also saved hours of cold calling and list creation for their sales team by utilizing automated propensity scoring features. Being able to identify and prioritize the best leads with context around an individual fan’s engagement and preferences has led to an increase in overall tickets sold and sales reps who always have the most impactful leads to call.
“Our sales and marketing teams have been impressed with a new found ability to prioritize leads and the results are exciting for us. Bottom line is we are selling more tickets and our staff is excited to have this new found access to information.” – Brian Martens – Director of Ticket Operations for the Milwaukee Admirals
As service teams nurture and work hard to renew season ticket members each year, it’s difficult and time consuming to identify and prioritize accounts who may be at-risk before it’s time to launch renewal campaigns. Service teams risk losing valuable season ticket member revenue as behaviors change throughout the season. Service teams often only have access to the information in their CRM system and notes from their last contact with a package holder. Valuable hours are spent following up and finding information on a package holder while trying to determine their engagement level and likelihood to renew. This manual work and inter-departmental information search takes time away from nurturing at risk accounts. Service teams utilizing a customer data platform are able to easily track retention scores and identify at-risk accounts, as well as identify fans who are fully engaged and highly likely to happily return next season. This ability to prioritize efforts creates impactful efficiencies for service reps, especially in-season and set themselves up for a considerable increase in season ticket holder retention.
The Sacramento Republic FC leveraged this automated retention scoring to identify at-risk accounts throughout the season. The results led to a 25% increase in retention YOY and created efficiencies which allowed their service team to manage the entire renewals process without the need to pull in the sales team to assist. Read more about how they accomplished these results in our blog about renewals best practices.
“From an opportunity cost perspective, those 10 sales people [who would have historically been working as service reps during renewals] actually generated new business revenue during that time unlike previous seasons. We got 1/12th of the entire year back for the sales team.” –Ted Glick, Senior Director of Sales and Service, Sacramento Republic FC
As organizations become more sophisticated, automation plays a significant role in finding time savings opportunities. Tools such as StellarAlgo’s Customer Data Platform automate manual processes while leveraging predictive capabilities that enable organizations to better understand their fans. These capabilities – which used to be measured in days or weeks – are giving teams near real-time insights about their fans related to propensity scoring, preferences for messaging and channel affinity, retention insights, and overall fan universe growth. As fan expectations rise and teams continue to accelerate their capabilities with limited resources, the opportunity to increase efficiencies to better predict and personalize experiences has never been more important. Automation and machine learning through tools such as a CDP will continue to enable teams to provide unparalleled fan experiences and connect with their communities.