Today’s fans expect much more personalization and customized experiences. They interact with teams and brands across multiple channels, over multiple visits, and at a more accelerated rate than ever before. As teams and leagues start to strategize and plan for the return of ticket sales, it’s important to take into consideration trends pre-Covid and couple them with how fans have been engaging with their favorite teams since Covid. Ticketing data contains a wealth of historical information about a property’s fanbase to guide the most recent ticket buying trends. From who is buying individual tickets to an upcoming game to how far in advance season ticket members are securing their packages for the next season. Ticket data is full of insights into who your fans are, when they purchase, what they purchase, and other transactional behaviors. However, the notion that the person buying the ticket is also the one who attends the game or event is long outdated.
As technology and lifestyles have changed, so has the way fans purchase and use their tickets to a game or event. That’s why brands and venues are implementing new ticket strategies like mobile-only and the major ticketing systems like Ticketmaster are launching programs such as SafeTix – all in an effort to keep the consumer safe from counterfeited tickets and to better understand who’s actually attending an event. As tickets hit the secondary market, organizations can leverage this selling and purchasing behavior to learn a great deal about their fans. The secondary market consists of sellers who either have the intention to make money, or who wanted to attend an event but no longer can. According to Market Watch, the global secondary ticket market was valued at 1.26 billion USD in 2018 and showed no signs of slowing down before the pandemic. Whether that trend continues post-Covid remains to be seen, however teams can use this data to position themselves as best they can for when fan do return.
With the secondary market becoming mainstream and digital, it’s easier than ever to resell tickets. Although first seen as a threat to ticket revenue and security when it emerged, sports & entertainment organizations are now embracing the secondary market and claiming a much larger ownership over the resale process of their tickets. Whether educating fans on official resale channels or forging relationships with 3rd party vendors (like StubHub and SeatGeek) to take a percentage of sales revenue and collect valuable data, teams have come to terms with the fact that the secondary market is here to stay. For that matter, so have some of the largest ticketing systems on the planet. StellarAlgo data shows that on average, 10% of tickets for any given event are sold on the secondary market, presenting a valuable opportunity to learn more about your fanbase, especially those who prefer to purchase on other channels. Organizations have realized that the data available from the secondary market provides added insight into how the tickets are being used after initial purchase, what types of fans like to purchase on the secondary market, and how ticket demand changes over time.
In the past two years, information from the secondary market alone has increased the overall marketable universe of StellarAlgo partners by an average of 65%. As the secondary market continues to grow, it’s imperative that teams take care to nurture these additional fans as well. Secondary ticket data provides organizations with visibility into market demand and exposes any missed opportunities in the team’s pricing strategy. Are tickets selling under face value or at a premium? It could mean a disconnect in the value fans place on tickets or certain seating areas in the venue. With secondary market tickets selling on average for 130% of the face value, teams should add this additional data point to their demand-based pricing strategies for a more holistic interpretation of how fans value specific tickets. Since the secondary market caters to fans purchasing individual game tickets, let’s break out how single-game and multi-purchase buyers differ in how they interact on the secondary ticket market.
Single-Game Ticket Buyers
Single-game ticket buyers are well known to have the highest churn rate among all purchasers with teams routinely losing 75-90% of these fans year over year. However, understanding this buyer will shed valuable light on a team’s total marketable universe while also creating the opportunity to understand how best to nurture these fans to win them back. StellarAlgo data shows that 56% of fans who purchase on the secondary market for a single-game in a season are willing to pay a premium for the experience, with 16% paying more than twice the face value of the ticket. These fans are also significantly more likely to purchase closer to the event date than those who purchase on the primary market with 60% purchasing within seven days of an event. Identifying these fans creates an opportunity to turn them into primary market purchasers while already knowing which price point is most favorable to them. So, how do multi-purchase buyers compare?
Multi-purchase buyers purchase on average 3-5 games per season and are a distinct segment in the secondary market. These fans prove to be less price sensitive than single game buyers with an additional 20% willing to pay over twice the face value of the ticket. Based on Stellaralgo data, over 30% of this type of buyer purchases on or within 24 hours of gameday, which is 5% more than single-game buyers on the secondary market. Once identified this group can also increase a team’s known multi-purchase fan universe by 85%, providing a great lead source for upsells to more premium seats or mini-packages.
Overall Fan Insights
Fans on the secondary market, whether single or multi-purchase buyers show a preference for purchasing closer to the event date. We find that 60% of single-game buyers and 72% of multi-purchaser buyers purchase tickets within seven days of an event, while only 9% of fans on the primary market purchase within that same time frame. Understanding the variations in purchasing behavior helps marketing departments better allocate their ad budgets and tighten their campaign timelines.
As organizations look to create more personalized experiences and offerings for their fans, access to insights about their fans on the secondary market will help create messaging and offers that resonate the most to them. Incorporating data from the secondary market will not only increase a team’s marketable fan universe by an average of 62%, but will also further their understanding of demand across their venue that can then be sliced and diced to unlock more insights. As the secondary market continues to grow, organizations that are not incorporating this data are missing out on valuable information about fan journeys and preferences. Ready to take a deeper dive into understanding your fans? Contact us today!
Note: data and insights were derived from anonymized and aggregated StellarAlgo stats for over 40 million unique fans prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. While fan behaviors will undoubtedly adjust due to the virus, the insights can act as a guide for strategy development and be a benchmark as ticket sales return.