Only one team wins the championship, but year after year fans buy season tickets to experience the energy of the stadium, the thrill of a close game, and the camaraderie of being part of a passionate fan base. Win or lose, creating the best experience for your fans is what will keep them coming back.

Understanding and improving the game day experience is crucial to your organization’s success. Teams are now understanding that the fan experience starts when they purchase the ticket and needs to continue post-game. They’re turning to big data to gain insights about their fans, retain season ticket holders, and keep fans coming to games. Sports fans have a choice to watch the game in the comfort of their own homes, or at your stadium, and by understanding what they want on game day, you can convince more people to see the game in-person.

Utah Jazz Survey

Ways to Collect Fan Feedback

  1. Feedback Stations– Collecting feedback while your fans aren’t focused on watching the game is a great way to get fast responses and high-quality data. Try installing an iPad stand in the concourse of your stadium or arena for fans to give feedback while they’re waiting in line for the drinking fountain, purchasing concessions, or heading back to their seat.
  2. Vanity Survey URL– A vanity URL is an easy-to-remember shortlink that takes fans directly to your survey (e.g. fanfeedback.com/utahjazz). These URLs can be placed anywhere – jumbotrons, posters, fliers, or programs.
  3. Text Messaging– Texting has become one of the most pervasive forms of communication. In fact, 90 percent of text messages are opened and read within 10 minutes. You can use text surveys in a similar way to vanity URLs by advertising a text short code around the stadium. Getting your survey onto your fans’ cell phones will help significantly increase response rates and increase engagement – just be sure to keep it brief.
  4. App– Most affiliate sports organizations have an app for their fans loaded with live interactive game stats, player profiles, event schedules, and other customizable features. Capturing feedback via your app when your fans are already engaged can be the most effective way to capture the data you need to take your game day to the next level.
  5. Email– Sending surveys straight to a fan’s inbox is one of the easiest and most effective ways to collect data. It is also the most preferred method because fans can respond at their leisure. Email-based feedback allows you to personalize messaging and visual branding and allows you to send longer surveys.

Save Human Time Reading Feedback

Your time is valuable and it’s difficult to find time to comb through all the data looking for insights. By automating your market research, you can get accurate insights and analytics at the press of a button.

Qualtrics takes the data you’ve collected and automates the analytics process, giving you actionable insights about your fan’s experiences. It can tell you what your fans enjoyed most about the game, what they want to see improved, and if they’re likely to recommend your game day experience to a friend. All of this can be seen on one dashboard and easily turned into a report so all departments have access to the information.

Automate Alerts to Find At-Risk Customer Quickly

In today’s competitive landscape, it’s important to know when a customer might move to a competitor. By flagging certain customers who might be unhappy and at-risk for churning, you can follow-up with them and understand why they’re disappointed.

The New England Patriots found that if season ticket holders missed four or more games there was only a 33% chance they would renew. They implemented a program to call, email, and send direct mail to these fans, and improved game day attendance by 200%. They also have a program where they bring new season ticket holders to Gillette Stadium for a “rookie orientation.”

Not only can you predict if a customer is going to churn, you can predict fans needs and trends by combining experience data (X data) like NPS, with operational data (O data) like merchandise, season ticket sales, etc.

Make Sense of Your Massive Datasets to Baseline & Improve

After you’ve done surveys, you’ll have massive amounts of data. It’s important to set up benchmarks so you can improve each year. For instance, you can measure how September this year matches up to September next year, instead of comparing two months in the same year. By setting up benchmarks, you can improve each year and make apples-to-apples comparisons.

There are many factors that can influence game day experience like weather, if the team is winning or losing, etc., that you can’t influence. The key is finding factors that you can influence like providing good wifi or seat cushions for your season ticket holders.

You could also set up benchmarks for your NPS score. For example, Brigham Young University found that their NPS score was 3.05. They had 23.7% detractors, 49.5% passives, and 26.8% promoters. By using these numbers a benchmark, they can make adjustments to improve for the following season.

Quick Tips for Better Fan Feedback Text Analytics

Text responses on surveys contain valuable insights and the “why” behind your quantitative data. Sports fans might write about their game day experience and what they liked and disliked. It would be impossible to go through all that feedback and organize it by hand, so you use text analysis to discover topics your fans are talking about.

Once you understand the insights, you can prioritize experience improvements that drive loyalty. The goal of any customer experience program is to drive loyal fans, so make those the first improvements. You can also identify the drivers of brand awareness and brand equity so you can invest in the right places.

In Closing

With fans having more choices than ever to watch the game from home or a bar, it’s imperative that sports organizations are doing everything they can to improve the game day experience. By collecting valuable data and automating your research, you’re one step closer to creating loyal fans.

To learn more about how to tune into what your fans are saying, sign up for our webinar about how we do fan experience management with the Cleveland Cavaliers on July 5th. You’ll learn even more keys for collecting feedback that will keep your fans coming back – even when you don’t win the championship game.