In the first blog of this series we talked about diversification in sports, and how sporting clubs can implement an array of different strategies and approaches in an effort to develop new income streams, as well as expand existing streams. You can read this here.
In the second part of the series, we will look at innovation, more specifically, what technological innovations some sporting clubs have been investing in to increase income and improve financial results.
‘Big Data’ in Sports
In today’s world of big data’, companies are able to collect more and more information about their consumers, including what their likes and dislikes are, and how and when they purchase particular items.
Big data refers to large volumes of data that are too big, and too complex, to process through traditional data processing applications. This data can come in a variety of forms, including information from social network sites, emails, online surveys and internet searches all of which can then be used by brands to target potential customers more specifically, resulting in an increase in revenues.
Football club, Queens Park Rangers (QPR), provide a perfect example of how big data has been used to improve the bottom line with highly personalised, targeted campaigns. Launched on the tail of QPR being promoted back to the Premier League, their #MakeitRs personalised season ticket campaign saw QPR target their supporters with tailored communications and offers using data captured on the purchasing habits and interests of their fans. Not only did this tactic leverage excitement amongst fans, but it brought in season ticket renewal rates in excess of 90% in 2014.
Due to the size and complexity of big data, one of the main challenges some companies face is how to store their captured data, and still have the ability to access it as and when required. As the data is too large to manage or store on traditional systems one common method is to store it on a cloud-based storage platform. The elasticity of cloud-based systems makes it perfect for companies that want to store large volumes of data, but don’t necessarily need access to all of their data at the same time. For sports clubs, this could mean having the flexibility to have access to supporter data whenever they want irrelevant of the time of year, or the period in the sporting season.
Just as important as storage is deciding how to analyse the data that you have acquired. To analyse large volumes of data, companies are using cloud-based data tools and specialist software that enables them to decipher the data and establish what, and how, the data can be used to drive future business decisions. These tools would have been used in the case of QPR, analysing online conversations and purchasing habits providing business intelligence that can be used as part of campaigns and to form business strategies.
Sports in the Cloud
Cloud-based systems are becoming an increasingly popular way for sports brands to make better business decisions and improve efficiencies. Last year, Volleyball England, the governing body of the sport in England, introduced cloud-based financial management system, Microsoft Dynamics GP On Demand to monitor its costs.
Not only has the new system saved the organisation’s finance team a considerable amount of time with its reporting procedures, it has also allowed them to maximise how they spend any funding, reduce operating costs and focus their efforts in attracting new members and raising the profile of the sport. .
These examples are just a few ways that sporting organisations are using technological innovations to reach bigger audiences, engage more with their fans, and ultimately generate larger incomes. Whichever technology a sporting club decides to deploy, in today’s changing times it is vital they focus on using innovation to not only push the participant and spectator experience beyond expectations, but also to yield successful financial results in the long-term.
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