Each year, we sponsor the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and attend in numbers. This year was particularly notable because we hosted our own sponsorship panel in association with Women in Sports and Events (WISE) prior to the conference’s kick off.
With the presence of President Barack Obama and another 3,000 or so sports professionals and aspiring students, this year’s MIT SSAC was another resounding success. KPI President Russell Scibetti spoke on the “Ticketing Analytics: Data & Digital Create a New Order” panel, along with Kurt Schwartzkopf (Senior Vice President of NBA and NHL Arenas at Ticketmaster), Tim Zue (Executive Vice President/CFO at the Boston Red Sox), Patrick Ryan (Co-Founder of Eventellect) and Eric Chemi (Sports Business Reporter at CNBC). And KORE’s Vice President of Customer Strategy and Success, Adam Grow, hosted a “Competitive Advantage Talk” entitled “Monetize and Measure Social Media Assets.”
And finally, back by popular demand, a few members of the KORE team recapped their top one or two key takeaways from the conference:
Russell Scibetti – President, KORE Planning & Insights
In trying to summarize this year’s event, there wasn’t any one major trend or takeaway that knocked me back…excluding getting to hear President Obama speak, of course.
I think the most interesting observation was that the BI conversation seems elevated across the board. We often talk about how varied teams are in terms of their level of sophistication and investment in analytics and BI. This year, as I talked to friends and customers in the hallways (which Is where I spend a lot of my time at Sloan), teams reported they are expanding departments, starting new initiatives and getting more overall traction with how they can impact the business.
More teams are using new ticketing technology to better capture and utilize fan identity. More teams are changing how they value sponsorships and meet partner needs. Perhaps most importantly, fewer teams need convincing on how these changes are necessary to improve their business moving forward.
Marc Roots – Vice President of Product, KORE Software
There seems to be a lot of talk that ties back to understanding sponsorship valuations. Multiple panels had a heavy focus on understanding the value of partnerships and how to measure it. Even in passing conversations, it seems people are asking these questions more commonly and talking about different tools or agencies they’re using to try to gain insight on this subject.
Two years ago, I recall people talking about their "new" data warehouses or doing research to get a data warehouse. This year, those conversations transitioned to how teams are using the data from those data warehouses. Kevin Brilliant of the Chicago Bulls stuck out as has someone with big ideas around tying behavioral analytics into KORE’s DWA (Data Warehouse & Analytics) product that would provide more custom experiences for Bulls’ fans. Clearly, many teams are past the data warehouse discovery phase and are now on to more sophisticated conversations about what’s possible once you have a centralized database.
Sohil Gala - Business Intelligence and Strategy Consultant, KORE Planning & Insights
The new trend, or should I say the latest buzzword, was “machine learning”, specifically as it’s applied to lead and retention scoring and other kinds of sophisticated modeling. Although I think there will be an inevitable shift in that direction, it might be further in the future than we think.
Another trend I saw was a resurgence of business intelligence (BI) tools like R and Python. With R being freeware and having active online communitites, I can see it being a great option for teams with lower BI budgets.
Demar Amacker – Sales Engineering Manager, KORE Software
One thing I thought really stood out this year was the focus on usability and actionability of data and data analysis tools. Whether it’s social media impressions, mobile app behavior or ticketing attendance, teams were discussing how to use that info to drive personalized campaigns throughout the customer journey.
In one talk, Alissa Lieppman of the NFL detailed how the league’s Club Media Group works with all 32 teams to optimize social media content for international, Hispanic and Millennial audiences, while using data to measure effectiveness throughout the campaigns.
It also appears teams are more aggressively building their business intelligence divisions. While a few teams are still in the beginning stages of building out their departments, the middle of the pack is growing, which is driving innovation across the board.