It's a noticeable trend for many professional sports team to reach out to fans to better serve them. The Portland Trail Blazers have done just that by pioneering a marketing strategy that even Microsoft states in their recent blog post as a Data Slam Dunk. Even though fans are more connected to professional sports more than they ever have been through apps and mobile devices, the same fans are finding fewer reasons to actually attend the sports events. Unfortunately, the price of mobility weighs heavily on the teams that need support through sales.
Although technology played it's part in helping make a connection with the fans' needs, it came as a double-edged sword. The data collected was a combination of many profits for the Trail Blazers, including web search history information and the sales of tickets, merchandise, concession stand items. Without any clear understand of it all, the result was a large mess of disconnected information. In 2009, the team's management realized that analyzing the data required the Trail Blazers to reach out for help to SSB, a business data solution service.
Through Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Azure, the SSB Consulting Group were able to take all of the information that was collected and analyze it into a solution for the Trail Blazers. "We’ve learned more about our fans in the last two years than we had known in the previous 20,” said Vincent Ircandia, Senior VP Business Operations of Portland Trail Blazers.
As a result of properly analyzed data and feedback, the Trailer Blazers have sold out 37 of 41 regular season games and averaged 100.5% seating capacity, according to Microsoft's blog post which states that the achievement is a franchise record. Data is available to the team's management in real time and fans can better give feedback through their actions. In fact, the access to overall data has helped the Portland Trail Blazers to retain nearly 95% of their season ticket holders due to addressing concerns of fans.
From viewing the fans as a blur in the distant seating to bringing their needs and wants in the forefront, the Trail Blazers have set the trend for twenty-four more college and professional sports teams to team up with SSB going into future seasons.