Sports Fan Council Customer Intelligence Sports Technology For Pro Teams Launched By Vision Critical
Vision Critical launched Sports Fan Council today, a customer intelligence platform, SaaS in the clouds that captures fan insight. Current Vision Critical clients include, the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors of the NBA, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL in addition to their international champion user, the Australian Football League (AFL). The Sports Techie community blog was able to chat with Andrew Reid, Founder, President and Chief Product Officer, about his Vancouver, BC based company, their new sports technology solution launch and what it means in terms of business intelligence for sport teams and organizations as well as fans that attend live games or watch on television and mobile devices.
The Canadian corporation was founded in 2000 and now works with one in three fortune 500 companies. I first asked Reid if an IPO was imminent and he said that is what everyone wants to know. The reason why consumers and investors are asking if Vision Critical is going public is because they earned $110 million in revenue in 2014 with customers in 15 countries across 20 languages. They have 700 installs with 500 powerful brands and a new global partner network in place.
Reid shared with me how his brand began with technology as a fee for hire and landed Reebok in 2002 as their first customer. Providing a software driven environment for 200 female runners opened his eyes to the use of their platform as a subscription model.
The North American sports market is forecasted to reach $70.7 billion by 2018, according to PwC so Reid decided to diversify his company’s portfolio with a new tech offering to enter the market.
New Digital Fan Era
The era of sports viewers watching comfortably inside home mancaves with unlimited digital broadcast choices is a daunting dilemma for facility operators to try and overcome because watching on HDTV screens, tablets and smartphones while not having to deal with traffic, parking, food and merchandise expenses is a real threat to filling seats.
Team executives are looking for insightful big data that can help explain how to improve the fan experience both in-stadium and on TV so Sports Fan Council was born to offer a deep dive analytical look as to why declining ticket sales, decreased fan engagement and loyalty, fragmented corporate and media partnerships and sponsorships, and stagnant merchandise activations, are all happening.
“The global sports market is being affected by the convergence of new audiences, mobile and digital technologies, and the economic environment,” said Reid. “More than ever, teams need to better understand their fans to strengthen fan engagement and enhance media partnerships. Sports Fan Council is the first solution in the customer intelligence space that allows teams to foster ongoing engagement with fans for actionable insight.”
Sports Fan Council
Sports Fan Council is designed for U.S. and overseas sports companies and teams to better comprehend their valuable business properties from a loyal or new fan perspective. The solution is the first customer intelligence product comprised of a secure, private and engaged online community comprised of thousands of fans. Teams are able to gather two-way conversational feedback in real-time and over a period of time allowing for proactive improvements that improve the fan experience, unlike traditional methods.
The Sports Fan Council Solution Transforms Fan Engagement for the Digital Age
Fan engagement activities and analysis tools are programmed to assist leadership increase satisfaction and loyalty for fans, improve ticket sales, maintain and secure corporate and media partnerships, and leverage fan creativity to improve existing products and effectively release new ones.
The software keeps community members engaged through each client’s custom branded member portal. It collects information about ticketing, understanding fan loyalty and motivation, in-arena key challenges, food and beverage issues and entertainment programs while testing promotions with fans through feedback and discussion. The robust solution uses a plethora of data points or sets to gather specific info. Users might invite 50 one-off fans to discuss a specific issue or they might harness the feedback of a targeted group of 10,000 season ticket holders to investigate brand control via a heat map.
Members can be asked via a virtual pack to upload a photo that is considered both a highlighter and emotional feedback tool for marketers and ticket sales executives to gauge messaging.
“For the New York Knicks, fan engagement and satisfaction are critically important, which is why we turned to the Vision Critical customer intelligence platform,” said Steve Sherman, vice president, consumer insights at the Madison Square Garden company. “Through our online insight community, we’re able to capture feedback from thousands of fans to help us deliver a world-class experience. In this fast-paced and competitive industry, we’ve been able to exceed in all areas when it comes to the fan experience by turning to our New York Knicks and newly launched New York Rangers online fan communities for input and insight. In the past year, the Knicks Fan Panel has been used to better understand everything from our fans’ music preferences and the types of entertainment that drive in-game engagement, to the kinds of food and beverages they want served at games.”
Using Sports Fan Council teams allows users to:
- Understand what motivates fans to buy, how much they are willing to spend, and how they feel about the experience pre and post game
- Learn why fans make the purchasing decisions they do over time, increase fan engagement and loyalty, foster offseason engagement and discover what creates loyalty among fans
- Identify ways to strengthen existing media and corporate partnerships, expand community outreach and ensure partner messages resonate with fans
- Generate and enhance ideas around ticketing, merchandise development, stadium and brand design, communications and more
The solution allows teams to build member profiles for fans as they evolve, deploy regular fan engagement projects, leverage the sports fan intelligence library pre-programmed with fan activities created to address the key challenge areas for sports teams, analyze member feedback and share actionable insight with key stakeholders to drive better business outcomes.
“Sports teams face very different business challenges than other industries,” said Kobi Ofir, chief technology officer of Vision Critical. “We designed Sports Fan Council so that teams can strengthen fan engagement, optimize ticketing offers, increase the value of corporate and media partnerships and leverage fan creativity to generate new merchandise opportunities—all by asking precise questions and performing valuable analysis that will drive better business decisions and results.”
Sports Fan Council can be purchased as an add-on bundle to current Vision Critical Insight Community customers or can be bought as a standalone product for new users.
About Vision Critical
Vision Critical provides a cloud-based customer intelligence platform that allows companies to build engaged, secure communities of customers they can use continuously, across the enterprise, for ongoing, real-time feedback and insight. Designed for today’s always-on, social and mobile savvy customer, Vision Critical’s technology helps large, customer-centric enterprises discover what their customers want so they can deliver what they need. Unlike traditional customer research, which is slow, expensive and gathers dust on a shelf, Vision Critical’s customer intelligence platform replaces static data and cumbersome reports with real-time actionable customer intelligence that companies need to build better products, deliver better services and achieve better business outcomes.
Hundreds of high-performance organizations use Vision Critical’s technology, including Banana Republic, Yahoo and Discovery Communications. Learn more at www.visioncritical.com or follow on Twitter at @visioncritical.
Sports Techie, This turn key solution is built specifically for sports teams to engage with fans to quickly determine what they want and need so that the teams can make smarter business decisions. The new solution allows teams to build and manage individual fan profiles at scale and comes pre-programmed with a sports fan intelligence library to help address business problems facing teams today including understanding the path to purchase, price elasticity, pre and post game satisfactions, etc.
Pioneering teams including the NY Rangers, NY Knicks and European soccer clubs are current Vision Critical clients that may choose to use the new technology solution to provide a better fan experience by responding directly to fan preferences including what music and entertainment they like in order to drive in-game engagements to what food and beverages they prefer. If you do not like the ticketing packages, or loved the national anthem singer or perhaps want the weekend schedule changed, Sports Fan Council wants to know and make a difference.
I asked about pricing and was told it depends on factors like the amount of users so the answer is it is a case by case price point.
Reid was a delight to get to know and learn from. As a fellow Pacific Northwest native, his hobbies included playing hockey as a junior, and backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling as an adult.
His background with film school led to developing video editing, animation and programming skills. I wanted to know more about the Stanford Executive Program on his LinkedIn profile. Reid shared that it is an invitation only program, 6 weeks long and 6 days a week he attended back in 2011. His involvement with charities, as an angel investor with the Generate App, is a pay it forward opportunity after reaching a level of success that allows him to do so.
If you are a sports organization, give Vision Critical a serious look because before you know it, Sports Fan Council will become a tool used by your competitors.
On a side note, today is also the first day Sports Techie is are a proud blogging partner of SportsBlog. Use the new navigation bar at the top of our WordPress blog to investigate their unique format and compelling content further.
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