Chapter 1 | Spend Per Fan
How can we calculate spend per fan?
Crunch the numbers: Begin by figuring out the "Average Spend Per Fan" If
you have 10,000 fans on a typical game day and total sales of $500,000,
your average sale is $50. Once you know this you can set a new target and
plot your strategy to deliver it.
When calculating the spend per fan you must consider the full customer
journey. This means looking not solely at what a fan spends on purchasing
a ticket, but also every other purchase on their journey. This typically
includes car parking, merchandise, food and beverage, hospitality, VIP
upgrades and in stadium entertainment. All of these varied touchpoints
are very much inter-related. Most team and stadium owners are,
surprisingly, unable to report on this number, If we can’t report on the
number, we can’t grow the number effectively.
Using Flowte, stadium owners can easily view this information in real
time. Every transaction whether it’s a scarf, a ticket or a hamburger is
associated with your fans’ customer record. Flowte Analytics can show
you the average spend per fan or per game. You can even drill right down
to individual items each fan purchased! Let’s assume that we have now
identified that our average spend per fan is $32. If we can make some
small changes, we can drive that number potentially to $40 per fan. While
this may seem like a small change, when you consider that your team has
100,000 visits per year that adds up to $800,000 per year. So how can we
increase spend per fan?
The Add On Sale: The first and easiest way to upsell to fans is to make a
suggestion during the purchase flow for their tickets. Teams should
suggest a related merchandise item. For example a soccer team might
ask "would you like to pre order drinks at half time ?" Flowte research
has shown that customers are more likely to opt for this kind of an
upsell if the cost of the upsold item is marginal. Therefore upselling a
beer is more effective then upselling a car parking pass for $15
Some customers are more likely to engage with an upselling offer closer
to the day of the event. The logic here is simple. Customers will often
book their tickets long before attendance this could be weeks or even
months in advance. When purchasing tickets the fan has not yet made
plans for their game day experience. Perhaps they didn't know if their
friends will be attending or what they will be doing on the morning
before the game. This presents an opportunity to reach out and target
those customers a few days before the game. By sending personalised
communications at this point you create excitement for the fan by
reminding them that you care about them. Tell them that you are
looking forward to seeing them in a few days’ time. At this point we have
another opportunity to increase spend per fan.
At this stage in the customer journey fans are motivated by both efficiency
and scarcity. Fans motivated by efficiency will engage with a pre-game
email offering an upgrade to a "fast pass" ticket or “VIP” parking pass. Fans
motivated by scarcity will engage better with an pre game email offering
an item that is likely to sell out soon such as “limited edition” autographed
team jersey. Remind them that stocks are limited and there are only 50
jerseys remaining as the call to action !
Changing Fan Behaviour
For many fans going to see a game represents much more than just the
game. It’s a full day out. In some towns a team or stadium can be the
central hub of social activity each weekend, around which people’s
behaviour is driven. As we continue our focus on increasing spend per fan -
what can we do to modify fans behaviour in a way that benefits our team.
Let’s start with something simple and identify what do people do on a
Flowte analysis of fans pre-game behaviour shows that many fans will
arrive at the stadium approximately two hours before the game is due to
begin. Typically they will visit a restaurant or bar nearby to the stadium.
This is all part of their "day out" at the game. The same analysis has
identified the average spend on pre-game food and beverages is $18 per
fan*. This pre-game activity is our next opportunity to increase spend per
fan. How can we make the fans spend that $18 dollars inside the stadium
rather than in the nearby facilities?
One easy way is to incentivise this behaviour. Using Flowte's Access
Control module you can set up "scanning rules". For example we might
offer customers who scan their ticket one hour or more before the
game begins a voucher for a free beer. The idea here is that this
incentive will change the fans behaviour so they enter the stadium
earlier. Once inside we know they will spend $18 and as such the
economics just make sense !
But who bought what?! With tens of thousands of fans in attendance at
a game the speed and reliability of commerce becomes not just a
convenience but essential. If Jane Doe is buying a hamburger & fries it is
beneficial if we can associate that purchase with the same customer
record John used to purchase her ticket. However if every time we
make a sale, we must create a customer record in the stadium point of
sale this adds a small delay to every transaction. In the precious two
hours before the game begins, time is money.
To overcome these time delays we need to create an easy way for
customers to spend. Using Flowte every fan will have either a season
card (with associated QR code) or a customer account in the Flowte App.
This QR code can be scanned during each sale like the way you might use
a supermarket loyalty card - give your fans loyalty points too!
Spend Per Fan
By doing so the transaction is automatically associated with Jane Doe's
account seamlessly. This means at the end of the game day when we
analyse any customer record we can identify every purchase they made
throughout the day. This is done all in one system without any
integrations or data inconsistency. This is one of the keys to unlocking
the value in the data that many teams are missing out on. Teams can't
increase spend per fan if they can’t measure it to begin with !
Analysing existing data patterns
Using Flowte you can analyse your fans previous purchasing
behaviours. To derive meaningful insights from this data it helps to
layer multiple sources of information together. This can unlock the fan
motivations that will help us increase spend per fan. Let’s take an
example. If we analyse when do people purchase their tickets (how
many weeks or months before the game do most fans make their
purchase), the data often reveals a “double spike” in purchase times. The
first spike is typically 8 weeks before game day and the second
approximately 7 days before the game day. This information in isolation
is not of any particular interest to spend per fan, although it will help
the marketing team know exactly when their advertising efforts’ will be
However if we layer this data together with insights from the marketing
& social media modules it reveals some powerful findings. Firstly from
the marketing data we may identify that the marketing team typically
announce and release a game for sale 8 weeks before game-day. Then
they don't advertise again until they send an email campaign about a
week before the game to remind people. So this explains our first and
second spike in sales. Now if we layer this information with data from
the booking engine, we can see that most tickets are purchased
between 11am and 12.30am. We may also see that the referring link for
80% of bookings was the clubs Instagram post. We might even identify
that 74% of bookings were made on mobile devices and the most
popular browser to book from was Google Chrome
How does this affect spend per fan, why does it matter ? The
information contained here has enormous value but only when taken as
unified 360-degree analysis. Based on our new analysis we can now
make better decisions about initiatives which will drive spend per fan.
Using this data we might derive that we should always launch games for
sale 8 weeks in advance of them taking place. We may also decide to be
launch our marketing campaigns at 11am as we know this is what
works. We may even reduce our spend on nonperforming TV and Radio
Perhaps these savings should be re invested in paid Instagram posts as
we know it is our top performing channel. We also now know the
importance of ensuring that our Instagram advertisement should be
mobile optimised as should the booking experience as we know the
majority of our fans are using mobile devices.
Increase spend per fan by bundling your offerings. Encourage
customers to spend more by giving them a package deal on multiple
products or services. You are probably beginning to notice at this point
that I am a fan of McDonald's, and for good reason they lead the way in
many of the principles that we can apply to your stadium using Flowte.
At Mc Donald’s the bundles are Extra Value Meals that include an
entree, fries and a drink. At your stadium it can be the “three game pass”
or the “Ticket, Burger & Beer” special offer. The principle is simple offer
a discount to the customer if they buy these items together. The fan
may fully intend on buying all of these items individually during their
customer journey so it is important at this point that you highlight to
them that they can save money if they buy them all together now.
By implementing strategies such as the ones I have outlined above
sports venues can maximize every transaction, you help keep the cash
flowing while you focus on the other aspects of the fan experience.
Once you shift your focus to increasing spend per customer it will pay
off many times over as we now begin to consider the concept of fan
frequency, or in other words making sure our fans attend as many
games as possible.
Chapter 2 | Fan Frequency
Growing attendance does not mean you only focus on acquiring ‘new’
fans. The first part of our plan focused on increasing spend per fan.
Let’s assume for a minute we have now successfully implemented all of
these strategies. As a result we may, hypothetically, have increased
spend per fan from $25 per fan to $32 per fan. That is an increase of $7
dollars per fan. If your stadium capacity is 50,000 people that $7
increase equates to $350,000 per game.
Therefore if we want to increase revenues further, we must now turn
our attention to fan frequency. If our average season ticket holder
attends 10 games per season, how can we increase that to 13 games
per season? If we can do this and retain our $32 spend per fan those
extra three attendances can generate an enormous $4.8M purely in
So how do we get fans to attend more games? Unlike live music venues
who can book different artists each week to attract different fanbases
and demographics sports teams do not have that luxury. What we tend
to see is the same fans come back every week. Indeed it is extremely
unlikely through any amount of advertising or marketing that we will
convince a baseball fan to suddenly start attending soccer games. There
are ways however that we can encourage fans to attend more
frequently. This is only possible if you have done the groundwork of
increasing spend per fan.
The purpose of this model is to provide football teams and stadiums
with a framework on which they can use to grow attendance on game
days. There is a general acceptance that achieving success on the pitch
will have a positive impact in terms of attendance. However, relying
solely on results is a poor and unsustainable strategy to growing
attendance. The Flowte Team under the stewardship of Hugh O'Morain
created the following model.
The first thing a club can do is to use workflow automation to identify
changes in fan behaviour. For example if your team plays a home game
every 2 weeks but some season ticket holders have not scanned their
season ticket for a period of 6 weeks this means they have missed 2
games that they could have attended for free!
However we have already established that once they attend they will
still spend $32 dollars of incremental spend. Therefore it makes sense
for us to incentivise them to attend even if it costs us money to do so.
So long as the cost is less then $32 the team will profit. One of the ways
Flowte clients do this is by sending an automated, personalised email
saying, “We miss you !”
The email might look something like this
We notice you haven’t used your season ticket since May 2nd. You
missed our last two games – we can’t wait to see you back at the Flowte
Stadium! We appreciate your business and that’s why we are offering
you this promotional code for a free beer from any of our Stadium
Concessions” This voucher is only valid at next week’s game, so we
really hope we see you there ! Code: Promo2020
Go Team !
The Fan Experience Team
Experience drives Frequency
The Fan experience includes areas such as; well-trained stewards,
parking staff, friendly hospitality staff, bar staff etc. These front-line
fan contact moments all need to be staffed by people who have been
given the right training i.e. customer service, dealing with families,
security. Nothing is more negative to a fan experience than bad
customer service from club employees.
An experienced marketing team must also be in place. They will need
access to Flowte Marketing to be able to connect to the desired
audience. In addition, ongoing training in staff must be maintained
alongside the recruitment of staff with the right skills and personality
to be in direct contact with fans. Also, budgets should be reserved to
improve the fan experience. Investments in fan engagement and the fan
experience can result in increased revenues and therefore seem to be a
commercially logical choice.
Communications drive Frequency
A clear, simple and consistent message must be created which can unite
fans and engage them beyond the matchday experience. In addition,
compelling content which is delivered across a range of digital and non-
digital platforms should be actioned. The key is to “get the right
message, to the right person, at the right time, on the right platform”.
This is where Flowte CRM can also be used. It is vital to ensure the same
creative message is communicated through all these channels regularly.
To engage the modern fan , strong storytelling techniques should be
applied around game days to extend the game day experience to more
than 90 minutes. It will encourage fans to follow the team overall rather
than just following the games.
Communication and Marketing strategies must be developed for the
various sectors of your fan base such as the ‘hard core’ and “casual” fan.
Retention strategies must be implemented alongside acquisition plans
as the cost to acquire a new fan can be significantly higher than
retaining an existing fan.
Another way sports organisations can grow attendance sustainably is
by allowing and facilitating positive tribalism to happen. A good
example of positive tribalism is that of the Tartan Army in Scotland. The
use of ‘the tartan’ provides a strong symbol that unites the fans for the
national team – tapping into their history and heritage as a country
Chapter 3 | Attracting New Fans
Extend the game day experience
The game experience shouldn't be limited to the sporting event, but
should be engaging before, during and after. As we saw earlier, sports
teams fanbases tend to be quite static. We often see the same fans
come back every week. Indeed it is extremely unlikely through any
amount of advertising or marketing that we will, for example, convince
a baseball fan to suddenly start attending soccer games.
So given that we can’t “make” new fans like our sports, we need to
instead focus on changing the game day offering. It needs to appeal to
as many target groups as possible. The best way to do this is to make
“game day” instead be “a day out for all the family”
One of the simplest strategies to implement is to encourage adults to
bring their kids to the stadium on game day. Using the Flowte Platform
you can add in multiple ticketed spaces throughout your stadium. By
adding a ticketed “kid zone” teams can create a space with
entertainment and activities for children right within the stadium. This
saves fans on childcare expenses and drives ticket sales revenue.
A similar approach can be used to encourage fans to bring family &
friends with them to see games. This builds on US tailgating culture. The
pre & post-game experience should include non-sport entertainment
such as food markets or themed fan experiences (e.g. a Christmas
market or Halloween fair) . Game day experiences that bring “non-fans”
into the stadium also include concerts or fireworks displays.
These new options allow for creative ticketing packages and bundles to
be created. Various ticketing options should be created by the club and
stadium to meet the needs of their various fan segments. It is important
to find the right ticketing options that optimizes attendance (ticket
packages, pricing, various places to purchase a ticket). This all helps in
attracting new fans at every price point and in every target market.
Utilise the stadium outside of game day
Some stadiums only open on game day. To attract new fans, teams
must maximise the stadium potential on non-game days. To this end
corporate boxes and entertainment spaces in the stadium can be rented
to local businesses for conventions even used as a wedding venue for
“die hard” fans ! Larger stadiums also have the opportunity to offer
retail, museum or stadium tours all of which can attract casual fans,
tourists and regular fans. The key to these non-game day, off site
operations is that the same system used for ticketing and operations on
game day. By doing so the owners can gain a far deeper understanding
of their fans interests and profile.
The second broad element that must be in place in order to realise
sustainable attendance growth is to have a clearly defined vision,
mission, culture and heritage. The goals and objectives derived from
this vision and mission will then guide the organisation through this
process. It is therefore important that growing attendance is an
important part of the long-term strategy of the organisation. This
ensures all departments are aligned and justifies the allocation of
necessary resources. Everyone should buy into what you're trying to
achieve in terms of sustaining or growing attendance at home games –
it’s not just the job of the marketing department!
Cultural engagement and leadership. The support of the Board, CEO and
Marketing Director are fundamental when seeking to grow attendance.
Strong leadership will provide direction and ensure that implementation
is successful and resourced appropriately. Senior leaders must be fully
engaged from the very start. This includes growing attendance being
part of strategic meetings.
Off Site Initiatives
In addition to organising activities at the venue, it is important to also
include projects, programs and activities away from the stadium on a
regular basis. This will strengthen the bond with the sports brand and
will lead to increased interest in visiting a game. Multiple off site
locations and venues can also be managed on the Flowte Platform. For
example many clubs offer a training camp for children to learn the
sport. These kids and their parents need to be engaged with as potential
new fans. Teams should equally create unique experiences for existing
fans (for example, train with the team, travel with the team, eat with
the team or a player)
Traditional desk research is important to gain an understanding of your
potential fan base. What are the different segments who you don’t
reach yet, what is the customer lifetime value assigned to each
segment, how can these segments be reached? Conduct desk research
regularly and then create plans on how to gain access to these potential
Community interaction and engagement
The club or stadium should aim to constantly engage with the
community. The community activities should foster deep engagement
with the community and repeat regularly throughout the year
These initiatives must embed the club or national team into community
programs and ultimately become part of the fabric of community life.
The club or stadium must incorporate this into the overall strategic plan.
Once the club or stadium has become an integrated part of the
community, attendance will grow.
The impact of local competition from other sports and entertainment
offerings must be taken into consideration. Who are they, what is their
experience like? Are you both going after the same audience? Research
must be conducted to understand the competition better as well as
developing an appropriate action plan.
The aim of this model is to provide football leagues, clubs and national
stadiums with key building blocks to help grow the three pillars of fan
1 Spend Per Fan
2 Fan Frequency
3 Attracting New Fans
We understand that sporting performance also plays a part in growing
attendance but as an industry we can’t solely rely or focus on this. This
model provides tools to help grow attendances sustainably.
CEO | Flowte Sport