When people think about sports, many things may come to mind: Screaming fans, the intensity of the game and maybe even the food. Data doesn’t usually make the list. But what people may not realize is that data is behind everything people love about sports. It can help determine how many tickets are sold, how a team can improve and how much food a vendor should bring to the game. It’s the backbone to many sports organizations and helps ensure a flawless customer experience. While data might not always be your go-to when thinking about sports, for these four companies, it certainly is.

1. Improving the fan experience with machine learning

Spreadsheets were once the lifeblood of the analytics team at AEG. But it was a labor-intensive process, and it took them weeks or even months to provide insights to the organization, costing them time and money. However, once AEG invested in SAS® advanced analytics, it completely changed the game. Real-time dashboards allowed them to make faster, more informed decisions. They could see the outcomes of their marketing campaigns, analyze millions of records and prepare for games by predicting how much staff they would likely need for the game. SAS helped them provide excellent customer service and to know the status of the company’s marketing efforts at any given point in time, allowing them peace of mind.

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2. World’s largest sports and humanitarian event builds legacy of inclusion with data-driven technology

The Special Olympics is a fascinating organization that empowers people daily. When working with people who have health issues, it’s highly important that the athletes have the best care when they need it most. Using SAS artificial intelligence solutions, the organization can streamline health data to predict when health issues might occur. Personnel are then ready in case of emergency. AI also shows ticketing and management data to ensure that customers have an uncomplicated and entertaining experience. Using SAS helps coordinate thousands of moving parts, ensuring a successful event for the fans and most importantly, the athletes.

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3. Targeted offers give hockey fans the royal treatment

The champagne bottle burst open when the two-time Stanley Cup Champions, the LA Kings, became the top team in the National Hockey League in 2014. However, the victory was short-lived as the season that followed saw few wins. Once the team started to decline, the crowds began to dwindle. A new marketing strategy was needed, and fast. They turned to SAS, and with the models SAS was able to provide, the team quickly improved their marketing efforts. The data gathered from each game informed new marketing campaigns and SAS Visual Analytics allowed them to gain tons of new insights from customer surveys. Attendance grew, and growing revenue allowed the organization to focus on even more on building an ideal fan experience.

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4. Reaching 3.6 million football fans via comprehensive customer engagement

With the largest database in the sports federation, KNVB has no lack of data to analyze. But that much data can be overwhelming and it can be difficult to gain accurate insights or even know which data to use. Using SAS Customer Intelligence 360, KNVB can create logical segmentation of active players, clubs, fans and volunteers. This allows for smooth planning, well ahead of games. With proper analysis, communications have also become more personalized and forecasting is more precise. The organization is now getting the most accurate insights in a timely manner, guaranteeing a win for everyone involved.

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5. Getting to the games with data

The Canadian Olympic Committee has been using SAS for analytics since 2017 to keep their athletes training and performance optimized. However, the pandemic brought on a load of new challenges for Team Canada. They had to make sure their athletes were safe, but also able to prepare for the upcoming games. Using SAS, Team Canada was able to create dashboards that tracked training days lost, hospitalizations, symptoms in positive tests, reasons for testing and medical complications. This allowed them to have a holistic view of what was happening with their athletes and be prepared for whatever came their way.

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Data is a fundamental part of any sport

Sports thrive when analytics are involved. Knowing how a team operates and how people work allows for valuable insights and helps ensure a fantastic customer experience, while making athletes safety a top priority. It also ensures that sports organizations can successfully market themselves to a changing world as trends come and go and as new safety precautions are put in place.

So, now you know: Data is a fundamental part of any sport, and I hope that when you think about sports, it'll now make the top of the list.

Learn more about how SAS is enhancing sports through analytics: Celebrating Sports


About Author

Olivia Ojeda

Olivia Ojeda is an Associate Communications Specialist on the Thought Leadership, Editorial and Content team at SAS. In 2023, she graduated with a degree in Business Administration/Marketing from North Carolina State University. Day-to-day she helps write and edit collateral and enjoys creating colorful and creative blog posts.

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