Published October 4, 2011
Pirates will create models that will help predict ticket, merch sales
The Pirates have signed a deal with SAS Analytics to assist in analyzing and integrating data in order to improve marketing and operations, as well as build a stronger relationship with fans. Using SAS Visual Data Discovery, the Pirates will attempt to capitalize on the program’s ability to organize customer insights and identify new opportunities to increase ticket and merchandise sales. The club already has begun using SAS to look at season-ticket renewals, examining the likelihood of current season-ticket holders renewing and allocating resources in-season to give their retention staff the best opportunity to bring back those ticket holders who may not have a high likelihood of coming back. Pirates Business Analytics Manager Jason Witzberger said the team wanted to “make sure that we gave ourselves every best possible chance we could to retain as many customers for next year as we possibly could.” The Pirates this offseason will create models that will help predict ticket and merchandise sales, monitor how far in advance tickets are being purchased and assess game-by-game trends. The team will use that data to refine sales processes, promotions and marketing initiatives throughout the season. Pirates Senior Dir of Business Analytics Jim Alexander said, “As we approach the 2012 season we fully expect that each one of those elements that we plan to use the product for is in play and that people have access to that information so different departments can get smarter at what they do.” He added, “It’s not necessarily that it’s going to address anything that we weren’t doing -- it’s going to enhance and refine what we were doing and make our process more efficient, smarter, and the data that we’re pushing out to the different stakeholders be more valuable to them.” The Pirates can renew their license for SAS Visual Data Discovery on a year-to-year basis. SAS’ technology is used by several other pro sports teams, including the Spurs, Magic and 49ers.