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Volume 27 No. 5
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Data Utilization Continues To Gain Importance In Sports Business

Rabil (second from the right) said the PLL's mantra internally is player and fan focused, but data driven
Photo: TONY FLOREZ
Rabil (second from the right) said the PLL's mantra internally is player and fan focused, but data driven
Photo: TONY FLOREZ
Rabil (second from the right) said the PLL's mantra internally is player and fan focused, but data driven
Photo: TONY FLOREZ

Exploring how and why data drives decisions in sports business was the topic of a panel discussion during Day 1 of the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology conference. Endeavor Analytics Senior VP Zack Rose said his company is "touching everyone from brands to teams to leagues to organizations," but its approach is viewing data "as currency." Rose: "Clients ask what returns they are getting on their investment for partnering with 'League X?' We’ve built a team out to analyze and give them feedback but we’re a ways away from figuring out that exact dollar return." Kraft Analytics Group CEO Jessica Gelman added, "One of biggest challenges is who owns the data? … What can they do with it? What’s the depth of the information that’s being made available?" She said most of the time it is not a "one-to-one relationship of knowing who that customer is." Golman noted companies like Facebook or Square are "not giving you the information of the customers making purchases" and companies must "market through them to get information and make sales."

WHAT CAN DATA DO? U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Properties Head of Partnership Development & Innovation Zaileen Janmohamed wondered about the effect sponsorship dollars has on people. "If they’ll change behavior, purchase a brand more frequently, how they feel about the brand -- that’s where we need a lot of work," she said. "That’s what the brands are asking us to do." PLL co-Founder Paul Rabil said data "is everything" for the fledgling league. He said from building a business plan to raising VC money the PLL's mantra internally is "player and fan focused, but data driven." Rabil noted data has helped the PLL understand how it is driving streaming subscriptions for NBC Sports Gold: "We’re learning if a user follows an athlete or team, they’re three times more likely to subscribe to an OTT."

PICKING & CHOOSING: There was a diverse list of data platforms that panelists turn to in order to do their jobs. Rose said Endeavor has been "dabbling with experiential analytics, Wi-Fi boxes, cameras to get a better understanding of dwell time, impressions, engagement rate." He said, "We can deliver more accurate data back to our partner brands versus a brand ambassador walking around with a clipboard and stopwatch." Rabil said the PLL uses CrowdTangle and Greenfly as a utility for its players, and said the league has found success with GumGum data. Rabil said internally, the PLL uses Salesforce and Monday.com. Janmohamed said she has not found a business intelligence platform that serves all of her needs. "My ideal state is to provide partners with real-time, intelligent AI-based measurement platform, so they can go in and see what the type of fan we’re attracting see the return on their business and see delivering see how their assets are performing."