Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 20 No. 42
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Cal uses tech to track potential ticket buyers

The University of California is implementing technology that will enable its ticket department to communicate more effectively with potential buyers.

With a tool called marketing automation, Cal’s ticket office will be able to track potential customers when they visit the school’s official website and respond with ticket offers.

The system can alert Cal’s ticket office if a consumer visits the school’s website and can track if the viewer has been to the ticketing page.
This kind of automated response and retargeting of potential buyers has been a tool used by many pro teams for years, but it’s just now making its way into the college space. Officials from Paciolan, the ticketing software company used by most of the schools in the big five conferences, say that Cal is the first school to implement marketing automation into its ticket-selling process.

“We’re going to see this lead into a new trend,” said Dave Butler, president of Paciolan. “This is a great tool that has been refined by pro teams and it’s coming into the college world now.”

Marketing automation tracks the behavior of potential buyers when they visit the school’s site, The site can track if the viewer has been to the ticketing page, the donor page or perhaps a specific sport page and report that information back to Cal’s ticket office.

Over time, a profile of the viewer emerges and Cal responds with follow-up emails or phone calls. It’s roughly 300 percent more effective than a cold call, said Mark DiMaurizio, vice president of technology solutions for Comcast-Spectacor, the company that owns both Paciolan and FanOne Marketing.

FanOne integrates the fan-tracking technology into Paciolan’s ticketing system at Cal. The cost for this technology can start in the low five figures and go as high as $70,000 for a client to implement.

“Retailers have been doing this for years,” DiMaurizio said. “If you ran a clothing store and had no idea who was looking at your racks, it’d be a shame. What we can do is put code on the Web pages and find insight into the people who are looking. That kind of Web tracking tells you, for example, if somebody dropped an item into their cart and then abandoned it without checking out. It generates a lot of very qualified leads and bridges the gap between technology and sales.”

DiMaurizio estimates that a quarter of professional teams in the NFL, NBA and NHL are using marketing automation. Teams that sell out all the time, like the Green Bay Packers, wouldn’t need it, but the 76ers and Flyers in Philadelphia both have employed it, as well as the NFL Oakland Raiders and NBA Brooklyn Nets, DiMaurizio said.

“As colleges continue to behave more like businesses than educational institutions, we’re going to see more implementation of tools like this,” he said.

Cal’s associate athletic director for sales and marketing, Ashwin Puri, came from the NBA and has spearheaded a more sophisticated sales operation for the Golden Bears, including an outbound sales team.

“Ultimately, this technology allows us to customize every interaction we have with the fan,” Puri said. “We can track where customers spend time on the site, what pages they looked at and where they might have abandoned the purchasing process. This allows us to proactively make contact with a potential buyer who we know is at least somewhat interested. From that information, we can also see if they’ve made transactions in the past, if they’ve donated, a whole record of their behavior.”