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Volume 21 No. 10
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Ticket industry uses wealth of information to make last-minute offers

Data has long been used by the ticketing industry as a critical aid for additional revenue. Using data to alert consumers about new events or to link fans of a sport or team to other events matching their affinities is now a staple for nearly every major ticketing company.

But data now also is helping establish time as an additional revenue driver as mobile technologies advance and ticket sellers seek to mine the last hours before a game or other event starts, and even the minutes and hours after it begins.

San Francisco-based mobile ticketing company Gametime, for example, has built much of its business around being something of an impulse buy for sports fans. The largest concentration of its sales happens in the last two hours before a game starts, a window in which many other online primary and secondary markets have closed and purchasing is more limited to on-site ticket booths.

Gametime has built much of its business around impulse buys.
That time-based data, in turn, is used as a foundation of Gametime’s marketing in which mobile push notifications are frequently sent in the late afternoon and early evening to Gametime users highlighting pitching matchups, weather, ticket availability and real-time pricing trends for nearby, available events. Each of those additional pieces of data is used to highlight events and spur last-minute purchasing.

“The notifications are still manually generated. We still like to have that human touch to craft the message,” said Colin Evans, Gametime chief revenue officer. “But there is a lot of data that we are regularly monitoring and evaluating, such as pricing and inventory, and elements such as matchups and winning streaks that make particular games more attractive.”

Other, larger ticketing players have similarly sought to make ticketing a more real-time enterprise, fueled in part by data and mobile technology. Discount ticket outlet ScoreBig operates a last-minute offers page in which same-day events are actively marketed to its users. Industry titans Ticketmaster and StubHub have also increased their offerings within last-minute windows, with the latter still operating physical locations around the country to serve imminent events in major markets.

Atlanta-based mobile technology outfit Experience also is bulking up its capabilities in text-based ticketing in which real-time ticket inventories are linked to fan databases, in turn creating new offers for same-day and last-minute tickets.

A handful of NBA teams last season, for example, used a College Pass product from Experience to market last-minute unsold seats to local college students, matching up current ticket inventory with fans’ ages and career development status, and in turn entering thousands of new names into fan databases. Several MLB teams are working on similar efforts.

“We’re playing with a lot of mechanics around last-minute offers,” said Greg Mize, Atlanta Braves director of digital marketing. “We think, for example, there’s a real interesting opportunity around lunchtime of a game day where you see what you have available and then make a very specific, targeted offer over text.”