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Volume 23 No. 17
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Notre Dame hires Circle Media to consolidate fan data

Notre Dame’s athletic department has one set of data from fans who buy tickets, another set of data from fans who buy merchandise and yet more data on fans who visit the Irish’s official website.

So the school has hired Circle Media, a technology firm with offices in Texas and New York, to consolidate all of that information into a single database.

Circle Media, launched three years ago by Randy Eccker, the former XOS Digital chief, has been working with universities such as Notre Dame, as well as other clients outside of the college space, to help them cultivate their fan databases into more useful information like fan profiles.

By taking all of that disparate data on the Irish’s fans and putting it into a single database, Circle Media’s data management platform — called Fan.Dex — will create fan profiles that illustrate certain qualities about each individual fan, such as their favorite sports to attend or the gear they most often purchase.

Circle Media is part of a growing trend in the college space that uses data analytics to create a more productive dialogue between the school and its fans.

“With a more comprehensive fan profile, we’ll be able to see a more holistic picture of our fans’ interests,” said Dan Skendzel, Notre Dame’s senior associate athletic director who oversees Fighting Irish Media and athletic department branding.

Circle Media has been around since 2013, but just recently has its college business hit stride in a space that’s becoming more and more competitive. It now counts LSU, Louisville, Rutgers, Temple, Siena, Georgia State, Florida International and St. Joseph’s as clients.

Circle Media’s software and fan profiles have proved especially helpful for schools that want to segment their communications, rather than send every marketing email to every fan in the database.

“It gives the school the opportunity to speak to fans one to one, one to a few or one to many,” Eccker said.
The Irish are starting relatively small by combining three databases — tickets, merchandise and website — to learn more about their customer base.

Circle Media also works with schools to compile data from third parties, such as rights holders, licensees, concessionaires or other areas, if a school signs up for the service. Fees can range from the low five figures up to $100,000, depending on the scope of the work.