Case study from one of the world’s most popular handball clubs, Telekom Veszprem
A packed arena is just the beginning, not the destination. The improvement of match day entertainment and increasing revenues are part of a never ending process
The field of data analysis is becoming more and more significant in the sport industry thanks to the fact that numerous sophisticated tools are becoming available for data collection. For example we see the abundance of tools for the evaluation of players’ performance and the question is not whether we will use these statistics to improve the game, but how to collect data which we consider financially useful, and what kind of conclusions we will draw from them for the benefit of our sport organizations. Sure, for many it is not shocking news but data cannot be gathered only from the arenas, since fans are also engaged in all kinds of activities in front of the televisions too. So far a wide range of clubs have applied traditional methods in order to measure their own performance, – such as data extracted from ticket sales, hospitality and merchandise sales – , which are still important, yet the latest technological innovations enable the delivery of real time data on a broader scale as well. With the help of Seyu’s service Telekom Veszprem fans are able to post their photos on the giant screens of the Veszprem Arena from anywhere in the world, in return the club is able to define the demographic composition of fans, measure their level of engagement or the success of merchandising. Using the data generated by Seyu enhances the work of marketing and sales departments at the club and makes campaigns adjustable during the season, even match by match, resulting in a better fan experience and more revenue.
Taking selfies and posting them in the arena – one of the best ways of including remote fans in match days
Let’s see how it works in practice! For this case study, we have selected one of the world’s strongest handball clubs – one of our first partners – Telekom Veszprém. The team has a dedicated fan club, handball is an essential part of the city, it is burned into the identity of Veszprem residents and expats alike. In 2020 Veszprem Arena was voted to have the best atmosphere from all EHF Champions League participants, we think it says it all about the match day experience on a Telekom Veszprem match. However it doesn’t mean that the club would settle with providing just a great experience in the Veszprem Arena and in front of the TV’s. The service of Seyu was introduced at the club in 2018, as an innovation taking fan entertainment up a notch and including remote fans too. Fans used the application 610 times already in the test season, and this number has almost doubled so far in the 2019-20 season, when 1131 photos were posted through the platform. The displayed photos included in general more than one person, this way providing the base of 4077 individual fans for the study to be concluded, which is considered to be a significant sample from a statistical point of view as well. The figures are quite balanced regarding genders (55.8% male, 44.2% female), while in terms of age, fans under the age of 35 are in majority (57.7%), however representatives from older age groups also follow the games in great numbers, according to the fan photos. Showing that the demographics of handball fans aren’t much different from football’s if we look at that the audience of last year’s UEFA Champions League final in 66% belonged to the under 35 generations.
We have created a family sub-category within the group category during our analysis, this way delivering the information to Telekom Veszprem that on 50.31% of the fan photos families were posing and cheering for the team happily. This data may deliver important information for the ticket sales strategy, or for the creation of sales and marketing activities. In case of Telekom Veszprem special group deals are extremely justified, since this season the proportion of those who posted group photos (together with family or friends) increased to 82.7%. It translates to that even more focus could be placed on couple, family or group tickets, merchandise sales, catering deals or social activities. The success of Seyu’s service represents a higher level of commitment from fans, and people cheering for Telekom Veszprem with their family or in the company of friends are more receptive towards new, tech-savvy and entertaining activations. Therefore, as this example shows, it might be worth placing more emphasis on providing entertaining solutions to fans around the globe and learn about them this way.
Significant reserves in merchandising
From the photos posted by avid fans we are able to take conclusions about the merchandising activities too, since many supporters love to take on the colours of their beloved team when its match day. In the case of Telekom Veszprem, there was another important decision shortly before the introduction of Seyu: a change in the jersey supplier partner. Therefore through Seyu’s involvement the club was able to continuously monitor the popularity of the new brand amongst fans and see if pricing or deals should be adjusted throughout the cooperation with the new brand. In the first year of the introduction of Hummel only 12.7% of the fans wore their jerseys, this year it has reached 21.4%, which means that every fifth Veszprém fan on the photos is cheering in a relatively new, maximum two years old shirt. What is even more important is that out of those who wore a jersey on the day of the game this season, 64% of them rocked in Hummel, so two thirds of the die-hard fans are keeping the pace with the club, also confirming that the new jersey is sold on a price affordable for them. Nevertheless, based on the data, there are still plenty of room for improvement in this field: in this year, only 43% of fans wore some kind of merchandising product, which means that for more than half of the audience it may be worth delivering a relevant value proposition – either within the frame of a family or group promotions.
Please fans with entertaining solutions and they reward the club with essential data
Clubs in previous times were able to differentiate two kinds of fan data used to fine-tune their marketing and sales activities. One is the category of ‘hard facts’, which generally consists of the previously mentioned number of audience, or merchandising and hospitality data. These usually are dry facts, and it is very difficult to get true readings on the background of consumer behaviour, and to create constructive and precise Marketing-PR-CSR strategies based on them. The second kind of data became available with the rise of social media and all consumer insights yielding activities that came with them. This way many clubs tried and reluctantly tries to understand the behaviour of their fans with the help of prize games or other social media activities, which is definitely the right way to go but not quite enough in the world of non-stop changing consumer behavioural business life. Also often data won out of these social media games isn’t the real deal and helps getting the whole picture, since fans participate in those in promise of some kind of reward, so they became financially interested in providing a response. While throughout a fan entertaining solution that is very appealing to fans in the age of selfies and exhibitionism, such as Seyu, and where fans receive value important for them, plus get an euphoric kick out of match days no matter where they are in the world, fans voluntarily provide their consumer behaviour details simply by using the solution. On top of all the consumer insights that enrich our partners’ life, fans are happily communicating to the world on social media in branded frames that cheering for a club, in this case Telekom Veszprem, is a happy, family and friend focused recreation – a great proof of this is that 85% of the selfies posted during the two seasons, fans have a gleeful smile on their faces.
Seyu is a solution that helps sport industry partners to generate more revenue on already sold commercial surfaces by building a desired emotional bridge between brands and fans. Executing this in a way that enables sport organizations to tap into the huge spending power of remote fans while generating a new kind of consumer data and accelerating their MARKETING-PR-CSR communications. Seyu is an easy to
implement, 150+ events proven, AI assisted solution which is using sport industry partners’ already existing IT infrastructure to allow fans around the world, through a moderated channel, to post their photos on the LED boards and other screens in the stadiums on matchdays, and share them instantly on social media in branded frames.