Through our spotlight interviews we have been able to get a better sense for how our speaker faculty balance data-driven decision making in a corporate environment and how they are utilizing data to better understand their fans and corporate partners. Today’s interview is with Kyle Burkhardt, Director of Business Intelligence for the Los Angeles Kings:
What were the main factors that inspired you to pursue a career in the sports industry?
My first job in sports was with the Minnesota Timberwolves which gave me an opportunity to work for one of my favorite teams growing up. Even if you aren’t a fan before becoming an employee, the opportunity to work with a product that is fun to cheer for and that you want to succeed makes it easy to go to work every day.
How is your organization utilizing data and analytics as a means to more effectively engage and retain both fans and corporate partners throughout the course of a season?
This year one of our main focuses is identifying the fan that buys on the secondary market and bringing them back to the primary. Not necessarily through single game tickets, but with a multi-game plan and the service that our Account Executives can provide. We are doing this through a partnership with StubHub, as well as through analyzing purchasing plans, ticket posting, and sold prices on the secondary market. Our department has recently increased in size, so with our extra resources we are diving deeper into digital metrics. This gives our corporate partnership department more ammunition when talking to potential sponsors.
Have you found it difficult to balance a data-driven approach to implementing marketing and business intelligence strategies without eliminating human beings from the decision making process
That has not been an issue that we have encountered. We use Business Intelligence to look into things that we were not able to in the past or to automate processes that used to be manual. However, once we have aggregated, visualized, and analyzed the data we still make decisions after consulting with leadership and other experts.
The sports industry has been at the forefront of data and analytics for the past decade as people who were teenagers or college students during the “Moneyball” era are now working in the business, often in senior-level positions. How has this industry-wide data and analytics revolution impacted your organization’s ability to hire and develop talent in an increasingly competitive space within the sports landscape?
While Moneyball undoubtedly played a part in an increased interest in analytics, this phenomenon is not limited to the sports industry. Healthcare, retail, and other verticals have also seen an increase in emphasis on big data and machine learning. I think that the sports industry prides itself on being on the cutting edge of the newest technologies and this has had an impact as well. With all of that being said, there has always been a large number of candidates who want to work in sports, but I believe that they are more talented and well-rounded now than ever before.
Are there any specific emerging trends or technologies in the data and analytics space that you believe will be particularly impactful to marketers in the sports industry?
As companies continue to become better and better at collecting both demographic and sociographic information I believe there will be even more of a focus in that area. If you can have a perfect view of who your ticket buyers and fans are, and then find identical people like them in the marketplace that you didn’t know about before, it will open all kinds of doors to both marketers and sales professionals.
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