In the first four months of 2022, vivenu has powered more than 1,000 games of clubs across all kinds of sports, divisions, and countries. We have collected their feedback on what stuck out from a ticketing perspective and there are four themes that consistently came up in our conversations. In this post, we are sharing these themes – and provide guidance for ticketing managers on how to make them actionable for their organizations.
In brief, here are the four things our sports customers have told us are most important to them right now:
- In most regions, Covid-19 impacts almost vanished
- Customers demand more sophisticated tools
- Drive towards more digital communication in a post-covid world
- Smaller clubs also become more and more demanding
Covid is (almost) in the back mirror, but organizers are still cautious
Our internal data on game sales and attendance confirm what ticketing managers and executives of sports clubs running on the vivenu platform have told us: With restrictions lifting and the weather getting milder across many geographies, organizers are seeing a solid rebound of sales and attendance numbers. While the notion of a pent-up ticket demand just ready to explode now seems a bit overstated, our data definitely indicates a robust demand increase compared to the first four months of last year.
While there is certainly a positive trend, organizers are still seeing some visitor restraint, most likely as a result of the uncertainty and caution that remain as Covid-19 still remains a health threat, albeit curtailed. Organizers are mirroring that caution, but there are signs of optimism: Many of them are still operating on the more conservative forecasts established throughout 2021, when restrictions were still tighter in many countries and the road back to pre-Covid attendance still looked very much unclear. With restrictions easing and most indicators pointing towards a lively summer and further roll-backs of pandemic containment restrictions, organizers are slowly starting to see light at the end of the Covid tunnel.
Ticket buyer demands have shifted dramatically – and there’s no turning back
One of the most widespread learnings sports clubs have taken from the spring season is just how much guest demands have shifted during the pandemic: Fully digital buyer and visitor journeys are not optional anymore – instead, they have become table stakes in fan interaction. Many of the largest clubs had embraced this shift enthusiastically even before the pandemic. With Covid-19, the awareness and required adjustments have filtered down to smaller clubs, too. With physical ticket offices closed for most of the pandemic and tight contact restrictions in place, ticket buyers have naturally shifted online across all age groups – and with them more discerning expectations on user-friendliness, mobile optimization and overall ease of use. For vendors offering sub-par digital experiences, there was nowhere to hide anymore, as increased traffic exposed their shortcomings and vulnerabilities.
Fans are connecting with their clubs almost exclusively via digital channels – and the best clubs cater to this preference
From the regional handball club with 50,000 yearly visitors to the European Tier 1 soccer club, we are seeing an increasing shift to a truly customer-centric model of fan interaction across our sports customer base. Their use cases are looking increasingly alike: from building their own app to combine ticketing, loyalty programs, and personalized content to revamping their technology infrastructure in the pursuit of a holistic fan experience. To not only deliver, but also capitalize on this opportunity, many clubs have realized they need to make significant changes to their technology infrastructure. This starts with making data available across technology solutions. Enriching and leveraging the data on guests, their ticket buying and interests is the first step to capture value from these relationships and build meaningful long-term relationships.
From there, modern technology solutions place virtually no limits on what clubs can build to enhance fan engagement and deliver value: from booking streaks optimized for conversion rates and front ends in tune with the club's corporate identity to raffle systems for equal chances at getting tickets for a particularly hot game, new technological advances offer enormous potential for innovation and revenue.
Demand for technologically-sophisticated solutions is starting to spill over from the biggest clubs in the world to the mainstream
What surprised us most about the conversations we have had with clubs and their ticketing executives was the surge in strategic priority that implementing technologically-advanced solutions are currently enjoying – and, even more surprising, that the demand is greatest among mid-tier regional clubs.
In other words: The same technological sophistication that used to be the domain of deep-pocketed national and international clubs is now sought by the mainstream, spurred by the proliferation of powerful tools for every step of the value chain targeting exactly these clubs. From CRM and dynamic pricing to home-made fan engagement apps and powerful retargeting, smaller clubs are building out sophisticated digital capabilities at break-neck speed – and discarding old and clunky legacy providers when they can't keep up with their needs.
vivenu is the partner for more than 500 sophisticated organizers who are ready to level up their ticketing, with unprecedented empowerment, independence, and openness driving efficiency gains in ticketing operations, more revenue, and a rich systems landscape that is ready for any new idea or integration organizers can think of.
Find out how vivenu can supercharge the ticketing for your sports club. Talk to our experts today.