Ticket analytics involves analyzing changes in ticket prices over time. Ticket price changes occur over time for a variety of reason and there are many tools and services you can use to track those changes, including two different websites I’ll mention here in a moment. Before we get to that though, it is important to try to understand why it is important to track these changes and what that means for your organization.
First of all, sports teams set their ticket prices at the beginning of each season based on the team’s performance the prior season, the current conditions of the facility in which they operate their home schedule of games, budget and accounting requirements for revenue goals, inflation, and the perceived value for tickets in the marketplace of their geographic location and general place in society. There are also several other unique and local factors that are outside the scope of this post on ticket analytics. Based on those inputs, the output is the final, published price for which tickets are sold as part of a plan or on a single ticket basis by the team or its distribution partners. Once those prices are published and the tickets are sold, the events for which those tickets grant access hold a perceived value in the hearts and minds of those who hold them and especially, for some events, those who don’t.
It’s been told that the secondary market for tickets began in the mid- to late 19th century with trans-continental railroad tickets for passengers trying to get across the country. Yes, ticket scalpers existed even back then and tried to turn a profit off of unsuspecting travelers trying to get around, surprise surprise. Given the changes in technology since then, we now have access to online ticket analytics tools that allow us to track the prices of tickets on the secondary market, giving teams more insight into the factors that influence the price thresholds that fans are willing to pay in order to gain admission to their often exclusive events.
Back in the early days of scalped train tickets and even up to our current decade for some sports, it was impossible to experience any type of event except in person, that is, until the dawn of television. Even now as many teams across the country and the globe struggle with ticket sales and do everything they can to develop a game experience that encourages live attendance and ticket sales, there is still much to learn about secondary market ticket prices and why they rise and fall they way they do, while still keeping access open to our lower and middle class fans. That is precisely where ticket analytics comes into play.
A few of the factors that influence ticket prices are team success, high-profile players, coaches, and owners (novelty effect), game experience and entertainment, team quality and winning percentage, opponent quality and winning percentage, economic factors of the community, both local and national, and numerous other factors that are too numerous to list here. Given those known factors, we can now track price changes of ticket prices on the secondary market and begin to draw some conclusions as to how accurately teams are pricing their tickets. With that information we can learn and eventually implement variable and dynamic ticket price changes in order to compete with the secondary market for better ticket sales performance and overall revenue. Assuming an accurate account of these numerous economic factors and the known price changes over time, teams can learn to better price their tickets over time in advance and alongside these market factors and get ahead of the secondary market. Perhaps this process may end in a game of diminishing returns, but that has yet to be seen.
So now for my two recommendations on ticket analytics tracking websites – SeatGeek and TiqIQ. Both of these websites offer great information, but more so with the fan in mind and not the sport ticket sales and box office manager, so beware if you try to jump right in expecting great results. Ticket analytics tracking requires some data intelligence and some general intuition with a few goals in mind, so make sure you know why you are doing it and come up with a few goals before you begin. There are several data companies that will do this for a fee, so do your research if you plan on taking ticket analytics more seriously.
Let me know what you think or if your organization is involved with this in some way – I’m interested in hearing what other teams and organizations are doing in terms of ticket analytics.