“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Sherlock Holmes

I love this quote. 

It speaks to the reason why I started my business, and the beginning of my journey within data and sports. A lot of times we get so caught up in the, “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality that we become complacent with certain aspects of a project, process or our job in general that we never stop to think, is it working?

For example. In college athletics sales whether ticket sales, development/fundraising, even marketing we work in a very cyclical, repetitive way because of the nature of the school year, seasons and sales calendar. Once one season is completed, a new one starts and our focus immediately shifts without time to process what just happened. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end, am I right?

This cyclical nature in addition to being pulled in different directions for your different sports, or responsibilities makes it hard to have the opportunity to sit back and say, what worked, what didn’t work, and how can we get better in a true fashion with data to back it up. Sure, we all probably have a season in review, where a coach brings up the fact they didn’t like the music that was played, or we need more ice at the concession stands, but is there a true evaluation of what really happened at some point in your review.

Are we taking the time to truly evaluate what happened over the course of the season to understand areas to improve and connect the dots between our business practices and the data that came in during the course of the season. It’s a pretty daunting task if you really think about it. It’s almost time for Omaha so let’s take a collegiate baseball team as an example. Think about all the different data sets pouring in simply around just this one team:

  • Tickets
  • Donations
  • Merchandise
  • Concessions
  • Website
  • Email
  • Mobile App
  • Social Media
  • etc.

There is a lot of data coming in, from a lot of different areas. Even the above examples could be broken down even further into smaller subsets depending on exactly what data you need or are looking for. Now, as a ticket manager, or development officer, extrapolate all the above information by 4/5/6 more sports and it can become overwhelming with the amount of data that is created and figuring out how to use it or what to do with it.

However, this presents a world of opportunities.

We have to take the time to understand our teams, our ecosystem, our business in order to be more effective at our job and maximize our potential. We have to take the time to understand our fans, purchase behaviors, and digital interactions to better serve our fans and give them a better experience. We have to take the time to analyze and understand as much as we can so that we stop saying “we’ve always done it this way” and start saying “this is what the data is telling us.”

Oh, did I mention I can help?