How Do We Use Technology to Transform the Fan Experience?
August 29, 2023
Last week, FEVO headed to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan for the 2023 Front Office Sports Rising 25 Awards Gala, where we toasted the best and brightest up-and-comers working in the business of sports.
We were also lucky enough to get in on the action ourselves: the day of the gala, FEVO CRO Josh Rose joined Mark Topley, Senior Manager of Tourism at the New York Yankees, and Michael Chua, Global Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Ticketmaster, for an enlightening panel discussion on “The Role of Technology in Transforming the Fan Experience.”
You can watch that discussion in full via the video embedded below. And if you’re more of a CliffsNotes person, we also compiled our five biggest takeaways from the chat after the jump.
1. Now more than ever, sports brands are global brands. In his role with the Yankees, Mark Topley’s job is to sell “tourist” tickets to non-local fans. In a digital-first world, fanbases reach farther and wider than ever before, creating opportunities for sales and marketing teams to target relevant audiences not only at home, but abroad.
2. Providing a next-gen “Fan Experience” starts with the ticket-buying process. Ticketmaster, FEVO and the Yankees are at the forefront of enhancing the very first stage of the fan experience: buying a ticket. It’s not just about an easy, fast checkout (though that’s paramount), but also supplying fans with tools and features (e.g., inviting friends or inventory bundling) that allow the checkout itself to feel more like an experience.
3. You can sell tickets in the same places where any travel experience is sold. Talking about the untapped potential of the tourism market in sports, Topley mentioned how attractions like the Empire State Building have been distributed on platforms like Expedia and TripAdvisor for years. It’s time for the sports industry to tap into those resources as well.
4. If you’re not practicing “contextual commerce,” you’re missing out. Michael Chua discussed the importance of being where the fans are. Whether it's new platforms like TikTok or more traditional ones like YouTube, the aim is to surface the right event at the right time based on the user’s ingrained tech habits.
5. Career advice: You don’t have to start out in sports to end up in sports. Topley advised the audience not to limit themselves to just working in sports but to consider any entertainment field. He pointed to his own winding career path, which took him from a sports business degree to Disney on Broadway before finally ending up at the Yankees. In a world where technology is increasingly blurring the lines between different forms of entertainment, sometimes experience in a complementary field can be even more valuable than experience in a primary one.