How GameDay is using data-driven insights to pursue customer growth

Sports technology platform provider talks through the data intelligence and analytics approach that's helping it to improve internal commercial reporting as well as new and existing customer opportunities

Infusing its product offering with data and analytics capabilities that help sporting groups better track participation trends has proven key to GameDay driving customer and revenue growth.

Melbourne-based GameDay is a technology provider providing registration, membership, ticketing and events management platforms to an array of organisations, from national governing bodies and sporting federations to professional teams and clubs, grassroots and community organisations. GameDay is part of the Stack Sports group, which services 50 million sporting participants across 35 countries and has also offices in Auckland, London and Manchester.

GameDay commercial director, Chris Guest, told CMO the business motivator for investing in an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered data visualisation and reporting solution was an internal need to better understand financial performance. At any given time, a mixture of manual processes, spreadsheets and siloed systems made it hard to see anything through data.

“We would have to wait five days into the new month to see our business performance from the last month through spreadsheets, then several days to get further reporting,” he said. “With that came a range of complexities. And if we were behind our targets, it was too late to increase them. Each of our technology modules also operated in their own landscape.

“Consolidating data sources to have a complete picture across what was a very manual, intensive process that was prone to human error.”

At the same time, as GameDay has grown, it’s seen increased need for improved business intelligence (BI) that not only helps its staff understand prospects and clients better but can also help end customers understand their own sports participation and ecosystem.

“Customers were asking more questions around data and insights and how to dive deeper into them. It was a reason for us to keep improving,” Guest said.  

Following a review of what was available in-market, GameDay adopted Sisense’s cloud-based data reporting platform. Initially rolled out internally about 18 months ago, the tools were quickly incorporated into a GameDay View solution for clients. This is now offered to the majority of clients.

Use cases for data-driven insight

The GameDay View tool allows users to tap into player, coach, sporting organisation registration and participation data sets. A key use case for an end customer is tracking in real-time the retention of participants in the sporting group year-on-year. GameDay obtains data through its users, whether that be a player, coach or sporting organisation logging in and completing a registration form. 

“Customers and clients across all different sectors of sport have reaped the benefits of getting real-time data and understanding their customers as well as their KPIs better as sports,” Guest explained. “They’re able to dive deeper into where their sports are growing as well as where they need to focus their attention.”

As an example, Guest said one of the first use cases for GameDay of its data intelligence capability externally was with basketball groups to understand growth patterns.

“We sat down with several our tier-one sports to understand them and their needs. Then you have your short-term and long-term goals and how we measure those successes,” he continued. “We are now working with our customer-centric clients on specific KPIs such as membership growth, retention rate, new business and renewing clients. The more we alert our customers to the demographics and trends and help them increase sport participation, the better for us commercially. It’s why we surface insights and want to improve it. If we improve our capability, our clients improve as well.”

“At GameDay, we surface key information about events happening through various ways, such as an individual registering to attend an event, purchasing a ticket to attend an event, or logging onto the GameDay mobile app to see where they’re coming in their competition

Internally, data analytics has given GameDay a better handle on its own commercial metrics and reporting, such as forecasting monthly results, first days of the current month and proactively setting expectations around the rest of the month.

“We can confidently look forward and understand where the business is going, as opposed to getting there and winding it back to look at what we did in the past,” Guest said. “It’s also helping us to strategically target potential new customers as well, to ensure we keep our VIP clients ahead of the game.”  

An early customer win to arise off the back of the data analytics capability was with Hong Kong Rugby Union. Prior to using GameDay View, the rugby club would pay consultants every three to four years to find out how many people were participating in the sport.

“GameDay View, powered by Sisense, has been able to simplify that process for them. They now have one centralised database where their participants are managed. They are able to access in real-time how many participants they’ve had and growth year-on-year,” Guest said.

“Our platform was a way for us to capture that and it was a good opportunity for us to get in that market.”

With the success of what GameDay has accomplished so far, Guest said the organisation has been able to turn a tech investment cost into a revenue line that pays for itself.

“With all the different sports we deal with, it’s clear it’s a competitive landscape they’re operating in. It’s important for each of them to understand where they fit within their ecosystem, understand their sport and how they can grow their sport,” he said.  

Guest noted GameDay View has been designed with ease of use in mind, informed by focus groups and UX design principles. Data insights on-demand is the main aim of the game, and users can download reports or dive into data sets as they need to.

Since the initial launch, the organisation has extended BI into a second paid-for solution, GameDay Insights, and now has its sights set on offering a GameDay Enterprise tier.

“Hopefully this will further revolutionise the sports industry and keep us ahead of the curve,” Guest said. “We are talking to medical institutions, telecoms and retailers about what they are doing for their insights and capability. How we work those learnings into the next phase is the priority.”

With the start-and-stop nature of sports and community sports participation during the global Covid-19 pandemic, Guest agreed having an intelligence offering gives GameDay the ability to further cement its strategic role with customers as they come out of pandemic conditions.

“Over the last 12-18 months, a lot of sports have reset and reassessed what they have been doing, what they’ve done well versus what they do to improve and what else is out there we can use to capture our market,” he commented. “A lot of kids aren’t playing sports around Australia, so many groups are looking at things like how many kids are playing our sports and where they’re coming from. Families have re-evaluated as well, often paring sports back by season.

“A part of this BI tool is understanding where grassroots sports are going and what they need. Many are finding it hard to survive, so knowing how they can regenerate and grow their participants moving forward is critical.”  

Short-term, Guest said GameDay measured the benefits of its investment by its ability to forecast monthly results and practically set commercial expectations. Externally, it was about significantly helping customers in real time with their payment insights, empowering them to react in a timely way to maintain cashflow.

“Long term and what we’re looking at it now is further use of our learning capabilities, strengthening our analytics so we can strategically target a new customer base, while ensuring our exist clients are keeping abreast of the situation and what they’re doing,” he said.

Predictive insights are also something the GameDay team is working on, driven by customer need as well as maturing internal capabilities and knowledge, Guest added.  

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