The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to target 'at-risk' season ticket holders this offseason using some interesting software.

'Big Brother' Pittsburgh Pirates Are Watching You. Thank God. I Guess.

We read a lot of interesting articles about the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The one we share with you today is especially interesting because we have great admiration for anyone that works in sales for Bob Nuttings Buccos.  It’s hard to argue that the Bucs sales people/retention experts  earn every nickel.

Let’s face it, Pirates fans are insane.  Go ahead, just try and explain the loyalty fans have to the Pittsburgh Baseball Club?

After the Pirates had their 20th consecutive losing season, it’s impossible to imagine dialing up a person like you, or hell…even me.  The 2012 season stung worse than anything since 1992.  So many Buccos fans were sucking on a gun barrel again, it’s hard for me to understand how the top performers in the Bucs ticket office make it happen.  God.  Bless. Them.

After reading this article, we discovered that the Pittsburgh Pirates use smart analytic software–SAS for Sports– to target ‘at-risk’ season ticket holders for renewal.    Most pro teams use some sort of analytics, but most teams aren’t the Buccos.  We wonder just how many Pirates season ticket holders were viewed as being at “greatest risk” for not renewing their season tickets.   Fifty percent?  It probably shattered the software program.

But anyway, here is what caught our eye:

Using SAS for Sports, the Pirates were able to identify the accounts at greatest risk of not renewing season tickets. Armed with this information, sales representatives were able to focus efforts on those “at-risk” clients – resulting in a 6 percent increase in ticket renewals over the previous season. The season-ticket base serves as the foundation for any successful campaign, and every percentage increase in renewals adds significantly to the bottom line. That’s a win the Pirates can bank on.

Just have to love reading that last sentence.   Certain Bucco haters are going to have fun with that one.

Fans in the Lexus Club at PNC Park seemed happier as the season ended.

Analytics are interesting, but it’s also fascinating/scary to think about just how much information is out there on us as baseball fans.  Do you think the Pirates know when you buy tickets from StubHub?  We bet the Buccos have a way to tell exactly that.   But what do they know about what we do when we go to PNC Park?   Surely, they monitor twitter for information.  It makes me wonder where it ends.

The Orlando Magic are using the same stealth information, here is a sentence from the ‘success story’ section of the website that details how the Magic have generated the seventh most in revenue, despite being in the 20th largest NBA market.

Here is a video on the success of the Magic on the SAS site that, in part, addresses the secondary ticket market as well.

What information does this system provide the Bucs with that declares certain people as ‘at-risk’ of not re-upping our tickets?  Maybe it’s the fact that we bought ten beers at the season finale against the Braves instead of three?     Or is it the fact that a guy like me has some tickets, but buys more on stub-hub so they realize that I am all-in on the team?

So in the end, what’s it all mean?  If you value your privacy, you should be careful when you head to PNC Park.  These type of stories freak me out a little bit.  To some, it doesn’t matter at all. But it does make me happy knowing I use cash at the ballpark, but it also reminds me to get another email address for buying StubHub tickets this year.

Part of me is thankful the sales team does such a great job and the team was able to increase season ticket sales by six percent or whatever, another part of me wishes Bob Nutting would go belly up.   Yesterday… because if you take a peek at these local television contracts, the Bucs are going to need a lot more than a six percent increase in season ticket renewals to stay remotely competitive in the future.


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