Bums on seats. How to get them there and how to keep bringing them back is a core issue in running successful sports teams and the focus of the Sport is Fantastic conference in Sydney on June 25-27.
Organiser Simon Arkwright has assembled another impressive cast, Australian and international, for his fifth Australian-based conference.
Danny Wilson, the head of Sales and Service at Manchester City FC, Phil Stephan, Chelsea FC’s Senior Customer Relations Management chief and Bart Wiley, who has had significant success in fan engagement as Director of Business Operations for the Seattle Sounders FC in MLS, are among the keynote speakers.
“Ticketing is a significant issue,” says Arkwright. “The three ways a team can effectively generate revenue are sponsorship, broadcast and ticketing. Ticketing is an area they can control and drive their own destiny.
“The proposition I’ll put up is there’s no one answer; the full name of the conference is ‘everybody’s role in achieving bigger crowds’. It’s not just about pricing, or CRM, or fan experience or customer service. I would argue that a number of things come into play.”
Arkwright says he wants to get down to what is working for the world’s successful teams.
“I don’t want people’s views I want their experiences,” Arkwright says. “I want their case studies. Let’s see what works. If you want a talk-fest there are others sport conferences that will do that.
“One of them takes pride in looking at the macro issues in sport – in response I pride myself at looking at the micro issues – in this case, taking up the ideas that are going to sell more tickets next week for you.”
An example of conference ideas being put into action can be found in the National Rugby League’s Australia-first introduction of dynamic ticket pricing into play for the second State of Origin match next week.
NRL marketing boss Michael Johnstone told SBI that the idea stemmed from briefings given by San Francisco Giants officials at the previous Sport is Fantastic conference.
“It’s a perfect outcome,” says Arkwright. “What we pride ourselves on is allowing sports marketers to become world class by bring the world here to them.”
He says about 5o of Australia and New Zealand’s professional football teams, across rugby league Super Rugby and AFL, will be represented at the conference.
And in addition to the strong line up of international talent, it will feature local speakers such as Asia Cup 2015 deputy CEO Shane Harmon, Stadium Australia CEO Daryl Kerry and Brian Morris, CEO of Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust. There will also be expert input from leaders in big events, communications and sponsorship.
“It’s a unique feel for a conference, a family feel,” says Arkwright. “Most of the returning delegates have become friends of mine and each other. Most months I get a request from delegates saying I am off to the states who can you set me up with? that adds to the family feel of the conference.”
SportBizInsider is a media partner of the Sport is Fantastic conference. For registrations on three and single day packages visit their website here.