The San Antonio Spurs are a professional basketball team based in Texas, and five-time winners of the NBA Championship. Within the NBA, team performance is a critical factor in determining success, both on, and off the court. Just as the players must perform well to keep winning their games, the CRM team behind the scenes must hold their edge as digital innovation sweeps the industry.
Jordan Kolosey joined the Spurs as Director of Business Analytics and Insights in 2016 with the immediate responsibility of building a data warehouse. The Spurs opted to work with KORE Software, who provided the centralised data warehouse, along with various ready-made integrations and applications that would work in tandem to provide the Spurs with the insights they needed to deepen fan engagement and increase revenue. KORE also service several other NBA teams meaning the Spurs could benefit from the knowledge and integrations that KORE already developed for Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Denver Nuggets. This provided them with what Kolosey refers to as a “solid foundation” and a strong level of confidence in the way they moved forward so that, from day one, they were more or less able to go live.
Kolosey highlighted another benefit of working with a provider so closely aligned with other NBA teams.
We were able to share the cost burden with the other teams, and so it was much more cost effective for us. So, not only were we getting started fast, with actionable data that we could actually utilise, we were able to do it for a lower cost.
With a centralised data warehouse in place, Kolosey was able to gain more information about the individual feeds.“This is a snapshot of the current data feeds we have active within our system. A number of these were native from day one and you can’t take for granted how important it is to have a reliable ticketing feed, and having a reliable feed from your CRM. It just makes all the difference. Bypass (point of sale) was provided by KORE as an application with an existing integration, with Tableau for live analytics as well. Now we’ve been able to move to an on-demand scenario and our data engineer has a checklist of different feeds we want to get into the warehouse. He’s just been ticking them off one at a time from Nielsen data, Google Analytics and a proprietary news scraper he’s built out”.
Other data integrations include Eloqua, which provides the campaign management platform. This allows the Spurs to create very dynamic campaigns and use the response data from those campaigns along with other data points relating to demographics or behaviour to trigger follow up campaigns.
Kolosey highlights the benefits of this when it comes to targeted campaigning.
Previously when we would do a week of campaigns to call single game buyers in order to warm them up for eventual pitches on either group nights or anything else, we wouldn’t really have any idea if we were producing quality leads for our sales reps or not. So any business processes that we built out based on lead distribution for lead quality would break, and we had to come up with different scenarios, which doubles the work. So being able to take for granted that every sales lead now has the same level of information allows us greater visibility and ubiquity with the processes that we put in place. This ultimately allows us to operate a little bit more efficiently when we don’t have to create different scenarios for each [customer record] if they have data or not, if they’re appended or not.
The Spurs have also integrated a YinzCam mobile app that provides valuable in-stadium behavioural data (something European teams continue to struggle to secure) and enables highly personalised push messages.
When asked about how he determined the order of their integrations (that is, which feeds to focus on first), Kolosey says it was a combination of the demands and vision of their various stakeholder departments.
We wanted to get a) quick wins and then b) find our external evangelists in other departments; those that seemed much more engaged and forthcoming with needs and had kind of got the process. We were able to spin up quick wins for those individuals, even it was supplementing the work that they were doing manually, so that we could point to clear victories for the executive staff. Obviously it was the revenue generating departments; anything you can do to make more money and make the business better overall.
When considering how long it took the Spurs to create their data warehouse, Kolosey suggests that a project like this is never really complete, but is proud that the time it took from first appointing KORE as their supplier, to getting their first data visualisations up and running, was just three months.
Read #WinningWithData for further details into the development of San Antonio Spurs’ tech stack, including how they use Tableau for impressive data visualisation and real-time reporting.