The ticketing market is long past the days of ticket scalpers lining outside stadiums, hocking tickets before game time. In today’s resale market, professional sports teams have the power of ticketing in their own hands, controlling their primary and secondary marketplaces.
One of the main players in this specialized ticketing technology space is AXS, with AXS and its competitors allowing teams to now use data to better understand their fans and season ticket-holders, both of which are commonly referred to as “members” today.
Brian Peunic, SVP of the sports division at AXS, has watched the development in the industry throughout the course of his career. He’s seen the retail market transform away from the street corner, where the risk of acquiring an illegitimate ticket was constant.
“What’s happened over time is technology has really driven out the small players, the street corner scalpers,” Peunic says. “There is a sophistication that has come along with this and also the injection of well-financed individuals really monetizing the space and taking it out of the shadows and bringing it into the big business format.”
Using the AXS platform to buy tickets, fans can ensure tickets are legitimate and no longer need to worry about being turned away at the gate due to an unlucky purchase outside the stadium.
Upon selecting a ticket, AXS assigns every buyer a unique fan ID, ensuring the security of the ticket through an algorithmic barcode that changes every 60 seconds. This digital ID has opened up new possibilities for teams.
“We’ve unlocked the ability for teams to have their own secondary marketplaces, their own fan-to-fan exchanges with their customers and clientele, so they know their ticket buyers are buying from an authenticated, valid source for their tickets,” explains Peunic.
By taking the marketplace into their own hands, teams are able to improve data collection methods, which allow them to better understand fans and tailor marketing and sales strategies accordingly.
AXS’ digital ID unlocks what Peunic calls a “digital bread crumb” from ticket to ticket, helping the team track its path from season ticket member or broker to resale purchaser.
Many teams have brought in full-time data scientists to help understand the movement of tickets from fan to fan, mining the data collected on AXS platforms to help drive future marketing and fan engagement strategies.
Insights gained from this data has been used to help engage with members, helping ticketing departments understand how best to engage with them in the offseason. This has turned jobs in marketing and ticketing into year-round roles.
“There’s the regular season, then you’re working on a renewal play, then you’re working on the draft,” Peunic says. “[In the past] you might have been able to take a break in July and go on vacation, but if you’re on a sports team, now you’re working 24/7, 365 [days]. The timeframe dynamics have changed considerably.”
Along with helping increase security and creating new touchpoints for data collection, AXS is helping improve the purchasing experience for fans by streamlining unsold and resale tickets into the marketplace.
Released last year, the technology surfaces both primary and secondary tickets into the same database, so when fans are looking to purchase, they see all available tickets rather than having to search on two different sites.
“We give you the opportunity to have commingled flow because there could be one single ticket that no one wanted to buy in the front row right next to resale tickets,” Peunic said.
While prices may differ between the two tickets depending on the cost assigned by the seller, it gives fans more flexibility and choice than ever before. Going forward, fans can expect teams to continue to work to streamline the sales process through increased flexibility and understanding of fan preferences.