Each year 100,000 plus fans pack into “The G” to watch the Toyota AFL Grand Final. The atmosphere is electric, the players charged, and the sponsors keen to see whether the team they have supported will make it all the way to the top.
It’s the pinnacle moment of the season.
But throughout the year each club engages regularly with its members and its sponsors generating income and building loyalty.
Managing that day-by-day is no small ask. Clubs count their members in the tens of thousands, and have multiple corporate sponsors. They want to make sure everyone gets the right ticket for the right game and that sponsors get all their entitlements when and where they should. They also want to inject efficiency and transparency into their operations.
In the past clubs have grappled monster spreadsheets to manage everything – a time consuming and inefficient approach.
Australian Football League (AFL) clubs, the Sydney Swans and Adelaide Crows, are using technology to transform fan interactions and stakeholder management. Microsoft partner, JayThom, has developed SportsRM to manage complex corporate sponsorship and hospitality arrangements.
Built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 the solution is transforming the Swans’ and the Crows’ relationships with corporate sponsors and fans.
Hitting the mark for Adelaide Crows
Adelaide is sports mad. While smaller than the major cities on the eastern seaboard the City supports dozens of professional and semi-professional sports teams across every code. Faced with that sort of competition clubs have their work cut out in terms of building and maintaining relationships with fans and sponsors.
For Steven Honkoop, IT manager at the Adelaide Crows, the key to success is transparency and efficiency.
“We have an aim of building a single customer view – which can incorporate information from members, corporate clients, stakeholders, ticket allocations, seating and other interactions” Honkoop says. “This means the business can make decisions based on a larger picture – not just a spreadsheet or small dataset that may only be relevant for a short time.
“The biggest benefits of SportsRM have been around saleable assets, managing corporate functions and tracking their ticketing and seating arrangements.
“The ability to manage business processes from a central system has enabled us to achieve higher attendances, reducing drop-off and improving the overall experience for our corporate sponsors and fans.”
Frontline staff have embraced the user-friendly technology, recognising the value of replacing slow manual processes while improving the accuracy of seating allocations.
“It started in one department but we’re now rolling it out more widely after seeing the benefits first hand,” Honkoop says.
Flying high with Sydney Swans
Serving sponsors and ensuring excellent customer experience is also a top priority for the Sydney Swans. The only way to achieve that was to embrace leading edge technology such as SportsRM as IT Manager, Mitchell Miller explains. “We need to keep track of 17,000 plus entitlements for 70 plus sponsors,” – and keep 50,000 members happy. The Swans’ “monster spreadsheet” just didn’t cut it says Miller.
“When we considered our options, other solutions weren’t able to track seating arrangements, sponsorship entitlements and membership engagements in one place,” he says. The fact that SportsRM also integrates with PerfectTablePlan, a system used to manage sponsor seating at some venues, was an added bonus.
The new platform has streamlined operations in the marketing and sales teams. But it’s also delivering tangible benefits at the coal face; membership attendance is increasing, with fewer empty seats on game day; sponsors can see their entitlements – and print out their own tickets for game day; even the players benefit as they now have clear sight of any sponsor obligations they may have.
“Our events department has found that it’s saving them a lot of time. This helps them deliver better services for our customers.” Mitchell says.
In a league of its own
JayThom’s solution has allowed both clubs to break free from a manual approach anchored by clunky spreadsheets, using technology tailored to deliver greater flexibility, agility and improved insights that ultimately build closer fan and sponsor relationships and deliver better returns for the business.
The Swans and the Crows will continue to benefit from JayThom’s continuous improvement commitment to support changes in the industry and shifting club requirements.
As we head towards finals football both teams are kicking fan and sponsor engagement goals thanks to JayThom and SportsRM.