The inaugural Warsaw Sports Business Analytics Symposium brought together students, instructors, and professionals in the field of sports analytics with the aim of providing a forum to develop critical skills and discuss the emerging applications of business insights and analytics for the sports industry.
The daylong event on Friday, October 28 at the Lillis Business Complex included remarks from Lundquist College faculty members Craig Leon, Joshua Gordon, and Conor Henderson, as well as Andrew Eiden of the San Jose Earthquakes and Alan Koelling of Jordan Brand. In addition, Joshua Burkhow of ProKarma led a workshop on Alteryx, a self-service data analytics platform. And Rich Luker of ESPN Polls and Luker on Trends captivated attendees as keynote speaker. His talk provided a detailed analysis about the demographics of current sports fans.
“What I found most interesting was that he said most marketers are missing out on markets with huge revenue potential because they are too focused on targeting 18-34 year-old males,” said Amber Santos, a 2018 Oregon MBA candidate in sports business. “For example, he said there are 8.4 million female sports fans that are aged 55-plus. No one is targeting them right now.”
Luker also brought up how millennial parents are playing a huge role in creating future sports fans.
“‘Avid’ sports fans are bred before the age of eight, and millennial parents are bringing their children to games at an average age of two years old,” Santos added.
Nick Hudson, a 2017 Oregon MBA candidate in sports business was also intrigued by Luker’s analysis.
“I think observers of the sports industry generally see it as ‘booming,” and it is,” he said. “But Rich’s presentation provided some really eye-opening statistics on sports fandom in the USA and abroad that suggests that a lot of assumptions people make about consumers of sport don’t necessarily hold true. The bread and butter of the sport target market, 14-35 year olds, are not consuming sport at the same rate as past generations and the big four leagues here in the United States have been slow to react. This could pose some major issues to professional sports leagues over the next decade if teams don’t embrace new delivery models and respond quickly to the way modern audiences consume sports entertainment.”
Next up at the symposium was a sponsorship evaluation panel moderated by marketing department head and Edwin E. and June Woldt Cone Professor of Marketing T. Bettina Cornwell. The panel featured Kara Linse ’06, director of global sponsorship marketing for the Olympic Games at Visa, and Mike Belcher, vice president of media and consumer engagement at T-Mobile.
The event wrapped up with closing remarks from Warsaw Center director Whitney Wagoner and Warsaw board chair David Higdon, vice president for integrated marketing communications at NASCAR.
“Analytics in some form have likely played a part in sports entertainment since the first coach or owner compared metrics on a clipboard,” Wagoner said. “Now, we have the high-powered tools to track vast amounts of data and take sports business analytics to the next level and the level after that. The Warsaw Center is positioning itself to be a part of that exciting transition.”