Sixers Selling Tickets Through StubHub Unlocks Treasure Trove of Consumer Data

Targeted marketing is coming.

AP-SIXERS-FINALLY-WIN-AP-HANNAH-FOSLIEN-940X540The Philadelphia 76ers will sell all tickets through StubHub starting next season — and they’re doing it to unlock a treasure trove of data about ticket buyers.

All Sixers tickets for the 2016-2017 season (both season tickets and individual) will be sold through a new StubHub platform available on Sixers.com. For fans, it’s a place where they can see all the available tickets in one place, with one seat map. Plus, it’s optimized for mobile devices and allows people to buy tickets from multiple sellers in one transaction.

For the Sixers, it’s all about data. Currently, the team has no information on people that buy tickets through StubHub, Craigslist or other secondary-ticket marketplace. That means the team can’t send them targeted advertisements or learn about their purchase habits.

“What we’re most excited about is the opportunity to get to know the consumer better,” said Chris Heck, chief revenue officer of the Sixers, in an interview Monday morning.

Another shot of the Sixers' new ticket-buying interface coming next season. (Photos courtesy of the Sixers.)

Another shot of the Sixers’ new ticket-buying interface coming next season. (Photos courtesy of the Sixers.)

Heck says it gives the team the opportunity to interact with fans differently. The new system will offer real-time market data allowing box offices to maximize pricing and will offer fans a “recommendation engine” that uses a person’s search criteria, purchase history and preferences to offer the best possible tickets.

Let’s say a consumer has an affinity for buying kids merchandise associated with Jahlil Okafor. Armed with that knowledge, it can also remind that consumer about Okafor bobblehead night or a discount on an Okafor kid’s jersey at the team’s online retail store.

But it goes beyond just packaging deals together.

“We’ll have a specific and custom interface for every single customer,” said Heck. “That’s where the world is going.”

The team has already been analyzing the purchasing trends of season-ticket holders for quite some time and plans to expand that after selling them tickets via the StubHub platform.

“We do know the bulk of our hardcore fans, but the new partnership gives us the opportunity to get to know fans who come one, two or three times a year,” said Heck. “It gives us the opportunity to interface with them on a more regular basis when it’s appropriate.”

For StubHub, it marks yet another barrier broken. What was once just a technological tool to help people buy and sell tickets on the black market has become completely legitimized by sports leagues who were once extremely wary about them.

“These are some of the smartest people in sports and entertainment,” said Heck. “They’re global brands and their sophistication has changed how teams and entertainment companies conduct their businesses.”

What does this mean for Spectra Ticketing and Fan Engagement — two companies that already help the Sixers sell tickets? A Sixers statement says those companies will continue to provide the Sixers the box-office tools, season-ticket holder sales, account management and access control that will allow the team to manage its primary ticketing business.

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