About two weeks ago, the Turnkey Intelligence team attended the Sports Marketing Association’s annual conference, hosted this year by Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. The conference brought together nearly 200 of the top minds in education and business in the sports industry.

At the event, Turnkey had the privilege of orchestrating a panel on the topic of our choosing. We settled on a subject – “The State of Research in Sports Business” – and secured the following panelists:

  • Tim McDermott, Chief Marketing and Information Officer, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Brian Papson, Vice President of Marketing, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Dr. Michelle Harrolle, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida
  • Steve Seiferheld, Senior Vice President of Research, Turnkey Intelligence

Our panel (moderated by Haynes Hendrickson, President, Turnkey Intelligence) aimed to bridge the gap between the business and education sides of sports, and demonstrate how to utilize data in a professional context. Highlights from the session included the following:

  • The professional sports executives on the panel unanimously agreed that data is pivotal in understanding the fan experience, and that being able to translate the data to understand the “so what” is critical.
  • Sports businesses want data, and academic sports business programs have data (and the time to analyze it), but there is a disconnect between the two. The lone professor on the panel suggested that properties partner more frequently with local universities, enabling students to do the legwork and properties to drive the research objectives and then receive the results.
  • Sports properties need streamlined, easy to analyze information. Said McDermott, “You just don’t have time to read journals and the latest research findings.”
  • There is a shift in sports marketing culture towards long-term objectives that rely heavily on research. Teams are taking the time to understand their fans on a very detailed level so they can then better cater to those fans’ desires. The thinking is that such an approach ultimately generates a greater return on investment.

To view out the panel and see what other ideas were discussed, please click here.