Congratulations to a pair of my co-workers – Julie Graue and John Weiss – who were afforded with promotions last week. Perhaps equally as important are the congratulations the Indiana Fever franchise deserves for moving the club forward and keeping pace with technology.
Both pairs of congratulations go hand-in-hand… Julie and John have spearheaded the charge to drive Fever sales energies toward social media and the team’s digital assets. For that, Julie was named the club’s chief operating officer. She has been with the club through 15 of its 17 seasons. She began as a manager of ticket sales and has taken her role into an overall business capacity. As the world has gone digital, so, too, have many of the Fever’s sales efforts.
Similarly, John was named as the club’s director of digital marketing. His role, since 2013, has been on the nuts and bolts end of managing, maintaining and developing those assets in order for Julie and our sales team to capitalize upon.
Perhaps the biggest example of their efforts might be the new Fever app that launched last spring. If you’re a true Fever Believer, you may well be reading this blog from that very device, in the palm of your hand, from where you can most easily purchase tickets and follow all of the club’s latest news. Ticketing, as another example, is available in digital form, too.
How many of you attend sporting events or concert events and other entertainment activities; or even fly on airplanes with bar-coded tickets these days? Technology is all around us. Yes, in one sense, the Fever are doing a good job at “keeping up with the Joneses,” but we seem to be more aggressive in those digital activations than many WNBA teams. Though statistics aren’t entirely complete, the Fever were among the top five in a midseason count of WNBA teams with regard to video views and digital sales.
The Fever have focused on building revenue streams driven by the team app, mobile-friendly website, and strategic social advertising.
By using all forms of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, just to name a few – the Fever have been able to direct sales messages and team information to those people who are most interested in following the Indiana Fever. And intelligently broaden that base to capture new interests, also.
That the Fever have begun using these opportunities is not news. Frankly, all successful businesses use these new technologies – some to greater extent than others. But the Fever, alongside their business colleagues with the Indiana Pacers and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, have excelled.
Fever attendance in 2016 was obviously aided by the final season of Tamika Catchings. That goes without saying, and the Fever will be challenged in 2017 to duplicate those numbers. But the third-largest attendance average in Fever history (8,575) might not have been possible were it not for the Fever’s evolving business habits – habits that not only adapted to changing technologies, but embraced them. The franchise is in great position to remain an industry leader even beyond the Catchings era.
Making strides to any extent is important in the business world, and perhaps even moreso in a competitive sports market that continues to grow. The Fever have reached the WNBA Playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons, and in each of those seasons, Fever business strategies have evolved to meet the demands of not only their season ticket base, but of the consumer world that is so directly tied to our phones, tablets, laptops and other devices to which we devote our daily attention.
The WNBA, itself, unveiled a new app last year that allows live viewing of its games from the palm of your hand. WNBA technologies are integrated with each of its teams, and the Fever have been quick to make use of every opportunity to engage with any women’s basketball audience.
As consumers, we pay constant attention to our handheld phones and real-time digital activity everywhere. The Fever franchise has become a WNBA leader by diving into every digital niche possible. Indeed, fans can digest all of the stats, news, ticket and promotion information, or player and team engagement on social media – all from the palm of their hands.