What the Super Bowl can teach you about big data

Updated: Feb 7



3 Takeaways for your business

Ah, Super Bowl Sunday, here we come. Few events can tear our nation apart while simultaneously bringing us together for an evening of nachos, friends and spirited armchair-refereeing. Whether you’re rooting for the 49ers or the Chiefs this Sunday, we can probably at least agree that we’re all glad Tom Brady won’t be winning this year. Of course, here in 2020, we can also agree that big data is changing the way we experience the Super Bowl. And here’s the really cool part – those same changes can affect the way you manage your business challenges. Check it out:


Game plan: better planning and predicting

IoT, big data included, is not new to the NFL. It’s merely gotten better. In fact, while the Patriots are not Super Bowl LIV contenders, they have made headlines recently for their reliance on data analytics – particularly regarding the use of analytics to scout talent. RFID sensors in players’ shoulder pads and helmets help predict position, speed and directional movements, allowing teams to analyze their opponent’s tendencies, as well as the success of their own playbook. Business intelligence tools help predict the impact of weather conditions and find patterns associated with a whole range of variables. A coach’s dream, really (not to mention a betting man’s).


Takeaway: As a decision-maker for your organization, would you rather be a Monday morning quarterback or coach of the year? Making decisions rooted in real-time data is quite simply the fastest and most effective way. Access to trending and historical data gives you the visibility you need to make informed decisions with confidence.

Super fans: enhanced customer experience

There is one championship ring-vying team that is making a name for itself by leveraging data… though perhaps not in the way you think. When the 49ers moved out of San Francisco and into the Silicon Valley, they embraced the tech vibes with their use of an innovative experience-tracking software called Executive Huddle. The tool helps the organization to gather, analyze and respond to operational issues in real time, improving everything from parking to concessions to customer service at Levi Stadium. Which is no small feat when you’re talking about a venue that seats 70,000. That’s a lot of happy customers.


Takeaway: Customer experience is a major differentiator for today’s businesses. In fact, 86 percent of consumers report that they are willing to pay more for a better experience, and 72 percent say they’ll tell at least a handful of people about it. That’s huge in terms of both customer retention and acquisition. There are data collection and analysis tools at the ready for pretty much any industry now and investing in them is money well spent if it means keeping your customers happy.

Touchdown: More bang for your buck

Oh, riiiight – money. Who are we kidding, sports fans? The Super Bowl is only sort of about football at this point. With brands spending upwards of $5.6 million on a 30-second ad spot – that’s more than $186,000 a second – a lot of people are tuning in just for the commercials. Yet, while it’s too soon to say for 2020, Nielson data showed that last year’s Super Bowl had a 5 percent drop in viewership from the year before. Rising costs plus dwindling viewership is a pretty simple data-driven equation telling brands it may not be worth the ad spend. Social media listening tools and AI-powered analytics are also now available, and brands can use these to gather data leading up to the big game and launch super-targeted and astronomically cheaper ad campaigns during game night.


Related, some reports indicate that Super Bowl LIV may be the last to offer paper ticketing. Digitizing ticket purchases offers another big opportunity for companies to collect data and target ad campaigns accordingly.


Takeaway: Whether you’re talking about advertising, inventory, maintenance or any of the costly areas where your business spends money, bringing business intelligence into the mix can help you strategically allocate your budget.


Now, if you’ll excuse us, we need to stock up on Buffalo chicken dip and start memorizing J-Lo’s newest hits so we can sing along come Sunday. If you have any big data questions in the meantime, get in touch!

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