NC State Athletics taps SAS sports analytics to identify ‘5-Star Fans’ and improve fan engagement

Athletic department also analyzing data to optimize student-athlete academic success

NC State Athletics and SAS will collaborate to use SAS® sports analytics to improve the fan experience, provide better customer service and enhance fan engagement. Through a five-star rating system like that used to rate athletics recruits, SAS will help NC State Athletics optimize its ability to identify fans most likely to engage or donate. 

With one of the most passionate fan bases in college athletics, this new partnership will ultimately help NC State increase attendance and game day atmosphere across all sports. Additionally, the athletic department will use SAS to analyze data and analytics related to academic success.

”We are thankful for fans whose support of Wolfpack athletics is a lifelong passion,” said Stephanie Menio, NC State Deputy Athletic Director. “SAS will help us be smarter about our data and analytics while also helping us engage fans in new ways that will fortify those relationships for years to come.”

Identifying the 5-Star Pack Backers

While many athletic departments collect data about ticket sales, alumni, donors, fans, attendance, mobile apps, web browsing, venues and more, they often struggle to integrate the data from disparate sources and make sense of it. SAS will analyze the behavioral data outlined above to help NC State Athletics with ticket, donor and fan optimization. In addition, it will help NC State Athletics better communicate with fans by focusing messaging on things that are most important to the individual fan based on the person’s prior engagement with the university.  

The ratings can be used by external staff for targeted call and email campaigns, direct mail, etc. SAS will serve as a cross-functional tool the athletic department can use to sell more tickets, increase donations and grow Wolfpack Club membership. The incremental revenue realized form this partnership will provide integral resources for NC State as it continues to provide an exceptional experience for more than 550 student-athletes and compete nationally across 23 sports.

Initially, NC State will focus on using advanced analytics to help increase football and basketball season ticket sales by encouraging new sales or upgrading single-game buyers to full season plans. They will also use analytic insights to help drive additional Wolfpack Club memberships and donations.  

Helping more student-athletes cross the graduation finish line

In 2019, NC State’s student-athletes posted the athletics department’s highest-ever graduation success rate, but the university hopes the use of analytics can help accelerate that upward trend.

By analyzing enrollment, course and student data, NC State can identify obstacles and opportunities to put more student-athletes on the path to graduation. The athletic department can answer questions such as what are the optimal course loads for student-athletes? Which student-athletes are most likely to graduate, and why?      

SAS, the wily veteran of sports analytics

SAS has spent more than four decades applying analytics to help organizations get more from their data. The new offering of collegiate sports analytics for ticket, donor and fan engagement optimization builds on a long history of working with higher education and both collegiate and professional sports teams.

SAS was founded at NC State in 1976 and helped launch the nation’s first master of science in analytics degree program in 2006. SAS hires many analytics and computer science experts from the university.

“It’s only appropriate that we partner with NC State Athletics to do this groundbreaking work on both student-athlete success and fan and donor engagement,” said Dan Axman, SAS Sports Analytics Advisor. “Analytics has taken a front seat within collegiate athletics. We’re thrilled to have a part in helping NC State attain their revenue generation goals, and to help student-athletes thrive both on and off the field.”

As a hosted service, the SAS offering does not require the purchase of software, hardware or additional staff. It provides a low-risk gateway for using analytical insights to sell tickets, increase memberships and raise money.

SAS provides a targeted approach to creating predictive models for things such as season and single-game ticket sales, university development, club memberships and donations, and retention in many areas. The models can be saved and used repeatedly over time in marketing campaigns and fan outreach.

Learn more by visiting the SAS sports analytics web page.

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SAS es el líder en analítica. A través de software y servicios innovadores, SAS capacita e inspira a los clientes de todo el mundo para que transformen los datos en inteligencia. SAS ofrece THE POWER TO KNOW®.


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