How 1 + 1 = 4 in the Silicon Valley

August 30, 2016

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Santa Clara University’s Athletic Department, located in the Silicon Valley, brought in The Aspire Group in July, 2015. The proactive outbound marketing and sales initiative was implemented to support the athletic department’s goal of becoming more externally focused on the community and fan base as well as generating additional revenue.

Chad Cardinal and Jesse Moreno, the two-man ticket sales and service team at the Santa Clara Fan Relationship Management Center (FRMC), worked quickly upon arrival on campus and have performed as if they are a staff of four, five, or six launching a tech start-up.

Cardinal, Director of Sales & Service of the FRMC, started in July, 2015 and Moreno a month later. This is what the dynamic duo, who are on a mission to sell tickets, have accomplished for Santa Clara in just one year:

  • Increased ticket sales revenue across all 11 ticketed sports by 147%, without an anchor sport like football to help.
  • Introduced dynamic and variable pricing for all ticketed sports.
  • Took the existing database size from 6,000 to 36,000 warm leads, an increase of 500%.
  • Cultivated relationships with coaches and staff on-campus and pushed release of team schedules earlier to build a Ticket Marketing, Sales & Service (TiMSSSM) calendar.
  • Created authentic fan experiences involving athletes and the Broncos’ teams for the community.
  • Pushed to expand the sales window for each ticketed sport to increase revenue opportunities.
  • Cardinal and Moreno were so successful, the athletic department asked them to generate revenue for the Athletics Excellence and Bronco Bench Foundation funds.
  • Generated ticket sales at events all around campus, and not just those related to athletics. They showed up at a Board of Fellows meeting, freshman orientation, and transfer student orientation. They even built a sales campaign around the unveiling of the new basketball floor.

“It was an extraordinary first year, really, but we still have a lot of room to grow. We’re becoming a sophisticated Division I athletic department,” said Jeff Mitchell, Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations.

“The outbound calls and the level of fan engagement by the two Aspire employees really helps with what we are trying to do as a department. Our goal is to be more externally focused, more inviting to the community, and to spread our brand.”

Mitchell has been at Santa Clara for 10 years and seen the athletic department evolve into what it is today. One of the biggest steps forward for Santa Clara was when Father Michael Engh, the university president, said athletics needed to be an integral part of Santa Clara’s mission. After Dr. Renee Baumgartner was hired as Athletic Director in July, 2015, the support for external marketing of athletics grew even more.

The relationships the FRMC staff has since developed with the university and the athletic department have made a significant impact on the success of the operation.

“The effort has been a collective one.  University staff has had an uncommon openness to trying and doing business in a new way and the access to ideas from Aspire Headquarters in Atlanta and other FRMCs help lower the learning curve when we are trying something new,” said Cardinal.

The Aspire Group has traction at Santa Clara, but the university wants to build more momentum before it takes the next step partners inevitably take with Aspire, which is to launch more in-depth fan data analysis.

“We’ve been planning for this for a long time and we have been waiting for the opportunity to execute it,” Mitchell said. “When we were able to have The Aspire Group jump on board we thought ‘Now we can play’. We’ve been at it for just a year. It thrills me to see it in action.”

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