Orlando Magic Brings Analytics Courtside With SAS Partnership

Orlando Magic is upping their analytics game in a new partnership with SAS, the professional basketball organization announced Wednesday.

The partnership aims to extend Orlando Magic’s long-standing relationship with SAS by incorporating visual data mining and machine learning on SAS Viya, SAS said in a release. Orlando Magic plans to utilize insights on both on and off the court — implementing strategies to improve marketing campaigns and customer experience, as well as analyzing team and player performance. Orlando Magic will also use SAS to power social media campaigns driven by data.

According to David Bencs, director of basketball analytics, SAS, Viya’s open-source capabilities will be a boon for the organization by fostering a more collaborative working environment. Data will be pulled under one umbrella, allowing different teams to assess more effectively,

“I think what I’m most excited about is,how it allows collaboration between data scientists with different backgrounds and different coding languages,” Bencs said. “Most organizations can identify with the issue of sandboxes…data scientists working on different projects. We’ve had some real issues where someone would have access to data, they would create their own data set off of it…and then we couldn’t figure out why we would get some different error rates of because everyone was working silos.”

Related: 3 Data-Driven Strategies To Improve Customer Experience

Orlando Magic’s relationship with SAS began on the marketing side. According to Bencs, SAS was initially used to help analyze consumer habits, and improve ticket sales and pricing.

“We started analyzing most of ticket sales, building dashboards and then getting into predictive analytics — trying to predict customer churn, and trying to predict who is going to purchase different ticket packages,” Bencs said.

What resulted was two different products. Orlando Magic’s Fast Break Pass is a mobile app that offers customers the opportunity to access ticket packages for one low price. Participants of the program are guaranteed a set number of tickets, with seat assignments activated roughly 15 minutes before the start of a game.

“Those individuals who are interested in the team, and want to go to a lot of games are a very different audience,” Bencs said.

Magic Money was designed as a loyalty program specially for season ticket holders, which allows them to earn rewards for trading in tickets for games they can’t attend. The program provides incentive for season ticket holders to give back seats for missed games, which Orlando Magic can then put back on the market to drive attendance.

“SAS has been a part of their analytics program since the beginning, and we’re excited to help the organization accelerate innovation with more advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence that will drive further on and off-court innovations, Jim Tobin, SAS sports industry practice, said in a statement.

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