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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
The San Jose Sharks use digital transformation to give fans a next-level experience. Here’s how they’re doing it.

The spectator experience is at the heart of every sport—and especially for physical events. When it comes to improving the fan experience, sports teams need to put all of their marketing prowess to work to determine how to keep fans entertained and engaged.

The sunny California Bay Area may not come to mind first when you think of hockey. Still, the San Jose Sharks have played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 30 years. Win or lose, Sharks fans stand behind their team. The Sharks want every fan to feel part of something unique that keeps them coming back season after season. After all, sports are about more than the game it’s also about the spectacle, the crowd, and how fans feel about the team and the loyal supporting tribe.

For our latest episode of Better Together: Customer Conversations, we’re talking about how the San Jose Sharks turned to their data and leveraged SAP technology to enhance the fan experience.

Deep Dive into Data

Some sports franchises struggle to give fans the best experiences possible and keep seats filled, especially if their team was not winning. It’s clear that the fan experience needs to be better understood, tracked, and improved to give fans what they need and therefore keep fans engaged.

Like many teams, the Sharks were fighting against season ticket holder churn and blind spots. Their goal was to connect with customers at all levels and provide the right perks and offers to keep seats filled and fans invested. Before this could happen, they had to overcome some challenges:

  • A more reliable way to determine campaign effectiveness and ROI for marketing initiatives

  • Better tie customer behavior and experience data to marketing campaigns

  • Reduce season ticket holder churn and identify ticket holders that may not renew

  • Eliminate data silos and integrate marketing, operational, and customer data

These challenges all have the same solution: a rich, unified, and customer-centric data platform. The Sharks turned to several SAP cloud solutions to gather the full range of customer data from ticket sales, social media, and website activity. SAP helped to produce actionable insights that capture the fan experience and track marketing efficacy.

With their newly combined sales, marketing, e-mail, social media, and website data, the San Jose Sharks were able to reduce ticket holder churn, increase revenue, and improve campaign effectiveness.

Want to learn more about the Sharks’ journey and how customer data will impact sports in the future? Join us for the thought-leadership podcast and the practitioner’s LinkedIn conversation with Neda Tabatabaie, Vice President, Business Analytics & Technology at San Jose Sharks.

  • Podcast: Tamara McCleary, CEO of Thulium, talks with Neda about why it’s essential to make customer data a priority and how SAP cloud solutions helped them meet their goals. Neda shares how their data-driven strategy has improved marketing and fan experience. Tamara and Neda will discuss the future potential of data-driven marketing for all sports.

  • LinkedIn Conversation: Neda will join me to explain how fan data impacts sports and what types proved valuable to enhance the fan experience. We discuss the nuts and bolts of a data-driven approach. Neda walks us through the tech stack that has powered their improvements and what their next steps are.

Interested in additional success where sports and technology intersect?

  • EquiRatings: A global equestrian technology company which provides data-driven solutions for Olympic teams, governing bodies and equestrian fans.

  • San Francisco 49ers: Redefining the fan experience with real-time data

Are you looking for even more inspiring stories straight from SAP Business Technology Platform customers? You can check out the whole SAP BTP Better Together: Customer Conversations series and more at

I’m always looking for your input! Tell me what topics you’d like to discuss in the future and give me feedback on the questions we should be asking our guests, and let us know if you would like to be a guest. You are more than welcome to contact us.