CASE STUDY: Avaya Fabric Connect provides a flexible, secure network foundation on which KSE runs a number of solutions, including Wi-Fi throughout venues and unified communications that support all business operations.
Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) likely entertains more people in the Denver metro area than anyone else. Whether it’s pro hockey, basketball, soccer or lacrosse, or a major entertainment act, chances are Kroenke owns the home team and the venue it plays in.
One of the world’s leading ownership, entertainment and management groups, KSE’s impressive roster includes the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), the Denver Nuggets (NBA), the Colorado Rapids (MLS) and the Colorado Mammoth (NLL), along with the 20,000-seat Pepsi Center and several other Denver-area venues. Add to that a TV station, two radio stations, an amusement park, and retail and ticketing arms that support its operations.
With a year-round schedule of games and other events – 200 at Pepsi Center alone – there’s no off-season for the team at KSE. The company’s 1,200 employees continuously work to bring fans to events and deliver an unforgettable experience – not an easy task in a location with such a plethora of sporting, entertainment and outdoor activities.
“Denver is the most saturated sports city in the U.S. per capita with colleges, minor league teams and professional teams,” says David Burke, Chief Ticketing Officer. “The challenge is ensuring that the consumer has a unique in-game experience at KSE events compared to what they could have somewhere else.”
To entice fans to live events – over their high-definition home screens – KSE strategically creates an engaging, memorable in-stadium experience, from the floor-size projection screen to offering in-demand dining and beverage choices. And they want fans to share that excitement beyond the arena.
“Today’s fans are very different than 10 years ago,” says Ryan Brach, SVP, Partnership Marketing & Media Sales. “People want to be able to share their experiences with their friends, families and their network.”
For a world-class fan experience, as well as unified communications for the business, KSE needed a network infrastructure capable of handling its needs now and in the future. After evaluating several solutions providers, the company chose to partner with Avaya for a complete set of solutions to enhance the fan experience, internal productivity, and its marketing efforts to fans and sponsors.
“We wanted to have the best in class for fans,” says Ryan Brach. “We looked at every major player in the Wi-Fi-solution business and found with Avaya that the data we would receive on the backend was so much more valuable than any of the competitors. It was an easy decision to make and we felt like Avaya was definitely the leader – and our experience has been nothing short of that.”
From the IT leader’s perspective, a primary solutions provider would simplify management for IT. “Having one vendor gives us a single pane of glass as we manage what we do across wired, Wi-Fi and voice communications,” says Rick Schoenhals, VP of IT.
Avaya Fabric Connect provides a flexible, secure network foundation on which KSE runs a number of solutions, including Wi-Fi throughout venues and unified communications that support all business operations.
Seamless Fan Experiences
For KSE, the fan experience begins at the time of purchase and continues through parking, entry, and before and during the event – all areas where KSE’s new Wi-Fi plays a big part in a seamless experience.
A solid network keeps KSE sites running despite hundreds of hits when tickets go on sale for a major act. With arena-wide Wi-Fi, fans can pull up tickets on their mobile devices rapidly, expediting entry. Once inside, they can easily get on the network to share photos and videos with their friends and followers online, and then see those tagged posts right on the Pepsi Center’s Fan Engagement Wall. With custom apps for some KSE teams, fans can learn more about players, and even upgrade to a closer seat. If 20,000 fans want to get on the network, KSE knows it can handle it.
That ties into KSE’s ambitious social content strategy, which includes a mix of content generated by KSE, fans and players. In just the first season after implementing Wi-Fi, social engagement rose significantly:
- 73% increase in Instagram reach per post (Nuggets)
- 38% growth in Instagram followers (Nuggets)
- 53% jump in average impressions per Tweet (Nuggets)
- 65% more reach per Tweet (Avalanche)
Likewise, media guests enjoy the uplink speed to dispatch images and video as soon as the action happens.
Data: A New Marketing Edge
KSE also upgraded its unified communications for all front- and back-office business operations, using Avaya Aura. For ticket sales in particular, Avaya Aura Contact Center provides much-needed modern call center capabilities that ultimately help agents sell more effectively.
Around 100 KSE call center agents make anywhere from 50-100 outbound calls daily to sell tickets. Avaya Aura, which will tie into KSE’s CRM app, offers customer information right at agents’ fingertips, reducing lag time between calls. And call center managers have access to rich analytics on the backend regarding call volumes and call length, along with detailed recordings to identify staff training opportunities.
“We need to be intelligent about how reps are going out and getting business, and ensure that people are maximizing their time,” Burke says. “Avaya technology will help them proactively manage their time wisely, and give us more information to train reps.”
Data also changes marketing for KSE. The Avaya Fanalytics solution collects data at every customer touchpoint, giving KSE a profile of each customer and a way to customize outreach. If a fan bought tickets to a Garth Brooks concert, the company can market upcoming country music events to them. KSE can also find cross-over opportunities among its concert and sports fans.
“We’re always trying to leverage the fact that we can cross-sell across our different properties,” Burke says. “Avaya brings us, as a sales and service team, accurate and valuable data not only on the person who purchases the tickets but the people who are using the tickets. And we’ll use that data to provide the best experience for sports fans in Denver.”
The same goes for creating value for KSE’s corporate partners, which provide a sizeable source of KSE’s revenue. KSE competes with all the other online and physical sponsorship and advertising opportunities Denver has to offer.
With data, the company can share customer demographics about the fan base, helping potential sponsors make smart decisions. For a car dealership in a suburban city, data about the number of fans from its area could clinch the deal.
A Secure, Flexible Network
Where the technology demands on venues change from day to day – from a hockey game to a major concert – KSE relies on the Avaya network to stay nimble. Simple backend management lets the IT team adjust configurations flexibly as needed. For an outdoor music event in the parking lot, for example, KSE can extend access for ticket scanning and vendor Wi-Fi.
Avaya additionally addresses one of Schoenhals’s primary concerns: network security. With hyper segmentation and Avaya Identity Engines, he appreciates the ability to tightly separate the various levels of public and private access.
“We need to make sure that our interactions with our fans, and the business that we do internally, is secure,” Schoenhals says. “Avaya has the necessary enhancements to keep our perimeter secure and make it easy for us as well to stay up to date with current security trends.”
In Brach’s world, having sponsorship clients renew and extend partnerships is the ultimate goal, as it shows success in the partnership. To that end, the Nuggets were honored to win an NBA award for achievement of corporate sponsorship retention. “We believe a lot of this success is due to providing pertinent information to our partners that provides an ROI in their partnership with KSE,” he says.
Reliable Wi-Fi, too, gives KSE a growing source of revenue and a return on its investment in the technology upgrade. “Within the first 12 months, we’ve been able to derive six-figure types of new revenue for the organization as a result of in-app ads for our teams, and we know that’s only going to increase,” Brach says.
As KSE works to increase ticket sales and deepen engagement, the company is confident in its partnership with Avaya. “We’re going to continue to push boundaries and Avaya is going to be a big partner in helping us do that,” Brach says.
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