athletics Goodform IAAF World Athletics London Stadium

Goodform insight and audience engagement propels London 2017 to new commercial record

December 7, 2017

Detailed audience profiling was one of the key reasons why this summer’s IAAF World Athletics and Para Athletics Championships were the most commercially-successful in history.

That’s the unequivocal conclusion from research commissioned by UK Athletics and undertaken by data and insight agency Goodform. It’s a view shared by Niels de Vos, chief executive of UK Athletics (UKA):

“London 2017 was formed to organise the events and very early on we asked Goodform to take a wider view of the databases across athletics, segment them and look at each group’s buying habits,” he notes.

“This invaluable work enabled us to set a realistic pricing strategy to known groups of people – particularly families. It played a pivotal role in attracting more than 300,000 spectators over the 10 days of the World Para Athletics Championships and 700,000 fans to the World Athletics.

“For the Para Athletics, we sold more tickets than Wimbledon and The Open golf,” he continues. “For a para athletics event that is incredible. Equally encouraging was female spectator levels. Across other sports this tends to peak at 25%. For the World Para Athletics Championships it was 66% and 56% for the IAAF World Athletics.”

Goodform’s analysis also directly informed UKA’s ticket marketing strategy. This was based on bespoke, personalised messages to fan segments at key moments in the sporting calendar. In total, 19 prioritypurchasing groups were identified. There were 26 distinct, targeted email campaigns, which collectively saw more than 16 million outbound e-shots. The net result was £6 million in ticketing revenue in four weeks.

This targeted approach based on engaging content is key, says Goodform owner Alison Dalrymple: “Gone are the days of sending out catch-all e-marketing campaigns, and hoping enough will hit home. We all want to be treated personally when thinking of buying something, but somehow this has taken a while to land in ticket marketing.

“There has also been a tendency to conduct post-event research more as a tick-box exercise,” she says. “But Goodform has been delivering post-event research for UK Athletics since 2013. The analysis provides priceless information, such as attendance drivers, on which UK Athletics can base future commercial growth. For example, in response to the question ‘what prompted you to buy a ticket?’, 53% of respondents said ‘receiving a London 2017 email.”

However, the added-value of retaining Goodform went much further, as de Vos explains: “We also wanted to take learnings from other insight-driven sports events and successful digital marketing methods they’ve utilised. The goal was – and is – to deliver the best data and CRM strategy for athletics.

“Goodform is uniquely-placed to advise us in this area, given the agency’s unrivalled experience of working on world-class events such as the Rugby World Cup 2015 and this year’s British and Irish Lions’ Tour of New Zealand.”

The analysis also isolated the impact of London 2017 on the London economy, providing the city with robust evidence on which to base future bids for major sporting events. It also highlighted the Championships’ influence on future participation in athletics, and the exact type of activities which would appeal – directly informing future participation strategies.

“For example, 72% of 18-24-year-olds surveyed after London 2017 said they were ‘very likely’ to attend future athletics events at the London Stadium – higher than any other age group,” notes Dalrymple. “A huge 67% of millennials also felt the most inspired to take up sport or active recreation more often.

“Overall, 81% of respondents said they would recommend attending similar events to friends and family and gave the London 2017 experience a nine out of 10. Just as encouraging as the research results was the number of responses we had,” says Dalrymple.

“In total across the two events, 31,705 fans took part in the research. This demonstrates the public’s desire to bring major events to this country – and play a part in making them a huge success.”

Overall, Goodform’s work means UKA now knows more about fans of the sport than ever before. It means they are able to plan more effectively, develop new events, and create memorable sporting experiences that inspire the next generation of fans and active participants.

Away from UKA, Goodform’s impressive client list spans the sporting world. The agency’s core services focus on the use of data and insight to drive tangible growth –whether in revenue, participation or membership – or all three at the same time. The range of Goodform services can be viewed here.

athletics Goodform IAAF World Athletics London Stadium