Team uses SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to improve fan experience during turbulent times and plan for the ‘new normal’ of spectator sports.

Using AI-powered SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure, AEG Sports was able to anticipate the needs of its fans and keep engagement high even amid a pandemic, the company said in a release on 27 May.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, AEG is the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company.

“Times are unpredictable – but with SAS and Microsoft, we have two key partners that we feel confident can help us adapt and thrive under any circumstances,” said Aaron LeValley, Senior Vice President of Business Operations and Strategy at AEG Sports. “We might not know what’s going to happen, but we know SAS and Microsoft have our goals in mind and will enable us to respond to any challenge we may face.”

Using SAS Viya, the AEG Sports’ analytics team created models to gauge fan perspectives toward such things as returning to in-person games. By continuously analysing fan sentiment during the pandemic, AEG Sports has been able to personalise messages based on interest and feelings on personal safety, and identify which fans needed targeted retention efforts. Using these tactics AEG Sports has kept fans happy and boosted the ROI of marketing campaigns, the company noted in their statement.

The company also uses the embedded capabilities in SAS Viya for contingency planning. The ability to quickly ingest and model data from multiple sources – including ticketing, partnerships, marketing, weather reports and health experts – helps AEG Sports reduce pandemic-driven uncertainty.

“SAS Viya helps us analyse different scenarios and choose the right option,” said Mike Marsocci, Senior Manager of Data and Analytics at AEG Sports. “Now, instead of being frozen by infinite scenarios, we can tweak parameters as they come and quickly determine the best way forward for our teams.”

When fans can safely return to arenas AEG Sports will need a flexible way to price tickets based on changing factors like ticket demand, venue capacity, public health restrictions and other variables. Machine learning – a subset of AI – will help AEG Sports determine ideal ticket pricing. “The array of machine learning enhanced models and visualizations SAS Viya offers are extremely useful in helping us analyze millions of records to pinpoint those optimal price points,” added Marsocci.