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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Tunney

Data Blitz

Exploring the Lions’ Winning Playbook for fan-centric advertising and experiences

By: Jonathan Tunney

January 30, 2024

Photo Credit: Sports Business Journal

On the field, the Detroit Lions have utilized an ultra-aggressive approach backed by analytics and innovative play design to propel the team to its 2nd NFC championship game appearance in franchise history. However, their cutting-edge use of analytics off the field may be even more ingenious.

The Lions' Business Strategy Department utilizes analytics powered by IT provider Trace3 and facial recognition technology from CrowdIQ to enhance the fan experience. While using analytics to evaluate players and make in-game decisions has become commonplace over the last few years, the use of analytics as it pertains to fans is a much newer concept. Since the renovation of their analytics war room in 2022, the Lions have boasted one of the most advanced business strategy departments. The Lions have used this technology to undertake several initiatives, including cutting down lines by spreading out gate entrances more evenly, sending the mascot to sections with the most children, and beefing up security in areas with the highest combined percentage of opposing fans and alcohol sales.

CrowdIQ doesn’t just record fan demographics; it can even register where fans spend most of their time looking. This makes the Lions aware of which areas in the stadium command the most “eye traffic” from different groups and allows the team to place advertisements accordingly. For example, if the Lions’ CrowdIQ technology registers that end zone sections tend to have more adult male fans and that those fans spend more time looking at the scoreboard, the Lions could place advertisements for alcohol promotions on their scoreboards. Not only would these advertisement placings be more effective and increase revenue from alcohol sales, but they could also serve as a bargaining point when negotiating with alcohol distributors.

The Lions, despite their unfortunate NFC Championship loss, deserve to be recognized for their incredibly impressive performance on the field all season, as well as their off-the-field innovations, which continue to push the bounds of analytics and fan engagement.


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