When a fan scans their VGK App to enter T-Mobile Arena for a NHL game, the Vegas Golden Knights know exactly who this person is. Are they a partial or full season-ticket holder? Are they the CEO of a team sponsor? Would they be interested in a seat upgrade, membership to a premium space or the opportunity to skate on the ice? Do they enjoy barbecue washed down with a craft beer?

The fan may have also been to a Silver Knights game at The Dollar Loan Center and may appreciate a better seat the next time they attend. Like the Golden Knights, the AHL team and arena in Henderson, Nevada are part of Foley Entertainment’s sports and entertainment portfolio.

Foley Entertainment Group also owns more than more than 20 vineyards, three hotels, and a ski resort and has the opportunity to connect hockey fans to experiences at these properties as well.

The ability to match customers to potential upgrades and new experiences is made possible by AXS Mobile ID, digital, identity-based technology that is supplanting traditional ticketing.

In addition to the Golden Knights, AXS tickets the NBAs Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves, NHL’s LA Kings as well as multiday events like USGA’s U.S. Open, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and dozens of music festivals.

“Our system is a two-step process,” said Mike Rojas, Chief Innovation Officer at AXS. “We create an identity for a fan and then we can sell them a right to enter an event – and those are two different things. The reason we do that is it opens us up to be able to add more than just the right to enter the venue. We can connect loyalty, we can get a fan into the bar or club, we can personalize offers on the spot because those things are decoupled.”

Whale Watching

Let’s say the fan that just entered the arena is a top executive at a team partner. The AXS Mobile ID system immediately identifies the person as a key customer. Knowing when a specific high-end ticket holder is at an event allows the team to react by offering them an upgrade, a meet-and-greet or access to a luxury suite or VIP lounge. The AXS team refers to this practice as “whale watching.”

“We know when CEO X walks in the building, so the team can do that relationship building,” Rojas said. “The customer’s identity becomes very useful to lighting and connecting other things up.”

Retaining On-The-Fence Season Ticket Holders

All professional sports franchises are familiar with season ticket holders who don’t attend many games, and therefore are not getting the maximum value of their purchase. When it comes time to renew, there’s a good chance they’ll decline. Identifying such a customer affords a team the opportunity to offer the fan a new deal, rather than watching him walk.

“The team may say, ‘Hey, let’s put you in a partial plan with some extra perks that you do want to use when you’re at the game – maybe access to the club or we can get you into the locker room or you can get closer to the action,” Rojas explained. “It’s better to do that than to have the customer say, ‘Well, it’s time for renewal. I didn’t really get full value out of my full season pass, maybe I’ll cancel altogether.’”

Turning Ticket Transfers Into a Win-Win-Win

The transfer of a ticket from the purchaser to a different individual creates another sales opportunity for a team. Once the receiver of the ticket sets up an AXS Mobile ID account, their identity is now known. Does this person attend games regularly? Are they interested in a season ticket plan or a new fan experience?

“We see everybody who purchases tickets, who the ticket transfers to, and who actually enters the building,” Rojas continued. “This allows the team to take action [with potential new customers].”

Want to Sit Courtside Tonight?

A team may also notice a fan who attends games frequently but always seems to buy seats in the nosebleed sections, a loyal customer a franchise may want to develop. When that fan enters the building, the team has information it did not have at the time the ticket was purchased: the state of inventory. Perhaps this fan would like to experience sitting in a courtside seat that just became available.

“We can do that matchmaking,” Rojas said. “Because we know it’s you, we know your buying preferences. We can create a targeted offer on the fly and then say, ‘Hey, do you want to move courtside? Here’s all you need to do to make that happen.’ That type of information really ups the game for the team.”