Leading Innovation in the NFL – A Risk Worth Taking

By November 15, 2014Featured, Home, Sports

In 2013, the Detroit Lions did something that no other NFL team was ready to do – they walked away from a long-standing ticketing platform to bring a new level of sophistication and innovation to the operations of their organization.


The Need to Innovate

Innovation was necessary. “The way our fans want to consume our product is changing, and more rapidly now than ever,” stated Lou Perez, CFO of the Detroit Lions. “We knew that if we didn’t change to meet their expectations – we would lose a very important customer base.”

The way the Lions had ticketed and sold their games and events went unchanged for a long time. They wanted to know more about their fans’ behavior, such as who touched tickets along the way and who was the ultimate fan present in the stadium.

How They Innovated

In order to change the establishment, they had to introduce new products, starting with their ticketing platform. Being the first team in the NFL to bring their ticketing system in-house was a big deal.

“We took a risk and chose Veritix® because we knew they are a partner that wakes up every day ready to innovate,” said Perez. “They ask us to push them and they have their foot on the innovation accelerator – for us.”

Immediate Results

In January, the Lions completed their second season with the Veritix platform and Flash Seats® ID-based digital ticketing, and they are now on a path to understanding their fans better.

The Lions are continuing to gather insights on the full fan experience by integrating data through multiple systems to get a full view of the behaviors and consumption preferences of their fans throughout the stadium.

“We want them to have the same technology access and engagement inside Ford Field that they are used to at home,” said Perez.

The Lions are proud of the brand value they are building with their fans and the risks the organization is taking to be innovative and progressive in the NFL.

“It is risky to innovate, especially being the first one to do it,” said Perez. “But it is riskier to continue to exist in your comfort zone and not change.”