Case Study

Driving Greater Satisfaction Among NFL Season Ticket Holders


An NFL franchise approached C+R with a unique research proposition. The franchise had enjoyed success on the field, as well as in the stands, and continued to have a close relationship with the local community. However, quantitative data had suggested a recent drop in satisfaction with several critical game-day components. Team management was interested in conducting qualitative research among several tiers of season ticket holders to identify actionable opportunities to enhance their relationship with fans and drive greater satisfaction.

C+R researchers employed online and in-person qualitative research methods, including focus groups, co-creation exercises, and an activation workshop to find the underlying cause of dissatisfaction and develop a roadmap to a winning future.


A Drop in Satisfaction, but Why?

An NFL franchise knew there had been a recent drop in satisfaction with several critical game-day components, but they didn’t know why.

Near-term, team management wanted to understand the origins of the drop in satisfaction. Long-term, they wanted to gather season ticket holders’ feedback on how to enhance the experience on game day and beyond.


Multi-Phase Qualitative Research to Uncover Drivers of Dissatisfaction

Quantitative data had tipped the client off to a drop in satisfaction; now, it was time to dig deep into consumers’ attitudes to understand the drivers of dissatisfaction (via qualitative research).

The C+R Research team designed a dynamic multi-phase research plan to achieve the client’s short and long-term goals. During the first phase, researchers facilitated an online fan forum where ticket holders reflected on their experiences with the team, uploaded photos and videos, and shared their disappointments and unmet needs. Participants were also invited to participate in a co-creation exercise to generate potential solutions to the drivers of dissatisfaction.

In phase 2, in-person discussions with phase one focus group participants were held in the NFL stadium. Conducting follow-up conversations in the stadium itself allowed season ticket holders to share expectations, pain points, and needs related to specific aspects of the game-day experience, including fan interaction areas, food and beverage choices, mobile-based ticketing options, and more.

Finally, during Phase 3, C+R researchers facilitated a day-long workshop with the client to present and explore research findings. A series of creative exercises helped team managers unpack the implications of the research findings and brainstorm solutions to enhance the season ticket holder experience.

The result

Designing the Roadmap to a Winning Future

Phases 1 & 2 revealed several key problem areas contributing to the satisfaction downturn. Research participants felt that:

  • The team had become more “corporate” and was less approachable than in the past.
  • The long waitlist for season tickets meant the team didn’t need to be as attentive to fans as other teams.
  • Some game-day components and programming had become stale.
  • Rewards and perks were not consistently applied to various tiers of season ticket holders, leading to confusion and resentment.
  • It had been a long time since the team had done anything new or different to make season ticket holders feel special.

Co-creation exercises identified a variety of ideas to address some of these issues:

  • Reward ticket holders with special perks for their loyalty, including opportunities to get “behind the scenes” and closer to the team.
  • Develop pre-game entry/access to areas of the stadium, media opportunities with the team, and exclusive ticket holder merchandise.
  • Create more player/alumni, draft-day, and statewide events with exclusive ticket holder access.

And, the Phase 3 activation workshop enabled team management to metabolize the research results and design a strategy for implementing the new initiatives in the upcoming season.

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