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AEG Sports uses SAS Viya to navigate scenarios in new normal

Sports and live entertainment company AEG Sports has been AI-powered SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure for business operations that will enable a more immersive experience for fans.

In using embedded capabilities in SAS Viya for contingency planning, AEG Sports is able to quickly ingest and model data from multiple sources, including ticketing, partnerships, marketing, weather reports, and health experts, which helps it reduce pandemic-driven uncertainty.

“SAS Viya helps us analyze 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.”

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The company has also been using analytics to understand fan sentiment. With SAS Viya, the AEG Sports’ analytics team created models to gauge fan perspectives toward things such as returning to in-person games. By continuously analyzing fan sentiment during the pandemic, AEG Sports has been able to personalize messages based on interest and feelings on personal safety and identify which fans needed targeted retention efforts.


“Customers like AEG benefit from the strategic partnership between SAS and Microsoft because they can seamlessly move workloads to the cloud and discover new efficiencies and real-time answers,” said Rodrigo Rocha, GM for Cloud Solutions & ISV Alliances at Microsoft. “Now more than ever, digital transformation is critical as organizations learn to adapt to new customer behaviors. SAS Viya on Azure helps make that transformation easier and faster, providing much-needed, immediate actionable insights.”

“A lot of our fan communication during the COVID-19 pandemic has been fairly casual, often through surveys, which we use to gather and analyze their attitudes and feelings,” said John D’Onofrio, business analyst at AEG Sports. “I’ll take all the survey data into SAS Viya and use text topics to analyze sentiment and identify key themes to see how fans are feeling and what the overall attitudes are. As a result, a lot of our fan engagement has less of a sales tone and more of a conversational tone.”

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.

“Data visualization is critical to our business,” said D’Onofrio. “Most people are visual learners, so being able to show a visual representation of data has been extremely beneficial in gaining buy-in. Right now, almost every department in our company uses data visualizations to make decisions and operate more efficiently.”

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