How to identify fans pouring through the gates on "game day"? The University had no way to know who was attending the athletic events. The Athletic Department wanted to send targeted follow-up mailings to encourage attendees to come to next year's games or become season ticket holders. They also wanted to sponsor promotional contests and better market to their fans. However, the names and addresses were not available because they were too time-consuming and costly to collect. The existing process of collecting attendee information consisted of having the fan fill out name and address cards at the events. The fans were often unwilling to take the time needed to do this. For those cards that did get completed, many of them were illegible and/or incomplete. Clerical personnel were then needed for the lengthy process of manually compiling and entering information.
Symbol MSR 3000 magnetic stripe readers are attached to Symbol PPT 2700 Pocket PCs and used by gate personnel as fans enter. Current Directions developed a procedure to capture fan profiles as they entered the gates. The operator selects the event type and keys in the game number using the touch screen on the Pocket PC. Then the operator presses a button on the touch screen and swipes the attendee's Drivers License or University ID. Name and address information is instantly obtained from the magnetic stripe on the Drivers License and saved to a file on the Symbol 2700. A separate procedure on the Pocket PC permits "game day" drawings. This is accomplished by pressing the "Winner" button on the screen of the hand-held. The Symbol 2700 then randomly selects a name, from the attendees name and address files and displays the "Drawing Winner". After the event, the name and address information collected on the hand-held units is uploaded to a PC via a docking station, and integrated into a Microsoft Access Database. The Athletic Department then uses off-the-shelf tools to create summaries, reports, and targeted mailings from the collected attendance information. Optionally, for University only events, the operator can swipe the magnetic stripe on the attendee's University ID. These IDs are issued to all faculty, staff and students. Only the ID number is saved on the Pocket PC file. After the information has been uploaded to the PC and merged into the Microsoft Access Database, the Athletic Department then uses the ID number to automatically retrieve the name and address information from the University Database.
The Athletic Department now has accurate mailing and demographic information for fans attending the athletic events. The mailing information is quickly and easily obtained from the magnetic stripe on the Drivers License or University ID. Attendees no longer have to go through the time-consuming process of filling out address cards. Subsequently, there is less need for clerical staff. The data collection procedure is fast and simple, allowing fans to move through the gates quickly with no need for a highly trained work force to capture the information. By integrating the name and address information into a Microsoft Access Database all manual entry to the PC is eliminated and the Athletic Department is able to use widely available office tools for mailings and data analysis. All of these improvements have led to more effective marketing by the Athletics Department.