How the Seattle Kraken use data to shoot for business goals

Kendall Tyson
Kendall Tyson, the Seattle Kraken’s vice president for strategy and business intelligence, discusses how the hockey team uses data analytics at the 2021 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

When it comes to sports data, most people think about RBIs, third-down conversions or shots on goal — but Kendall Tyson, the Seattle Kraken hockey team’s vice president for strategy and business intelligence, has a completely different kind of statistics in mind.

Which videos do you watch on the Kraken’s website? Are you going to the big game on your birthday or anniversary? What kind of wine will you be ordering at Climate Pledge Arena?

“We’re bringing together ticket purchases to hockey games, ticket purchases to concerts, food and beverage data, retail data and membership data across all of the people who come to Climate Pledge Arena — and not just our fans,” Tyson said today at the GeekWire Summit. “We take that information, and we pull it into a database, and we’re creating Customer 360 profiles.”

If you’re partial to a particular video series about the Kraken, you might see a link to the latest installment at the top of your membership email. If it’s your birthday, the Kraken might offer you a deal on a private suite for the game.

And then there’s the wine.

“We know that from your food and beverage purchase history, you love that dark cab,” Tyson said. “And when one of our partners comes out with a new one, we may have one of those bottles just waiting for you at your seat.”

You might expect that the latest addition to the professional sports spectrum in the region that Microsoft and Amazon made famous would be tech-savvy — and Tyson plays a key role in making good on that expectation. She comes to the job with a background that includes experience in developing business strategies at Accenture, the LPGA and Topgolf.

Kraken home page
The Seattle Kraken’s website is designed to reflect the data preferences of users.

In addition to building an expansion team of hockey players from scratch, the Kraken management team is partnering with Climate Pledge Arena and Ticketmaster to build the online infrastructure for personalized customer experiences.

“We’re the first team ever to build our own mobile app in-house,” Tyson said. “We’ll send that information to our digital channels, to allow people to have personalized experiences — whether it’s shopping online or just visiting a website and seeing their favorite band or their favorite player at the top of the screen.”

The approach already seems to be scoring with fans: Kraken tickets sell out quickly on the primary market, and through Ticketmaster’s verified-purchase system, sellers are asking between $400 and $10,000-plus on the secondary market for tickets to the Kraken’s first-ever home opener, against the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 23.

If those figures sound daunting, just wait: Tyson said the asking price is likely to come down as game time nears. “Long term, from an analytics point of view, it’s all about supply and demand,” she explained.

During the Q&A session, one of the attendees at the GeekWire Summit asked about the trade-off between personalization and privacy: “There’s part of me that goes, ‘Ooh, I’m a beleaguered mom, I want to feel special,’” she said. “And there’s part of me that goes, ‘Oh my God, that’s a little creepy.’”

To ease those concerns, Tyson pointed to the rise of regulations aimed at fostering data protection and personal control over data sharing.

“That all puts the control, in my opinion, back with the consumer,” she said. “And so we’ll never share more than what you wanted to share, right? We have a double opt-in policy, so if you decide that you don’t want to have that bottle of wine sitting on your chair, you can opt out of that, or not opt in, and we won’t have it for you.”