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Case Study: Yorkshire Cricket boasts 80% first-time buyer increase thanks to Seat Unique

Premium ticketing marketplace Seat Unique first partnered with Yorkshire County Cricket Club in April this year, powering the club’s online premium ticket and hospitality sales. 

By linking up with Seat Unique, Yorkshire Cricket fans are able to purchase VIP experiences and book premium tickets and hospitality packages for events taking place at the 21,000-capacity Headingley Stadium, home of Yorkshire Cricket.

We spoke to Simon Pixsley, head of commercial sales and partnerships at Yorkshire Cricket, and Seat Unique’s partnerships manager Alex Bexon, about the partnership and how it will benefit the club’s fans. 

Initial rollout

Pixsley noted that a desire to increase traffic is what initially led Yorkshire Cricket to seek help from Seat Unique.

“The club realised that it needed a more sophisticated online sales platform due to the increased traffic to the website,” he said. “Seat Unique offered a more customer-friendly journey, as well as other significant commercial benefits.” 

To begin the process, Bexon explained that Seat Unique worked to identify areas that it could streamline to improve the customer experience. 

“As with all partners, we studied Yorkshire’s existing booking process to identify how we could streamline it using our innovative technology,” he said. 

“A key focus in this case was improving the online customer journey for fans wanting to book hospitality at Headingley. To do this, we created a white label website for Yorkshire that has been designed, tested and built for hospitality and premium ticket sales.

“By digitally transforming Yorkshire’s hospitality booking process, fans now have greater access to premium experiences, and the club has greater flexibility and control over its sales. So, it is a real win-win situation.”

Pixsley outlined the initiatives Yorkshire had in place when starting this new partnership with Seat Unique, and said that the club hoped to increase revenue through online sales while offering a superior online experience for customers. 

Yorkshire also hoped to acquire more data to assist with further sales and marketing, and aimed to reach a wider audience to drive new business at Headingley.

Image: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Bexon explained some of the steps taken to achieve these ambitions: “As a business, it’s our mission to make premium experiences at live events accessible to all. Bringing premium tickets and hospitality packages online allows fans to book experiences anytime and anywhere, on different digital devices.

“Not only do we want to ensure the buying experience is as smooth as possible, but we want to empower fans by giving them the option to buy at a time that suits them.

“Together with Yorkshire, we took a deep dive into data analytics to make sure that all digital improvements were being made in the right areas, and that they would help us achieve our goal.

“Since our partnership with Yorkshire began, we have seen a significant increase in online hospitality sales made outside of the typical 9-5 working hours. There has also been an impressive uplift in the demand for private boxes. Six box packages have been sold since we began working together; the club hadn’t sold a box package online in six years previously.

“Marketing and communications teams from both sides were also briefed early in the onboarding process to ensure that the change in booking process was efficiently communicated with fans.”

Fast results

Pixsley said that this summer’s international cricket matches at Headingly have already witnessed a surge in new business.

“The club believe that it has seen an 80% uplift in new business purchasing tickets through the Seat Unique platform,” said Pixsley.

“The improved customer experience will hopefully ensure that the club has higher retention rates in 2023, and offer opportunities to cross-sell other premium experience packages.”

On moving forward with the partnership, Pixsley added: “The rollout was accelerated to maximise sales opportunities in 2022 and taking such action has clearly had huge commercial benefits.

“The club will take key learnings from the launch and looks forward to developing a strategic on-sale plan for 2023, including priority windows, dynamic pricing and marketing activity to drive earlier B2B and B2C sales.”

Image: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Bexon added: “Our partnership with Yorkshire is built as a team. Yorkshire and Seat Unique share the same values and fans are always at the heart of everything we do.

“To ensure this, we continue to look at consumer buyer behaviour, as well as activation opportunities, so that we can co-promote the club’s packages throughout the partnership.

“We work closely with the club by having regular catch ups and discussing weekly reports.”

Looking ahead

Pixsley explained that following the initial success of the roll out, further goals include driving earlier sales and ensuring the customer journey is best in class.

“The purchasing process is our first touchpoint with customers, so this must reflect the warm welcome that guests will receive on arrival at Headingley,” he added.

Yorkshire Cricket and Headingley have a busy time ahead, after an already busy start to the summer this year hosting a Test match between England and New Zealand (pictured). This doesn’t just include international cricket, but also exploring other ideas to improve the ticketing process at the club.

Pixsley said: “The club are looking forward to exploring exciting opportunities in 2023, with the Ashes returning to Headingley. Yorkshire will also look to implement exciting opportunities to continue revenue growth, including dynamic pricing and fan-to-fan ticket exchange, powered by Seat Unique.”

Bexon concluded: “It’s been great to see the sales uplift for Yorkshire since our partnership began, and it is particularly rewarding seeing the number of box sales coming through the platform.

“We’re really looking forward to continuing working with Yorkshire and further increasing the club’s sales revenue with our technology.

“We already have some very exciting opportunities in the pipeline, such as dynamic pricing and powering the official Yorkshire Fan 2 Fan ticket exchange. Expanding our partnership in this way will allow us to help fans to get access to Yorkshire events in the safest and most secure way possible.”

If you are an official rightsholder, club, artist, promoter or venue, and would like to discuss joining Seat Unique’s community, send a message to enquiries@seatunique.com for more information on becoming a partner.

Seat Unique is a sponsor of TheTicketingBusiness Forum, the worlds No.1 B2B ticketing business meeting, which will take place from July 7-8, 2022 at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester.