“Rockhouse Partners provides us with a vast amount of institutional knowledge on ticket sales by helping us understand ticket buyer data and offering recommendations on how to best target audiences.” – Adam Burke, Vice President of Marketing & Development at Music City Bowl

“This is the big time” isn’t just a tagline for Music City Bowl. With the birth of the College Football Playoffs, the Music City Bowl was re-position to make a huge impact in 2014—MCB was moving from a mid-level game to one of the top matchups between the SEC and ACC/Big Ten.

In the weeks and months leading up to the game’s matchup announcement, we focused our efforts on understanding their audience, creating segmented emails, building fan engagement through digital tailgate parties, and more with massive results.

The Key Players

The Wins

  • 16% growth in year-over-year ticket sales despite fewer tickets going directly to participating schools.
  • 25% more traffic to the website throughout the entire year, including 136% more visits on Team Announcement.
  • 22.4% growth in fans across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, including 45.7% growth on Twitter alone, since beginning of engagement with Rockhouse Partners.
  • 11.7% increase in email subscribers since beginning of engagement and 30% increase year-over-year email open rates.
  • 227% year-over-year increase in Facebook engagement following Team Announcement.

The Challenges

  • Sell tickets to an event that has a rotating fan base each year, prior to knowing the main attraction.
  • Increase revenue and awareness through segmented email marketing efforts.
  • Boost brand image; portray Music City Bowl as one of the top tier games.
  • Analyze and understand previous ticket buyers and why they attended the game.

The Solutions

Strategy and Planning

  • Before the 2014 college football season began, we underwent a massive data dive into previous ticket buyers to fully understand buyers’ habits, trends, and motives for attending Music City Bowl through our Ticketlytics program.
  • Built an email schedule that featured segmentation campaigns based on geography, buying habits, and second- and third-touch emails to accurately target consumers with proper messaging.
  • Created content marketing assets and strategies that repositioned Music City Bowl as an industry thought leader, especially in regards to fan engagement.

Designed, Built and Measured

  • Began sending specialized, segmented emails to specific consumers with appropriate messaging.
  • Created shareable custom graphics that featured the Music City Bowl brand and aligned it with high-level college football.
  • Provided on-site support during Bowl week to boost engagement and drive last-minute sales through fear of missing (FOMO).

Finalized and Fine-Tuned

  • Measured results weekly and fine-tuned social content to reach maximum engagement.
  • Tracked success rate of emails and retargeted second- and third-touch emails to move consumers through the sales funnel.
  • Measured weekly ticket sales after Team Announcement and pushed messaging to sell important tickets.

The Next Steps

  • Review and analyze 2014 ticket buyers and understand what new buying trends we can expect moving forward.
  • Work closely with the Music City Bowl team as they begin planning for the 2015 game.
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