What Can The Arts Learn from Sports Marketing?

This question has been asked at conferences, in books, and in blogs for decades. This well crafted orchestra-centric article from the San Francisco Classical Voice rehashes some of this territory. The writer touches on many things that we would all like to see at our own organizations – raving and engaged fans, venues that look sold out all the time, and audience members that create a sense of community pride.

The problem I always have with this question is simply that the arts are not sports. You can’t have the same kind of intense rivalries and statistics to measure excellence, since excellence is in the ears and the eyes of the beholder. What is a fantastic concert to some may be terrible to others. In sports we know who won, in the the arts it’s less clear.

Well then what is new and uniquely relevant that we CAN learn from sports? Relationships with your fans! Just like in the arts, the sports world is racing towards CRM. They too want to know who their repeat season ticket buyers are, and who is a first-timer. It seems to me that no matter what the venue, or the organization, treating patrons like people is universal.

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