Blue Jays put customer software on deck

A two-and-a-half-year-old Toronto software vendor has made it into the major leagues with the sale of its ticket-sales and customer relationship management (CRM) software to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Jays announced this week plans to implement the integrated ticketing, CRM and fundraising

system from AudienceView Software Corp., replacing software from Softix Pty. Ltd., a major player in the ticketing software market based in Sydney, Australia, whose software the Jays have used for the past five years.

The Softix system is transaction-oriented, while the AudienceView software is more customer-centric, according to Doug Barr, manager of ticket and box-office systems for the Blue Jays.

The team is currently working with AudienceView on the configuration of the software, and plans to begin selling season tickets for its 2005 season using the AudienceView software this August. It will add single-ticket sales, Internet sales and group bookings for 2005 over the next few months, according to Mark Nguyen, project manager for the software migration.

Softix will continue to be used for 2004 ticket sales until the end of the season. “The whole thought process was to start new for a new season,” Barr explained.

Barr said the team wanted CRM and reporting capabilities that Softix lacked. “We were looking for something that was more relational as far as our selling channels, something that’s Web-based as far as our training, something that’s a little closer in terms of support. AudienceView being a Canadian company, they’re just up the street,” he said.

Whereas the team’s old system used four separate customer databases for single-ticket, group, season-ticket and online sales, AudienceView will combine these, giving a single view of the customer, said Barr.

The Web-based interface will simplify training, and AudienceView makes it easy to generate reports, he added. “It’s a lot more user-friendly,” Barr commented.

Jason Diplock, the Jays’ director of ticket sales and service, said the business of selling sports tickets has changed over the past decade and teams now need to take more initiative to “go out and get the business.” AudienceView’s software will help the Blue Jays see, for instance, how successful a particular direct-mail campaign is or what promotional methods have been most effective in publicizing a certain special ticket offer.

“The reporting capabilities are quite extensive,” Barr said. The team hopes that mining customer information and tailoring marketing programs to reflect customer desires will help the team improve ticket sales.

Chris Skrme, director of product marketing at AudienceView, said some minor-league baseball teams use the software but the Jays are the first team in the majors to adopt it. Along with sports ticket sales, he said, AudienceView’s other major market is the sale of theatre tickets, and it handles ticket sales for the Mirvish theatre organization in Toronto among others.

Skrme said the AudienceView software is not designed only to sell tickets but to handle all points of contact with customers, including complaints and, in the case of non-profit organizations, donations. Its CRM capabilities are designed to support targeted marketing efforts, he added.

The AudienceView software runs on a Microsoft Windows server, and will also provide the back-end processing for the Jays’ online ticket sales, Nguyen said.

The value of the contract was not disclosed.

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Grant Buckler
Grant Buckler
Freelance journalist specializing in information technology, telecommunications, energy & clean tech. Theatre-lover & trainee hobby farmer.

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