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How this professional basketball team uses machine learning to find new fans

The team relies on Microsoft Azure’s predictive analytics to drive fan engagement.

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On the night of any given home game, season ticket holders take up about half the 20,000 seats in the Portland Trail Blazers’ arena. To fill the remaining 10,000 seats, the Trail Blazers’ analytics team turns to machine learning. The team uses Microsoft Azure’s predictive analytics to deepen customer engagement and predict customer behavior. They use specific data points — such as viewing specific sports channels or a certain type of streaming device — to help uncover hidden fans who might be interested in attending a home game.

In conjunction with other marketing methods (such as social media, email and phone calls), this AI-powered method helped get more Trail Blazers fans to games. In the 2016-17 season, the campaign got 1 out of 4 people to buy tickets compared to the previous rate of 1 out of 20. Now that’s a home court advantage.


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