College Sports Is Big Business, And Fanalytical Aims To Make It Bigger

Fanalytical is bringing fans and athletic departments together, the fans just don’t know it.

With the company’s launch in 2016 at Launch Chapel Hill, Paul Krause, the President and Founder of Fanalytical, created an innovative platform that leverages information on fans to create revenue, engagement and retention for university athletic departments.

Before this, Krause worked for UNC-Chapel Hill’s athletic department as a senior associate athletic director. He helped develop a custom platform for UNC Athletics to monitor its fan base.

Through data warehouses and predictive models, the platform integrates and aggregates data on existing fans, from season ticket holders to one-time visitors.

Fanalytical collects data on various elements from who purchases tickets, at what price, and who uses the tickets or resold them; to members or donors of the booster club, such as how long and how much they’ve been donating; or simply fans who purchase Carolina-branded apparel.

These elements form into data points that are aggregated into a measurable number so athletic departments can get clear understandings of individual fans and donors and ways to leverage future engagement and revenue.

Krause decided that the software platform he helped develop for UNC could also be licensed to other universities, so he took the idea and launched Fanalytical with his co-founder, Anthony Franklin.

The company now has three full-time and five part-time employees with seasonal interns to help along the way.

Clients can set goals, explore their fan’s demographics and analyze revenue through the aggregated data compiled on the platform.

Fanalytical focuses on college athletic departments because of their unique, existing fan bases, Krause said.

“A professional team’s fans are usually based on where you grew up, geography, your family and such, but college is different,” Krause said. “Where you’re at for college between 18 and 21 years of age is going to determine where your loyalty is, and we want to build on that.”

Shortly after the company was created, it partnered with Legends, a full-service provider for professional and college athletics, as an analytics partner. Fanalytical supports some of Legends’ clients, specifically college athletic departments.

Fanalytical currently assists four Legends clients: the athletic departments for Villanova University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, plus the Rose Bowl stadium. They are also in negotiations right now with two undisclosed clients.

“While the Rose Bowl doesn’t have a core fan base of alumni, they are obviously a huge event and venue,” Krause said. “We helped them in a capital campaign as they wanted to improve experiences for fans. We assisted by identifying those who attended games in the past, people who frequently go, and various other factors to analyze their data.” 

Fanalytical’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) was around $200,000 in 2018 and with two new clients, Krause expects their ARR to rise to $350,000.

Fanalytical has created 12 predictive models and plans to add two additional models per month. These predictive models are based on the types of behaviors that clients are trying to increase, which could range from donor revenue to ticket sales.

Insights on the platform provide athletics staff with measurable elements to assess growth.

Krause also noted that Notre Dame has a strong, loyal fanbase for football. Even though Notre Dame’s athletics department isn’t lacking in ticket sales there are, of course, other areas they could improve on.

Fanalytical prides themselves on high goals for their clients, specifically in return on investment (ROI). Krause said that university’s athletic departments have seen ROIs of roughly 3x in their first year, and 5x by their third year.

By the end of 2019, Fanalytical aims to have an ARR run rate of approximately $750,000. The company is also looking to increase its seed funding through Triangle-based investors.

“I’ve worked with technology businesses in Silicon Valley and Boston, and the Triangle environment is outstanding,” Krause said. “The support that Town of Chapel Hill, UNC, and Orange County provide to Launch Chapel Hill has been a strong competitive advantage to us. So we are deeply indebted to this environment.”