Skip to main content

A data refinery to manage, secure and monetize fan data


Operational cost savings moving from Redshift to Databricks Data Intelligence Platform


Faster delivery of fan data and insights


The globalization of sports has increased organizations’ exposure to hundreds of millions of fans around the world. For leagues and teams that can demonstrate the commercial value of their business by providing access to their global fan base, billions of dollars in advertising and sponsorship revenue can be unlocked. Pumpjack Dataworks helps these organizations harness consumer data — from customer profiles and viewing platform preferences to transactional touch points including ticketing, merchandise sales and social interactions — and convert it into a monetizable asset. With Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, Pumpjack Dataworks unifies all this data and makes it accessible to sports rights holders, providing them with valuable fan insights that are used to create targeted experiences, drive new sponsorships and realize digital revenue streams they didn’t know were possible.

Unknown fans create missed revenue opportunities

Explosive growth in mobile device usage and live streaming access has contributed to the rise in popularity of sports from soccer and golf to table tennis, badminton and even pickleball. As sport grows, so do the number of global fans and the enormous amounts of data they generate. Pumpjack Dataworks’ mission is to provide sports organizations with complete visibility into their fans. With these insights, they can secure investment opportunities from sponsorship partners that generate new revenue streams.

Unfortunately, much of this fan data is “unknown,” leaving little insight into who a typical fan is, which creates a challenge for sports organizations. For example, FC Barcelona, one of the largest football clubs in the world, has over 350 million fans. They were working with Spotify on a jersey and stadium licensing rights deal, which was contingent on access to the team’s entire fan base. Unfortunately, they only had information on 10% of their fans. Their inability to provide Spotify with the right level of access and insights dropped the logo rights deal by 70% in value. Pumpjack Dataworks saw a need for better knowledge about fans to help rights holders grow their business, and was determined to democratize data — to make it accessible and useful for everyone.

“We know how challenging it can be to get a single source of truth around any particular fan and what his or her actions and value are to a sports organization,” said Tom Tercek, Co-Founder and Strategy Product Development Lead at Pumpjack Dataworks. “Our product suite makes data accessible and useful — anyone can use it to improve their business.”

To facilitate the secure exchange of information, they needed a technology architecture that could simplify data access, analyze audience segments, share insights and make it instantly actionable. Initially, Pumpjack Dataworks utilized a Redshift data warehouse to meet their needs. However, it proved to be complex to scale, error-prone, and resource-intensive to maintain. To facilitate the on-demand sharing of consumer data at scale, they needed to reimagine the underlying architecture of their customer data platform.

Democratized data and analytics for all

Pumpjack Dataworks chose to build their customer data platform, Fanbank, on top of Databricks Data Intelligence Platform to make it easy to share unified data and scale exponentially. “With lakehouse architecture and Fanbank, we can now help organizations scale seamlessly, capture every level of engagement, and determine every fan’s value to the organization,” explained Tercek.

Leveraging key features in Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, such as Delta Lake and Delta Sharing, has helped Pumpjack produce robust, scalable solutions to unlock the value of fan data for leagues and teams. Delta Sharing helps organize, collect and connect the data so that it’s optimized and easily consumable — all without needing to provide direct access to the lakehouse. To facilitate governance across their data workloads, they integrated Immuta with Unity Catalog to design and automate access controls over sensitive information for analytics and AI across the lakehouse.

“With Delta Sharing and Unity Catalog, our clients and partners can make data-driven decisions faster, as they don’t have to waste time trying to access and refine the data for their use cases,” said Corey Zwart, Chief Technology Officer at Pumpjack Dataworks. “Now they can securely query live data residing in Databricks Data Intelligence Platform to understand key audience performance metrics like customer lifetime value (LTV) and cost of acquisition (CAC) to help them better evaluate new business opportunities.”

Refining fan data into value for sports rights holders

With Databricks Data Intelligence Platform in place, operational efficiency and cost savings on Pumpjack Dataworks’ technology infrastructure have improved dramatically. Automated cluster management and reliable ETL pipelines have helped them lower IT operational costs by 60%. And time-to-insights for their clients and partners has dramatically increased as well. With Delta Sharing, Pumpjack Dataworks can now provide untethered access to refined data across platforms and clouds.

“Delta Sharing has simplified our ability to handle our data-sharing workloads. It’s just a single copy of data in the lakehouse for all,” explained Zwart. “As a result, the delivery of insights has accelerated by about 50%. I expect that to get even more efficient as we go.” Scale is also very important to their business. The lakehouse architecture allows them to scale without issues so every sporting franchise and organization can be a potential client. This has had a direct correlation with their ability to increase client pipeline and revenue.

Every sports organization has large amounts of data. But understanding the true value of that data is hard. Pumpjack Dataworks can now help their clients gain a deeper understanding of their passionate fan base so that they can create new opportunities to monetize their audiences with key partners and stakeholders.

“The audiences that consume sports on a global level represent a huge marketing opportunity for rights holders,” concluded Tercek. “The key is having a complete understanding of what makes them tick and using that insight to inform engagement models that attract new fans and revenue.”