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Case Study: Sharp’s Winning Solutions for the Indianapolis Indians

4 Jan, 2014


Located just a few blocks west of downtown Indy, Victory Field stands out as a lone landmark for baseball in a city famous for its professional sports franchises. Home of the Indianapolis Indians (affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates) the city’s Triple-A club plays its games mere minutes away from Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis Colts), Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indiana Pacers), and the world-renown Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indians are currently the only minor-league team vying for relevance in the highly competitive market. To remain an entertaining & viable option to their sports-obsessed but potentially inundated audience, they were forced to adjust how they did business.

Despite being recognized as the “Best Minor League Ballpark in America" by Baseball America and Sports Illustrated, Victory Field underwent extensive renovations in 2010, a full 14 years after opening its gates for the first time. The team updated its press box and indoor/outdoor luxury suites, revamped the Captain Morgan Cove – a premium seating hangout just beyond the left-field foul line – and outfitted its main corridor with new Sharp LED televisions for a greater fan experience. 

But beyond the aesthetically stimulating and crowd-pleasing endeavors, the Indians also took steps to make the backend and less glamorous functionalities of the ballpark operate more efficiently. As part of the organization’s facelift, the Indians replaced their former in-house printers with an assortment of color MFPs from Sharp to be housed in their administrative offices (models MX-M850 & MX-3501N), the team’s ticket office (MX-M363U), and even the clubhouse (Sharp AR-350).

The team uses its color printers to create daily scorecards that change with each new series, as well as ticket sales fliers, game notes, rosters, and inning-by-inning updates for the press box. More importantly to the organization, the printers are also used to create proposals and new business presentations for potential corporate sponsors. The team is able to keep its printing in-house which saves from outsourcing every print project, which can get costly quickly.

Every offseason, the Indians’ front office typically distributes 100-200 sponsorship packets to potential clients for new sponsorship opportunities. These sales are essential for the growth of the franchise and primarily support the type of renovation projects the team enjoyed in 2010. Prior to purchasing the new printers, the Indians garnered an annual-revenue of roughly $1M in sales from sponsors. Since its partnership with Sharp, the team has enjoyed an increase in sales of more than 150%.

While this sort of financial bump can’t be solely attributed to upgraded MFPs, the team acknowledges that the cleaner, more professional look of its presentations have helped build a clientele of sponsors that they typically didn’t retain as an organization. The Indians believe the heightened quality of the presentations and sales packets has directly contributed to this substantial increase in sales revenue.

Since its partnership with Sharp, the Indians have enjoyed more success than just a fancier stadium and increased corporate sales. The 2013 team won its division and even led all MiLB in attendance for its first time ever, with more than 637,500 fans visiting Victory Field during the regular season. Is this sort of invigorated performance on the field due entirely to new MFPs? Probably not, but the organization’s bump in corporate sales and additional revenue speak volumes for the backend improvements that the team’s made in recent years.

Organization:

Indianapolis Indians

Challenges:

  • Compete with professional teams in market to provide a luxury feel for fans
  • Upgrade stadium with state-of-the-art amenities to heighten the overall fan experience
  • Improve new client presentations and appearance of proposals to garner additional sponsors
  • Lower costs of business while increasing profits and enhancing efficiency

Solutions:

  • Revamp stadiums amenities to heighten the fan experience
  • Partner with Sharp to enhance both the in-stadium experience as well as organizational efficiency and productivity
  • Move print jobs in-house to save money on day-to-day expenses as well as overall corporate expenditures

Results:

  • Increased corporate sales revenue by 150%
  • Achieved unprecedented success by attracting all new high-profile sponsorships
  • Led MiLB in attendance, hosting more than 637,500 guests during the regular season in 2013
  • Increased pricing for indoor and outdoor luxury suites, as well as improved revenue for Captain Morgan Cove



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