Brad Hauser ’17 spent his college hockey career analyzing how to increase the percentage of goals kept out of the Cardinals’ net; now he’s helping the Minnesota Wild analyze how to increase their revenue and grow the game of hockey across the state.
The business intelligence and data analytics major from Gurnee, Ill., landed the ideal start to his dream career as a marketing intelligence intern for the Minnesota Wild at the beginning of September.
From day one he hit the ground running, creating reports and crunching numbers for a variety of departments, all to increase audiences and visibility, as well as the overall fan experience.
He and his team members are currently focusing on web content and email messaging to increase target audience engagement and ticket sales.
“Ultimately we are determining how to get people to come to their first Wild game or Wild event and to keep them coming back and to grow the Wild name in Minnesota. We are working to create a greater ‘state of hockey,’ ” he said.
One marketing campaign the Minnesota Wild recently utilized was a “This Is Our Ice” event, where fans could bring in small containers of water from local hockey ponds, lakes, and rinks, which was then added to the ice for the 2017-2018 season at the Xcel Energy Center.
“We worked in conjunction with the marketing department to make sure the message was getting out there, and now we are using the data from this event to gather geographic information on where participants came from. The farthest water came was from Hawaii,” Hauser said. “The goal is to create a fan demographic so we know how we can better serve them.”
Hauser also helps pull ticket purchase histories, assists with database issues, tracks hashtags on social media, and supports the sales and service team with compressing data and organizing it into an easy-to-read format. “The big project now is we’re compiling data on all of our season ticket holders and putting together personality reports, including if they have kids and even what their dog’s name is,” Hauser said. “We’re creating theme nights based on these profiles. If a large percentage of our ticket holders have kids, we should consider doing more kid-related themes and events. We’re a big organization but we want to know our customers on a personal level.”
With the season getting under way, Hauser’s main responsibility is game-day reporting, including gathering data in every area from ticket sales to food and beverage sales. “We’ll look at how fans traveled here and how they interacted once they were in the arena, and we will compile all that information and compare it to previous years’ games at the same time period. From there, we send that report out to the team president and other top-level executives to give them a bird’s eye view of how everything in the arena went the previous evening.”
Hauser said it was taking classes with Michael Ratajczyk at Saint Mary’s that first got him excited about majoring in business intelligence and data analytics. “His enthusiasm and love for what he was teaching was contagious, and he put everything into a real-world perspective,” Hauser said. “I could see the value in knowing these skills. He was so invested in making sure that each individual student knew what they were doing and why they were doing it.”
Hauser credits his overall classroom experiences, as well as the strategic management presentations, for preparing him for his current position. “In strategic management, I learned how to present and to anticipate those tough follow-up questions. It gave me the confidence to know that I can answer any questions in a board room full of executives. It took the fear out of public presentations.”
Completing two internships, one at Fastenal in Winona and one at Piper Jaffray in Chicago, while he was a student also helped him gain valuable skills. After a taste of the financial side of data analytics with those internships, Hauser said the Wild is the perfect place to begin his career. “I’ve been an athlete all my life and played hockey at Saint Mary’s. Hockey has always been my first love,” he said. “I knew that I wanted a career working for an NHL franchise after graduation and being a part of the Wild organization is a great place to be.”
“It’s such a great environment to work in,” he said. “On game nights, the most rewarding part is looking out over a filled arena and seeing the enjoyment of the fans.” Hauser explained that so far, he loves getting up and going to work each day because every day brings new challenges. “Ultimately I’d like to work my way up to perhaps one day being the president of a team, like John McDonough ’75 (president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks). For now, I’m excited to be a part of the Wild and to have recently been accepted into Saint Mary’s graduate studies program in business intelligence and analytics.”