Case Study – Wilfrid Laurier University

Golden Hawks Fly High With Cosmos Ticketing Strategies


Executive Summary

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks are the Varsity Athletic teams representing Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. The Golden Hawks compete as members of Ontario University Athletics (OUA) on a provincial level, and U Sports on a National level.

Focused on their Football program, the Golden Hawks were seeking to increase revenue specifically from Ticket Sales. Faced with many of the same challenges that other University athletics departments face these days, the Golden Hawks needed to find new ways of attracting paying fans from the Waterloo community.

Drawing on our expertise in the ticket sales world, Cosmos was able to evaluate the current Golden Hawks ticket sales operation, and develop a Strategic Action Plan to increase paid attendance at football games.

About Laurier

Wilfrid Laurier University is a public University located in Waterloo, Ontario. The University offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields, with more than 17,000 full-time undergraduate students.

The school’s Varsity athletic program competes under the name, Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. The Golden Hawks football program has regularly been one of the best in the conference, winning Vanier Cups in 1991 and 2005. Since 2003, the Golden Hawks have not finished lower than 4th (of 10) in their conference, making them a perennial contender to represent the OUA in the National playoffs.

The Challenges

Like many Canadian University athletic programs, the Golden Hawks were faced with the challenge of finding new ways to generate revenue from their programs. With students already contributing to Athletics & Recreation through student fees, as well as receiving free tickets, the Golden Hawks needed to identify new strategies of attracting paying customers from the Waterloo community. They recognized that their Football program represented their strongest option to do so. With a 4 home game regular season, the Golden Hawks didn’t have many chances to maximize ticket revenue. However, the opportunity to create demand through scarcity was there given the limited inventory of football tickets each year.

The Solution

Understanding the challenges that the Golden Hawks faced, Cosmos assembled a team of it’s experienced consultants to draw on their expertise. The solution that was identified was for Cosmos to provide a Strategic Action Plan that would lay out the strategic and tactical elements the Golden Hawks could use to reach their goals. Cosmos would subsequently provide education/training to the key members of the Golden Hawks staff who were tasked with implementing the new strategy.

Working under the economic reality of a Canadian University Athletic program, the option of building out an internal sales team was limited. Further, with only 4 home games to sell, the short season was prohibitive to hiring staff. This meant that Cosmos needed to identify the most strategic areas where the Golden Hawks could focus their ticket sales efforts. These would need to be areas where there was the greatest potential upside, that could also be implemented given the current staffing structure.

The Cosmos consulting team first focused on reviewing and understanding everything that the Golden Hawks were currently doing to generate ticket sales. This would give the team a clear picture of areas that were working already, and others that simply needed to be dropped. The Cosmos team also examined other comparable OUA/U Sports institutions to seek best practices for selling University Football in Canada. Lastly, Cosmos drew on its industry knowledge of best practices to identify where the best opportunities for the Golden Hawks were.

Upon completion of all the background research, Cosmos then developed a Golden Hawks specific Strategic Action Plan, and met with key members of the Golden Hawks staff to educate them on implementation. This plan was designed to carry a 3-5 year horizon.

The Results

Ticket Sales
– An immediate 28% increase in attendance the year following the project
– Doubling of Season tickets
– Reached annual ticket sales goal after only 3 of 4 games.

Testimonial

“The advice and recommendations that Cosmos Sports gave to us to boost Golden Hawk Football ticket sales resulted in the doubling of season ticket sales. We reached our annual ticket sales revenue goal by our third home regular season game in a four home game regular season. What is further exciting is that this is simply year one of a three year growth plan! Cosmos Sports produced the results promised in their ticketing strategy!”

Peter Baxter BPHE M.A.
Director Athletics and Recreation
Golden Hawks, Wilfrid Laurier University