Winning with Data

for the Business of Sports: CRM and Analytics

Suitable for beginners, intermediaries or digital marketers who haven’t yet included data-driven decision making in their approach. Our book provides a fantastic start for those looking to understand the role of CRM and Business Intelligence for the sports industry.


In 2011, when I first entered the world of CRM in sports, I struggled to understand the different terminology I heard and read, and the different systems and processes being used. I would constantly Google “CRM” in the hope that the next result would somehow shed some light on what was a mystery to me at that time. Instead, I found myself trying to determine the difference between software like Microsoft Dynamics and SAP, Salesforce and Sage, and wondering why I kept reading that CRM projects fail and email marketing is dead.

This book aims to


Dispel a common myth about the use of CRM. This is not the first time you’ll hear me say that it’s not just about technology. Nor is it just about the data. Having a strategy, systematic processes and the right culture are just as important to be successful.


Provide a helicopter view of the way the sports industry uses data to make decisions and engage with fans, customers and participants.


Provide real world examples that put the theory into perspective. Thanks to the generosity of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Mic Conetta of Arsenal FC, MLS, LA Kings, and Portland Trailblazers, to name just a few, you’ll learn how these rights owners approach the unique challenges in their organisation or sport, applying the different principles discussed in this book.

Winning with Data is now also available as a training course.

Sign up and get access to market-leading software to turn your theory into practice, practical and relevant exercises, 1-1 calls with tutors and much more.

Fiona Green

Author of Winning with Data

About the author

Fiona has over 30 years’ experience working in the sports industry, selling, and leveraging sponsorship, media rights, and merchandise licenses from the UK, USA, and Switzerland. She first moved into the field of CRM and data in 2011, formed Winners in 2013, published the first edition of this book in 2018, and more recently developed an online course of the same name.

Fiona is an expert in the use of data and is passionate about sharing knowledge with anyone and everyone – clients, students, and fellow professionals. You’ll often see her at conferences and other speaking events, recording podcasts, and writing blog posts for both Winners and several media outlets.

Connect with Fiona:


Vince Gennaro, Associate Dean, NYU Tisch Institute for Global Sport
Author, Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball

There are four realities that make Winning with Data one of the most important books that any sports business executive or student will read. First, we live in a time when the only thing we can be certain about is that the world was different yesterday and will be different tomorrow. There was a time when change evolved. It materialised over months and years. Today we live in a world where technology is winning the war against stability. The velocity of information sharing is a major catalyst for change. The half-billion tweets per day and the 4 billion users across all social media platforms worldwide are drizzling fuel on the fire of ‘change’. In the past, as new ways of doing business emerged, there were early adopters and laggards, but even the latter eventually ‘caught up’ to run with the crowd. But now, even putting our smart phones down for a day is a terrorising thought, as we live in fear that we will fall behind forever.

The second reality is the data and information explosion are radically transforming the way we do business, as they provide deeper and more personal insights about our customers and prospective customers. Customers now expect you to know them on a more personal level and cater to their interests. If your products, the medium you choose to communicate, the messaging and even the tone of your interactions aren’t tailored to their needs and preferences, then you will lose, because your competitor will likely be engaged in a way that connects and resonates with your customers.

The third reality is that sports fans are different from packaged goods consumers or consumers of other goods and services. The sports ‘sale’ is less transactional as the relationship between athletes, clubs, and leagues, with their fans has always been complicated. While price, service experience, convenience and value are all important considerations, it’s not an entirely rational relationship. The traditional factors are relevant, but they are commingled with deeper psychological and sociological issues like identity and the in-group–out-group behaviours that are associated with membership in a fan community. Unmistakably, the most productive and profitable fan relationships are built on the foundation of a deep understanding of customers’ behaviours and attitudes and an ability to ‘connect’. A high-performance CRM can be your secret sauce.

Finally, to effectively compete in this new world disorder, you need to institutionalise not only the tools and processes to compete, but also build a culture that continuously adapts to change – create a learning organisation. A learning organisation is a means to acquiring antibodies that inoculate an organisation from the deadliest of all diseases – maintaining the status quo and resisting change. For most, change produces anxiety, while accelerated change can lead to mind-numbing chaos. The key is to create structure amidst the chaos and channel processes and systems into the development of next gen products, pricing structures, and new service models and ultimately value propositions, which employ new media and messaging. Once you’ve embraced these four principles, Winning with Data will be your playbook. It provides the foundation to create a culture that embraces systemic change.

What our readers have said

This book is a must-read, not only for sports governing bodies and clubs, but for anyone operating in the sponsorship and sports industries. Not only does Fiona Green demystify CRM, she sets out so clearly how it can and must become the central platform to any sports business. ‘Winning with Data’ is one of those books that I will remember reading and thinking “that explained CRM and showed me, not only the importance of using it to equip and improve a business, but how to do so.”

Karen Earl, Karen Earl Sponsorship and Synergy (1984 – 2012) Chairman European Sponsorship Association (2007 – 2017)

It’s refreshing to read about the use of CRM to increase the number of people playing and volunteering in sport, in addition to the more traditional rationale. It’s important we continue to focus on the growth of our sports – some of the methods discussed in the book can be easily applied to that task. I recommend this for other professionals with a responsibility for sports development.

Sunil Gulati, United 2026 Committee Member, FIFA Committee Member, Senior Lecturer, Columbia University

With this book Fiona Green offers a refreshingly straight-forward take on the complex and quickly evolving areas of CRM, customer engagement and data intelligence in an easy to consume style. Most importantly, through a variety of detailed case studies, she makes an extremely compelling argument for why professional sports teams and organizations need to implement modern customer engagement techniques and strategies to create valuable, ongoing relationships with tech-savvy fans and sponsors.

Brent Leary, Managing Partner, CRM Essentials, LLC

“Winning with Data” breaks through the traditional definition to declare that CRM is more than a vehicle to track the sales funnel. It does an outstanding job of unveiling the tangible ways that CRM can lead to predictive analytics, targeted marketing, and highly efficient customer acquisition and retention. This is the foundation of the formula to building deep emotional engagement with fans and maximizing their lifetime value.

Vince Gennaro, Associate Dean, New York University, Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport

I was so excited when Fiona Green said she was writing Winning With Data as I always learn when I chat with her. I was not disappointed as Fiona helps explain both the high level concepts with real world CRM execution examples from sports industry. It will be an important read across sports industry not just CRM practitioners, I know I’ll be handing out copies to digital colleagues to help them understand the importance data plays in everything they do. Everyone is on a CRM journey and with this book Fiona is there by your side.

Sean Callanan, Founder,

In a time when we can be swallowed whole by data and what to do with it, Fiona Green gives us a read that we can easily digest. It is a very clear, simple and practical look at the best uses of data to achieve business goals big and small; an excellent primer for those looking to get a better feel or the industry veteran who might have missed a step. One for both the bookshelf and the classroom

 Joe Favorito, Independent sports consultant and author, Columbia University Faculty Member, one of Forbes “50 Sports Business Must Follows”, Huffington Post’s “Sports Media People To Follow”, and Sports Business Journal’s “Power Players”

Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time” is a phrase that all students looking to break into the sports industry should follow. Often the temptation is to rely solely on what fans tell us, but focusing and collecting data on their actions and interactions with the brand could tell a different story. Winning with Data delivers on this point by providing the steps needed to create a CRM strategy. Winning with Data breaks down buzzwords such as Business Intelligence, Business Analytics, and CRM and provides a step-by-step guide on the importance of utilizing data from fan insights to deliver personalized events, promotions, and experiences. Students to industry professionals can learn and apply teachings directly to projects they are working on.

Laurajean Holmgren, Deputy Academic Director, Sports Management, Columbia University, New York

This book is for anybody who works with sports fans and who needs to understand more about CRM. There are so many great examples from sport and from other business areas to illustrate how to be more effective in how we manage our commercial relationships with fans and B2B contacts. It’s great to see so many examples from the MLS, NBA and NHL, with endorsements from leading figures in the sports industry. Fiona Green writes with authority, having seen the evolution of marketing in sports, not only in the UK, but across many different markets, and she clearly embraces newer forms of customer relationship management. This is a must read book for our many football business and sports students who will gain insight into the successful campaigns of some many sports clubs and sporting organisations

Dr Nick Wilde, Head of Academics – Post Graduate, UCFB Wembley

There are two factors in 2018 and beyond that dictate success in sport business – one is something that has always been and will continue to be essential – Talent. The other is data – not just the numbers but the insight and intellect of the talent generating the data, working with the data and making decisions based upon that data. Fiona Green’s Winning with Data – CRM and Analytics for the Business of Sports – describes what talent plus date equals – namely sport business intelligence.

Dr. William A. “Bill” Sutton, Professor of Marketing and Founding Director of the Vinik Graduate Sport Business Program, University of South Florida. Principal, Bill Sutton & Associates

Fiona Green speaks with authority and this book captures her knowledge brilliantly. Well informed and researched, Fiona has delivered a book that gets to the heart of the matter and gives insight to those charged with the strategic vision of an organisation. The world of sports business continues to grow and become ever more complex as new markets are explored and old ones are developed. Having a clear understanding of how, through clear strategic thinking and the use of analytics can help develop the business is essential to the continued growth of our beloved sports clubs locally, nationally and internationally.

Aaron Gourley, Editor, fcbusiness magazine