Numbers and statistics have always been a big part of sports. Just look at the back of a baseball card. But today, traditional stats such as home runs, RBI and batting average are getting pushed to the side by a new wave of data that is reshaping the game on and off the field. It is a similar game plan for sports marketers. Winning business strategies are driven by big data and provide a blueprint for influencing the game-day experience and interacting with their most important players—the fans. This evolution of business analytics and how marketers are using mounds of fan data was on full display at the recent SportCon: Sports Analytics conference organized by MinneAnalytics. Front office leaders from the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings all hosted sessions focused on how data can be a game-changer for their business. It was interesting to hear the different tactics and approaches available to marketers today for gathering data, but the real highlights and insight could be found in how they were operationalizing the information. Big data is being used to amplify even the smallest season ticket holder experience. Whether it’s leveraging a fan’s love for Zach Parise based upon her social media postings and proactively delivering a signed puck on her birthday, or tracking a Vikings fan’s in-stadium eating habits and delivering his favorite third quarter snack to his seat, teams are finding ways to make emotional connections with fans based on hard numbers. In turn, they hope those connections will spur loyalty and drive retention that leads to big bucks. The formula is a simple one, and is not unique to sports. Teams, brands and businesses should treat every customer relationship as an asset, and information as a match-maker. Data is too powerful these days to ignore. It has the strength to drive messaging, drive marketing and identify influencers that can shape customer behaviors and decisions. In the world of business, whether it is sports or something else, those things can mean the difference between winning and losing customers, revenue and market share.