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How do you build the loyal fanbase of tomorrow, today? The Chicago Cubs lead the way with refined, data-backed customer segmentation. ​

The Chicago Cubs needed to get to the heart of today’s, and tomorrow’s, fans. We helped them deeply understand their customer base and identify new engagement opportunities.

Young baseball fan making sign for upcoming baseball game. With a new generation embracing the excitement and rich heritage of baseball, the Cubs want to discover how to create experiences that will meet, and exceed, fans' expectations.


Now the Cubs have data-backed insights to inform meaningful customer experiences that draw the next generation of fans to Wrigley Field. 


Sports & live entertainment

Key Services

Strategy icon
Experience strategy & design - French icon - Stratégie et conception de l’expérience
Experience strategy & design
Data icon
Artificial intelligence icon
Artificial Intelligence

Key Technologies/Platforms

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) 
  • Google Cloud
  • Snowflake Data Cloud

The Vision

The Cubs’ passionate fan base brings unparalleled devotion to the stands of Wrigley Field, contributing to the electric atmosphere that defines the stadium. As this fan base continues to evolve and grow, a cross-functional team at the Cubs wanted to be able to recognize, understand, and connect with every fan—and maximize ticket sales.

They partnered with Slalom to dive headlong into the Cubs’ customer data. Our game plan? Develop data-backed customer segments that the Cubs could use to create more engaging fan experiences and offerings.

Customers should be receiving highly relevant messages and offers from the Cubs organization, and ultimately this should result in them making more trips to Wrigley Field.

Jen Martindale
SVP of Marketing, Chicago Cubs

Young girl and grandfather walking to Wrigley Field.
A child's first visit to world-famous Wrigley Field is always a magical experience. New customer personas are helping the Cubs connect with fans of all ages.

The Solution

We combined human insight and machine learning analysis to deeply understand fans and develop an effective customer segmentation.

We listened first, then validated.

Taking a people-centered approach, we conducted deep-dive interviews with stakeholders across the Cubs’ strategy, marketing, and commerce teams to get their perspectives of the franchise’s changing fan base.

To validate and expand on their observations with data, we gathered customer data across several dimensions including demographics, ticket purchase history, and residential area. Our goal was to locate patterns—many hidden to the human eye—that could help us define and crystallize a set of customer segments that truly represented all Cubs fans.

Chicago dog at a Cubs baseball game.
Countless social media posts sing the praises of Wrigley Field’s hot dogs and vendors. But what, apart from a tasty dog, turns a casual fan into a regular ticket buyer? Now, the Cubs have the insights they need to create new customer experiences.

We uncovered insights in customer data. 

To analyze the data and expose insights, we created: 

  • Custom data models in Snowflake, where we incorporated third-party data sources including US census data, which we used to compare the demographics of Cubs fans to those of the overall population 
  • Digestible visualizations profiling customer segments in Looker, Google Cloud’s business intelligence platform, into which we loaded our data models 
  • Custom machine learning clustering algorithms with Amazon SageMaker, along with an iterative data science process to quickly analyze new clusters 
Fans watching a Chicago Cubs baseball game.
41,649 fans fill Wrigley Field to enjoy the energy and excitement of game day. While every one of these individuals is unique, sophisticated data analysis helps the Cubs identify common themes.

Cubs fans come from all walks of life and value different things about the brand. This project with Slalom gave us a data-driven way to identify and quantify those differences.

Chase Carpenter

Senior Director of Strategy and Analytics, Chicago Cubs

We humanized each customer segment. 

Our findings led us to develop a customer segmentation model and 12 customer personas that comprise the Cubs’ fan base—who they are, how they tend to behave as ticket buyers, and the types of experiences they might like.  

We branded the segments with catchy titles ranging from “Family Field Trippers” to “Neighborhood Nonchalants” and prioritized each according to the potential value of driving ticket sales with that group. 

As explained by Slalom team member Mark Ambrose, “It’s like you see 12 segments, but they’re also divided into different strategies for different groups.” For example, the Cubs identified several segments that were high in potential business value but had characteristics unlike those of the Cubs’ more traditional personas. Long-term growth strategies, such as qualitative customer research, can be helpful to connect with these new groups in a meaningful and authentic way.

Grandfather engaging Chicago Cubs content through a digital experience.
“Just what I wanted!” Thanks to insights from custom data models, visualizations, and machine learning algorithms, fans experience offerings and forms of communication that feel meaningful to them.

Customer Impact

The Cubs can now confidently create new, engaging experiences that win hearts and drive business growth.

Customer segments representing today’s Cubs fans
Short weeks to identify and finalize the customer segments
Positive impact on marketing performance from data-driven strategies

Slalom helped us turn our data into actionable personas we could use to drive business growth, and we’re already seeing promising results from the strategies we designed based on the segmentation.

Jen Martindale
SVP of Marketing, Chicago Cubs

Grandfather and granddaughter Chicago Cubs fans.
Inspiration and joy across the fanbase and more trips to Wrigley Field! The Cubs’ new engagement strategies are off to a winning start. ​

Let’s solve together.