With the 2021 Major League Baseball campaign drawing to an end, conversational AI company Satisfi Labs has revealed details of fan habits as supporters returned to stadiums following a year without crowds in 2020.

Satisfi Labs, an official partner of MLB, witnessed a 3.9x increase in fan questions over the course of the 2021 regular season compared to 2019 – the last season with full crowds.

The increase came despite teams having played at limited capacities for more than a third of the season as COVID-19 restrictions eased over the course of the year.

Satisfi Labs noted that during the course of the 2021 season, parking questions from baseball fans made up 36% of all venue information requests, as supporters were reluctant to use public transport amid COVID-19.

Food and beverage questions also saw a spike, accounting for 16% of total volume compared to 3% in 2019. Satisfi Labs said that this was due to teams prioritising the company’s F&B Finder, which allows fans to quickly find their favourite concessions while limiting contact with staff and time spent roaming the concourse.

Spiked seltzer requests were hit 944 times more in 2021 than in 2019, while craft beer requests also jumped to the number 27-ranked intent from the number 264-ranked. In-seat ordering intent was hit seven times more in 2021 than in 2019.

Satisfi Labs also found that ticket sales questions made up for 55% of ticketing questions on the web, compared to only 25% on team apps. Post-purchase services were the most popular ticketing requests on apps, accounting for 46% of those questions. The top three game-day intents on apps were gate opening times, parking information and promotions.

“Going forward, providing answers to fans in a timely manner, regardless of the location, will become less of a luxury, and more of an expectation,” Satisfi Labs said.

“Satisfi Labs helps teams be more accessible to their fans, while also establishing and capitalising on impulse selling opportunities, and providing daily data insights, allowing those teams to evolve their business as trends emerge, rather than waiting for widespread information to become available.”

Last month, MLB revealed that its total combined attendance for the pandemic-affected 2021 season was 45.3 million, with the Los Angeles Dodgers once again leading the way with an average crowd of 34,626.

No fans attended regular-season games at all in 2020, although a small number were permitted for post-season fixtures at Globe Life Field. 

The 2021 World Series is currently taking place between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves.

Image: Chanan Greenblatt on Unsplash