University of Illinois Athletics Partners with Elevate



June 5, 2024 | New York: Elevate, an award-winning, full-service consulting firm supporting high-performing organizations in sports and beyond, has today announced a partnership with the University of Illinois Athletics. Fueled by comprehensive fan and stakeholder insights, Elevate has utilized its proprietary data and technology to design a unique, data-driven strategy featuring a transparent, convenient, and customizable Per Seat Model, to redefine the Fighting Illini’s ticketing program for Football and Men’s Basketball; with the goal of  opening new ticketing inventory to fans, and supporting fan satisfaction, attendance, engagement, and return.

To design the University of Illinois Athletics new Per Seat Model and Execution Plan, Elevate examined the Illini’s unique story via an in-depth study of its landscape, fans, and investment opportunities through extensive Fanbase Surveys, New Product Analyses, Current Fan Analysis, and more. Elevate applied and leveraged consumer and fan behavioral data and insights to identify and define current and new fan segments and their preferences.

Elevate’s fan-centric approach utilized a multi-phase and multi-perspective process to collect, identify, and analyze Illini's current and future fans' behaviors, interests, and expectations. Elevate leveraged its proprietary consumer insights software to analyze millions of data points from over 500,000 current and target fans to uncover trends in their preferences and behaviors. Alongside the University of Illinois Athletics, Elevate developed, distributed, and analyzed survey results from over 1,500 University of Illinois fans; which utilized conjoint and MaxDiff analysis to identify sentiments around key Member Benefits, the value of experiential hospitality, price sensitivity, and more. The agency conducted more than 15 hours of individual Stakeholder Interviews with Athletic Department and Facility Staff, University Alumni and Donors, Season Ticket Members and past event attendees, and University Advancement Staff.

Elevate and the University of Illinois Athletics, backed by their comprehensive series of fan-driven data, developed a unique Per Seat Model to satisfy the priorities of Illini game attendees, while driving ticket and revenue growth. The model included Value-Based Seat Pricing, Ticket and Experiential Packages, Membership and Benefit Tiers, Upgrade Opportunities, and associated marketing, communication and sales strategy and guidelines.

“The extensive surveys and studies we undertook with Elevate confirmed and underscored many of our observations and beliefs about the ways our football and men’s basketball attendees prefer to attend, entertain, and engage with our live events. We are able to move confidently forward in preparing and strategizing for the 2025-26 athletics season and beyond,” said Tom Moreland, Chief Commercial Officer, University of Illinois Athletics.  
“Based on Elevate’s extensive insights in consumer and fan behavior, the University of Illinois Athletics’ decision to reconfigure fan benefits and adopt a Per Seat Model denotes a calculated and progressive step forward – and one that will provide fans increased optionality and the ability to curate ticket and experiential packages that best fit their needs,” said Alexa Huchingson, Elevate Vice President of Business Development. “Throughout our partnership with University of Illinois Athletics we have been inspired by their enthusiasm to move and pivot at the speed of fan interests now and in the future.”  

Under the new model, 82% of fans who select season tickets in the same or similar locations at Memorial Stadium and State Farm Center will pay the same price or less in 2025. Illini ERA aims to expand access to season tickets, welcoming a new generation of fans while empowering current ticket holders to tailor their experience, as Illinois continues to serve its fans through the FamILLy First approach.

Fans can access now for all information on Illinois football and men's basketball season tickets for 2025-26. The site features expanded information on the model, a pricing calculator, and frequently asked questions to assist in planning for the future.

About Elevate:

Elevate is an award-winning, full-service consulting firm supporting high-performing organizations in sports and beyond with innovative, data-driven, revenue-generating solutions. Elevate’s unparalleled combination of agency and operating experience, along with proprietary technology solutions, data sources, and software products, maximizes efficiencies in Consumer Insights, Research, Strategy and Analytics; Brand Consulting and Activation; Partnership Sales and Consulting; Executive Talent Strategy, Recruitment, Performance, and Organizational Optimization; Creative Consultancy and Experiential Design; Property, Premium Hospitality, and Ticketing Strategy and Sales; Feasibility and Revenue Consultation for New and Renovated Venues; and more. Established in 2018 with the goal of providing comprehensive solutions to organizations across the global sports and entertainment ecosystem; today, the agency supports over 1,000 of the world’s most ambitious organizations across sports, entertainment, media, technology, gaming, lifestyle, and consumer sectors. For more information, follow Elevate on X (@OneElevate_), LinkedIn, and Instagram.