How the Texas Rangers Use Ironclad to Adapt to COVID-19 and a Postponed Season
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I knew Ironclad was a no-brainer when I saw its reporting functionality, access to the API, and the Salesforce plugin. That's when I realized, ‘Ironclad is what we need. There is nobody else that can do this for us.'
It’s opening day in Arlington, Texas. For not just the 2020 baseball season, but also the Rangers’ gleaming new ballpark, Globe Life Field. Fans fill each and every one of the 40,300 seats. Tall righty Lance Lynn winds up for the first pitch—fastball—and strike is called. The stadium erupts, and a new era for Texas Rangers baseball has begun.
At least, that’s how it was supposed to happen until, just 10 days before opening day, Major League Baseball (MLB) postponed the start of the 2020 season due to COVID.
It was a heartbreaker. Katie Morgan, Rangers’s Director of Business Analytics, and hundreds of others had worked toward that moment for over three years. “I don’t want to sugar-coat it,” she said. “It was definitely a disappointment for everyone that’s been involved because everybody worked really, really hard to make this dream a reality.”
The analytics speak volumes for me because being able to tell top level executives ‘You know what, I can get you that number’ is a pretty good feeling.
A new ballpark, a new approach to contracts
In the old ballpark, season tickets were sold without contracts. The new ballpark, a $1.2 billion project, was fundamentally different. It was designed with over 2,000 premium seats, ideal for multi-year agreements with superfans and local companies. “We made the decisions early on based on a lot of analysis. We thought that the seats and the benefits packages we had put together were worthy of long-term contracts, “ said Katie.
These new seats were projected to be critical, long term revenue drivers, but to unlock that revenue, the sales and legal teams needed to support 2,000+ additional contracts. And there was no way their existing process — based primarily on email and Word docs — could support the new business model.
“It was a big shift for us. We knew that we could not handle the new contracts manually from both sales and legal intake standpoints. It just wasn’t feasible,” explained Katie.
The Rangers needed a contract management system that could expedite and track high volume, long-term sales agreements.
Ironclad, the missing link for unlocking new revenue
Led by their legal team, the Rangers saw demos from a number of vendors — among which Ironclad stood out as the clear choice.
As Katie explained, “We needed a CLM system that can keep track of everything that we were selling, do long-term reporting, and be able to tie everything back together. We realized we were at a deficit if we didn’t find a company like Ironclad.”
Implementing Ironclad in 2018, the Rangers were able to expedite selling nearly 2000 contracted seats. Instead of having sales and legal handle contracts on an ad hoc basis, the team launched 3-4 contract workflows for selling all seats and suites at the new Globe Life field. “This was a huge win for us. It all flowed through Ironclad’s system.”
A feature that was particularly useful for sales was the customizable permissions. “We didn’t have any concerns about sales reps inputting wrong information or sending or approving something that they shouldn’t be. Ironclad allowed us to take a lot off of our management and legal teams’ plate.”
With Ironclad, the sales team could now drive the process and turn around flawless contracts faster than ever.
We realized we were at a deficit if we didn't find a company like Ironclad.
The unexpected benefit of contract data
Ironclad also became an unexpectedly valuable asset for the Business Analytics team, in addition to Sales and Legal. Led by Katie, the Business Analytics team works with every department at the Rangers, using 50-60 data feeds to provide reporting and predictive analytics.
“As a data-driven person in the Business Analytics department, I knew Ironclad was a no-brainer when I saw its reporting functionality, access to the API, and the Salesforce plugin. That’s when I realized, ‘Ironclad is what we need. There is nobody else that can do this for us.’”
The most important piece has been the capability to efficiently report sales numbers to the executives, according to Katie. Whereas the ticketing reports had not been tied to the sales contracts previously, with Ironclad, Katie’s team was able to connect the two and provide a much more comprehensive picture to the executives. “The flexibility and the capabilities of Ironclad allow us to provide internal constituents with answers. The analytics speak volumes for me because being able to tell top level executives ‘You know what, I can get you that number’ is a pretty good feeling.”
The flexibility and the capabilities of Ironclad allow us to provide internal constituents with answers.
Adapting to COVID and a postponed season
By March 2020, the contracted seats and suites were close to selling out and the Rangers were ready for the new season—three years in the making. But everything came to a screeching halt when COVID hit.
“We used to worry about things like rain or travel issues for fans. Never did I think a pandemic would come into play, at least during my lifetime,” said Katie.
Facing a postponed season just 10 days before opening day, Katie and the rest of the team were confronted with a major challenge: they needed to amend hundreds of contracts that specified that the Rangers were playing 83 games—an impossible feat in a world with COVID.
“We had a couple phone calls with Ironclad Customer Success, and by the time we were off the phone, we were ready to rock-and-roll with a really great game plan. Without the plan, we would probably be under water with some of these requests, to put it frankly.”
The legal team designed and launched new workflows in less than two weeks. Sales used the workflows to seamlessly update hundreds of agreements and keep their customers happy.
“We were very pleased by Ironclad’s functionality,” said Katie. “In creating small amendments, you can attach them to an already existing contract and report on it as is. With Ironclad, the amendments became a one-stop process.”
Imagining the process without Ironclad “makes my head hurt a little,” said Katie. “I’m not sure we would’ve had the capacity to pull off what we did for contractually obligated seats and suites from both sales and reporting standpoints. But adding everything that’s happened with COVID and needing to be very flexible, we couldn’t have done it without Ironclad’s help.”
We were very pleased by Ironclad’s functionality... The amendments became a one-stop process.
Keeping the dream alive
Having seen the agility and support provided by Ironclad, Katie is reassured about adapting to future contingencies.
“Every single person that we’ve met or worked with through Ironclad has gone above and beyond to make us feel valued. And on top of that, they make sure that we are getting the product that we need, going above and beyond to customize things for us because our business functions differently than a lot of the other clients. That has been huge for our team.”
Like the rest of the world, the Rangers are faced with ongoing uncertainty. But they’re looking ahead and finding creative solutions, including alternative ways of engagement on their mobile app. In July, the Rangers had their opening day—without in-person fans—in Global Life Field. Though the moment was different from what they had imagined, Katie aptly noted, “There are a lot of things to be very proud of. We’re looking forward to a true opening day in 2021.”