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    The Tiger-Cats Put Fan Photos on Season Tickets...

    Are you looking for new ways to demonstrate value to your fan base? Are you looking to enhance your ticket operations?

    The Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL recently announced a "Tiger Town Season Seat Photo Contest" that asks their season ticket holders to show their spirit for the chance to be featured on the team's 2009 season ticket stock. Fans are asked to submit their favorite pictures demonstrating their avidity for the chance to be one (1) of ten (10) fans selected to appear on the team's season ticket stock.

    The promotion serves asan excellent way to demonstrate added value for fans in a cost-effective manner. After all, how many people can say that they were featured on a ticket stub? It is truly a once-in-a lifetime opportunity fo many.The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are also providing each of the ten (10) lucky fans with a framed copy of the 2009 season ticket stock and two (2) platinum tickets to the game that their image was featured on.

    For a chance to win, consumers are asked to either:

    • Email a photo and a completed entry form to [email protected]
    • Mail a photo and a completed entry form to Attn: Season Seat Photo Contest Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 1 Jarvis Street, Hamilton, Ontario, L8R 3J2


    Cardinals Fan Buys Super Bowl Ticket for $29...

    Are you looking for anew way to buy, sell, and trade tickets? Are you looking tosee yourfavorite team play in a championship game at a low cost?

    This year, one lucky Arizona Cardinals fan was able to purchase a ticket to the Super Bowl for just $29... the same ticket thatmany others pay thousands of dollars moreto purchase (on the open market, Super Bowl tickets cost $1,400+).


    In December, the fanwent on to the site andpurchased a Super Bowl futures contractfor the Cardinals and Steelers to meet in the Super Bowl.The fan was willing to risk $29 for the chance that if both teams made the Super Bowl, he would receive a free ticket at no additional cost. If they didn't win, he would lose his investment.

    The prices of futures contracts on continuously change based on a team's chances of making it to the championship, providing fans a chance to win when their teams win. The investment costs range based on the teams selected, event, and timing of the purchase.

    Yoonew.comoffers a prettyinteresting ticketing business model. The site claimsto be the world's first futures exchance for event tickets, serving as areal-time online trading platform that gives fans, traders, and resellers a safe place to trade tickets.

    Check out a video clip below of a local news channel covering's $29 Super Bowl transaction:


    A special thanks to Claudio Cabrera of for his insights and contributions to this column!


    Are You Looking to Upsell Consumers?

    Is your organization looking for new ways to upsell season ticket holders, fans, and general consumers? Are you looking for new ways to get consumers to choose the product you want to sell?

    Dan Ariely does an excellent job explaining how to upsell consumersusing the theory of relativity in his book Predictably Irrational (a NY Times Bestseller). In the first chapter of the book, Dan explains a few theories that have direct implications for sports marketers. The book begins with an example of how The Economist magazine used relativity to upsell consumers to purchase both a Print and Web subscription (realizing that most consumers would choose only the web option because the ad was being read online):

    The Economist offered a Subscription Advertisement online with the following terms:

    • subscription - US $59.00
      • One-year subscription to Includes online access to all articles from The Economist since 1997
    • Print subscription - US $125.00
      • One-year subscription to the print edition of The Economist
    • Print & Web subscription - US $125
      • One-year subscription to the print edition of The Economist and online access to all articles from The Economist since 1997

    Marketers at The Economist created this ad using the rationale that consumers may not know whether the Internet-only subscription at $59 is a better deal than the print-only subscription at $125 but they DO know that the $125 print & web subscription is a better deal than the $125 print-only option. The result? Consmers are more willing to purchase the print & web subscription than the other options. Simply by offering consumers an inferior/superior offering at the same price, the magazine was able to influence consumers to choose the product they wanted to sell.

    Dan goes on to explain that most consumers would choose Option 3 (Print & Web subscription) because humans rarely choose things in absolute terms (Option 1). Humans don't have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth and instead focus on the relative advantage of one option over another and estimate value accordingly.

    The same thinking applies to how retailers sell televisions (if consumers are given three options, they will almost always choose the middle-priced tv) and realtors sell properties. If you are looking to sell an item, give consumers three options and they will most likely choose Option B below:

    • Option A (a different item than Option B)
    • Option B- (identical item/price as Option B but is inferior in some manner)
    • Option B

    How does all of this apply to sports marketers?

    • Use the first example as a way to upsell consumers with magazine/web subscriptions. Drive new revenue streams by upselling consumers who are currently paying for web subscriptions (Insider access) by including an enticing web & print subscription offer (as detailed above)
    • Use the second example to sell consumers on 5-game / 10-game ticket packages. If a consumer is potentially interested in purchasing a limited game ticket package, offer "said" consumer three options:
      • Option A - 5-game ticket package ($65)
      • Option B- 10-game ticket package ($130)
      • Option B - 10-game ticket package with four (4) food vouchers ($130)

    Based on the theories of relativity, consumers will be more likely to choose Option B (the package you want them to choose over lesser-value Option A). Make sense? If yes/no, pick up the book Predictably Irrational to learn more...The book details some great insights into how we as sports marketers can predict irrational consumer behavior!


    Colts Fans Pay for VIP Access Through the Horseshoe Club...

    Is your property looking for new ways to generate incremental revenue? Is your organization looking to provide more opportunities for fans to take advantage of VIP experiences?

    The Indianapolis Colts have created a unique VIP membership program that enables fans to experience Colts football in a new way. The team's Horseshoe Club paid-membership club enables fans to choose from one (1) of three (3) membership tiers offering exclusive opportunities and experiences that have not been made available in the past. The three tiers include:

    • Gold Level ($2,500) - Pre-game field visit, VIP pre-game tailgate party, private practice viewing, name on Colts video boards, club lounge season passes, and a kick-off luncheon invitation
    • Silver Level ($2,000) - Pre-game field visit, VIP pre-game tailgate party, private practice viewing, and a name on Colts video boards
    • Bronze Level ($1,500) - Pre-game field visit, VIP pre-game tailgate party, and a name on Colts video boards

    Each of the tiered packages (three-year agreements with a one-time membership fee) are being made available to 200 select fans looking for new, unique experiences. Fans interested in the Horseshoe Club can sign up for the exclusive membership online with one quick, easy payment. The Colts are driving awareness for the offer through online email blasts (Colts Offers) and information featured on the team's website.

    Organizations looking to generate incremental sums of revenue can benchmark the Colt's Horseshoe Club membership program with a multi-tiered membership program. The Colts have done a tremendous job creating a platform that satisfies what fans are looking for, exclusive opportunities and experiences.

    While the Horseshoe Club membership program will not generate large sums of money, it does open up some doors to create an expansive membership club and satisfies an existing demand for new, exclusive opportunities for fans.

    A special thanks to Bryan Kryder for his insights and contributions to this column...


    Talladega Offers a "Dream Weekend" For Fans...

    Are you looking for ways to drive fan attendance? Are you looking for new ways to alter existing All-You-Can-Eat packages?

    In an effort to drive consumer demand for its 2009 races,Talladega Superspeedway representatives have created an "Aaron's Dream Weekend" package that delivers true value for fans. The promotion was a huge success in 2008, leading to the decision by track representatives to bring it back for another year. The $99 package includes:

    • A reserved seat in the Allison Grandstand for the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race
    • A pre-race pit pass for Sunday's Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race (the pre-race pit pass is good from 8am-1 hour prior to the start of the race)
    • An All-You-Can-Eat voucher for both days of racing (valid from 11:30am-1:30pm on race day)
      • Each trip to the concession stand enables persons to receive two (2) hot dogs/hamburgers, two (2) bags of chips, and two (2) soft drinks) with their food voucher

    Which raises the question... Will we soon see more organizations creating ticket packages that combine a ticket to a game/event, a unique experience, and a discount on concessions? As consumers remain price-conscious during the faltering economy, it may be their only option to keep fans in the seats!


    Panthers Explore Strategies to Drive Fan Attendance

    Are you looking for new ways to fill your stadium or arena to capacity? Are you creating ways for all persons of the community to attend your games?

    The Sports Business Journal recently featured an excellent article on the Florida Panthers' new ticket strategy to drive fan attendance. The charge, led by team President Michael Yormark, is offering anyone with a Florida driver's license a chance to see the Panthers play at home... for free.

    The team's "First Timer" Program offer the first 250 persons who register for the tickets on the team's website the chance to go to a game for free with a friend. Tickets are based on availability, meaning that the Panthers are sometimes even distributing lower bowl tickets out to the general public for free.

    While the move is relatively risky (puttingfree tickets out into the marketplace), it could pay huge dividends for the franchise, which has been in existence for sixteen (16) years. The team is hoping that the "First Timer" initiative will spark fan attendance, which ranked in the bottom third of the league last year.

    The Panthers request that each person who registers for the free tickets online provide their name, address, phone number, e-mail, and drivers license number to be eligible. The team's ticketing department plans to follow up with each of the fans 3-5 days after they attend the game for free to gauge their interest in purchasing tickets to future Panthers home games.

    In the end, will the promotion be considered a success? It has yet to be decided but on the first night of the program, the team saw its per cap rise $1.50 from its opening game in 2007, despite consumers feeling cash-strapped in the tight economy. Yormark, however is concerned about the bigger picture - expanding the team's database, increasing the per cap, and getting fans to return with paid admission.


    IMS Presents a New Wave of Ticketing Technology...

    Is your organization looking to implement a new, innovative ticketing initiative? Are you looking for new ticketing technologies that enable fans to have "loaded tickets"?

    The sports industry is a growing, vibrant industry that is constantly working with the newest technologies to enhance the fan experience and increase revenues. In tough economic times, it is vital for teams to continue to be innovative in order to sell ticket inventory, sponsorships, and merchandise. The newest product that is being adopted by teams is the use of stored-value ticketing. International Micro Systems (IMS) is the founder of this new technology (STADIS), which they are currently implementing at stadiums and arenas across the nation.

    What is STADIS?

    STADIS is a stored-value ticketing solution. The STADIS platform goes far beyond standard gift cards offered by other point of sale providers.

    STADIS is a Venue Management Application that integrates a team's existing retail, food and beverage, ticketing, parking, suites, accounting, CRM, and additional systems through one central database (the technology is pretty incredible).

    How are teams using STADIS?

    As STADIS becomes commonplace in the industry, teams are using it in new creative ways:

    Philadelphia Phillies

    The Philadelphia Phillies have been using the system for five (5) years and have led the way in innovation with stored-value ticketing. The Phillies organization started off with a minimal amount of seats in the Diamond Club, an area behind home plate, that were activated. The cost of each ticket included $30 of value built into the bar code of the ticket that could be redeemed at any POS in the stadium.

    As the Phillies learning curve grew and fan acceptance and demand increased, the team began to implement more creative ways to use the STADIS technology. Today, the Phillies organization activates thousands of seats per game to include special promotions, coupons, group tickets, and more.

    Wachovia Center

    This season, the Wachovia Center will be the first to roll out a combination of account based and "use it or lose it" STADIS. This technology enables them to load $25 in each season ticket holder account as an incentive to renew seats. The fan then has the opportunity to load more money into the account, which rolls over from game to game.

    Why should your organization use STADIS?

    From a sponsorship angle, stored-value ticketing can be used to integrate corporate sponsors directly with fans. For example, teams can have a strategic partner sponsor an in-game promotion. If the Philadelphia 76ers score 100+ points during a game, the team can offer a promotional increntive where every fan witha store-value ticket will receive $5 of value on their bar code to spend throughout the stadium, courtesy of Comcast. The possibilities are endless and the consumer data that is captured can be very valuable to organizations and their supporting partners.

    This STADIS technology is pretty incredible and is the future wave of ticketing... Keep an eye out for more teams rolling out stored-value ticketing programs with STADIS.

    A special thanks to Peter Berman of IMS for his insights and contributions to this column. For more information on STADIS technology, please contact Peter at [email protected].


    Looking for New Ways to Sell Tickets?

    Is your organization looking to offer its fans a unique ticket package? Are you looking for creative ticketing strategies to fill the seats of your venue?

    Several NBA teams are currently offering some unique ticket packages and incentives for prospective season ticket holders to consider. Here is a quick rundown of some of the league's finest ticketing strategies:

    Indiana Pacers - The Indiana Pacers have teamed up with Mountain Dew to offer a "Mountain Dew Big Slam Corner" season ticket package for $299. The team promotes the offer as "It's The Thing to Dew". For $299, fans can receive one (1) ticket to every home game, two (2) Mountain Dew 12-packs, in-game giveaways and monthly prizes, and exclusive Pacemates access. The team is also offering its fanbase the "Slam Dunk Sampler Plan", providing fans with tickets for eleven (11) games for the price of eight (8).

    Miami Heat - The Miami Heat are offering the "D. Wade Gold Medal Ticket Special" for the first 100 Heat fans who purchase 2008-09 season tickets with an exclusive D. Wade meet-n-greet and an autographed photo of Wade with his Gold Medal.

    Milwaukee Bucks - The Milwaukee Bucks are offering an "Early Bird Buy One, Get One Free" offer for consumers purchasing a season ticket in the lower level. In addition, the Bucks are throwing in a $400 ticket bank and either $400 in concessions, merchandise, or an autographed authentic jersey.

    Minnesota Timberwolves - The Minnesota Timberwolves are offering a "Buy One, Get One Free" offer for season ticket holders. The team is selling a "Player Section" offer that enables fans who purchase two (2) season ticket in their favorite player's section to receive an autographed authentic Timberwolves jersey and a Meet-n-Greet with that player (sections: Randy Foye (104), Mike Miller (118), Kevin Love (124), Al Jefferson (138).

    New Jersey Nets - The New Jersey Nets are offering a "Buy One, Get One, See Everyone" where fans can receive the jersey of their favorite rookie, team meet-n-greets, and exclusive benefits when buying season tickets.

    New York Knicks - The New York Knicks are giving all consumers who purchase season tickets by November 1st a Player Memorabilia Box with a photo of a Knick alongside an authentic Knicks jersey number (Knicks fans can choose from Nate Robinson, David Lee, Jamal Crawford, Walt Frazier, or John Starks).

    Orlando Magic - The Orlando Magic are offering a "Get a Year of Basketball With Your Stimulus Check" ticket promotion where fans can see all Magic home games for $585 ($13/seat).

    San Antonio Spurs - Fans who purchase one of the Spurs three (3) Mini Packs (10 Game Rivalry Pack, Superstar 25 Game Pack, or the 10 Game Weekend Pack) will receive a limited edition Manu Ginobili bobblehead.


    Are You Utilizing All Ad Revenue Channels?

    How often does your organization re-analyze its ad revenue channels and look for new opportunties? What efforts has your brand/organization taken to understand new ways to build ad revenue programs into ticketing services?

    With the advent of the paper ticket (where consumers print off tickets/vouchers, etc.) all teams and ticket service providers should be looking to maximize the use of this channel from an ad revenue-generation standpoint. Are there ways to fill the white space on printed tickets/vouchers with ads promoting upcoming games? Upcoming offers (i.e. bobbleheads, etc.)? Ways to promote your corporate partners and/or cross promotions that they are implementing? By demonstrating value to fans through printed ticket advertising (awareness of offers, etc.) teams will at the very least be providing fans with something to look at while they wait in lines at the ticket gates an/or waiting in their car to park.

    Sojern, an Omaha-based company recently announced that it would begin selling the white space on airline boarding passes for American, Continetal, Delta, Northwest, United, and US Airways. Sojern's core service will be to fill the white space on printed tickets with targeted coupons, ads, dining recommendations, and weather information. With our ticketing service providers' state-of-the-art technology, why can we not push them to enact similar offerings?

    In the case of Delta Airlines, which will expand its program services to 300 cities nationwide today, consumers will have the option of printing a boarding pass with or without ads and will soon be able to save their preferences for future trips (options that your organization may also look to implement with a similar service). Thus far, Bahama Breeze, NBC Universal, Crocs, Cirque du Soleil, Omaha Steaks, and Borders have signed on to partake in the unique advertising opportunity with airlines.

    A total of five (5) ads can be placed on a boarding pass, with airlines being given subsequent space to promote their frequent flyer programs and credit card offerings. Each of the six (6) aforementioned airlines bought a minority stake in Sojern and will be sharing the advertising revenue with the start-up company. With ticket service providers (Ticketmaster, Flashseats, etc.) this becomes a little more difficult to enact, but a healthy balance between corporate partner advertising and upcoming team ticket offers/promotions/food coupons would provide fans with an added-value piece even before they step into the stadium gates.

     Source: Advertising Age, Airlines Stamping Ads Onto Boarding Passes, 7.16.2008


    Create Premium Value Out of Existing Ticket Inventory...

    ticket.jpgTeams have begun to maximize the space they have available in-venue to offer premium seating and are now looking for new, alternative mediums to drive pricing and premium value for fans (i.e. All-You-Can-Eat sections, etc.)...

    So how can sports marketers counteract this issue? Create star-branded seating sections within the venue; areas that will drive the value of the seats (and likewise, the prices) by enhancing the fan's experience at the game...

    What do I mean exactly?

    The Miami Heat can drive premium value out of their existing ticket inventory by collaborating with Dwyane Wade, Wade's corporate partners, and existing team partners to create an exclusive section in the lower bowl of the American Airlines Arena, branded as the D-Wade section.

    But how is this different than the typical branded sections you typically see in arenas across the nation? The difference lies in the integration and involvement of Wade's corporate partners and the team's existing partners...

    Example: Brand Section 101 (a section that has 22 seats per row, 29 rows)

    • Branding (and driving pricing) would equate to 638 seats in the section at a bump of $10/game
      • $287,100 in increased profits (before incurred expenses)
      • Drive incremental revenue from sponsors and/or player endorses for in-arena branding and fan access
      • Use existing team and player sponsors to distribute premium items to this select section throughout the season
        • Wade Sponsors
          • Gatorade - Product trial / meet-n-greet
          • Converse - Select couponing / discounts off Converse gear
          • Topps - Limited edition Dwyane Wade trading cards
          • T-Mobile - Exclusive phone downloads / ringtones
          • Sean John - VIP Party featuring a Dwyane Wade appearance for ticket holders 
        • Additionally, offer season ticket holders VIP experiences and customized items/apparel
          • Exclusive meet-n-greet opportunity pre/post-game
          • Distribute Wade premium items (poster, rally towels)
          • Exclusive parking section for fans seated in this section (potential tie-in for automobile partner)

    Watch out for teams to develop similar unique extensions to drive the fan experience/ticket value for consumers and provide existing team/player sponsors with new avenues to have 1-to-1 personal interactions with fans!