Waive Ticket Fees Goodbye
"Nah, nah, hey, hey, goodbye..." is the verse you'll be singing after reading this week's Fee Free Friday. Why? Because earlier this week the NHL waived all ticket fees on home games! Such a positive development is immediately offset by a "personal seat license" fee being a final insult to injury for Dallas Cowboy fans. Plus, Fee Free Friday now has an official favorite band, based solely on the name. Sell tickets without fees on ThunderTix! All that and a special guest appearance by Adam P. Knave in the Wall of Woe!
"Waive" Ticket Fees Goodbye
This week started off very well when the NHL announced it would be waiving ticket fees on hockey games for a limited time. After a long labor dispute, NHL hockey has returned to a shortened season, but any hockey is better than none at all. The waiving of fees, called the "Thanks for sticking with us initiative", is part of a mea culpa put forth by the NHL team owners. Detroit hockey fans, and anyone needing proof that ticket fees weighs heavily on the purchase decision, can read Bill Shea's report:
The Detroit Red Wings and Ticketmaster will waive fees on the purchase of any regular-season ticket bought when they initially go on sale at 1 p.m. Thursday. Prices for single-game tickets range from $30 to $65 on the team’s website, but six sections of the arena’s best seats don’t have a price listed for individual-game or season-ticket sales. Instead, fans must call the box office for prices. For the 2011-12 season, individual-game tickets ranged from $30 to $200, and season tickets were $1,170 to $6,750. The most expensive seats are Rows 0-1 along the ice.
The NHL and Ticketmaster are to be commended for the effort, but the response has been less than what was expected. Fans wanted tickets without fees, but fans of the St. Louis Bluejackets appear downright resentful and the waiving of ticket fees doesn't seem to be enough to bring them back to the ice. According to Pro Hockey Talk, the Blue Jackets have further sweetened the lure to fans with a list of free extras included in the ticket:
Blue Jackets franchise established an estimated season ticket fan base of just 7,000 for this season – the lowest in their history, according to Business First Columbus’ Jeff Bell. Those numbers are for “full-season equivalents,” which factor in tickets bought in full-season packages as well as partial-season plans. By my calculations, the 7,000 mark is the lowest in the history of the Blue Jackets. One trip to the team’s Web site shows that they’re going all-out to fill the building for their home opener against the Detroit Red Wings on January 21.
In addition to waiving ticket fees, here is what also comes with one purchased ticket:
Free additional ticket to that game
A hot dog
A schedule magnet
The one, two punch of a lock-out and high ticket prices have had a direct result on attendance. If a major professional sports franchise cannot make peace with bitter patrons, what hope could a regular event or venue have? The bitter pill to swallow for the Blue Jackets is not only a short term financial loss in the millions, but long term damage to their image ("I'll just watch it on TV").
Hockey isn't the only sports suffering a backlash from ticket buyers...
Sky High Stadium
The NFL post season is kicking into high gear - but without the Dallas Cowboys, who failed to survive the cut early on. It seems Cowboy fans are re-thinking their commitment to their hometown heroes, as well as ticket prices and the dreaded "personal seat license fee." Costs are on the mind of area businesses, and possibly team owner Jerry Jones too.
Texas Observer columnist, Dan Solomon, has written an excellent account of the situation in 'Sky-High Stadium'. The eye-popping ticket fees get mentioned early on:
...more than 86,000 tickets, at prices ranging from an eye-popping $82.83 for upper-level seats overlooking the end zone to a staggering $500 per ticket for premium seats offering a quality 50-yard-line view. If you don’t need to sit, “Party Pass” tickets cost a thrifty $29, plus fees and parking, and allow you to stand on a balcony and watch the game on the enormous high-definition LED displays that hang over the field.
Solomon continues his first hand account with real world dollar amounts for the unpopular personal seat license (PSL) fee:
The PSL is a one-time fee that customers pay for the right to purchase tickets for a given seat. PSL costs are astronomical: For an even marginally decent seat, fans are looking at PSL costs of close to $12,500, and they go up to $150,000 for quality seats on the 50-yard line. The Cowboys organization will finance it for you, at 8 percent interest, over 27 years.
That fee doesn't even get you into the stadium—it’s just the price you pay for the right to buy tickets. After spending $29,100 (the average price) for the PSL, the license-holder is required to purchase 10 tickets—one to each of eight regular season games, plus both preseason games—every year for the next 30 years. Those tickets range in cost from $590 annually for upper-level seats over the end zone to $3,400 a year. Failure to follow through with the required purchases can result in revocation of the PSL and forfeiture of all funds already paid toward the license.
All venue owners are strongly encouraged to read Solomon's well written piece as it goes in-depth on ticket prices, fees, overhead costs, and the overall impact on patron attendance.
'Sky-High' concludes with a warning about PSLs and the idea that requires fans for the right to keep their seats:
Any system that doesn't think about sustaining itself is doomed to fail.
Indeed. Without the win record to back up the exorbitant ticket prices, the Dallas Cowboys may find themselves with the same lack of demand and empty seats the Blue Jackets are facing now.
The Band's Name Is "Hidden Fees"
The gloomy task of monitoring ticket fees, and the misery they inflict on the consumer, makes it difficult to keep a lighthearted demeanor. But every so often, buried among the five figure seat license fees and 1,000% face value mark-ups, comes comedy relief.
In New York city, there is a band with a very special name - 'Hidden Fees'
That's right, the band's name is "hidden fees" and when they play at NYC venues, those two words appear on the marquee, as in "Tonight only - Hidden Fees" :D
'Hidden Fees' is officially the Fee Free Friday house band and all future reading of FFF is to be done with 'Hidden Fees' playing in the background.
The band musical style is described as:
A disco band spearheaded by Ivan Sunshine (Ghost Exits/Vietnam/Love As Laughter) and Tom Gluibizzi. The band is somewhere between a 7 and 12 piece depending on the event with Chris Anderson and Shannon Funchees singing, three percussion players, Doug Pressman aka Record Grouch playing guitar, old drummer from Love As Laughter playing drums, sax player, keyboard player.
The most fun is what the band's name does to Google searches. The text "hidden fees" is presented in search results for local music performances causing the venue to be (unfairly) branded as charging hidden fees. Here's a perfect example when the band performs at the Union Pool venue:
No word on a band calling itself "Don't buy tickets, this place charges unreasonable fees" (yet).
Wall of Woe - Adam P. Knave Edition
Rarely do we hand over the reigns to the weekly Wall of Woe. But sometimes a person has conveyed the frustration of ticket fees so well, they're drafted as a "guest speaker". That is the case this week with award wining author, Adam P. Knave, who recently posted the following to his personal blog:
I love going to concerts. I mean music is one of the big highlights of my life, of my every breathing day, so going to go see people play music live is always amazing. Music, music, music.
Recently I got tickets to go see one of my favorite bands (Flogging Molly). They are great in studio but even better live. I try to see them every time they are in NY, which is about once a year. None of this is my point.
My point is that this year the Ticketmaster fees were 1/4 of the total price. Quite seriously, a full 25% of the final price was all Ticketmaster “fees” which leaves me asking myself what these fees could possibly be. So I made a list.
* Fees used to buy a zoo / feed resulting animals.
* Executives are building a life-sized papercraft moon. Out of money.
* Fees burned as tribute to Korrok.
* This is what pays for Honey Boo-Boo, you fools. This!
* The British didn't lose the war, guys, they simply were all “Ha, no tea tax, ey? F****** right, let’s tax tickets instead, bastard Colonies,” and we never caught on.
* Fees used to continue to pay down Prince’s Ruffle debt.
* Each fee is preserved in amber to show future generations exactly how f***** stupid we were when it came to being willing to pay anonymous fees.
...I don’t know, but I think it must be at least one of these.
Join ThunderTix to Sell Tickets Without Fees!
Knowing full well that the NHL's new found affinity for waiving ticket fees won't last, you can always get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you use ThunderTix.
ThunderTix does not charge per ticket fees for selling online event tickets or for selling at the box office. You can sell tickets online with no fees. We encourage you to pass along that savings to the consumer and show them that the long term vision of your business is tied directly to their satisfaction. Your patrons will love that you don’t add fees. It’s that simple. ThunderTix is here to help you sell tickets without fees. Lower ticket costs through no added fees translate into higher sales and greater patron satisfaction.
Fee Free Friday, the TMZ of ticket fees, will be back next week. Until then if you want to sell tickets without fees, be sure to take a look at all the features we have to offer and sign up for a free trial today!