Borrowing The Best Practices Of Big League Sports Ticketing Software
The multi-billion dollar sports ticketing industry offers lessons to learn for anyone tasked with organizing a local event. Community softball, little league or the neighborhood lawn mower race are not too small to borrow from the best practices of big league sports ticketing software.. We look at the very latest in ticket sales by professional and college sports and how they can be applied to your neighborhood game.
Pro football fans know the season is getting exciting as the playoffs begin. Superbowl contender Washington Redskins just announced the availability of playoff tickets with a special caveat - season ticket holders will get "first dibs".
According to the team's website, the highly sought after tickets for the potential wildcard playoff spot will go on sale to the general public December 29th. Current season ticket holders have until the 27th to make their reservations.
The unique pre-sale method is designed to reward devoted fans and keep prices reasonable, says Megan Cloherty from Washington D.C.'s WTOP:
The Redskins have held prices for the Wild Card game, meaning they'll cost the same as general admission tickets for almost 95 percent of season ticket holders. "We appreciate the support of our great fans and wanted to make sure ticket prices for our potential Wild Card playoff game would be affordable," said Redskins' General Manager Bruce Allen
The pre-sale also has a unique name: Pay-When-We-Are-In. The moniker takes into account the uncertain nature of a rare playoff birth, and defers payment until it is locked in.
Such a sophisticated pre-sale is representative of both the incredible high demand and the on-going issue of abuse by unauthorized third-party ticket re-sellers, chronicled in Fee Free Friday. Redskins' season ticket holders will need to sign into their accounts during their exclusive pre-sale window and the number of ticket available to purchase is restricted, ensuring no one person can buy up the inventory.
The famous line from the 1989 film 'Field of Dreams' says "build it and they will come", which is exactly what the Washington Redskins intend to do. The carefully manage the pre-sale to reward loyal customers, giving them preference but not to the point that it becomes detrimental to profits. The practice is entirely applicable to any sized event (including yours!).
If, for example, a hometown little league team finds itself in a championship series they could scale down the Redskins approach for their use. A "stampede of parents" wanting to see their children play in a championship game is a forgone conclusion in this hypothetical.
Assuming the local ball field has not been selling assigned seating to the games - the championship would be a good time to start. A pre-sale could give players' parents the same preference as the Redskins season ticket holders enjoy. The little league could even evoke the same "Pay-When-We-Are-In" purchase practice, even if the game is free, further ensuring the right people get good seats.
Ticket Inventory Manipulation...In A Good Way
The University of Lousiville's football team, the Cardinals, will be playing in the Sugar Bowl on January 2, 2013 against the Florida State Gators, but all is not well in Mudville.
The NCAA requires the colleges of the teams appearing in the Sugar Bowl to pre-purchase their allotment of tickets for students ahead of time, all at once. That cost can be quite a burden to a school, but the alternative is to let the allotment slip into the hands of unauthorized re-sellers, effectively pricing students out of attending the game.
Coming to the rescue of The University of Louisville is fellow hometown company Papa John's. The national pizza chain has announced it will underwrite the cost of the tickets the university is required to buy. Chip Patterson explains:
The Louisville-based pizza company made a donation to Louisville to help offset the cost of the remaining tickets to the Cardinals' Jan. 2 meeting with Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The tickets in the 600 level of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome were originally listed for $135 but now can be purchased through the school for $65 thanks to the donation from Papa John's.
The school and Papa John's have also teamed up with local military and charitable organizations to allow Louisville fans to purchase the discounted tickets for a soldier or youth in the New Orleans area. The ticket will be a tax deductible donation and, according to Louisville, it will ensure not only that the school sells its full allotment but also that those seats are filled with fans ready to support the Cardinals.
Important to note, the generous offer by Papa John's is also a powerful self-promotional and marketing tool. By underwriting some of the costs, the company endears itself with the local community and gets a million dollars worth of free advertising at the same time.
The remaining ticket inventory for the Sugar Bowl is still in play, and the general public will have to go it alone against all the re-sellers authorized or not. But at least the students will have a chance to see their teams play.
The idea of having a private company underwrite event costs by purchasing a block of tickets, then re-selling them at a reduced price, is a tactic any small town sporting event can use. That also applies to how Papa John's is making some of the tickets they bought a charitable contribution.
A community softball team, already selling tickets to games, or finding itself in a high demand championship like the little league example from earlier, can "auction off" a block to a private company. Such a partnership can be done at the last minute too, without need of a long term sponsorship commitment before the season started. The Papa John's re-sale is "ticket inventory manipulation" done right.
'As Above, So As Below' Sports Ticketing Software
All of the methods in this post can be used by your local sports team or athletic venue - but only if you use the right online sports ticketing software. ThunderTix can enable custom pre-sale events, just like the Washington Redskins use. The diverted block of tickets Papa John's is re-selling for the Cardinals is simply the ThunderTix method of tracking sales by different users. Both methods, as well as a wealth of other cost saving features, are available for you to use - today!
One need not have the massive resources the big league have to sell tickets for your local event. You can divide up the available seating up with a reserved seating chart to keep the "stampede of parents" at bay, or just to ensure an orderly and safe event in compliance with local laws.