Breaking The Mini-Pack Mold
I had this idea last night during a Twitter chat – #Social4tixsales:
A4 – What about a 5-game seat upgrade pack? Each game has a better seat location. Best way to “test drive” a location. #social4tixsales
— Troy Kirby (@SportsTao) September 4, 2013
The idea came out of me so quickly that I barely processed it beyond the simple tweet. After it was out, I saw a few people follow along with the idea. But I started thinking about it more, wondering if the idea could be expanded into a whole new concept of creating a mini-pack that would drive ticket sales.
Here’s the fundamental questions: Are prospects more willing to buy on opponent or location for a mini-pack?
I’m leaning more toward mini-packs being sold on location, those prime time areas that folks cannot access otherwise.
Mini-packs are something of the 1990s that are hanging on life support. Why? Because you can get just about any type of mini-pack offering you like for a team. And with the secondary market having some tickets available for $0.49 if you are willing to endure watching some bad opponents, which are likely also included in a standard mini-pack, then the allure and reasoning for purchasing the mini-pack also fades too.
Here’s a primer for those readers unsure how mini-packs work:
- Grade your games A, B, or C depending on the attraction value of the opponent. A is, of course, the best, while C is the worst.
Each mini-pack holds 10 percent A games, 30 percent B games, and 60 percent C games.
This is how a home team would sell out both the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls team along with the Washington Bullets, Milwaukee Bucks and L.A. Clippers back in the 1990s. There is power in numbers. Mini-packs had that until the Internet blew apart that leveraging aspect and the secondary market super-charged with the presence of StubHub and E-Bay.
So, as I started to think about it, keeping the mini-pack alive wasn’t just a case of pitting the A games with some C games. It was also about location, the one thing that is the hardest piece of territory to garner for anyone in the building. Doesn’t matter if you are a full-season ticket holder or not, location is the hardest component of the entire sale. Especially when you have to build up points in order to move down into specific sections in the building.
That’s why location is the key to keep not just the mini-pack alive, but also change up how each season ticket is molded.
The sports industry has some interesting concepts, namely that prospects automatically know what sections or seat locations they want to be in. All that comes down is basically a price and what the prospect is willing to pay for the experience.
But what if the prospect has no clue as to where they want to sit, just a general idea?
What if a mini-pack plan could solve that sort of issue? Call it an “upgrade” game.
Each mini-pack plan would allow prospects to buy into specific locations (say an aisle seat that is 5 rows up from courtside) for a “C” game while with the “A” game having that same customer in a pack that is on the second deck.
Example Mini-Pack Based on Location
A Game – Miami Heat – Level 2, Row L, Seats 4-5
C Game – Milwaukee Bucks – Level 1, Row G, Seats 1-2
C Game – Cleveland Cavaliers – Level 1, Row D, Seats 3-4
C Game – Orlando Magic – Level 1, Row E, Seats 5-6
C Game – Sacramento Kings – Level 1, Row H, Seats 7-8
But wait, why would a team do that? Because it makes the action of the better location worth it even during the “C” games for that prospect.
Think about it this way: What if the prospect witnessing the C game in the better seats decides, while up in the second deck during the A game, that they will do anything to return to those C game seats. Even buy another mini-pack plan with just C game tickets in that better location.
Because the mini-pack isn’t “married” to a single seat location, it also allows each prospect to “test drive” a seat, perhaps find what works better for them.
And it gives that rep making a “customer service call” more opportunities to chat about whether the seat location for the Bucks game was as good as the one for the Magic game. All the while, moving the customer up the sales escalator.
It also allows each prospect to fill adequate locations during A games that normally might be single game tickets and plug a lot of holes during the C games.
This isn’t just about leveraging the one A game with three C games, this is about making the C games worth just as much as the A games by using location entirely as the leveraging tool. Instead of worrying about the opponent, why not foster the idea that being 5 rows up from the court for 10 games in a mini-pack is worth more than who the opponent is.
Imagine being able to sell out just as many C games as A games, simply because the location is better.
Or what if the mini-pack eliminated the A games altogether?
Why not have a 10 game pack – 3 games in the same location – each “upgrading” seat locations. With the rep calling back after each three games for that “customer service call.” Now, instead of even selling your A games at a reduced price (via mini-pack) to fill your C games, instead, your C games are filling up on a whole different demand structure.
Can people really debate the idea that location matters?
I’d even go one better, and throw in the idea of a VIP experience to one of the arena’s chalk-talks, etc. into one of the packs on an off-night.
Franchises have gotten way too into the opponent margin of what draws people, but I beg to differ. It’s about the fan experience in locations during games, regardless of the opponent.
I think the mini-pack has some life left in it. The tires just have to be filled, the motor has to be recalibrated, and the thought process of why people would sit where should begin to matter more.
Here’s my question: I’d love to see if this is a viable option – if there’s a VP of Sales who wants to implement and let me know, I’m more than supportive.