Go On-Sale When Your Customers Want To Buy Now
The single largest aspects of why collegiate sports tends to fail to drive revenue is a simple one: The majority of the schools do not live on a year-round sales cycle for each of their sports seasons.
It is a mentality that has existed for college athletic departments, who have 12-to-25 sports to run, and usually employ a ticket office staff of 2-to-5 to cover it. Frankly, I’m surprised of all that gets done based on the lowest manpower available. Sure, the marketing department can get 5 people, but the actual ticket sellers get no more than 3 or 4. And most of them are referred to as managers, not sellers, anyway.
It gets even worse when you consider when the majority of colleges go on-sale with next season’s tickets.
College football season tickets generally go on-sale in March while College basketball season tickets in July.
Notice a problem with that?
Most of the steam to buy into college football has been killed by March. Usually, the highest point of interest in college football is near the end of its regular season or bowl season.
College basketball’s highest point of fan interest is in March, during its college basketball tournament.
And yet, if someone wanted to buy season tickets during those games, which play like monopolistic infomercials on television as well as crowd social media channels, they wouldn’t have the ability to.
This is a stark difference between what the professional sports industry and collegiate athletic department does in terms of mentality. It is a completely wrong-headed thought process, where the athletic department is waiting until a calendar period after the season before focusing on the next season ahead.
This comes from an old school mentality of “wanting to know the schedule first.” None of the customers think this way about buying tickets or attending games. The shorter the window to offer a sale, the more likely it is that the customer may have other conflicting plans already notched on dates during the season anyway.
This includes weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or whatever other special occasions a fan might have. Instead, by getting in early, the fan reduces the amount of conflicts toward buying season tickets, especially to college football or basketball.
When fans have that sports front of mind, it is the most opportune time to strike. Every fan has their credit card out, willing to buy because of what they see on the court. And it is a huge opportunity for every college athletic department to sell loads of season tickets. Their customers want to buy now. When interest is at its highest.
College athletic departments unfortunately seem hesitant to go toward a year-round sales cycle for all of their sports. That means that while the sport’s current season is winding down, renewals and new business should be occurring for the next season. In all sports where there are season tickets sold.
Maybe that means a shift in the paradigm of how tickets are sold as well. Including who sells them, and in which numbers.