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Hamburger Stand Business Class 101

All you need to know about business can be learned at a hamburger stand or a coffee. It’s the perception of things and their value.

When a hamburger stand or coffee shop discounts one customer, they hurt the brand, because everyone wants a discount. That’s why coffee shops don’t diminish their price point. If they do, they don’t stay in business long.

If you’re in sports though, discounting and paperhanging is somehow considered good branding.

To be honest, its just branding your product as not being worth what you’re selling it for.

I’ve heard a lot of “branding” talk about there as an excuse to paperhang (i.e. flood the market with free tickets). It comes from the silly notion that if you give something to someone, even once, that they will enjoy the experience and be willing to pay for that experience a second time. Even though you showed them that the initial value of the product was zero.

This is the logic of the paperhanger. You aren’t supposed to be able to track results, in fact, you cannot, so there’s nothing but the paperhanger’s “expertise” as backup data.

If this were a court of law, the paperhanger would be tossed on their keister for a lack of evidence.

But in the court of sports, this somehow seems credible.

So, here’s a little way to test the commitment of the paperhanger. A little wager, if you will:

For every free ticket the paperhanger gives away, they must reduce their paycheck by that same dollar amount into a holding account.

But, if the recipient of that free ticket by the paperhanger actually buys tickets the next time around at full price, then the paperhanger gets their money back.

That sounds fair, kinda like a reverse commission.

Except everyone knows that a paperhanger wouldn’t sign up for it. Because paperhangers are in it for the short-game. They typically don’t plan on staying around for long, especially if there’s accountability in the numbers. That’s just not their style.

The goal for a paperhanger is to flood the market with tickets, devaluing the price point, then blame on-field performance for why the stands are empty.

See, this comes down to the logic of a hamburger stand.

Say you loved hamburgers, so you bought at this same hamburger stand for several months, paying full price. But the stand’s owner wanted to get more customers, so he started providing free or half-priced hamburgers to new customers, but not to you since you’re already paying full price.

So, how do you feel about that?

Ripped off?

What would you be willing to pay for an item that everyone but you receives for free? Especially if you are there daily, supporting the business, yet these “new customers” are receiving the product for free and making it more congested at the hamburger stand.

That’s how your season ticket holder feels, every time you discount or paperhang. While they want more butts in seats, they don’t want to be the only folks footing the bill.

But the logic of the paperhanger doesn’t see that. And much like they won’t do the “reverse commission” wager, the scenario of the hamburger stand is lost on them.

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Ep. 233 – Jamie Morningstar (VP of Ticket Sales & Service, Milwaukee Bucks)

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Ep. 234 - Brian Thornton (Sports Branding Specialist)

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