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Increasing Added Value Exclusives In Sports Sales

Movie theaters and sports franchises may use added value exclusives in order to draw customer product purchases, but they do so at entirely different point-of-sale barriers. While franchises use the Bobblehead to get the ticket purchased to a game, theaters have long been motivated by access to summer blockbusters that its not just about getting the ticket sold, but the concession item. Because at the end of the day, sports is about the ticket business, while theaters are about selling as much snacks as possible.

Sports franchises could learn a lot from how movie theaters sell their items though, because of a theater’s transitioning nature of using added-value exclusives is a graduate-level study in getting customers to buy early, buy often and keep buying throughout the entire season. While a Bobblehead may sell one ticket, movie theaters want to sell multiple concession items, in exchange for their customers gaining access to those same added-value exclusives.

The craft is a simple one: Sell something beyond the original concession item, not found anywhere else but a movie theater, and continue to generate more sales by expanding the variety, while narrowing the time-purchasing window. And the customer willing to start collecting begins to have no choice but continue, lest their collection of items is not complete.

Added Value Exclusives In Avengers: Age Of Ultron

The latest Marvel movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, is a key example of how theater chains are embarking on this added-value exclusive endeavor. And the tent-pole summer blockbuster will not be the last used in this manner. And it’s exclusive to the Regal Theater chain.

While there is marketing galore with action figures, along with comic books, posters or whatever else found in online and in stores, only in theaters do the “drink topper figurines” exist. It is a quick sale entry point to a child or comic book collector, who has seven toppers to choose from. It is only available in a specific combination of purchase. First, a large $14 drink and popcorn combo must be purchased, and then the topper can be added-on for another $2.50.

And only one topper can be purchased per drink. Thus, in order to collect all seven, an individual would have to go to the theater seven more times, purchase a ticket to see a movie ($8 average), purchase a drink and popcorn combo ($14), and then upgrade to a $2.50 topper.

Overall, that’s $56 on tickets, $98 on concessions and $17.50 for the toppers, for an entire $171.50 spent by the customer in order to obtain all 7 drink topper figurines. And they aren’t doing that in one sitting, either. Meaning that the customer is present 7 times at the movie theater for additional upsells beyond the original, and may be bringing other customers with them.

Making A Homestand Into A Specific Campaign

And this is where sports franchises can learn from movie theater chains. Because the customer has a set-timeline before the toppers are no longer available. Major motion pictures like comic book movies last 5-to-10 weeks, and largely have their biggest promotions during those first few weeks of opening. This means that the figurine toppers may be expirational, replaced by other concessions item promotion for another movie coming out.

Sports franchises could accomplish the same goal, by having each homestand (3-to-10 games) within their schedule act like a movie promotion. For only a specific window of time, there exists a collectible that fans are required to upgrade to, in order to get before they are gone forward.

What if the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 1988 World Series “heroes” were on concessions-item drink toppers, collecting all 5-to-7, and only available during a homestand in May before being gone forever? Or if the Miami Heat had three versions of a Dwayne Wade Bobblehead, only available during their three straight games at home? And each of these items cost $5-$10 beyond the original ticket or concession price in order to buy in?

Given the collectibles market and eBay, it doesn’t sound like a far-stretch to see these added-value exclusives as a revenue generator that puts butts in seats and gets people to return multiple times, instead of only once in a blue moon.

Added Value Upsell, Not Gifting At The Door

Consider the difference between the way that movie theaters react to exclusive added-value items and how sports franchises conduct their own. Both possess barriers for customers, in the form of a purchase. But theaters force a customer to pay for an upgrade, as well as have several different versions in order to keep that same customer who bought-in initially buying again. Sports franchises tend to go with one Bobblehead per night, instead of having multiple ones, and only require a ticket purchase, instead of a ticket purchase plus an upgrade price point in order to buy the Bobblehead, as a way of receiving the added-value exclusive.

They both accomplish the same factor, in different ways. And as the next type of movie promotion goes out, the collector has a time-crunch where they are obligated to go back to the theater, and see another movie or the same one that they previously saw, buying more tickets and concession items than intended, in order to get that last figurine in the collection before it is gone forever.

This shows the potential of where sports promotions can go, by treating schedule homestands like blockbusters, instead of thinking as the season as a whole.

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