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Jacksonville Jaguars Launch New Premium Program

The NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars may not be leading in the on-field standings, but their innovative roll-out of a corporate hospitality and premium service, called Jaguars Black, launched April 3, may put them at the forefront of sports business.

Jacksonville’s VP of Marketing and Digital Media Steven Ziff said that Jaguars Black is a premium business program, not just a repackaging of the team’s premium assets.

“It’s really more of a B2B driver centered around the customer,” Ziff said. “We wanted to answer the customer needs and wants in our business as we look at sales and marketing. This was something that we knew was an underserved part of our business that was really important to address.”

Jaguars Black: A 4-Point Strategy For Business

The Jaguars Black program is designed as a four-point strategy that includes events, experiences, consulting services, exposure and recognition programs, and the Business Playbook, a step-by-step guide designed to help companies strategically use hospitality for success. Each business contact is connected to a Jaguars Black personal hospitality consultant, helping clients receive unique seating options in the all-new Field VIP club, five-star food and beverage, as well as partnership networking and speaking engagements.

Ziff spent 10 months as the SVP of Sales & Service at the San Diego Padres, and saw the success first-hand of that team’s membership program with the business community.

“They really had a great base in San Diego, a great chemical make-up in the community,” he said.

While Ziff felt that the Padres had a great base of the businesses embedded into their program, Jacksonville was the opposite. Only 20 percent of the Jaguars total account base was made up of Jacksonville businesses, while the NFL average is closer to 30 percent, he said.

“We knew there were a couple of challenges,” Ziff said. “We had an underserved business community from a Jaguars perspective, or businesses that weren’t seeing the value in identifying themselves as business accounts to the Jaguars previously.”

Going After The Jacksonville Business Community

After examining the Jaguars 365 membership program, Ziff said he learned some startling facts. First, while the fan-side of the program was thriving, the business side was not. The corporate take rate on the Jaguars 365 membership program was 7 percent.

“That really showed up that less than half of the businesses that were even identified as Jaguars business accounts, were electing for the business membership,” Ziff said. “So we really felt there was an opportunity to create a program that really dove deeper and was designed to help businesses.”

The way that the program is laid out, however, is an a-typical sales process to what most sport sales reps have learned in the past. Now, Ziff wants them to transition to consultancy over sales. While customers may be looking mainly at seating options, that is the last part of the discussion, not the first component, he said.

“This strategy of sales is completely adverse to most which is product-first,” Ziff said. “Most reps are taught to pitch product. That’s the first thing that they lay out in front: ‘Where do you want to sit? How much can you spend?’ This is about selling from a completely different standpoint. This is about selling for R.O.I. This is about asking questions and creating more of a consultative relationship with the client.”

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