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Stop Relying On Gameday Crowds To Appear

There is always a franchise executive or athletic administrator who claims that a good walk-up crowd is just around the corner. And be rest assured that when they say “walk-up” crowd, they are guesstimating something that cannot be measured. Because an instant crowd is similar to a mirage.

The franchise executive and athletic administrator should, but never does, look themselves in the mirror and honestly assess their own culpability in the situation where the sports organization is reliant on good walk-up crowd to rescue their revenue efforts. Essentially, the organization didn’t prepare hard enough by not selling in advance of the game to guarantee the revenue they needed.

There are always folks in the top echelons of sports who are resistant to the idea of selling in advance (or too far in advance) and there is not rational reason for their distain for the practice. It’s as if they don’t believe enough if their product to believe someone else would buy it, in advance.

And even when they do put it on sale, in advance, they position it to an early bird discount price point measure. Instead of pushing more value into what the season ticket holder receives by being a part of the organization for a continual basis. Hopefully, this will change with membership models on the professional sports side, where the renewal is almost automatic because the benefits happen year-round between the franchise and member.

But let’s return to selling for a moment.

There is no argument that should exist against putting tickets on sale, in advance, in order to make an impact. And yet, university athletic departments are curious in how they operate their ticket sales. College football teams will be playing in bowl games on national television or basketball teams will be in the NCAA Tournament of 68, and yet the athletic department will not have their tickets on sale, especially renewals, selling that product during the biggest advertisement event of their product each year.

Let’s break down the notions as to why each athletic administrator has that people do not want to buy early in advance:

Because the customer would be “turned off” by the notion of buying in November during the college football season for the next college football season that starts in September? Hogwash. That’s the best time to get customers to buy.

First, this is right time to catch people who are already engaged in the college football product.

Second, if they say no, they always have plenty of time to renew but with less choices as the seats around them are purchased.

Third, at the moment they are buying, their schedule is entirely open – there are no weddings, vacations, trips, family outings, reunions, bad weather, or anything else to prevent them from going to those college football games.

Fourth, it’s almost Christmas time. The perfect time to buy something for a family member, including a cousin who lives in another city who follows your team and wants to go to your games.

The whole point is to have the customer thinking non-linear with their decisions and get them engaged, immediately, into buying the product before they have continual objections to when they can go.

People generally do not make split-second decisions to attend a sporting event. There are several machinations that have to take play, including days of planning that includes buying a ticket, paying for parking as well as other ancillaries, ensuring that there are no other life conflicts, and then finding friends or family who want to attend the game with you.

All of that takes energy and time. And yet, every franchise executive and administrator hoping for a good “walk-up” crowd deals in the hyperbole that everyone randomly looks outside, sees that the weather looks nice, and just “happens” to go to a game.

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