4 Keys to Effective Ticket Pricing

About Ryan Eklund

Native of Wisconsin, Ryan graduated from UW-La Crosse with a marketing degree (1999) and masters of athletic administration from Springfield College (2001). Ryan’s successful career in collegiate athletics external affairs includes positions at UCF, UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona and Connecticut.

Leave Emotion at the Door

In a scene from the movie Ocean’s Eleven, Rusty (Brad Pitt) is teaching Hollywood actors how to play poker. During his lesson on “how to draw out the bluff,” he asks a player what the first lesson of poker is. The answer: “Leave emotion at the door!”

Does that lesson sound familiar?

One of the greatest mistakes a sports organization can make is pricing from a sense of pride–Charging what we want or need instead of setting our prices based on fan and market intelligence.

Considering these four key questions will help make good pricing decisions.

Are we pricing to move inventory or leverage revenue?

Ticket pricing isn’t only about numbers. It’s a strategic puzzle. The answer to this question provides you strategic direction and synergy for the season, games, packages, sections and seats. Pricing synergy maximizes value, retention and new sales.

What does the fan & market intelligence tell us?

Decisions based on your intuition and experience alone is basing your plans more on the past than present circumstances. Include in your decision making:

  1. sales reports & forecasts
  2. current industry trends
  3. fan surveys
  4. social media conversations (consider scraping and social listening software)
  5. gatekeeper feedback (ticket office, ticket sales, development staffs)
  6. direct conversations with fans

What is the unique value of each game?

Whether you’re using advance pricing software or a traditional method of pen and paper, recognize each game has unique value. Variable pricing (different price levels for differently valued games) and dynamic pricing maximizes value, revenue and sales. Analyzing what makes each game different from the others helps you set realistic price and attendance targets and also identify segments and groups to target.

What is our inventory analysis telling us?

Using past data and forecasts, ask these 7 inventory questions to maximize revenue for each game.

  1. Which sections do we need to sell each game?
  2. How many seats do we need to sell each game?
  3. Which groups are we targeting for each game?
  4. Which promotions are we scheduling for each game?
  5. What is our plan for distressed inventory should advance sales fall short?
  6. How do game day variables (time, date, opponent, fan experience, etc.) affect each game?
  7. Did we objectively project sales for each group or promotion?

Have these conversations a year in advance to capitalize on year-round sales opportunities and for a runway that is long enough for your external relations team to realize success!

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Proverbs 16:18

 

 

 

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