Revenue / 05.14.18
Helping Out Fans With Subscription-Based Tickets and Payment Plans
Subscription-based ticketing is taking off. With the general public craving accessibility and affordability, subscription ticket plans offer fans a way to attend more events for a better price. At the same time, they enable teams and performers to build greater loyalty and surface interest in events a patron might not normally attend.
Last year, the New York Jets introduced a new tier of season passes that offered the National Football League's (NFL's) first season-long, mobile-ticketing subscription service. Dubbed the Jets Boarding Pass, the $725 package enables fans of the team to sit in a different seat each time they attend a home game. Up to a half dozen people can purchase the package and request to be seated together.
The system's algorithms, developed by a firm called Experience, guarantee that Jets fans will sit in a variety of sections at MetLife Stadium throughout the season. Similar to how an airline boarding pass often does not provide an actual seat number but rather serves as a ticket for you to get checked in at the terminal, the Jets Boarding Pass does not reveal the section or seat numbers until the fans are close to arriving at the stadium on game day. The information is delivered via the team's app two hours prior to kickoff.
Seth Rabinowitz, the Jets' senior vice president of marketing and fan engagement, said in an interview with SportTechie, "Any seat in the building is fair game. We're going to work really hard to get everyone as close to the action as possible each week."
The Atlanta Braves’ pro baseball team has also been testing subscription-based ticketing for the past couple of seasons, using Experience's INWEGO product. It's actually become a citywide service. Anthony Esposito, vice president of ticket operations for the Atlanta Braves, is a big proponent of the $29 per month subscription.
He explained in an earlier interview with INTIX, “In the summer in Atlanta, over the course of a month, you can use your subscription to attend all Braves games (average of 13 per month); visit the College Football Hall of Fame; check out the summer series races at the Atlanta Motor Speedway; go to concerts all around town, both indoor and outdoor; and check out beer festivals. Then, in the fall and winter months when our season is done, you pick up the Atlanta Falcons (NFL), Atlanta Hawks (NBA), Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL), Georgia Tech Athletics and much more."
Subscription-based services are growing, in general, across a wide array of industries. In April 2017, TechRadar reports, subscription company websites had nearly 37 million visitors, which is an astounding 800 percent growth since 2014. Convenience is the main reason this trend has taken hold and taken off. Quantified Commerce co-founder Agam Berry reasons, "People are busy and want to automate as much of their lives as possible. It's as simple as that."
Also growing in popularity are payment plans for tickets, especially for the various high-priced, multi-day music festivals that start up in earnest each spring and early summer. When tickets went on sale for last month's 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival back in June 2017, prospective attendees were permitted to buy tickets with a payment plan during the one-time advance sale. The plan, which had to have been selected at the time of purchase, divided the total sale price into seven monthly installments starting the day of order. After the order was placed, the six additional payments were deducted through December 2017. The advance sale was the only time to choose the payment plan.
Grandoozy, the huge music festival produced by Superfly that is set to take place at Denver's Overland Park Golf Course from September 14-16, is also looking to help those strapped for cash but still want to attend. The festival's organizers offer a layaway plan that allows fans to split their ticket cost into multi-payment installments. As three-day general admission passes are selling for $224.50 per person and VIP passes run $599.50, many have taken advantage of having smaller payments over a longer period of time.
Experts say subscription-based ticketing and ticket payment plans are here to stay as long as ticket prices remain high and people want to feel like they are getting more for their buck. Professor Michael Waterson, who prepared a 2015 report on the subject for the U.K. government, had this to say to The FADER: "[Artists] may want to set prices with a social or fairness objective in mind, so that the possibility of concert attendance remains open to fans with lower disposable income."
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Tags: Sports , Music , Stadium , Digital Marketing , Personalization , Memberships