Cowboys Prove Ticket Demand Still Exists – At the Right Price

…and that price is different in every city for every team at every stadium. The Cowboys are the team in Dallas. Though the Mavs sell out and the Stars usually do well, the Cowboys headline that city. Jones built a palace, charged the highest prices around – $16-150k per PSL as reported by SBJ – and he is still on the brink of selling out the Stadium, coming off a disappointing season no less. Jones knew the market and did an excellent job of extracting maximum value.

On the other hand, look at the NY market. The Yankees, Mets, Jets, and Giants have all failed to an extent, mispricing tickets and leaving revenue on the table. If you view ticket pricing and ticket plans as a negotiation with your fans, as with any good negotiation you need to wait for the best opportunity to come with your best offer. Its arguable that both NY baseball teams came to fans with an offer to benefit the teams at a time when neither had any leverage in the situation.

First, the economy clearly hurt, but that’s out of the teams control, though they could have reacted better by making changes on the fly and won some equity with fans. Second and somewhat overlooked, they are all entering the market at the same time. Part of the allure of new stadiums is the differentiation factor. The NY sports market essentially offset each other on this factor by opening stadiums and selling PSLs all within a few months span – that’s four fan bases, with a lot of overlap smacked upside the head at the worst possible time. Another point, which is minute in this instance is that outside of the Giants none is coming off a recent championship or even a playoff season, and no player has arrived that can move the needle on ticket sales since A-Rod. Since all four teams do spend in free agency and have star players the argument holds less weight, but it’s another point to keep in mind.

The point here is that the lack of differentiation in the NY market for new facilities and the current situation gave the fans leverage in the ticket pricing “negotiation”. This leverage drove down demand, however the teams priced tickets at the point where demand may have been if their stadium was the only new one and they were the only game in town – similar to the Cowboys. It’s not that today’s sports market can’t yield these prices, its that teams can’t operate in a bubble, they need to become more keenly aware of the external environment and remain flexible.

This applies to smaller market teams, who may not receive criticism for high prices, but still play to half empty stadiums. Think bigger than just your team. Management is smart enough to do this and always talks about, yet it often does not show up in practice.

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2 Responses

  1. Of course, the Yankees made a big mistake by not taking care of the incumbent partial plan holders, instead giving priority to full season ticket holders.

    Many of those tickets went straight to Stubhub. If the Yankees had assigned partial plans BEFORE allowing full season upgrades, there would be more fans in the stadium that want to be there. Instead, there is a surplus of tickets on the resale market, many selling for below face or even going unsold.

    Expect a lot of new 2009 full season ticket holders not to renew in 2010.

  2. I used to sell a lot of my tickets on Stubhub, I recently switched to http://www.fanxchange.com. Their service is only 10% as opposed to Stubhub’s 15%….GO YANKEES!!!!

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