What Would You Do?
by Chris Mallen @cdmallen
Two weeks ago I asked a number of friends and total strangers what they would
do if they had $200 to spend on tickets to one sporting event. The basic rule was that
the tickets could only be used for one single game but there were no restrictions for
the amount of tickets or exclusion of playoff tickets. So, Joe Smith (No, not the former
MD basketball phenom) might choose tickets to the Master’s to see Rory McIlroy, Phil
Mickelson, and Tiger Woods. My initial guess was the Super Bowl or an NFL game
would be the most common choice. Surprisingly, I was wrong. The top choices were:
NBA playoffs, NHL playoffs and a PGA Major. Considering the massive amount of
popularity the NFL has in this country I was shocked the NFL was not in the top three
What got me thinking about the results was how in the current state of our
economy you get the casual sports fan to attend a sporting event over all the other
choices people have for entertainment. Especially when considering that watching at
home on your big screen high definition TV with a loaded fridge and not having to deal
with traffic and parking is often the first choice to watch a game by a casual fan.
The answer may be product sampling and ancillary items for someone to attend
your team’s game. For example, the Wizards owner Ted Leonsis is renowned for being
very open to fans and anything that would get them more engaged with their team.
Recently the Wizards held a Fanfest to kick off the season with a free concert by hip hop
artist Wale preceding an open practice by the team in the Verizon Center. This was a
stroke of genius by the Wizards for a few reasons; it allowed fans to sample the product
that is the team while also being able to see one of the areas greatest entertainers in the
music industry all for free. What a great way to build good will with fans after the
lockout and to help promote ticket sales.
So, for $200 what game would I attend? It would depend on a few things, such as
what teams were playing and what were the stakes. Being able to hop in to McFly’s
Delorean and travel back in time when I hit 85 to witness an Ali vs Frazier fight would
be at the top of my list. But, to stay current it would probably be the NBA Finals. See
even I wouldn’t have picked the NFL but that doesn’t mean my minimal sample size is a
proper representation of the US sports fan. Research to understand your potential client is
imperative for your team to better promote your product. Conducting research is just
plain smart and can be better than just asking your friends what they want to see. Tickets
can be expensive so knowing your hardcore fans and casual fans and having an
understanding of what drives their purchasing decisions is really important.