Nothing sells tickets better than a winning team. Ask the Golden State Warriors, University of Alabama Football, Duke University Basketball and St. Louis Cardinals. Fans have more incentive to attend games, buy team gear and talk about their team when they are making a run in the playoffs.
In a recent article on CollegeAd.com by Francis Giknis, he asks the question “Did attendance-boosting extras work?”. He ends the article by saying “… promos are fine when they work, but nothing beats fielding a winner”. While I agree with this statement, the problem as marketers and game presentation professionals is we can’t rely on this to happen. It isn’t our jobs to score more points than our opponents. If we relied on winning to sell tickets and entertain fans, we would all be looking for a new profession.
When you are winning, it’s easy to think that our promotions are why the building is full and our fans are passionate. Our true colors come out when the team isn’t winning. This is when you truly understand what fans enjoy and what gets fans to return to your stadium and arenas. It’s when you discover what really is important to the fans.
I’m a die-hard Seattle Mariners fan and they are a perfect example. The M’s haven’t been to the playoffs for 15 straight years, the longest such streak in MLB. Last year the “experts” were predicting the Mariners to not only win the division but represent the American League in the World Series. Despite these lofty expectations, the Mariners marketing team stayed true to their identity and invested time and effort into engaging promotions and great theme nights, which have become a staple at Safeco Field. Attendance struggled but I’ll bet most fans still enjoyed the experience of coming to the ballpark despite the play on the diamond.
Don’t rely on team performance to bring fans back to your games. Focus on integrating sponsors into fun and engaging timeout promotions. Focus on educating your fans, creating fan traditions and giving them an experience they can only have by buying a ticket. Basically, do like 3 Point Productions by “Turning Moments Into Memories”.