Monday, May 02, 2011

BC turns to young alums to help ticket sales

Disclaimer: BC doesn't release ticket sales data and trends publicly, so the information I am passing on is second hand for what it is worth.

Ticket Sales for the 2011 Football season are looking terrible. It doesn't take an investigative journalist or a numbers cruncher to tell you that. The empty seats at Conte and Alumni have been issues for years and things are only getting worse. There are multiple factors in play here and not all are unique to BC. With spring football wrapped up, the marketing and ticketing department are in the midst of their football ticket push. With a terrible home slate, they are wisely turning to Young Alumni to help fill the void. This is smart yet risky.

BC pushed this Young Alumni package via Facebook today. They are defining young alums as those who graduated within the last 10 years. Those Superfans can get a season ticket package for $150 and they get to sit next to the current students. That's the smart part. Hit the people with the time to attend games, give them cheap seats that you can't sell and help them make the student section louder. This is the Superfan generation so they are inclined to enjoy the BC football experience.

As I mentioned, this concept does have risk. If the Young Alums gobble up these discounts, it will only mask the real issues. BC's problem is that the older Boston area alums and non alum fans are not buying tickets like they did ten years ago. Is it the schedule, the ability to watch at home, the boring brand of football, the lingering bitterness over donor based seating, or the lack of true tailgating? I would say a little bit of everything. I've hammered the tailgating, schedule and Spaz issues to death, so that leaves us with Marketing. The Young Alumni Campaign proves that BC is willing to reach a specific audience with a specific promotion. Why not start hitting up other groups who may be interested in buying BC tickets but haven't in the past? Target BC parents! Target out of touch alumni in the Boston area! Hit the Boston sports fans who have never given BC a try! This season is going to be a disaster for ticket sales so you might as well try anything. Getting these forgotten or ambivalent sports fans into Alumni is the key.

If the Young Alums buy into the packages it will help BC short term and give the stadium an energy boost. But as I said, that only masks the problem. As other Boston area sports options better understand their potential customer base and ways to grow their market, BC is still churning through BC grads to save the day. We need to think bigger and market differently. Maybe some of the young alumni in BC marketing can use their influence to get BC to think beyond those who already bleed maroon and gold.

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At 1:25 AM, Blogger MattTheEagle said...

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At 4:31 AM, Blogger chicagofire1871 said...

Huh? Matt are you talking about the April Fool's joke on BCI?

At 8:50 AM, Blogger EaglesBro said...

wow, this is a joke. Upper endzone tickets were already $150...offering $150 for the back of the lower endzone is not going to entice any young alumni who wouldn't have otherwise purchased tickets.

In terms of reaching out to non-BC fans, I think we saw this last year with tickets sold through groupon, rue, etc. The real issue for non-BC fans/alum is lack of parking and tailgating. Obviously I appreciate the difficulty of doing so, but open up additional tailgating on the land across the street and you'll see an immediate spike in ticket sales. Not sure what the Umass tailgating situation will be at Gillette but hopefully it will put some pressure on BC to make some moves.

At 8:57 AM, Blogger Erik said...

Other ticket themes I noticed yesterday:

If you buy 6 individual tickets, they cost $30, 30, 30, 20, 20, 20 (or $150 total), so there is not benefit for these people to buy season tickets unless they want the same seat every week. Truthfully they'll get tickets anywhere then sit with their friends in a different section. Also, anyone patient knows the $10 sales for Duke and Wake are coming so you could easily see every game for under $100 with a little effort.

Also, this is the first time I can remember, back to the 90s, when you can buy individual game tickets for every game. BC has always made Notre Dame, Miami, FSU unavailable for sale unless you bought season tickets. It always rubbed me the wrong way that someone couldn't pay attention, try for tickets the day they went on sale, and get a good game. So the fact that you can get for every game (even FSU) means the demand must be way off pace.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Goberry said...

In addition to all of your (very valid) reasons, I'd also add game times. Before attending BC myself, I went to every BC game for years with my family from Connecticut. Throwing a Thursday night game on the slate is one thing, but moving kickoff from noon to 3:00 so that the game can be on makes a big difference to out of state alums who would otherwise attend games, of which there are many.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger lchenevert said...

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At 10:47 AM, Blogger bischoje said...

Fair point, Goberry. Problem is that BC has no control over the game-time of televised games. Nor do we get to decide which games will be televised, as the rights are given in conference-level TV deals. GDF has said many times that he prefers 1 pm games, and will always make that the game-time if he has the option.

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

The only way to get people into the stadium is by winning. If BC is mediocre (like it probably will be) then who would want to make the arduous trek out to BC to watch a mediocre team in a mediocre conference play against mostly garbage teams? There's a lot of other stuff to do in Boston, esp. sports-wise during that time. The Red Sox are always in the pennant race; the NFL starts at the same time; and the NHL and NBA start a few months into the season. You can get to those venues a lot easier and tickets can roughly be the same price. If BC is a legit Top 15 team, like in Ryan's senior year or when the basketball team had Smith and Dudley, people will come. If BC is mediocre like it has been ever since those guys left, then people will not come.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger cullenmi said...

Remember GOLD alumni were also offered discounted tailgating spots. Desperate is an understatement.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger will the thrill said...

@cullenmi: It could be considered desperate, but it's also just a good idea. Tailgate spots have been overpriced for years. Having Shea be half full makes no sense. Obviously the prices were too high.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger JBQ said...

During St. Patrick's Day week in 2010, I was able to go up from New York and visit the bC camplus. I took the train and then the Green Line. Indeed, the word "arduous" as in one comment comes to mind. The answer might be to set up "regional parking sites" with fan buses and a set place on campus to hold tailgating. There is no draw to the campus to watch some of the teams that are on the schedule. I have been to a ND game at South Bend. The fans would go wild even if they played the "Little Sisters of the Poor". It would appear that the key ingredient may be the impression of the "snobs up on the hill". Spaziani is not exactly "Mr. Warmth". Obviously, they need a Professor Harold Hill.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger MattTheEagle said...

I owe it to BCI...they got me good. That is hilarious. I just subtly let that go.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger Coast said...

The older crowd doesn't care about ACC games unless it's (a good) Miami or FSU. The older crowd cares about games against Big East schools.

Area nonalums want games against 1) big names and 2) area schools.

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Sr.Atlanta said...

Hope it works!!

Older BC crowd (which I may technically be part of: I consider myself young at heart!) at BC games is generally a buzz kill.

They have NO enthusiasm at the games I've been to AND they give you hell if you cheer and/or stand too long! I hope more of the younger (read more enthusiastic!) alums go to games!!

At 10:44 PM, Blogger luch said...

how about a program where for 100 bucks or something alums on the west coast can buy a "season ticket" as a donation and then BC puts the ticket in the hands of local kids from the parochial schools. like the ones that we (athletes) would visit with Mo Maloney. I bet those kids would love free tickets to games. and maybe as part of the program all you need to do is let the ticket office know you are coming for a game and they give you a ticket for whatever game you fly back for. or you can opt out of the donation for that one game you choose or whatever. i mean thats just a logistics/mechanical thing, you get the gist of the idea.
my parents have had season tix for BC since I graduated almost 10 years ago and they/we/one of us makes it back for one game a year. we usually can give them away to friends still in the area but sometimes its really tough...and it would be great if there was a program to donate them to kids.

At 2:49 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Luch, that is a brilliant idea. I would definitely buy into that.

At 4:00 AM, Blogger Walter said...

I agree with Luch and I'll add in that this Young Alumni garbage makes me sick.

As someone that graduated last year and had season tickets this year (and went to every home game and the bowl game), I enjoyed being in the regular stands with the "old" alumni.

Alumni Stadium is already a struggling place for noise and excitement. How is concentrating the extra energy in an area of the stadium that is already loud going to help anything?

I don't like BC blatantly pandering to young alumni. What about the "old" alumni who have been harassed by those emails for decades? I like thinking we are one community.

Attendance wasn't that bad last year, and I think it will be fine, if not stellar, this year. The best schools don't have their attendance coincide with the record of the school. If we targeted neighborhood schools (and neighborhood colleges without sports teams) it would help to play off BC as THE boston school for football.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger CT said...

BC has 'non-alum fans?' Thought it was just an oxymoron.

At 8:44 PM, Blogger William said...

First of all I think we all agree that attendance is going to be an absolute disaster this year and we've hashed out the reasons ad nauseum. One of the main reasons I think and I'd love to hear GDF answer. Is there is absolutely no reason to own season tickets.

The reasons GDF used to give for season tickets:
1) Access to premium games
2) Same seat

Now people can get to any game and generally sit in any seat in the stadium without issue.

Now people can get any game for a heavily discounted price (BC was selling ND tickets for $65, my roommate got one for $20 game day).


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