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.