Monday, September 01, 2014

Friday night ticket blues

As pointed out on EO, BC broke out the Groupon promotions for this game. As we've pointed out before, discounting tickets becomes a tricky proposition as BC balances the need for revenue, butts in the seats and their relationship with their most loyal fans.

For a business like BC football -- which only has limited inventory of seven home games -- I am against discounting/flash deals. I think the Athletic Department is better off doing private promotions with current season ticket holders for undersold games. BC does that somewhat, but obviously not to the point where the game will be close to capacity.

The second issue is attendance on non-Saturday games. In theory, the Boston population should be more than enough to support the team, but we know that a good chunk of the fanbase comes from beyond a two hour radius. A weeknight home game becomes tough for those who don't live close. The weeknight and Friday night games are not going away. So perhaps BC should start tarping sections of the stadium for those non-Saturday games. Northwestern -- another private school in a big city -- started tarping this year using potted plants.

For the longest time the limited secondary market for BC tickets helped sales and attendance. But as TV coverage has improved and as the number of home games has shifted from five and six to seven (and eight if you count the game in Foxboro), and as the online market place has enabled all sorts of reselling, BC is stuck. They are not the only college with the problem. Video boards and winning football will help. Incentives for students and season ticket holders will help too. But at some point they have to draw the line. Maybe instead of dumping tickets for Friday games, BC should think about living with the empty seats.

Or as I've written about before -- turn Friday night games into a huge deal. Own it like Virginia Tech used to own Thursday nights. Then maybe good football, a new tradition and a pumped up environment might make the night a consistent sellout.

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12 Comments:

At 10:44 PM, Blogger eagleboston said...

I can't imagine why a BC alum living in the Boston area would not get jacked up enough to attend a critical ACC game on a Friday night. What else do you have to do? I don't even think the high schools play on Friday night in Mass (which I have always thought was incredibly strange.....it's Friday Night Lights, not Saturday Afternoon Sun).

Get off your asses, get to Chestnut Hill and support your school! We finally have a decent coach, we have an identity and we have players that are mentally tough and can use the support. Go Eagles!

 
At 11:54 PM, Blogger Walter said...

Empty seats are a glaring problem that should be easy to fix. Why can't they just wait until the last minute and sell at slashed rates? Why can't they just give away enough tickets to local high schools or something if it becomes clear that a large portion of tickets are going unsold?

At least if you targeted high schoolers/young kids, you could develop local area fans who would grow up to support the team.

 
At 3:09 AM, Blogger CT said...

It's only an opinion, but to resort to tarping or comparisons to NW seems a bit much. Think GTech is actually a better match (though with a bigger stadium). The only reason you can't get 44k or close to it in the stands says more about marketing than anything. People say "just win." There were plenty of eight and nine win seasons when this was still an issue. Waiting for BC to win ten games might make me an old man. The program needs revenue, so I get the groupon thing. At least it's something.

 
At 8:33 AM, Blogger Claver2010 said...

As a season ticket holder, I have no problem with the slashing prices. I'd rather have a packed house and butts in the seats than be concerned that I paid $5 more than the guy sitting next to me.

ATL, they did offer free tickets to season ticketholders for this one.

As you mention Friday games are nearly impossible if you don't live & work within 495.

Another thing to add here is that the time of the game was moved up an hour compared to last year. Traffic is a complete zoo from the Pike to campus for a 7:00 hockey game on a Friday, I can only imagine what this Friday will look like with ideally 5x the people coming to campus.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Napolean Bonaparte said...

I think it would be better and cheaper to use 20,000 Fatty Patty Inflatable Jumbo Love Dolls at 19.99 a piece. They would look better than potted plants. Each Fatty Patty looks large and in charge with a waist the size of the equator and more rolls than a bakery. It would be very unsettling to our opponents. http://www.spencersonline.com/product/big-girl-doll/

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger mod34b said...

The Groupon seats are lower endzone seats. Not very desirable seats. To date, they have sold 160 seats. This is not a big giveaway.

Friday night is not a good time for a game. BC needs to push the marketing anyway it can. Not a good time for families. Not good for people working all week in the office in Boston. Not good for anyone outside of New England. But very good time for the young alums.

It is good that BC is concered about its image on National TV. A full (looking) stadium sends a good message to recruits and propective students that BC has great school spirit! That image is worth more that the $125,000 in lost ticket revenue via discounting.

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger eagleboston said...

This whole "Friday night is not good" comes across as an excuse. So it may be a little inconvenient. Thousands upon thousand of sports fans have somehow made it to games despite traffic, parking, etc. True fans make it work. When I go to a BC game, I have to fly 800 miles, mooch off my brother's family and spend more on my trip than local alumni spend for an entire season of games. Make it work, support this team. Oh, and BC games are kind of fun too.

Beat Pitt!

 
At 4:19 PM, Blogger mod34b said...

eagleboston, why do you apply your standards for what is convenient to others?

Sure, i could leave work early, and spend the evening tailigating etc, but I'd rather not. I'll watch the game on TV and relax at home. I'll go to some other game later this year.

Not an "excuse," just a choice.

 
At 12:07 AM, Blogger Btoal said...

I seem to remember being at a Thursday night game vs VA Tech a few years ago where Alumni was packed full. Granted it was the Matt Ryan era, but still proves the weekday inconvenience theory is an excuse.

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger Claver2010 said...

I think you underestimate the complete damage the 4 years of Spaz did to BC's donor base & season ticket holders.

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger Joe Gravellese said...

1) I like Friday night games. But I get why they are a struggle, attendance-wise.

2) lol at the person who said "what else do you have to do" on a Friday night. first of all a lot of people work until 5. Depending on what you do for work, sometimes you just want to go home and relax. Also, I don't know where you live, but in metro Boston there's plenty to do on a Friday night. You can do pretty much whatever you want.

3) It seems weird to me that instead of doing ticket giveaways and Groupons and whatnot that they don't just lower the damn price and see if that makes a difference. I bet if you sold a ticket for $10-$15 a game in the upper corners, you'd sell more.

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger Joe Gravellese said...

also, I'm with Claver, even though I do have season tix I don't mind BC doing discounts, I'd rather have the seats filled if at all possible. Give them away for free for all I care.

 

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