This morning on WNYC's The Takeaway we learned about the troubles of
the subsidized professional sports industry:
Actually, just over the river in New Jersey there are many ways to get in to Nets
games for free or cheaply
courtesy of the promotional marketing wizardry of Brett Yormark.
teams slash ticket prices to keep fans
By John Hockenberry. Guest: Jeff Beresford-Howe
Want to see the Stanley Cup champs? Pull a ten out of your wallet and
throw in some laundry quarters and you're in.
Fans in New York City wouldn't know it — The Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Jets,
Giants and Knicks are still partying like it's 1999 when it comes to ticket
prices — but out there in the provinces, teams are grappling with the economy.
And the economy — and by extension the fan — is scoring some impressive victories.
In California, a state devastated by the economy and shoved deeper into the
hole every day by a state government that seems dedicated to the proposition
that Mickey Mouse isn't just for Disneyland anymore, teams are adjusting fast
to new times. The Los Angeles Kings announced in December that during a holiday-season
36-hour window, fans could pick up any ticket to January 2009 games in the
Staples Center for $11.50. This wasn't just for games against teams nobody
wanted to see, either. The defending champ Detroit Red Wings, the best road
draw in the NHL, were included, and so were up-and-comers the Chicago Black
Hawks. The promotion was a huge success. The team says they sold 15,000 of
the tickets over six games, although they got some pushback from season ticket
holders who weren't thrilled at occupying their $140 seats next to someone
who paid less than a tenth of that.
The Kings are a canary in the coal mine. They play a sport (hockey) in a city
where no one cares about hockey except for the Canadian ex-pat community (now
there's a business model), where the mortgage crisis strikes at the heart
of the way the whole region works, and they're notably bad (one division title
in 42 years of existence and one playoff series win in the last 15 years).
If you're slashing your corporate or personal budget, the Kings are a likely
candidate to go to the top of the hit list.
But slightly less extreme versions of what the Kings are doing are noticeable
around the NBA and the NHL. The Golden State Warriors, whose name is designed
to disguise the fact that they play in Oakland, are on the lower-ticket-price
bandwagon. After putting second-deck tix on sale for $8, the Warriors this
week announced a two-for-one deal for select games. Sure, one of them is against
the Phoenix Suns, who've pulled off a self-inflicted collapse, but another
is against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs — NBA royalty.
Teams are even dialing back on ludicrous concession prices for terrible food.
Dollar Dog days, long a staple at Oakland A's games — the dogs are kind of
small, and it's not unusual to see a guy applying mustard to a six-pack of
them — have become a New Jersey Devils fan favorite, and the New York Islanders
have what must be one of the best deals anywhere. For $99, you can get four
tickets to a game, four hot dogs, four sodas, four hats and a $40 card
good at children-of-all-ages video wonderland Dave & Buster's. And again,
the package isn't just available for games against the dregs of NBA; it's
offered for match-ups between the Islanders and league powerhouses like the
Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and the Devils.
Prices aren't the only way teams are changing their business model. You can
see the difference in customer service, too.
reading for more stories from the sports world.