FanPost

Idea for Management: Upgrades for a Fee

It is disheartening to see, game after game empty club seats behind the Devils bench game after game. Keeping club seats and lower bowl seats empty game after game, makes the Devils look unpopular, which is not a great thing for building a franchise. It is also a sign of lost revenue opportunities as those empty seats - even if bought and paid for have a value that is not being utilized.

My idea is to offer an upgrade system similar to the airlines offering upgrades for miles, for money or for frequent flyers.

On gameday, for a small fee, ticket holders should be able to upgrade to unsold tickets. Additionally, the Devils could buy back at steep discount (say 10%) tickets that are not going to be used (unsold broker tickets or tickets that aren't going to be used or sold by STHs). I imagine this buy back could be done say six hours before faceoff, so that it doesn't hurt STH or broker resales - especially since you would need a ticket to upgrade in the first place. It could also be done automatically, for example it could be something that STHs designate on ticketexchange - so that if their tickets don't sell by 1 PM for a 7PM puck drop, the Devils automatically buy it back for 10%.

Once a ticketholder upgrades his ticket, his previous ticket would then also become available for upgrade of another ticketholder or resale by the club at a reasonable discount (say 25%) in the box office.

This service could be offered only to STHs or the Devils could give priority or reduced fee to STHs (for example the upgrade fees are 50% higher for non-STHs). It could then be offered to non-STHs online closer to gametime or at the box office, or by kiosks at the gate.

You could also tier the upgrade fees so you don't dilute your more expensive tickets. For example you could make the cost to upgrade from lower bowl or middle mezzanine be 25% of the difference in ticket price, upgrading from the 200s could be 50% of the price difference, and any others could be 35%. That way if the Devils bought back a $275 "black" seat from a broker for $27.50, they could sell it to a $115 lower bowl ticketholder for $32, to an $82 upper tier ticket holder for $67 or to a $55 nosebleeds ticket holder for $110. If you got every one of those people to move up just one tier, (the lower bowl guy upgrades to club for $32, the upper tier upgrades to the vacated lower bowl seats for $12, and the nosebleeds guy upgrades to the vacated upper tier for $14) and then you resell the nosebleed at a 25% discount ($41 for nosebleed center ice) , you end up with the Devils making $99 more on an unsold ticket or $72 more on a broker buy back. If they were to institute this type of system:

1. The arena would look more full on TV - where the packed upper tier is never shown, only the empty club seats.

2. It would increase revenue for the Devils, without undermining your more expensive STH sales (due to the fee tiering).

3. It might encourage STHs to move up a tier to take advantage of lower upgrade fees.

4. I doubt it effects club seat sales that much, since I doubt most of the club seat STHs would want to go through the hassle of upgrading their tickets and sitting in different locations every game (as well as potentially not getting upgrades for the high-demand games).

5. It would make people on the bubble about purchasing season tickets because they feel they can get better tickets cheaper through brokers, maybe get an entry level plan with the idea that they can upgrade from time to time for a reduced fee.

6. It would allow younger more spirited fans opportunities to experience the game from close, and enliven the atmosphere in the lower bowl. These spirited fans might then see the advantages of sitting closer as they get older and can afford better tickets.

7. People would have a better time sitting in better seats on gameday.

There are already companies offering these types of solutions - even managing upgrades after the game starts.

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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