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Remco said on August 11th, 2011 at 9:38 am

I guess the problem of having empty premium seats, is a direct effect of the economic crisis.
It would be interesting to compare the interest (passive) towards games versus the (active) participation (visiting the stadium). If the interest remained the same or even increased, that means that the empty seats have an economic reason. But if the interest also decreased, than there are other reasons, which are even more dangerous for the future of sports!

Mike Hurley said on August 17th, 2011 at 9:23 am

A very thoughtful analysis of the problem. As someone who has first-hand experience in this category (I was responsible for suite sales for an NHL team), I now consult properties & venues and this is a recurring theme. In addition to the points you made, here are a few other approaches we suggest to address the problem:
1. “Suite Equity”: Sell your suites as a business development tool and then give your suiteholders a system to help them optimize and effectively measure the impact of this asset.
2. Enhanced Premium Experience: Give the premium seat holder a truly premium experience from a technology standpoint; customized replays, camera angles, streaming high-res photos, express ordering from team store, etc.
3. Whenever possible make premium seating options “all inclusive”. It’s easier for companies to budget against a fixed cost and it removes a big headache for both client and venue.