On Friday, July 31st, I received an email from a particular college athletic department (left anonymous below) encouraging me to buy season tickets. The value proposition highlighted in the subject line as to why I should buy immediately was:
“Beat Dynamic Pricing- Purchase XXX Season Tickets Today” (XXX = the school’s name)
When I saw this, I tweeted that it felt like they are marketing against themselves, making dynamic pricing sound scary.
.@nyillini311 Bothers me that teams try to espouse the benefits of dynamic pricing and then undercut it with a message like that.
— Russell Scibetti (@rscibetti) July 27, 2015
So what happened this morning? This school put their single game tickets on sale, with the following subject and image as part of their email:
“XXX Individual Football Tickets on sale NOW!!!”
So on Friday, dynamic pricing was a tactic to push me towards season tickets, and now they want me to buy single game tickets via that same dynamic pricing. Isn’t this a bit of a mixed message?
Dynamic pricing is an overall change in approach to keep primary ticket pricing more in line with how the market values the product. As such, there are some benefits to fans that want to attend multiple games and not be subject to the ups and downs of buying single games tickets. So talk about the benefits of a locked in location at the best price possible for the full season, not trying to “beat” the system. For single game buyers, there is still value in predictability of buying directly from the school, and the chance to find games and locations for every budget.
I understand that dynamic pricing is still somewhat new, especially in football where the volume of games is so much smaller, and probably even more so in the world of college athletics. But because it’s new, it’s even more important to explain it properly. It’s good that they’re transparent with the potential single game buyer that they’ve moved to a dynamic pricing model, but they need to educate fans so it doesn’t feel negative in one situation and positive in another. Tactics like creating a video or FAQ to explain what’s different when considering various ticket options will help the customer see all the benefits and make an informed purchase decision.
UPDATE: On the school’s ticket sales page, whether I try to big single game or season tickets, I also get this banner ad (college name redacted). Look at the left side of the image:
They are literally challenging the customer to try and “beat” the athletic department. Isn’t that just a strange sale tactic?