How teams approach the days and weeks ahead will determine their success in the coming years. Now isn’t the time to wait and see or to refer back to past useful strategies. It’s the time to evolve and create the future of sports sales.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a forward thinker, someone who likes to strategize, plan, and create the future of sales. Never one to be satisfied with a three-year plan with simple revenue projections, remodeling, and how many season tickets are wanted, I see a three-year plan as a plan of growth. Of redesign. Of creating the future of how and what we sell. I encourage and work with my teams to be forward thinking as well, and to be leaders, not followers.
So what are teams doing today? Some are waiting for league directives. Others have “tweaked” their season packages and have had reps scour the internet looking for “best practices” from the past couple of years. And there remain some teams who are choosing to do nothing and just resume business as usual.
All of those approaches focus on looking in the rearview mirror. In today’s world, it’s not where we’ve been, but rather where we are, and more importantly, where we will go in the next three years that matters. This time is our chance to break out of the mold and finally create the future of sports and entertainment. Successful teams will be leaders, not followers.
Many lifestyles have been altered the past few months. Working from home, some people realize they actually have kids who live with them 24-7. Some realize they are in big trouble if schools do not return in the fall, as they got their kids through third grade math, but know they will flunk teaching fourth grade math. Some have done virtually all their buying online and have tried new experiences offered for free, deciding to subscribe. Some have created new fun habits as a family. Some are finding that exercising at home, outside, or virtually is actually better than the time they spent at the gym.
What are all of these things teaching us? We need to evolve. How do we do this? Six phases.
Phase 1: Create Virtual Packages
Create a unique experience and test market it on social media. Gain followers. Convert this experience into a virtual monthly subscription package, culminating with five or more vouchers for the upcoming season. Now you have a true membership. Empower sales reps to create, prepare, and present to leadership. Teams should have at least five to eight new packaged experiences ready to try.
Phase 2: Create Armchair Packages
We have always had people follow us, but prefer to watch on TV, listen on the radio, or stream us. Coming to a game just doesn’t appeal to them, yet they are super fans. Why have we never created a virtual season membership for them? With merch and unique experiences, this membership is an entirely new area of revenue we have never pursued. What about the group experiences of families and friends who get together, listen to a game while grilling, and cheer on the team? It’s time to create the virtual group experience.
Phase 3: Redefine the Supersize Group
Why do we try to get everyone focused on coming to a game and give them the same experience, slightly altered, year after year? Create virtual experiences throughout the year culminating in a specified game or vouchers. How can you redesign experiences for Boy Scouts? Girl Scouts? Summer camps? Education Day? Mental health awareness?
Phase 4: Focus on Fundraising
Nonprofits are in need right now. Our $2 per ticket that they have to sell is a drop in the bucket for the awareness and revenue needed. Fundraise differently with virtual monthly recognition, experiences, additional fundraising opportunities, and alignment with our brands are all crucial as is bundling opportunities for nonprofits that they can choose from.
Phase 5: Create Virtual Memberships for Season, Group, Premium, and Corporate Packages
What are the buzzwords we use when describing our packages? How can we make those ideas come alive 12 months a year? How can we stop separating premium and corporate, instead incorporating them into our season and group members and creating added value with unique virtual experiences?
Phase 6: Enable Fans to Buy Online, Choose Their Own Adventures, and Be in Control
How can we stop selling to fans, and start letting them create their own bundles? We are so focused on selling a package that we miss the added value in bundling and letting them choose. Teams I have worked with on bundling are finding that fans rarely pick the lowest bundle. Instead, they are so happy choosing what they want that they are willing to spend more.
Our drive will never move forward if we are always looking back. Empowering our staffs, working together as departments, and creating the future are the biggest opportunities we have right now. Which will you choose? Watching the road behind you? Or looking forward to the next turn in the road ahead?