Yormark called this program an “investment,” which I think is a clever way of looking at it. He mentioned to me that each new fan was worth something beyond just how much they pay for the ticket and food. That fan is also worth something to the sponsors. More eyeballs at the arena means more eyeballs for sponsor signage, which allows Yormark to rationalize higher pricing at that level.
The argument against going as low as you could go has always been that you’d price yourself so low that you’d devalue your product. Yormark says that theory doesn’t work in sports because the product isn't the same every year.
“The Heat were selling five dollar seats last season,” Yormark said. “Less than a year later, they’re the hottest ticket in the league.”
So will this “Name Your Price” idea catch on?
There’s one big problem that I foresee. You only net out a greater crowd if you have enough areas in the arena that doesn’t touch many of the season ticket holders who are paying the retail price.
Season tickets don’t work like airlines where people accept that they might have paid more for a similar seat than the guy next to them. If season ticket holders figure out that they’re being compromised, the team might lose them at the expense of the new fan. And given that the one paying retail is the more loyal fan, that’s probably not a good swap to make.
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