From the Sun Sentinel and the team that gave us the LeBron-goes-to-Miami ticket plan, here's how the Florida Panthers have the sports marketing world buzzing with their "Perfect Plan" promotion:
The ticket plan allows fans to pick seats, name a price and learn within 24 hours if their offer has been accepted. The offer, which runs through this week, is available for seats in the lower and upper bowls and club level at BankAtlantic Center. Retail prices range from $60 to $130 per seat per game. Potential buyers could have their offers accepted, be offered another location for that price or work out a different agreement.
The Florida Panthers aren't the first NHL team to steal the Priceline.com "Name Your Own Price" model for season tickets. The St. Louis Blues offered a limited time ticket campaign in 2008 that had fans submitting an offer on season tickets which had to meet a minimum price. No word if the Panthers have an established (but unannounced) number to meet.
The difference between the two plans, it appears, is that the Blues' version had restrictions and fail-safes. Season-ticket holders that might have their feelings hurt by these deep discounts were assured that the plan was limited to 500 seats and four sections in the arena that were already rather unsold. Also, a sponsorship with Ticketmaster helped make up the difference between face value and the sale price.
The Panthers' plan is much, much bolder: Seven different ticket types are on sale with no obvious limits on the amounts sold, and there doesn't appear to be any sponsor picking up the tab, either.
Darren Rovell of CNBC saw the promotion thusly after speaking with team president Michael Yormark:
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.
So what say you? Are there too many pitfalls for teams asking fans to name their own price for season tickets? Or, given the reality of their surroundings, is this an ingenious way for the Panthers to attract new fans without papering South Florida with free tickets?
Pass or Fail: The Florida Panthers name-your-own-price ticket promotion.