This past Sunday, I did what any sports fan dreams of doing. I spent the day glued to my TV with one thing on my itinerary: watch the NFL Redzone channel.
It was a perfect day. Over 13 hours of football, access to every game, in the comfort of my own home. It made me think, "why even go to the stadium to see a game in any sport?"
As any fan will tell you, watching a sport live is a completely different experience. It stimulates all of your senses in a way that your living room can't.
But these days, making the trek to your local stadium is more of a hassle than a pleasure. Overpriced everything from ticket prices to food to parking, and your team, good or bad, is probably not worth the cost.
In an age where the at-home experience gets better by the day, it's time to peel fans from their couch, and bring them back to the stadium.
Today, your better off buying discounted tickets through a third-party website than buying a season ticket package. Once you have your ticket, the experience is just about the same, or even better. Oh yeah you may not have access to some club that has slightly better food.
Team's need to take a page out of MLB's book. When Major League Baseball added the second wildcard team last season, it made winning your division of the utmost importance. As we've learned playing in the one-game playoff is a severe disadvantage.
To bring attendance up, you need more season ticket holders. To get more season ticket holders, team's need to make season ticket holders feel special.
1.) No More Paying for Parking: If you have season tickets, you should not have to pay for parking. I've seen parking cost as much as $30/game. For baseball fans, that's $2,430 spent on parking if you go to every game you pay for as a season ticket holder (not including the playoffs). It's just obnoxious to have an extra charge for your "top fans" who have already broke the bank for everything else.
2.) Rewards Jersey: This idea I saw in last month's ESPN the Magazine. It's offered by the Tampa Bay Lightning. A season ticket holder is given a home jersey (per seat) that has a chip in the cuff of it's sleeve. This chip gives you 25% off at the concession stands, and 35% off at the team store. It's perfect! Fans will want to wear their jerseys to the game, promoting team spirit, and it makes buying food and merchandise a lot more affordable. I would tweak this idea slightly. The jersey you get would have your last name on it (so it doesn't devalue real jerseys), and the chip would be on your shoulder inside of a patch that says "Season Ticket Holder (people love exclusivity)."