Photo: Flick/Bess Sadler
When teams struggle to fill stadiums they often slash prices or give certain tickets away as free promotions. But should they should go even further and give every ticket away at no cost?That’s what the American Drag Racing League does. CEO Kenny Nowling tells CNBC that they charged no admission to any of their 10 races this year, but still averaged an impressive 68,000 fans per event.
(Decide for yourself if that’s true by checking out their photos.)
The ADRL relies on parking, concessions, and souvenirs to drive their revenue. They can also charge more for advertising, because they can guarantee more eyeballs to sponsors.
Major League Baseball is one of the few sports that could get away with this, because the home team doesn’t have to share gate receipts with the visiting team. However, many teams do have to share concessions and parking revenue with a city that owns (or co-owns) their stadium. Plus, they have 81 games to worry about, not 10. Oh, and multi-million-dollar salaries for their most important employees.
Baseball is also not a struggling niche sport looking for a way to spread word of mouth. They also don’t have to spam their customers to create more income.
“Those who accept tickets to ADRL events have to opt-in to receive information from the ADRL and its sponsors and must write their name and mailing address on the back of the ticket, which they hand in at the gate.
“When companies do this, they usually get less than five per cent of consumer data that turns out to be good,” Nowling said. “Because we give our tickets away for free, people feel incentivized to give accurate information. Our hit rate is better than 50 per cent.”
Something tells me a Major League Baseball team isn’t going to pay the bills with an email list.
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