Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Committed to the Fans

**Interesting note from Art Staples article on same subject. Ranger tix going up 23% and Knicks up 49%. BWAAHHHAAA #EVILDOLANEMPIRE needs YOUR money.**

11:25 am: Hey gang, guess what? Doug Weight is done for the year. (Which sounds like career.) Also, Milan Jurcina left practice this morning with a tweaked right hip flexor and will be evaluated later. And Bruno Gervais is still out.

7 am:The Islanders announced their new full season ticket pricing for 2011-2012 and at first glance, it may seem a little daunting. Pricing tiers went from the 13 tiers to a whopping 23 with more descriptive names to help fans chose the experience they are looking for.

When I asked Senior Vice President Michael Picker how this new pricing came about, he told me they spoke to the fans -- and listened. “We spoke to season subscribers, to potential subscribers and debated it internally. We basically looked at the whole bowl in a different way. Not only from a pricing standpoint but in a way to break down price levels.”

Looking at the bright, color-coded graph compared to last year’s graph, it is obvious that much of the arena seating will see significant discounts. However, it is true that not ALL the seats have been discounted.

“Nobody sees a price INCREASE, while over 60% will see an actual price DECREASE and almost 80% of the renewing people will see a financial benefit.” One of those benefits would be free or discounted parking which could be as much as $1,050.

If you look across the league, you’ll see ticket pricing varies greatly from club to club. I wondered if the League has any say in pricing. Nope. Each club is on their own and sets their own pricing based on their particular market. That being said -- remember where you live.

Also, don’t go looking for the fine print that says “These prices valid only until April 30th.” You can pay in full or opt for the four payments due May 16th, June 15th, August 1st and finally September 1st.

Partial plans will be available but cannot be determined until the League releases next season’s schedule. We’ll have to wait and see what sort of price breaks there will be with those. But the most interesting item about pricing is in the Group Sales division.

The Islanders have a very strong group sales department and while the dates haven’t been announced yet, we will see some group sales seating going for as little as $12. What could be a better night out for a large group than being able to see an Islander game and still be able to afford a few treats -- like the cupcakes. Yes, I said it. The cupcakes.

An additional perk to full-season tickets, at either the Standard or Elite level, is the return of the 15% Off discount on Islander merchandise in arena or at the Team Stores. (Just in case you want to get that new Grabner jersey.) While the Islanders may not have the same high tech gadget for STH discounts like the a proximity chip sewn into a jersey like the Tampa Bay Lightning, they’re sure to come up with something to make their STHs feel pretty special; Meet & Greets, subscriber gift, sponsor discounts. Things that many who have previously been season ticket holders remember are back. See? They did listen.

They are still listening. As you know, the Islanders are utilizing all the new social media networking devices to connect with their fans and it is working. Look for more Social Media nights and other events that will bring technology and fans together through the common thread of Islanders Hockey.

But there is something even more important than the pricing. Looking at the graphic on the new pricing page you should also notice the new promotional line tag line which seems to make the biggest statement.
“We’re committed to Long Island. We’re committed to seeing this through.”

When I asked Mr. Picker if that was a statement without actually making one, he said they are absolutely committed to Long Island. “Nassau County is still our number one choice and we’re hopeful we can work something out.” Let’s hope Nassau is committed to them.

Sadly, as we know Nassau County has no money, there are no planned renovations or upgrades to the seating areas other than scheduled maintenance.

But you have to admit, that old barn is still pretty special -- when it’s packed.

*Also, here is the link to the NYHockeyTalk episode I did with Brad Kurtzburg, Matt Sweetwood and Margaret Hurley on WGBB AM from Sunday.

No comments: