SBD/Issue 36/Franchises

AFL Rattlers Will Refund Season-Ticket Costs If No Playoffs In '08

If the AFL Arizona Rattlers fail to make the playoffs next season, the team will fully refund all season-ticket holders the entirety of their ticket costs (Rattlers). Rattlers Managing Partner Brett Bouchy said that the team "won't go out of business if this fails," and he is promoting the promise on ESPN and in SI. Bouchy, who this summer bought 60% of majority ownership from Bobby Hernreich, said, "We're fully prepared to fund the losses. If, in fact, it does happen, I don't think it's a terrible thing. How bad would it be? It's essentially a year. We hope to bring people back to buy season tickets for next year." The Rattlers had a 4-12 record in '07, the second-worst record in the AFL. The Rattlers' season-ticket base for the '07 season was about 5,500, but Bouchy said that he "expects that number to grow this season" to between 8,000-10,000. The average ticket for a Rattlers home game is about $29. Bouchy, who has not taken out an insurance policy on the promise, said that "the team could lose [$2-5M] in season-ticket sales" if the team fails to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Bouchy plans to install a VIP section in the front row at the 25-yard line at US Airways Center, relocating the bench to the corner of the field (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 10/31). Bouchy said, "One of the things that we battle here in Arizona is relevance. I think you have to do something to earn back the confidence of the fans and show them you are committed to winning. ... This may hurt us in the short term but I think it will really help in the long term" (EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE, 10/31).

OTHER PROMISES: The NHL Rangers promised to lower ticket prices 10% if the team missed the '04 playoffs.  The NHL Panthers guaranteed full season-ticket holders a credit on their '03-04 renewals if the club missed the '03 playoffs. The Predators raised ticket prices an average of $6 prior to the '02-03 season, but Owner Craig Leipold said that the team would refund the difference if the team missed the '03 playoffs. The Hawks in '02 promised to give each full season-ticket holder $125 if the team missed the postseason.  In each case, the team did in fact fail to qualify for the postseason (THE DAILY).

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