SBD/Issue 163/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Sprint Gives Customers Free Tix To All-Star Race, Pit Crew Event

Sprint Giving Customers Free Tickets
To All-Star Race At Lowe's Motor Speedway
Sprint bought 20,000 tickets to Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race and 10,500 tickets to tomorrow's Pit Crew Challenge and "made them available to Sprint subscribers who claimed them from the company's Web site" as part of its Customer Celebration Week, according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The 20,000 tickets "represent the largest single order" of tickets to an event at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS). Sprint did not know exactly how many people took up the offer for the two events, but officials "believe it's between 5,000 and 10,000." Sprint Dir of Sports Marketing Steve Gaffney: "This is the biggest thing we've ever done for our customers. We have customer rewards, but we've never done anything on this scale." Smith writes the deal is "part of an effort to upgrade Sprint's reputation for customer service at retail and through billing and customer-care calls." The total cost for Sprint was not released, but the race tickets cost $40 each and the Pit Crew tickets were $10 apiece. However, LMS officials said that Sprint "was given a volume discount." The Pit Crew Challenge is in its third year at Time Warner Cable Arena and "typically draws about 5,000 to 6,000 fans," but Sprint's ticket buy "could lead to the first sellout of the 15,000 available seats." Sprint will have branded areas at each venue where customers can pick up their tickets. Gaffney said that if the promo is successful, a "similar model could be applied to Sprint's NFL sponsorship on a lesser scale." October is the company's customer appreciation month, and Gaffney said that Sprint might "choose a weekend for a customer celebration at NFL games" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/12 issue). Sprint also offered subs 1,000 "behind-the-scenes tours" of the HQs of Michael Waltrip Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. Gaffney said that "internal research and measurements attribute 1 million of its 54 million subscribers to the NASCAR sponsorship." Gaffney said of the promotion, "When you think of customer service, no one's really good at it. We needed a way to show that's changing. One of the ways you do that is you surprise the customer and give them access to something they really want" (Erik Spanberg, CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/9 issue).

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