SBD/April 8, 2014/Franchises

Braves See Revenue Spike After Reworked TV Deal; Now Pushing Paperless Tickets

Braves season-ticket holders were charged an extra fee if they insisted on paper tickets
The Braves' revenue in '13 increased by $36M to $261M, and team Owner Liberty Media attributed the increase "primarily to changes made in the local TV deal when the Braves moved an additional 45 games to the Fox regional sports networks from Peachtree TV," according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Last year's increase follows a $17M increase in '12, and Liberty Media's SEC filings show that the Braves' operating income last year increased by $20M to $42M. While the Braves did not disclose the value of their restructured TV deal, team President John Schuerholz said that the changes "have elevated the Braves to the middle of the pack among MLB teams in local TV revenue" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/8). 

THAT'S THE TICKET: Tucker reported the Braves "for the first time are pushing their fans toward paperless entry into the ballpark via a ticket bar code downloaded on a smartphone and presented at the gate." The team "charged season-ticket buyers an extra $125 per seat this year if they insisted on booklets of paper tickets -- a fee designed to change habits." Unless they paid the extra fee, buyers "received digital tickets that can be printed from a computer or electronically transferred to an iPhone or Android device." Braves Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Derek Schiller said that scanners at "all stadium gates have been upgraded to read the bar codes on phones." He added that 80% of the Braves’ season-ticket buyers "accepted the digital tickets, saving themselves the extra fee." The Braves "benefit from the digital and mobile ticketing initiative, branded Braves FanPass, by saving on the expense of producing tickets on paper stock." The team also likes the ability to link mobile game tickets, which are similar to mobile airline tickets, to customer-loyalty programs" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/5). The Braves play their home opener today, and new to Turner Field this year is a decal on the outfield wall to "commemorate the historic homer" hit by Baseball HOFer Hank Aaron 40 years ago today, breaking Babe Ruth's all-time record. New this year outside the ballpark is a parking lot designated as a pay lot "for drivers of Hyundai vehicles only" (AJC.com, 4/5).
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