SBD/September 23, 2016/Sports Facilities and Franchises

Always On The Go: Mobile Ticketing Seen As Key Way To Reach Millennial Audience

Mize and the Braves have worked with Experience over the past several seasons
Mobile ticketing represents a key tool to engage the much-coveted millennial audience and help create the next generation of sports fans. Panelists at the ’16 AXS Ticketing Symposium said products such as ReplyBuy’s text-based ticketing, and seat upgrades and monthly ticket passes powered by Experience represent some of the leading ways the sports industry participates in emerging and powerful macroeconomic trends. “We’re very motivated and influenced by things like the shared economy and last-minute decision making,” said Braves Dir of Digital Marketing Greg Mize. The club has worked with Experience over the past several seasons on a variety of mobile efforts, many of which are powered through MLBAM’s Ballpark app. Added ReplyBuy Founder & CEO Josh Manley, “Today’s fans want instant gratification. They don’t want to jump through hoops. Simplicity is core to our product. There is no learning curve to our product.”

WHAT A PEACH: Part of the mobile ticketing discussion centered around Experience’s new pilot program for Inwego, a subscription-based product that pools together tickets to the Falcons, Braves, Hawks and numerous other Atlanta teams for a flat rate of $29 per month, per person. The concept has been described as sort of a Netflix subscription for live sports. “We’re trying to continue to innovate, and we want to take a big leaps,” said CEO Greg Foster. “The idea is about a year in the making and started with a simple question of, ‘Why can’t this be done?’" It is not yet known whether Inwego will be expanded to other market, but the company has been encouraged by the immediate consumer response in Atlanta. “We’re trying it out. We have hundreds of subscribers already, and we’re looking to learn a lot with regard to things like price sensitivity, seasonality, and churn,” Foster said. “It’s also a real test of our b-to-c capabilities.”

QUICK HITS
* More than 25% of buyers of the Braves’ monthly pass products have upgraded to better seats within the app. “That’s a big win for the team. We’re very encouraged by that conversion,” Foster said.

* On the lack of fierce competition between Experience and ReplyBuy. “We are simpatico,” Foster said of ReplyBuy. “Both Josh and I are trying to solve a similar problem.”

* On balancing the desire to send mobile alerts to fans and overdoing it. “If you’re providing value to the consumer, that’s a conversation they are willing to have, and is of high relevance to them,” Mize said.

* Coyotes Exec VP/Ticket Sales & Strategy Jeff Morander said the team's effort to sell college pass products is a "crawl, walk, run strategy.” Morander: "We’re now looking to take it to the next level, and pull more resources behind it.” He said the team is planning to use street teams at area colleges to help boost sales among area students.

* On the logistics of selling mobile-based pass products, Foster said, “Separating the bar code from the seat location is a non-trivial thing. But it’s also a powerful thing, as it opens up a whole new experience for the fan.”
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