SBD/April 4, 2017/MLB Season Preview

A's, Giants Make Pitches To Millenials With Ticketing Platforms, Different Ballpark Choices

The A's and Giants beginning this season are "making a pitch for untraditional fans to drive attendance and appeal," according to Ron Leuty of the S.F. BUSINESS TIMES. The Giants will "roll out a mobile-only ticket plan for one person and a friend in April, and the A's are experimenting with social media-driven, limited-time-only flash sales of tickets, lower beer prices and food trucks with more diverse offerings than available inside" Oakland Coliseum. For the A's, whose average attendance has dipped 24% since '14, millennials-focused campaigns "might appear as an act of desperation." But the Giants, despite 31,000 season-ticket holders at AT&T Park, also are "leaving nothing to chance." Giants VP/Digital Media & Brand Development Bryan Srabian said that within months, younger consumers "could be using new apps, watching games differently or receiving video clips another way," and teams "need to keep an eye on those trends in order to keep pace." Team officials said that one of the most visible trends is "how millennials are buying tickets." The A's "experimented last year with a monthly subscription, which set a price for an entire month of home games and sent ticket bar codes to the buyer via MLB's Ballpark mobile phone app a few hours before the first pitch." The A's are "rolling out the Ballpark Pass plan again this year." The Giants also are "rolling a version of that ticketing plan: The franchise's Plus-One Pass is a "mobile-only program that would allow a buyer and a friend to meet up at the ballpark." Srabian said it will be tested with "a couple hundred passes" this month. The march toward millennials also has "given rise to various clubs at AT&T Park and the Coliseum that are aimed at the social aspect of attending games" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/30).
DIFFERENT FRANCHISE: In S.F., Ann Killion writes the A’s opened the season last night at Oakland Coliseum with a "very different vibe than they’ve had in the past." A's manager Bob Melvin said, "It does feel a little bit different. The whole process in the offseason, from committing to having a ballpark site to doing our ‘Rooted in Oakland’ commercials. There are more banners and pictures." Killion writes the A’s "finally have stopped with the woe-is-we attitude." They have "finally quit chasing" a ballpark in San Jose and, because of new league rules, have "stopped being satisfied to stuff their pockets with revenue-sharing cash." Killion: "The point is, the A’s finally are doing what their fans and some loud media types have been urging them to do for years: Stop pushing people away. Honor thy grand and glorious past" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/4). Also in S.F., Jill Tucker writes the A's are "driving their stake deeper into the community." A's President Dave Kaval said, "The fans feel and I feel we're in this together. We're just focused on the best ballpark in the country" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/4).

FOOD FROM THE FUTURE: In S.F., Justin Phillips noted the Giants last week "gave a glimpse of the food future at AT&T Park, one filled with 100 percent organic menus, ice cream sandwiches, deli and pub fare and some old-fashioned barbecue." The Organic Coup will become the first 100% certified organic vendor at AT&T Park. The menu "includes fried chicken sandwiches topped with cabbage slaw, plus tots and tenders." Popular Bay Area ice cream shop CREAM also "has a new kiosk headed to Section 130" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/30).
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