SBJ/March 3 - 9, 2003/This Weeks Issue

Saints’ season-tix offer scores

The New Orleans Saints have sold 4,400 season tickets since introducing a new discount package six weeks ago.

Last season, the Saints had about 40,000 season-ticket holders, which placed them in the bottom half of NFL teams measured by a season-tickets-to-seating-capacity ratio, said Arnold Fielkow, executive vice president of business affairs for the club. With a new NBA team in town as competition, and energy company Entergy the only Fortune 500 company in the region, the Saints have struggled with season tickets. So, on Jan. 15, the team responded with what it billed as a fan-friendly ticket program, including a $150 season plan.

The team's goal is to top 50,000 season tickets, a 25 percent increase from 2002.

The club is working to renew last year's season-ticket base. Historically, the Saints have experienced a 90 percent renewal rate, but because prices were frozen this year, the club hopes for a rate in the high 90s, Fielkow said.

"Our goal has been to [fill the Louisiana Superdome] and create price points to accommodate all fans at all income levels," Fielkow said.

The Superdome's capacity is 68,500, and the team has a 22-game sellout streak.

Sixty percent of the new season tickets sold were of the $150 variety. Asked whether it made economic sense for the team to sell tickets so cheaply, Fielkow said it is important to build and create relationships with fans. He said the only other team he knows of that has a cheaper season-ticket plan is the Atlanta Falcons, who sell a $100 version.

The Falcons introduced that plan last year and sold 10,000 of them, said Dick Sullivan, Falcons director of team marketing.

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