SBJ/20100816/This Week's News

NBA clubs adopt dynamic pricing

Software firm and dynamic-pricing specialist Qcue has signed deals with three NBA teams for the coming season.

The Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz are the first pro basketball clients for Qcue, an Austin, Texas, company that already is working with the San Francisco Giants and Dallas Stars.

The agreement with Hawks parent Atlanta Spirit also includes that company’s other team: the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers.

Dynamic pricing adjusts single-game ticket prices as late as the day of the game through computer analysis of team performance, opponent, weather conditions, day of the week and gate giveaways. For the three NBA teams and the Thrashers, Qcue plans to use its technology to reset single-game ticket prices throughout their arenas, said Barry Kahn, Qcue’s CEO.

Qcue will adjust prices for the Houston Rockets,
one of three NBA teams it signed, throughout
Toyota Center.

That differs from last season’s programs for the Giants and Stars, who restricted dynamic pricing to 1,000 to 2,000 seats in the upper deck that often went unsold.

For 2010, the Giants expanded their program to cover all areas of AT&T Park where single-game tickets are available. The Stars are adding dynamic pricing to the club level at American Airlines Center for the 2010-11 season, said Geoff Moore, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the team.

Kahn said Qcue has a close relationship with the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division and that the three deals fall in line with the league’s push to get teams to more accurately price tickets to fill their buildings.

“Teams are listening to their fans and how they value games, and are adjusting prices accordingly,” said Chris Granger, the NBA’s senior vice president of team marketing and business operations.

The Rockets and the Jazz sent officials to the Bay Area to see dynamic pricing in action during Giants games, giving them a feel for how the system worked in a real-time setting, said Russ Stanley, San Francisco’s managing vice president of ticket services and client relations.

To protect their season-ticket holders, Rockets and Jazz officials said they will not allow the cost of dynamic-priced tickets to fall below season-ticket prices. The Hawks last week were not ready to talk about their deal, team officials said, because they had not notified their season-ticket holders of the move.

Staff writer John Lombardo contributed to this report.

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