SBJ/February 11-17, 2013/Events and Attractions

Wells Fargo Championship selling hospitality tickets via Living Social promotion

Add the Wells Fargo Championship to the list of professional events trying to spur ticket sales through Living Social.

The May 2-5 PGA Tour event launched a Living Social promotion last week, offering a new line of hospitality for $159 on weekdays and $189 on the weekend, per ticket.

The tournament sold 120 tickets for its 16th fairway hospitality tent on the promotion’s first day.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Kym Hougham, the tournament’s director, said the first day of the promotion produced 120 tickets sold to the hospitality tent that will line the 16th fairway. The AT&T National is the only other tour event that has used Living Social to sell tickets, the tour said. The Tampa Bay Championship has used GroupOn as well.

“The goal was to reach people who aren’t coming to the golf tournament,” said Hougham, who oversees one of the tour’s premium events. A recent SportsBusiness Journal survey of tournament directors showed that the Wells Fargo Championship is one of the most admired events on tour.

“The Living Social demographic is not our demographic. It’s younger,” he said. “And we didn’t want to offer discounted tickets, so we created an experience that comes with a single-day hospitality ticket.”

The tournament has had a hospitality structure along the 16th in the past, but it’s been used for corporate events. When Hougham learned that the company in that space last year wasn’t returning, he turned to the Living Social promotion.

Each ticket is good for a lunch buffet, two alcoholic drinks, two non-alcoholic drinks, a climate-controlled tent and shaded outdoor seating along the 16th fairway, a par-4 on what’s known as the “Green Mile,” a difficult stretch of closing holes. Additional food and drink will be available for purchase.

“I was blown away by the number of members they have in the Charlotte market,” Hougham said of Living Social’s 300,000 members in the area. “I think you’re going to see more and more sporting events do this. It’s a more targeted audience that’s used to looking at these things each day, rather than just mass emails.”

Hougham said the hospitality tent’s attendance each day will be capped at 250.

“Living Social told us that sales start slow and build, but 120 the first day is a great start,” he said.

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