SBJ/February 18-24, 2013/Franchises

In Sacramento, no ‘moving sale’ on Kings seats

Sacramento Kings marketing chief Jeff David sees promotional opportunity in selling tickets for the team’s remaining 15 home games in what could be the club’s last season in California.

Make that, opportunity lost.

The Kings are proving a tough sell in what may be their last season in Sacramento.
Photo: NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
n though David and the Kings find themselves struggling to sell tickets for a team that might not be in town much longer, don’t look for any “last chance” marketing efforts from the club. Any “save our team” messages seen or heard: those aren’t coming from David’s group.

“We are in an awkward position,” said David, the Kings’ senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We cannot capitalize on ways that are the most obvious.”

The Kings await NBA approval of an agreement that would see a group led by Chris Hansen buy 65 percent of the team for $341 million and move the franchise to Seattle. The deal must be approved by the NBA’s relocation committee by March 1 and then win approval from NBA ownership, which could come at the owners’ April meeting.

While local groups rally around thoughts of keeping the Kings in Sacramento and while a local investment group looks to counter Hansen’s offer, the Kings stand silent. Already the team has taken a lockout-like approach to its season-ticket renewal efforts for next season (see story, Jan. 28-Feb. 3 issue). On the matter of selling tickets for the second half of this season, the team is similarly treading lightly.

The Kings ranked last in attendance in the 30-team NBA as of last week, averaging 13,418 fans a game.

A recent community-based “Here We Buy” effort helped drive up attendance for the team’s Feb. 9 game against Utah, bringing 16,193 fans to Sleep Train Arena, but David made sure the team was not involved in any of those outside-organized efforts. No special group-sales discounts were offered, and no television ads supporting the group’s grassroots efforts on Kings radio and television broadcasts were accepted.

David is trying to boost ticket sales with other promotions as the team plays out its remaining home games. A three-game “Beat LA” ticket package includes two home games against the Clippers and one against the Lakers. The Kings also are offering a promotion on March 4 that waives the purchase fee on tickets for coming games.

David additionally is challenged to sell five suites on a game-by-game basis, priced between $3,000 and $8,000 a night.

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