Pistons Overhaul Sales Approach, Focused Placed On Building Value Into Ticket Plans
The Pistons are "overhauling their approach to filling the seats at The Palace of Auburn Hills," according to Dale Buss in a special to the DETROIT NEWS. Palace Sports & Entertainment officials said that the "days of free tickets and corporate-suite discounts, which bulked up crowds but did little for revenues, are gone." The focus is on building "value into ticket purchases through packages that include extra discounts, memorabilia and 'experiences' that aren't available to secondary ticket buyers." They also are "adjusting game prices, based on demand." The idea is to "increase revenues while hoping the team's performance improves enough to attract more fans." Pistons VP/PR Kevin Grigg said that the team's "season-ticket base is 'steadily climbing' despite a substantial drop-off during the past three seasons." Palace officials under previous owner Bill Davidson "favored lots of free and cut-rate tickets, including discounting corporate suites, when the team wasn't a playoff contender." Palace Sports & Entertainment President & CEO Dennis Mannion said, "We still give out free tickets, but mainly strategically, to those who help other people. There's a dramatic difference between the way business had been done and the way we're doing it now, and one aspect of that is a lot fewer free tickets." To compete with the "rise of StubHub.com and other websites," the Palace launched its "own secondary-market site via Ticketmaster Exchange." Management also decided to "promote more types of multiple-game packages and provide amenities that fans can't get through StubHub." Mannion said that the team's new management also is "building 'full-season associations' with season-ticket buyers and suite holders." He added that instead of focusing on "getting a corporate customer to buy a full suite for all concerts and games, Palace representatives give a client the flexibility to buy 'a mix of suites, courtside and club tickets.'" Mannion said that it "gives clients a different experience" (DETROIT NEWS, 1/11).