Lions season-ticket prices "will increase an average" of 8.2% in '14 as they become the NFL's "first team to switch to a variable pricing system," according to John Katzenstein of the DETROIT NEWS. The new ticketing system will "assign each game to one of three pricing categories depending on the anticipated demand." The Lions' two preseason games will be "in the lowest tier and will decrease" about 70% in price. The regular season will be "divided into mid-level games and high-profile games, such as Thanksgiving or primetime games." The "more expensive 'touchdown' games" in '14 are against the Bears, Packers, Saints and either the Bills or Dolphins, "depending on which visits Detroit for Thanksgiving." The mid-level "'field goal' visitors next season" are the Vikings, Buccaneers, Giants and either the Bills or Dolphins. The average price per game "will bump to $83.36" (DETROIT NEWS, 1/28). Lions Dir of Corporate Communications Ben Manges said, "Our fans have been asking for years, ‘Hey, these preseason prices are ridiculous.’ And to be able to right-size those prices, and we’re smart enough to do it now, based on a lot of the data that we’re getting from the secondary market, it makes sense." In Detroit, Dave Birkett notes if any of the "field goal" games are scheduled for primetime, they "will be priced in the 'touchdown' tier for single-game tickets" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 1/28).
Israel-based social engagement outfit Evento has signed its first North American partnership with the Nuggets that will allow ticket buyers through Facebook to find where their friends are sitting. Using Evento’s SitNearMe platform, followers of the Nuggets’ Facebook page will be able to find where their friends are sitting and buy tickets near them while still in Facebook. Evento has previously worked with several teams in Israel and elsewhere in Europe, and intends to soon roll out the SitNearMe platform to other Kroenke Sports-owned teams including the Avalanche, MLS Rapids and NLL Colorado Mammoth. “We’re trying to make the ticket buying experience more socially friendly,” said Evento CEO & Founder Ophir Zardok. “We’re very excited to make our entry into North America.” The SitNearMe platform for now is a driver to push additional single-game ticket sales, but the Nuggets intend to eventually use it as a tool for larger purchases. Evento is working directly through the Nuggets’ primary ticketing system powered by Veritix. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the pact will be based on revenue sharing. “Evento presented an option that caught our attention due to their unique way of displaying users’ friends’ seats, the seamless purchase funnels (three clicks), and the fact they were already working with Veritix’ application programming interface,” said Nuggets Senior VP/Team Sales Che Vialpando.
In Miami, Barry Jackson writes none of the candidates who interviewed for the Dolphins GM position "has more experience scouting college players" than new GM Dennis Hickey. While Hickey has "never made the final call on draft day," he was "very much involved in the Buccaneers’ draft decisions, particularly over the past nine of his 18 years with the team." Former Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik said, "Dennis got me educated on players" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/28). Meanwhile, in West Palm Beach, Dave George writes Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross "needs to convince himself that the Dolphins are a bare-knuckled business priority and not just a down-time diversion." Ross "must be an every-day Dolphins boss" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/28).
EAT A PEACH FOR PEACE: ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure wrote the Falcons giving coach Mike Smith a one-year contract extension "is a vote of confidence from team owner Arthur Blank, although a longer extension would have been an expression of complete faith." Smith had "at least one year remaining on the three-year contract extension he signed" in February '11. He "deserved a pass" for the team's 4-12 record in '13. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, who also received a one-year extension, "probably should face the bulk of the scrutiny due to the personnel decisions that need to be made this offseason" (ESPN.com, 1/27).
ALBERT BELLE'S NOT WALKING THROUGH THAT DOOR: Indians President Mark Shapiro said there is not "one answer" for the team to improve attendance, but instead there are "a thousand little things." The Indians finished the '13 season 28th in average attendance in MLB, and Shapiro said, "We've made tremendous efforts to listen to our fans and pay attention, to try and do everything we can. But we can't afford to have any weakness in any aspect of our experience." He added, "We can't continue to look at this team and the attendance though the lens of the mid-'90s attendance" (CLEVELAND.com, 1/27).
MINNY MIRACLE? In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported the Twins' season-ticket sales "are projected to be about 17,000" in '14, with a renewal rate of 85%. Team President Dave St. Peter estimated that hosting the '14 All-Star Game kept sales "from dropping at least another couple of thousand." When the team "moved into Target Field five years ago, season-ticket sales were 25,000," but two years later they "dropped to 23,000, then 19,000" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/25).