NCAA Partners With Groupon For Tournament Presale Targeting Value-Driven Consumers
The NCAA has partnered with Groupon to hold an “exclusive presale” this week for tickets to individual sessions of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at various locations. Full-price, upper-level tickets are being made available through the presale for First Four games in Dayton; opening weekend games in Charlotte, Columbus, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Portland; and South and East regional games in Houston and Syracuse, respectively. The NCAA selected those sites based on available inventory after several months of all-session ticket sales, which began in October, as well as market size and location. NCAA Dir of Ticketing Josh Logan said that his organization partnered with GrouponLive -- the company's live-event arm in conjunction with LiveNation -- in order to leverage its user base to reach "value-driven" consumers that might not be inclined or able to attend all of the sessions at a given venue. Logan: "Their database is a good match for consumers that we maybe weren't reaching with our other efforts for the all-session sales." He added that Groupon's call-to-action e-mails to subscribers also made Groupon an attractive partner. The presale began Monday and runs through Saturday. At presstime, the number of tickets bought through the promo range from approximately 30 for the Syracuse games to nearly 600 for Pittsburgh. Groupon and the NCAA tournament first partnered last year on last-minute, discounted ticket sales, something Logan said could occur again this year, depending on inventory closer to the start of the tournament. Groupon spokesperson Erin Yeager wrote in an e-mail that the company last year sold "thousands of tickets" over the course of three weeks. The company declined to share specific sales figures. Logan noted that several NCAA-member schools have established relationships with Groupon, as have some college football bowl games and regular-season basketball events at neutral sites.