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Volume 23 No. 14

Franchises

This dunk’s on us: More than 20,000 people have signed up for the ticket giveaway, providing the team an expanded group of prospects.
Photo: nbae / getty images
This dunk’s on us: More than 20,000 people have signed up for the ticket giveaway, providing the team an expanded group of prospects.
Photo: nbae / getty images
This dunk’s on us: More than 20,000 people have signed up for the ticket giveaway, providing the team an expanded group of prospects.
Photo: nbae / getty images

For the Minnesota Timberwolves, birthdays mean business.

The team is rolling out a new “Birthday Club” promotion that offers fans two free tickets on their birthday during the upcoming season. The strategy aims to attract legions of new fans to the recently renovated Target Center while providing the Timberwolves with invaluable customer data and tens of thousands of new sales leads in the drive to boost attendance. Last year, the team had an average attendance of 15,306, ranking 28th out the NBA’s 30 teams.

While other teams may offer ticket and merchandise discounts to fans as part of birthday-related promotions, NBA and Wolves executives said they are not aware of any team in the past offering that specific ticket giveaway promotion.

“The primary objective is to get fans into the building and experience Wolves basketball,” said Mike Grahl, the team’s chief marketing officer. “But from a business perspective, it is about capturing valuable information on our fans and building out communication to those fans and getting them to a higher level.”

The program calls for everyone who enrolls in the “Birthday Club” within a 150-mile radius of the Target Center to receive an email from the team on their birthday with a code to redeem for two free tickets and a 25% merchandise discount at timberwolvesteamstore.com.The footprint includes western Wisconsin, northern Iowa and parts of the Dakotas. The entire state of Minnesota is also eligible.

So far, about 20,000 people have signed up for the program. Team marketers want to increase the number of fans going to the Target Center to sample the experience so they can make the most of marketing directly to these potential new customers. To qualify, fans must submit their name, address, email and date of birth.

Fans can choose two free upper-level tickets to one of the team’s home games during their birthday month or the month afterward. Fans who sign up with birthdays in the offseason months of April through September will still receive an email code to choose from home games in October, November and December. The tickets are delivered through the team’s mobile app and ticket resales are not allowed as part of the program.

The team tested the program at the recent Minnesota State Fair, which ran from August through Labor Day, and the strong response caused executives to roll out the program indefinitely. The Wolves have the inventory to provide the ticket giveaway, considering that their season-ticket base is under 10,000.

The team has not yet set limits on the number of free tickets to be offered, though availability may be limited for specific games.

“We will see it through this season,” Grahl said. “We want to provide value to our fans.”