This year brought in another strong year for football season tickets, with over 46,000 being sold, yielding an increase in revenue of just under $1M.
LABOR DAY FLASH SALE
During the fall football season, for whatever reason we found that our football tickets for LSU were moving very slow with just two weeks before the game. We put our heads together and offered a 24-hour labor day flash sale with tickets for just $50. In 24 hours we sold 834 tickets that lead to $41,700 in revenue.
As we look towards the 2018 football season, we have launched a new an innovative method for driving sales through personalized URLs or PURLS. This method allows us to create a personalized experience for our season ticket holders as we look to gain renewals. Thus far, we are 7% ahead to this date last year. This will be covered in more depth in the “Innovation” section.
This year we saw another strong year in season ticket sales for men’s basketball, as excitement surrounded the teams future. Tickets for this year ended at over 5,000 season tickets sold, an increase of 9% in total tickets sold since Ben Howland arrived at Mississippi State.
We also worked heavily with our ticket office this season to develop men’s basketball ticket plans and strategies. Given the cheaper price and success of the women’s basketball program, we have been forced to get creative with our ticket options for the 2017-18 season. One of those options being a combo plan for Dayton and Stephen F. Austin. The reason for pairing the two games was, one fell on a Friday before a home football game and the other was a midweek game against a very good Dayton team. The offer was a $5 ticket for both games with promo code THANKS5. We moved 873 tickets with the offer resulting in $4,365 dollars in revenue.
Before SEC play we launched a flext plan for just $90. The ticket package allows you to purchase six tickets at 25% off the standard rate. You can use the tickets however you would like. If you want to use all 6 for one game or you could split it up and scan 2 for three games. It is all about the flexibility for a better price.
With the success of our women’s program, an increase in season ticket sales was expected, but as you dive into the numbers, the extent of that increase (even including an increase in price) is exciting for the program’s future. Season tickets for this year finished just under 4,000 tickets sold, an increase of nearly 30% from last season – and an increase in revenue of over $200K.
Outside of season ticket sales, we posted our first advance sell-out in program history when our women hosted South Carolina for a National Championship rematch in February. Following that game, we sold out the next three games all over a week in advance, to end the year with four straight home sellouts.
BASKETBALL: SCAN-REWARDS PROGRAM & TRANSFER PROGRAM
With tickets being sold at high numbers for Bulldog Basketball, but scan rates being down, we looked at ways to help encourage our fans to make sure their tickets were being used. Being located in a rural area, one common issue for us is non-use of tickets during basketball season, due in large part to a majority of our ticket base living more than two hours away. We enacted two plans to work towards improving these challenges.
Scan Rewards Program: We launched an innovative scan rewards program where we encouraged season ticket holders to make sure their tickets were being scanned at games – if they could not make the game, get them to someone who could use them. We implemented rewards for both non-conference and SEC play, and rewarded season ticket holders for 50%, 75%, and 90% scans during each half of the season. These rewards ranged from an on-court shootaround, to attending a post-season banquet with the team, or attending the SEC Tournament for FREE. Fans who went to 90% of all games would receive four additional Bulldog Club priority points towards next season’s purchasing. As an additional part of this, we waived all ticket transfer fees for basketball season. While total scan rates are still being calculated, an increase in overall attendance and a higher number of lower bowl seats being filled tells us this program had success in its first year. As we move forward, we will determine the rewards that were viewed as the highest benefits and look to expand upon those in the future. Throughout the season, we emailed ticket holders with a reminder of where they currently stood in the rewards program, and what it would take to reach the next tier of prizes.
TICKET TRANSFER CAMPAIGN: To help promote the use of tickets, we launched an entire awareness campaign surrounding how to transfer tickets, and how to accept transferred tickets. This campaign featured an animated video showing step-by-step on how to make this happen. We emailed this out to all season ticket holders, with weekly reminders and more targetted emails to STHs who had low scan rates. We also played this video in-venue with a PA about the importance of filling the arena, as well as on social media leading up to games.
With a new stadium set to open in 2019 for Bulldog Baseball, reserved season ticket sales were capped this season, due to not being able to accomodate our standard numbers of over 5,500. However, as we look ahead to next season, we have now sold out the entire stadium, including all premium spaces, and all reserved seats. We will launch a new sales campaign for general admission season tickets as we get closer to next season.
BLITZ (FOOTBALL & HOOPS)
As was briefly examined in the REVENUE SECTION, in order to keep up with the ever changing world of technology and a new generation of college graduates, we implemented our most technologically advanced ticketing program ever last year – BLITZ On-Demand. We partnered with Experience to unveil what has been dubbed as the first all-sport “Netflix of Ticketing” program in college athletics. We tweaked this program in 2017 and made it sport-specific, instead of an all-sport ticket, in order to provide our fans with more flexibility.
We offered a $159 ticket for football season, a discount from the standard price of $340, and yielded 471 total tickets sold, for $74K+ in revenue. For basketball, we launched a combined ticket option for $149, which included a season ticket for both men’s and women’s basketball. This option sold 44 tickets, for $6,556 in total revenue.
This program benefitted Mississippi State in a number of ways – 1) It helps us get season ticket purchasers engaged who otherwise not purchase at this current time due to pricing of the season ticket packages – these are purchasers who we can now work to move up the ladder in future seasons. 2) It helps us drive attendance to lesser attended midweek matchups by offering the package to those within the 60 mile radius.
Our Cyber Monday offer this season was geared directly towards basketball given lack of demand during the holiday period. The offer included $5 tickets for women’s basketball vs Oklahoma State on December 3rd, $1 tickets for women’s basketball vs Mississippi Valley on December 28th and men’s basketball vs North Florida on December 30th, $5 tickets for men’s basketball SEC opener against Arkansas on January 2nd. Lastly, this year we launched a gift card program that could be purchased, gifted, then redeemed for tickets to MSU sporting events that was also included in the Cyber Monday offer.
As a way to provide our fans more options for purchasing from our ticket office, and as a way of providing a ticket gifting option for fans, we launched a new Gift Card program this past December through GiveX. This allows fans to purchase custom Mississippi State Gift Cards at any value to be redeemed for ticket purchases.