Converting Millennials to Season Ticket Holders

Millennials are changing the game for marketers everywhere. They have different needs and preferences, and marketers are beginning to cater specifically to them.

You probably won’t go to Blockbuster if you’re looking for a movie to watch tonight. Instead, you’ll probably scroll through Netflix or Amazon Prime – something you subscribe to. Do you listen to your favorite songs on a CD, or do you subscribe to a streaming service like Spotify? There is a subscription service to cover almost every aspect of your lifestyle from razor blades, dog treats, clothing, even dinners. New research from leading payments processor Vantiv demonstrates the importance of subscription-based products to millennials. Ninety-two percent of millennials have active subscriptions and find subscriptions more palatable when “bombarded with an abundance of choice.”

So what does this have to do with sports? It’s time to change the way we think about the season ticket if we’re trying to attract millennials.

Cue the Season Pass

In an attempt to attract “cost-conscious and tech-forward fans,” the Atlanta Hawks introduced a Hawks Season PASS, which could be purchased using a promo code for six monthly payments of $67, or a single payment of $399. Other NBA teams and MLB teams have adopted similar mobile-centric, “fluid seat programs” with the intention of attracting the millennial audience.

The NY Jets unveiled their “Jets Boarding Pass” season ticket plan for the 2017 season, with the hope that it is “adventurous enough to appeal to millennials.” The pass includes 10 games—eight regular season and two preseason games—in varying locations around the stadium. The plan costs $725, but includes a payment plan where fans can make monthly payments. Fans might find themselves by the sidelines, or up in the nose-bleeds, but all are eligible for the Jets Rewards program.

How Does This Reach Millennials?

The season passes accomplish several things that are critical to millennials. Millennials are less likely to fork over a lump sum of money for a season ticket. As noted, millennials find the subscription-based price structure an easier decision to make. Secondly, fans can access these passes on their mobile devices. The Jets Boarding Pass is the first “all-mobile, full season pass subscription.” Unlike pre-assigned season tickets, passes grant seat assignments on game-day, which adds an element of “adventure.” Some pass structures are standing-room-only (SRO) spaces within the venue. These sections enhance the important social aspect to the millennial game-day experience.

Millennials continue to be a puzzle for marketers, no matter the field. However, the new subscription-based structures are certainly a fresh and interesting new way to reach them. It will be interesting to see if more teams continue to jump on this trend. Marketers are hopeful that this new format will help combat struggling attendance rates among this age group.

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