The announcement may as well have been, “With the first pick in the 2012 National Basketball Association draft, Anthony Davis will be selected by…” The Charlotte Bobcats earned themselves a 25% percent chance at the first pick in the draft after an impressively abysmal 7-59 season for the worst winning percentage (or best losing percentage, depending on how you look at things) in NBA history. Interestingly enough, the Bobcats were not able to secure the top pick because the hand of God (or the hand of David Stern if you believe in the NBA Draft Lottery conspiracy theory) handpicked the New Orleans Hornets.
Their decision? Buy season tickets for the 2012-2013 season and get season tickets free in 2013-2014. Price packages start around $540, which for two seasons worth of season tickets is a can’t-miss deal.
This practice is unheard of in professional sports. Teams never want to devalue their ticket to a point that it would be tough to return. Even though the Bobcats were, well, the worst team in the history of the entire National Basketball Association, they may have gone too far on this gimmick.
I think this is a terrible idea on the part of the Bobcats. The objective of the deal is to get butts in the seats for a team that was 25th in attendance in the league because butts in seats for free is better than no butts in seats. Although the objective is understood, execution is another story.
Issues with the buy one get one free season ticket deal arise in the long run. Essentially, people will not want to go back to paying the “normal” prices. Say MKG or Thomas Robinson are good enough to turn the Charlotte franchise around and they become a team that is in the playoff hunt for a few years. Obviously the team will not want to be running a similar type of season ticket gimmick when they should be driving ticket sales and revenue. The problem is basic consumer psychology. Why would they buy tickets for the full price when they have seen the team offer gimmicks like this before? They will simply wait until the team brings back the customer-friendly deals. Value of a Bobcats ticket may have already been at an all-time low, but they sure aren’t doing too much to dig their way out. They may have devalued their own tickets to a point of no return.
- Data came from CBS Sports.