Monday, June 4, 2012

Dollars & Sense - Charlotte Bobcats Season Tickets

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. 
Back to those lowly Bobcats.  They ended up with the second pick in the upcoming NBA draft, quite a consolation prize.  With Anthony Davis sure to be off the board, Michael Jordan and the Bobcats will have to “settle” for Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Kansas’s Thomas Robinson (maybe they will go with Drexel standout Samme Givens?  I can dream, right?).  Because they will not be employing the services of the most marketable unibrow since Frida Kahlo, the Bobcats will need to find a different way to push season ticket sales. 
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. 

The Sense

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.
The gimmick may drive ticket sales in the short term.  Who can pass up buy one get one free tickets to see an NBA game, as bad as the team may be?  It remains to be seen how positive of an effect there will be because it’s simply too early.

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.
So, for the first time in Dollars & Sense history, the dollars make absolutely no sense.  No business, let alone an NBA franchise, should ever sacrifice the long term for short term gains.  That’s business 101 and that's June’s first Dollars & Sense. 

- Data came from CBS Sports.


  1. Talking about "Who can pass up buy one get free tickets..." wana get a pair? We cud def make it to a couple games, just take I-95 down the coast!....feel free to make fun of my awful joke/pun in the comments, I know, it was pretty awful.

    good stuff, Kev.

  2. Thanks man. I agree, we should do that haha. We could just sell off all the tickets and make some cash money.

    This may have been my favorite Dollars & Sense to write so far. It's not every Monday that you get a chance to have Samme Givens, Frida Kahlo, Anthony Davis, Michael Jordan, a conspiracy theory, and the worst team in NBA history all in one post.

  3. This has to be the most absurd thing I have ever heard a PROFESSIONAL sports team doing.... I think it is really embarrassing to be honest.