Most sports organizations celebrate anniversaries with free bobble heads, special jerseys or limited edition memorabilia. The Oakland Athletics took things a step further to commemorate their 50th season playing at the Oakland Coliseum.
To celebrate, the A’s offered a free game for fans to attend on April 17 when the team played the Chicago White Sox. According to SF Gate, 46,028 fans were in attendance for the free game after registering to be considered, which should not come as a surprise for a professional level event that is free of charge to attend.
What may be more impressive than the attendance is that the A’s organization is considering another free game down the road, an A’s executive told SF Gate.
“Knowing Dave Kaval [the Athletics President], I think we’ll probably look to do this again,” said Catherine Aker, Vice President of Communications and Community. “It was a great success for us.”
Clearly, the success Aker is referring to did not stem from ticket sales, but the A’s gathered some useful data from the free experiment that may help the organization gain a better idea of the average fan it is marketing to.
People who would typically not purchase tickets to see the A’s came out in impressive numbers to join the more avid fans.The Athletics organization cited 200,000 tickets were initially requested, with an average of five to six tickets from 35,000 accounts. From those 35,000 accounts, Aker estimated that 20 to 25 percent were new users. This would open the door for future communication between the A’s and thousands of new fans, who could blossom into repeat customers or even season ticket holders.
The Athletics took a hit on potential earnings from ticket sales for one contest in order to expand and pick up a myriad of new users and potential repeat buyers. This potential could equate to thousands of hours of outreach from the inside-sales-team in the Athletics’ organization.
Instead, a few hours of a Tuesday baseball game did just the trick, which makes executives wonder if another event like this could be more beneficial.
Baseball has the most games in a season among popular U.S. sports with 162, so it is easier to take a ticket sale hit from one of those contests rather than one of the eight home games an NFL team plays.
People who would typically not purchase tickets for experienced a game for the first time and potentially engaged with A’s customer service, or even followed up in the future with the organization’s ticketing services. It is a return the A’s cannot put a value on, but will down the road.
According to SF Gate, the team has recently cut down on the number of ticket brokers selling A’s tickets, which the organization hopes will allow it to sharpen its customer service and keep a strong value for the resale market of season ticket holders.
Between this improved customer service and excitement that comes with a packed game at the ballpark, the A’s very well may have earned some new fans from this generous event.
The A’s are a mainstay in Oakland, and after celebrating their 50th anniversary at the Oakland Coliseum, it is time to give new fans a reason to come out to a game and experience America’s Pastime. Maybe that reason, once in a blue moon, could be a free ticket, and other teams may catch on as well.
Kyle Kasharian is a business major from Green, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.