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Dynamic Ticket Pricing: Does it work for Football Clubs?

Dynamic Ticket Pricing: Does it work for Football Clubs?

Dynamic ticket pricing is nothing new. Airlines and hotels have been using this method for years. For example, the passenger who buys his ticket months in advance pays considerably less than the traveller who books his ticket the day before departure. Partly because of this, flying is now accessible to a larger audience. But of course a varying demand is not exclusive to the hotel and aviation industry. As more Football Clubs digitize their sales channels, the opportunities for using dynamic pricing grow and Football Clubs can also benefit from this method. It helps to increase the margin on tickets for popular matches and the number of unsold tickets for less popular matches are decreasing considerably.

 

For some reason the Football market has been slow to embrace dynamic ticket pricing. Why not adjust ticket sales prices to variable factors such as the team’s form, the opposition, day of the week, attractiveness of the match, competition, the weather and time of the year?

 

 

Especially in the Dutch Eredivisie, many clubs have trouble filling the stands, but none of the clubs work with dynamic ticket pricing. At the moment, only AFC Ajax sells out the stadium every single home match, but their success on the pitch last season had a big influence on that. There’s no trouble filling the stands, so there’s no urgency to work with dynamic prices but it could help to increase match day revenue and profit margins.

 

Vitesse Arnhem has to deal with a completely different situation. The challenge of increasing attendance has led to an experiment with Convious, an AI driven sales funnel tool. Ticket prices were based on several data sources and the willingness of fans to pay. The allocation of seats was done by the club so fans didn’t know their exact place in the stadium in advance.

 

The results of the pilot were very interesting:  

 

  • Almost 52% of ticket buyers didn’t plan to visit a match but were attracted by the personal offer they could take.
  • 86% were very satisfied about the ticket price they paid
  • 54% percent mentioned that an attractive price was the biggest motivation to purchase a ticket
  • 66% preferred other seats in advance, but afterwards 78% were very satisfied about the seats they were assigned to.
  • A decrease of 7% of the average accepted dynamic ticket prices, would have led to an increase of 48% in total revenue.

 

Based on these insights, fans seem to be very enthusiastic about dynamic and personal ticket prices, and for Football Clubs it could be helpful to fill empty stands through seating management and increased ticket sales revenue. So why shouldn't any Football Club move forward on this?

 

The downside is that especially Season Ticket Holders may feel ripped off. It can discourage the most important fans from making a long-term commitment to the football club as fans can cherry pick their matches at a lower price.

 

Dynamic Ticket Pricing could definitely help in order to increase attendance and improve revenue management of single ticket sales, but clubs have to find a solution in order to protect the season ticket holder. It all starts with transparent communication to the most loyal fans and putting limits on how dynamic prices can go up or down.

 

Writer Profile

 

Name: Johan Rietveld

Position: Manager Ticket Sales, Merchandise & E-Commerce

Company: Vitesse Arnhem F.C / Owner See Agency

Johan has worked for AFC Ajax for almost 8 years, was member of the commercial management team and used to be responsible for event and project management, data driven marketing and brand activations.

Johan is an experienced senior level sports marketing professional with almost 15 years’ experience of B to B and  B to C Sales, Sponsorship and Event Marketing in the field of football. Johan is currently responsible for Ticketing and Merchandise sales, Fan Service and Marketing for Vitesse Arnhem and works as a freelance consultant.