One subject that Gwynntelligence has been on top of has been the gradual dismantling of the Padres’ 21 game season ticket program. What once was a great value for devoted fans is now nothing more than a dollar siphoning burden for customers. One nugget that we’ve covered previously was the front office’s strategic decision to lockout 21 game season ticketholders from having a guaranteed All Star Game ticket. This, despite the fact that literally EVERY other All Star Game host team offered them to their 1/4 season ticketholders. Padres Chief Marketing Officer Wayne Partello stated:
So, inventory restraints on tickets was the culprit? It turns out that this was a greedy gambit by the front office to sandbag renewing 21 game package holders into upgrading to a half season package. Unfortunately for those that upgrade purely for the All Star Game, the team has reversed course with the following offer:
As you can see, the team has not only reversed course, they have made this offer BETTER than what was offered to half and full season ticketholders. To these unlucky saps, the team stated “You will receive the opportunity to purchase the same number of seats as you own with your Padres Membership.” With this new 21 game desperation offer, purchasing one seat in a 21 game package guarantees you the opportunity to buy TWO ASG strips. A good deal if you care about an exhibition game that will cost you a grand to go to.
So what does this say about the team’s sales strategy? First, it appears that All Star Game ticket sales were slow, as the team has a surplus that they are trying to liquidate before they get sold as one offs to the general public. This could be a for a variety of reasons, but the two main ones, I’d speculate, are that the team sold a lot fewer gold and platinum ticket packages than they forecast, which is not surprising after their lackluster 2015 and moribund offseason. Also, a lot of ticketholders I’ve talked to had sticker shock when they realized that their $13 seats were going to cost $400+ for an All Star Game strip. Whatever the reason, take a look at Wayne Partello’s quote above; the team obviously thought there’d be more demand for these tickets.
The incentivizing of the 21 game packages likely shows that 21 game package sales have been slow. They should be. Even with this ASG offer, the 21 game packages still lack the most critical feature of Padres season tickets: the ability to flexibly trade tickets. Without this, most value and savings are lost as soon as you are unable to attend your first game you hold a ticket to. As I’ve said before, the 21 game package is a terrible value for customers. In nearly every case, you’d be better off buying individual tickets off of Stubhub or Seatgeek.
The team took a look at their high unsold inventory of ASG tickets and made a decision that it was better to quickly get some 21 game revenue booked using the ASG tickets as a carrot, which carries more value to the team’s finances than simply selling them to the general public at face value. They could have accomplished this by only offering one ASG strip per 21 game account, but their unsold inventory is so high, they are offering the two strips hoping to further incentivize customers.
To me, I’d prefer the team made their core product, tickets, better by restoring many of the features Partello and Dee, drunk on the assumption that ASG tickets would be enough to offset the higher prices, lower value, poor customer service and awful marketing, decided to remove from the 21 game season ticket package. As it is, Dee’s strategy appears to have been a total failure as the team attempts to find some, really ANY, added value they can get out of their large unsold inventory of All Star Game tickets. I feel sorry for those that were swindled by the Padres into upgrading to a half season package expressly for the All Star Game ticket access.