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Charlotte Bobcats' Ticket Gamble


By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

June 8, 2012

The common rallying cry for sports teams is to make sure butts are in the seats because once a game is over, unsold inventory is lost forever. En route to the worst record in the NBA this season, the Charlotte Bobcats averaged just 14,700 fans per game, the sixth lowest total in the NBA. Desperate to sell tickets, the Bobcats announced a season-ticket plan where fans that buy seats for next season will get the 2013-14 season for free.

On the surface, this seems like a good idea. Even if people attend games for free, the theory is they’ll spend money on concessions and merchandise while at Time Warner Cable Arena. Nevertheless, the promotion is being heavily criticized for devaluing the Bobcats’ on-court product. No one is going to value you more than you, and giving away a free year’s worth of season tickets is a hit to the team’s credibility. The smart move would have been to find ways to add value to their current ticket plans, be it through special meet and greets, food and beverage discounts, or other cool experiences. Instead, Charlotte residents will perceive Bobcats tickets to be worth the same amount the team perceives them worth… nothing.




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