Any sport organization has its own sales approach, which helps them to achieve success in the sport industry. Well-prepared sales methodologies are the most important steps to create an effective sales culture and build relationship with customers. Customers are the source of revenue, that is why focus groups of the football club should provide fans with all available merchandise and entertainment. However, modern sport organizations are focused on profit maximization, as they do not satisfy the requirements of the customers, but gouge them by merely robbing sales policy. Fortunately, sport marketing is developing year after year, and it offers sport organizations new sales approaches to provide sport customers with their needs and wants and to avoid the revenue loss.
The Atlanta Falcons is professional football club. It has hot franchises in the NFC and one of the best sport promotion and sales management. This sport organization built its selling schemes by trial and error. Its sales staff has a big experience at faulty relationships with fans and the corporate community, fees for the “privilege” of remaining on the ticket waiting lists, low attendance at matches and frustrated customers. Throughout the 1990s, Falcons had factors, which played a role in its relationship with fans. However, in 2001, Arthur Blank purchased the Falcons and employed the new concepts of benefit selling. With help of his sales philosophies, sport marketing of Atlanta Falcons is built on needs and wants of sport customers. Firstly, the team reconnected with the community and began a commitment to surveying fans. Also, they eliminated after-game entertainment, as no one wanted to hang around if the club lost. The focus groups negotiated arrangements with area parking garages to improve traffic flow, as well as they teamed up with Coca-Cola to expand the pregame activities. Finally, they installed electronic kiosks, which are convenient for fans.
The ticket-selling policy of Atlanta Falcons has good strategies that produce results. The customers can buy tickets at a reasonable price, as the organization dramatically reduced the price. There is a problem in the sport industry, like ticket scalping and fraudulent tickets. The team has the season ticket pricing structure, which helps to avoid this kind of black market. This structure has four price points, instead of two, as it used to be ($370 for lower-level seats, $240 for upper-level seats, $190 for upper-level end zone seats, and $100 for upper-deck seats). The sales department of Atlanta Falcons also introduced some flexibility to the season ticket packages. A lot of professional teams sell tickets in subscription full packages, while it is not reasonable for customers, as they usually do not attend every match. Therefore, Falcons offers a half-season package of one preseason game and four regular-season games for only $195. One more good point of their selling approach is that the Falcons are poised to sell out every home game, and have a waiting list, for which customers do not pay any fee to remain on it.
The aim of every sport organization is to full up the dome and sell as many tickets as possible. The Falcons’ ticket-selling strategy of lowering prices is established to support this notion. As any approach, it has its disadvantages, like hurting the team’s brand by making it available for everybody. In this way the brand merchandise loses its exclusive status. When the team lows prices on tickets, it has to raise prices in other parts of sport marketing (parking payment, cost of entertainment, etc.) to equalize costs on advertisements, lease, web sites, athlete’s appearance and so on.
Atlanta and its burgeoning suburbia have always been known as a city of transplants – individuals and families who have moved into the area from other parts of the country. That is why the focus groups should employ different ways to sell Falcons’ tickets to the customers. There are several ways to supply fans with tickets:
- through the organization hosting the event;
- through the official web-site (integration of the e-commerce);
- through the fan’s website;
- popularization of events in the social media (Facebook, MySpace, etc.);
- with a classified advertisement in the newspaper;
- through the hotline phone number;
- through the sponsor’s deals (presents for lottery winners);
- through the ticket office right before the event take place.
These approaches are the best solution for solving the problem of purchasing tickets for customers from other parts of the country. The payment can be done in cash or by credit card. It is convenient for both sides, for sales team and for customers. Sales sport organization, also, should has corporate support with radio stations and television channels to promote the event. This marketing approach helps to awake the customer’s interest and raise sales.
Relationship with the corporate community is a community-based partnership program, which provides support between a sport club and other companies. The main aims of integrating programs are: financial support, equipment, guests and, of course, entertainment for football fans. Members expect to get support in driving incremental revenues, far engagement and brand awareness, while they provide a strong community-based program. It is important to have such programs, as it is a key to successful communication with fans. A common way to build a program is through identification the main needs of league, team, players and fans. For example, fans suggested the Falcons teaming up with Coca-Cola to expand the pregame activities to include a larger tailgating area. This approach routinely plays good part in Falcons revenues. Some of these programs deserve mass media attention. It can be a particular clothes brand or transport service support.
When the sport organizations embrace new sales approaches in the tickets-selling, promoting projects or raising revenues they should always think not only over benefits, but also about potential long-term consequences. The focus groups should worry about customers, focus on what they want, build and maintain good relationships with them.