I came across an interesting story today in the Star Tribune, that talks about the Minnesota Vikings’ plan to boost their preseason ticket sales. This year, for their single-game ticket sales, if you want to buy tickets to their home games against their biggest rivals (the Bears and Packers), you can only do so with a special “two-game mini-pack”. However, these aren’t just any two games – they’re the two preseason games. Worse yet, you don’t get any discount, you basically are buying tickets to two games.
If you’ve never been to a preseason NFL game, it’s pretty much night & day when compared to a regular season game. I wouldn’t say they’re unwatchable – If you’re interested in seeing the younger players and the new talent, then they are exciting to watch. Are they worth the regular season ticket price – of course not.
As a season ticket holder, the preseason games are included in your price (of course, at full price). I usually try to give away the preseason games, and I believe I’ve once just ate the cost and haven’t gone. They’re usually at weird times (like at Thursday at 6pm), and it’s a bit of a strange atmosphere.
Still the NFL seems content in ramming these preseason games down their fans throats. It’s bad enough that the teams have 4 preseason games (2 of those being home games), but to have the audacity to charge you a full regular season price is simply highway robbery. For the Vikings to exploit their fans with this “2 pack” deal is an outrage.
If the NFL wants to drive interest an attendance to their preseason games, they need to make changes:
- Reduce the number of preseason games from 4 to 2. Many teams already pair up with another NFL team for camp scrimmages. The Broncos have done it with their JV tea—I mean the Texans- in the past.
- Reduce the prices of the tickets, make them affordable to your NFL fans that maybe can’t afford to bring their family to a regular season game. You would bring in a lot of people who are passionate and excited about being at those games, and would make it a great time to bring the kids.
- Ideally – separate the preseason tickets away from the regular tickets for the season ticket holders. I realize this likely won’t happen, but a great alternative would be to reduce the prices, then give season ticket holders the option to defer those tickets to charity. I would definitely give a 1/2 price ticket away if it meant someone from the Boys & Girls club or big-brother/big-sister could come see a game, rather than going to a game I don’t want to be at and may not even show up. This would make the season ticket holders feel good and also be a win with the community.
The NFL is by far the most successful and profitable sports league in the nation and do many things right – but they still have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to pick-pocketing their fans.