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The Dynamics Behind the Indians' Unpopular Ticketing Strategy

Thursday, October 23, 2014   (0 Comments)

Crain's Cleveland Business (10/12/14) Kleps, Kevin

The Cleveland Indians first deployed dynamic pricing in the middle of the 2012 baseball season on a limited basis, and it has been fully in effect during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. However, during that time the average crowd per game has fallen from 22,726 in 2011 to 18,428 in 2014. Indians president Mark Shapiro cites rainouts as a key reason for the decline, and he says the team has a three-tiered approach for tackling the challenge of eroding attendance, of which the removal of dynamic pricing is not an option. “That's something that's going to stay,” he stresses. “But I think the value proposition will be a piece of that or offer an alternative to that.” Team performance and crafting a more compelling fan experience are the first two initiatives of the Indians' strategy, while the value proposition is a blend of ticket prices, seat locations, concessions, and other variables. “We've lowered the price of our concessions over the years, we've talked about $10 bleacher seats over the years, but we still feel like we're missing some piece of the value proposition to our fan base,” Shapiro says. He says the Indians are seeking ways “to provide more strategic discounts and value propositions next season.” Harvard University professor Robert N. Stavins emphasizes the need for smart preseason pricing, while dynamic pricing should account for “unaccounted-for changes in demand.”

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