The Brentford Football Club has been around since 1889 and now plays in League One. Most of their history they have labored for their loyal supporters in the second or third division. They play on a pitch scheduled for renovation after years of struggling. However given the economy, Brentford recently announced a plan for one match to give fans who are struggling and who have supported them over the years a chance to see the club, for what they can afford.
The ‘Pay What You Can’ ticket pricing plan will take place on December 22 when the club hosts Stevenage. The Bees are inviting fans to pay as much or as little as they can afford for a match ticket (with a minimum price of £1) and for every ticket sold for over £5, half of the money will be donated to the Sport Relief charity.
The promotion only covers advanced match tickets so fans will have to order them early, though it is open to adult, senior, student and junior for every seat at Griffin Park. It is a nice gesture for a club that is trying to find new ways to engage and bring casual fans out to enjoy the club as a pre-Christmas treat. Now the game is not a sellout by any means, so the club has the ability to be creative with tickets. So is there a risk? Very little. They are not giving seats away, each has a dollar value. It is an interesting promo for a match that needed a boost for supporters that probably needed one too. Nice touch Brentford.
On this side of the pond, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns are trying their own unique plan for one game. The team, mired around .500 and looking to re-engage a fan base with lots of opportunities to spend disposable income, will give fans a chance to get a no questions asked refund for their December 6 game against the Dallas Mavericks. Pretty simple. Buy a ticket in advance. Come to the game. You don’t have a good time go through the instructed process you get the dollars spent back.
Is it a risk? The Suns are always entertaining on and off the floor. They are playing another team that night that scores and people enjoy watching. It’s not the Washington Wizards. The ticketholder can’t just get the cash, he has to redeem the stub to the Suns, which requires another step in the process. So what does it do? Like Brentford, it created buzz and sends a message to fans, especially casual fans, that the team believes in its supporters and its brand. Come and try us, you don’t like it, it’s on us.
Again a team with tickets to move can take the risk. You would not see the Knicks trying a ploy because they don’t need the exposure and have the fan base that will show win or lose. The Suns are sending a message that they are quality entertainment and worth the investment. Will be interesting to see if the investment pays off not just in tickets not returned, but in sales for other games going forward, by fans who like the idea and want to give the team another look.
Tis the season of giving, both in the UK and the States.