How baseball clubs can increase profit margins this year


Let’s say you own or manage a professional baseball team.  Your costs for the year are relatively established at this point, but every day you play another game.  And every day, there are seats that are both empty and unsold.

This means that every time you fill that seat with a paying customer, you make money – and most of those dollars at this point go right to the bottom line.

Given this, what could a baseball team do to get more aggressive in filling those seats?

Below are some ideas.  And remember, as opposed to the opera or a play, for a ball club the revenue opportunity is as much about at-game revenue (concessions and souvenirs) as it is about the ticket.  So you can get creative about both ticket prices and cost of acquisition.  For example:

  • Want to sell more premium seats?  Get others to buy premium tickets for returning military as a “thank you” for service.  Or, get others to buy premium tickets for families of those still deployed.  It’s a great PR move, could be tax-deductible, and fills your most expensive and visible seats
  • What if premium seat buyers could go onto the field after the game?  Would you let them throw a few pitches from the bullpen?  Have the team photographer take pictures of them in the dugout?  High perceived value in these low-cost incentives.
  • How many teams have established and coordinated relationships with hotels, car services, restaurants and concierges?  Couldn’t these travel-related services be more actively recommending a trip to the ballpark for both business and pleasure travelers?
  • How could you turn part of the ballpark into a singles bar?  Perhaps it’s a section or “terrace” that has plenty of good drinks but is also a gathering place for the town’s young, single and looking crowd.  Make the ballpark a place to see and be seen.
  • What about youth baseball teams and summer day camp groups?  Could you offer them a short on-field basebal clinic after the game?
  • For particular sections that don’t sell well on a regular basis, how can you get them filled more often, even with really low priced seats, so those visitors are also buying concessions and other game-day elements to drive incremental revenue?  Things like:
    • Get in free for your birthday:  Get a free upper-deck ticket for a home game during your birthday month (will get friends/family to come too)
    • Students – $1 tickets day of game w/ ID (do you think you’d make it up with college students buying a few $6 dollar beers?)
    • Active military – free ticket when the rest of the family comes too

The opportunities go on and on.  What would you recommend?