Golden Gophers' "Golden Ticket"—an Innovative Approach to Event Pricing

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 28 2012 12:21 PM

Golden Gophers' "Golden Ticket"—an Innovative Approach to Event Pricing

It's clear that lots of sports franchises suffer from suboptimal ticket-pricing schemes. Between games that feature many empty seats, games that sell out entirely, and the ability of scalpers to obtain profits on the secondary market, money is obviously being left on the table. The University of Minnesota is trying an interesting idea with its new Golden Ticket pricing concept that for $75 lets you attend all nine Big Ten men's basketball matchups.

But with a catch.

The catch is that if you go to a game and Minnesota loses, then your pass expires.

The idea here is that given the expected middling quality of this year's Gophers squad and the realities of home-court advantage, that there will be two kinds of games. On the one hand, exciting important matchups against high-quality opponents who may well beat the Gophers on the home court. On the other hand, boring not-very-important matchups against pushover teams. The Gopher ticket is a huge discount that should appeal to price-sensitive customers, but also strongly encourages fans to stick to addending games that there's likely to be relatively little fan interest in.

At the end of the day this is probably more convoluted than it needs to be (though of course simply being unusual can work as a marketing tactic) but it's a great example of the kind of thinking that needs to go into figuring out how to maximize the use of your arena.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.