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Ken Sugiura

Thoughts on Tech season-ticket strategy

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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech’s six-game package sells for less than what it would cost to buy all six games individually. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Georgia Tech unveiled its season-ticket package Tuesday, offering a variety of benefits to add value to its plan for the six-game home schedule.

The base price is $245. It was $270 last year, which was a seven-game home schedule including the Georgia game and $249 in 2012 (seven games without Georgia, Virginia Tech or Clemson). Tech Fund contribution levels increased in five sections (Tech Terrace, CL1 & CL4, Sections 105 and 107, Section 128 and Sections 129/203U/206U/223U/227U) by an average of 6.6 percent and was reduced by 25 percent in one (Sections 223L and 227L). There’s more information here on Tech’s website.

At any rate, a few things jump out at me. One is that the package will sell at a slight discount over the face value of the tickets, which I think is smart. Like just about every athletic department and professional sports front office in the country, Tech is fighting the battle against HDTV and the flexibility of single-game tickets to retain (or attract) season-ticket holders, and just ticket buyers, period.

In a way, ticket re-sale websites like Stubhub have made the face value of a ticket maybe not meaningless, but not as meaningful as it once was. Further, Tech has also offered discounted single-game tickets and packages in the past, which I can see would be frustrating for season-ticket holders as they pay full freight for a service that is later sold for less. Selling the total six-game package for less than what it would cost to buy all six individually, though only about by 10 percent, makes sense to me.

The ticket office also came up with a clever incentive, two movie screenings to be held at Bobby Dodd Stadium in July for season-ticket holders only. Fans will be allowed to watch the movies – “Muppets Most Wanted” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” if you’re wondering – on the field. It’s a unique experience and, perhaps best of all for the athletic department, the cost is fairly negligible.

As was the case last year, season-ticket holders will also be invited to attend a preseason scrimmage in August. There’s also gifts and drawings for various prizes for fans who renew by various cutoff dates, like club passes, pregame sideline passes and the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Tech baseball game.

It’s a tough battle the ticket office is having to fight, for the reasons stated above and others. Besides the Clemson game, the schedule doesn’t have a lot of sizzle to it. Further, I’d guess expectations will be fairly low and, I get the feeling that Tech football fever is not quite a raging epidemic. I imagine the ticket sales folks would not have to be convinced to give up a movie night at Bobby Dodd in exchange for wins over Georgia and Ole Miss last season. Obviously, fun and innovative packages will help sell tickets, but nothing like a highly successful team will.

But the department has built on its efforts to add value to the season ticket, which obviously is a smart and necessary strategy. As a hypothetical ticket buyer, I’m not sure there’s one thing in the package that would make me say, “Whoa, I was on the fence, but I’ve got to buy season tickets now,” but there are some incentives I think I’d like. What do you think?

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