To develop a pricing strategy for Nor’easter’s new season in Springfield, Larry Buckingham, the marketing director, relied on existing data from the League Sports Association and his own survey.
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The Association’s 2005 research examined the entire league market, making the data unreliable for drawing conclusions about the city’s minor league clientele. In light of this, Larry decided to conduct a survey to generate data for a better analysis of the market.
In designing the survey, he consulted other minor league managers to learn their revenue generation models. Such information would help him formulate relevant questions for the survey. A preliminary test of the survey was conducted to evaluate how well the respondents understood the questions.
Larry acquired the contacts of the residents from city’s national census and four firms. He mailed 10,000 survey questionnaires to a sample of the residents of which 625 responded. Since the survey focused on the minor league, Larry believed that its findings were representative of the market and thus, reliable.
The research survey yielded multiple key findings. First, 21% of the fans attending Nor’easter’s match would opt for a one-game payment model while 11% will prefer a five-game package. Secondly, 31% of the fans would pay $10 compared to 27% and 22% who would pay $12 and $14, respectively, for single tickets.
From these findings, Larry learnt that a large majority (highest percentage) of fans could pay more than $10 to watch one game, which implied that he could set a price higher than $10 for single tickets. For the 5-game tickets, respondents indicated that they could purchase them at a maximum price of $12.
Additionally, grandstand seats were preferred over bleacher ones, with a significant proportion (48%) willing to give an extra 10% to use them. The survey also revealed that 66% of the residents lived with young children.
In designing an effective pricing policy for the team, Larry must consider a number of factors. First, Nor’easter should sell a minimum of 300 full-season tickets to avoid exiting the Springfield market as the Falcons did. As the survey results indicated, most fans do not like purchasing full-season tickets.
Another consideration relates to the median income of the locals, which stands at $31,000. This lower income makes them thrift spenders. However, the city is growing as more firms and financial institutions come in. Moreover, Nor’easter should consider ads and concessions as potential revenue sources.
Larry should also consider the owner’s requirement that the team breaks even within a year.
In view of these considerations, an ideal ticket-pricing plan should favor grandstand over bleacher seats because 48% of those interviewed reported that they could pay an extra 10% for them.
In addition, as most residents could purchase 5-game tickets at a price range of $10 and $12, Larry should price them at $12 for the favorite seats and $10 for the less preferred ones. Considering the consumer interest in grandstand seats, this dual approach will enable Nor’easter to make a profit by targeting both client groups.
Similarly, the organization should price full-season tickets and 20-game tickets at $6 and $10, respectively, as more people can pay $8-$10 for the former and $4-$8 for the latter. For the single tickets, a price of $12 and $14 for the bleacher and grandstand areas would be reasonable.
Given the pricing plan stated above, the likelihood of the team breaking even within a year from the ticket revenues alone is slim. If it can sell above 75% of the tickets of each match, it may break even within that period. However, if ticket sales in each match are less than 75%, Nor’easter will need concession revenue to reach the break-even point.
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One approach Nor’easter can use to break even within a short duration is promoting the games to families. This segment spends more and visits sporting events regularly. Larry can also form partnerships with local enterprises to sell discounted group tickets to their staff.