A Deeper Dive into Oklahoma and Oregon’s Approach to their 2021 Football Sales Timeline
The sports industry has undeniably endured adverse effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic this past year. However, with the uncertainty surrounding cancellations, reduced capacities and abnormal sports seasons, there has also been room for significant positive changes to many of the traditional practices of college football ticket sales. Two of our partners, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Oregon, have taken advantage of this unique year to revamp practices, advance timelines and allow for more transparency with fans, ultimately generating new revenue for their Athletic Departments. Please see below for details on how both of our teams have addressed their 2021 football sales timelines and procedures.
Oregon General Manager Brandon Schwartz started his career with Ticket Solutions and The University of Oregon in March 2020, on the cusp of the pandemic. This past year, Brandon and his team worked with the Ducks’ Athletic Department and decided to take a more aggressive approach to traditional ticket sales strategy, viewing their current base as their strongest leads for additional business. The additional business can come from a multitude of sources, such as upgrades, additional seats, and most importantly referrals. Over the past summer (2020), the Oregon sales team initiated a number of outbound call campaigns reaching out to current members and getting to know them more personally than would be possible with a once-yearly contact during renewals. By developing these relationships and educating their fans on potential options for the future they were able to gauge the appetite for growth in these accounts.
As the team approached their seat selection process with fans in February 2021, they put their current base that was looking to add into two different buckets: those who wanted additional seats somewhere in the stadium and those who had a very specific request. The season ticket members who were looking to add anywhere in the stadium were assigned with less desirable, previously unsold seat locations and the team let them know that during the seat relocation process they were free to move the seats to any location that was available. The only rule was that they could not refund the seats once they added them on. For accounts with a specific request, our team mapped out their specific time to relocate seats and proactively reached out to those accounts with options that they had requested. In many cases, by the time our team reached out during the member’s “selection time”, it was just simply to get their approval to run payment.
Our team took a very similar approach with their prospective buyers as well. They encouraged purchasing ahead of time and then “relocating” their seat as the best option. Ultimately, this strategy has created additional revenue for Oregon’s athletic department and generated over 1,00 new season tickets prior to the end of the February.
Similar to our team and partners at Oregon, our team at the University of Oklahoma took a new approach to their 2021 football ticket sales. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Oklahoma sales team has been extremely transparent in communications with their Sooner fanbase regarding purchasing tickets, possible refunds and various options that were offered to fans. As previously highlighted in our Ticket Talk Newsletter, the Sooners advanced their sales timelines and went on sale seven months earlier than usual for the upcoming 2021 football season.
With this advanced sales timeline, they made a few other changes to their normal football sales process. Due to capacity restrictions for the 2020 football season, Oklahoma put a limit on the number of current season ticket holders that could elect to attend Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium for the 2020 season. As a result of this capacity restriction and the uncertainty at the time, the sales team could not walk season ticket holders through an ordinary seat selection process for the 2020 season. Instead, in the summer of 2020, the sales team aggressively elected to begin the 2021 season seat selection process for their current accounts. This process was extremely effective due to the fact that the sales staff had their 2020 seat inventory ready for 2021 seat selection allowing ticket holders to choose or relocate to specific seats. Although this was quite far in advance, it was met with overwhelmingly positive feedback from their fanbase. Not only was this an effective way to retain season ticket holders despite uncertainty but the sales team also brought in roughly 500-700 new seats due to the seat location clarity during the fall of 2020. The 2021 accounts that chose their seats last summer will go through the traditional relocation/upgrade process next month. The new purchasers will go through the same process.
Our Sooner sales team has found great success with the changes they made to combat the uncertainty of the past year, allowing them to bring in additional new buyers during a longer window of time. They hope to continue this enhanced timeline and process in future years.