Minnesota’s Athletics Department wanted to increase ticket sales for a September 2012 football game versus Syracuse. As important as winning the game is to schools, it is equally important to ﬁll the stadium that drives revenue and enhances the fan experience. Minnesota is no different than the majority of athletics departments, which are struggling to ﬁll their football stadium each and every Saturday.
Almost 40% of event tickets go unsold each year according to a May 2012 Forbes article. These empty seats equal lost revenue, and not just from tickets, but from missed in-venue sales opportunities—everything from concessions to merchandise and more. Schools are looking for new and creative ways to move unsold inventory and compete more aggressively for the discretionary income dollar.
Temporary solutions such as Groupon charge a fee for advertising and promoting special offers. In many cases, the fee is a large percentage of the revenue generated by the sale. Organizations also incur costs, which may include extra staff, to fulﬁll these sales as purchasers arrive at the box ofﬁce to exchange their coupons for tickets. This expensive, multi-step process provides little in the way of incremental revenue and detracts from the fan experience. Organizations are also unable to capture valuable customer data, which can be utilized for future marketing initiatives. In addition, most organizations are not comfortable with “ﬁre sale” offers through these channels more than once per season. As such, schools cannot rely upon these channels to consistently move unsold seats.
AVTiki from AudienceView is a unique online sales solution for live event social ticketing. It is system agnostic so organizations do not need to be using AudienceView as their primary ticketing provider to leverage AVTiki as a distribution channel. As a standalone product, AVTiki can be used on a year-round or event-by-event basis, and for last-minute/distressed inventory sales.
For a nominal fee per ticket sold, Minnesota Athletics unleashed AVTiki and gave fans the ability to purchase last-minute tickets plus reserve seats for friends in a single Facebook transaction. Discounted pricing was a powerful incentive and AVTiki bridged the social experience of going to a game with the vast capabilities of social networking.
Real-time ecommerce data from AVTiki was captured directly in the Athletics Department’s CRM system powered by AudienceView, which incorporates ticketing, merchandise and fundraising transactions in a single database. This ensures it will be available for future sales and marketing initiatives.
For fans, the experience was positive and fun. They found the deal through an updated cover photo, which the university posted to help drive trafﬁc directly within Facebook. Feedback from fans who used AVTiki commented on the ease of use, speed of their transaction and the fact that they didn’t have to create a separate account to purchase tickets.
AVTiki is monetizing the time and energy that organizations are investing in social media programs. Among the metrics reported by Minnesota Athletics:
- 439 tickets sold via Facebook in 24 hours.
- 225 new Facebook "likes" in one day - a 43% increase over any single day in the previous 3 months.
- 2,156 page views - a 188% increase in page views over any single day in the past 3 months.
As the ﬁrst Division I program in the country to offer social ticketing and reservations, the University of Minnesota Athletics Department continues to demonstrate excellence both on the ﬁeld and behind the scenes. The success with its new online sales channel bodes well for the future and should continue to ensure that important numbers are not limited to the scoreboard. AVTiki will also continue to add to the overall experience.