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My team, the KC Royals, haven't been any good since the 80's. Hold on now, I don't blame you, the best decisions haven't really been made in this town to create a small market powerhouse like the Twins often are, but... unless you're going to figure out how to give us some better parity like they've discovered in the NFL (for some reason my Chiefs seem to be exempt from such luxury, but that's another post), then we've prepared a plan of action that will bring more life to teams that are on the verge of being mathematically eliminated from post-season play.
1. As soon as a team is mathematically eliminated, tickets to the remaining games are either free or $5 a pop for any available seat in the stadium. First come, first-served. Get fans in the gate, let them spend their dough on concessions and souvenirs, build loyalty.
2. Reimburse season ticket holders with concession vouchers or a discount on next season's games based on the number of "free" games that occurred. Remember, it costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. If you have a losing season (or 20), think "retention."
3. Require all of your players to sign autographs before every "free" game. Get fans to the park early, reap more from concessions. Duh. But, it also creates a personal connection between the fan and the player, an emotional connection that draws them to make the logical conclusion to come back to the park to see their new friend.
Now, when a team is on the verge of being mathematically eliminated, I realize that the home towns might actually BOO if they stave off elimination. In order to combat that good-natured ribbing...
4. Create sponsor-based incentives when the team avoids being eliminated. For instance, let's say my Royals are 18 games out of the Wild Card and 20 games out of first place in their division, with a loss, they'd be eliminated making, say, the last home games of the 17 left in the season "free." Should they WIN, then get McDonald's to give a free sundae with a ticket stub from that game to people on their way home. Or, if they WIN, then give out grab bags of all the left-over free souvenir crap that didn't get handed out during the season. This gets people to the park to see what will happen before the team is actually eliminated. It's a win-win situation for the community, either you get free crap or you can come back to the next home game for free.
FREEMIUM business model, dudes. For those that don't know, that means you give away something for free and then promote paid upgrades (like get in the park for free and then expect people to pay for concessions).
It's a HOME RUN.
B & Pops