Actually it’s a Flash Sale for A’s baseball

Well that was fast.

The A’s announced their $19.99 Ballpark Pass deal last Thursday. Today they announced that the plans will stop selling this Wednesday at 5 PM.

That’s right. Not even a week’s worth of sales. The good news is that the response has been incredible. The team already tallied 2,000 passes sold so far. The abrupt end of the sale aroused a lot of speculation, so it was worth asking what was going on.

This doesn’t shut the door on future sales. For now this group should provide a large enough sample size to understand how the passes will be used, what the demographics breakdown looks like, and what in-stadium purchases are made by pass holders. For now you’ll have 36 hours to decide, if you were on the fence.

Like many A’s promotions this year, the Ballpark Pass was rolled out later in the season, away from other promotions to give it some breathing room. After the normal winter season ticket push, the team offered digital options like the 510 Pack, which focused on field level tickets. Then the A’s opened the upper deck, which brought great excitement and fanfare but apparently not a lot of ticket sales. Because it’s such a new development, I didn’t expect gangbusters sales, at least as long as the team was mediocre.

The Ballpark Pass is different in that its aim is to provide a frictionless way to attend games. Pay once per month, decide if you want to go the day of a game, pick seats if you want using the At the Ballpark app. It’s easy and doesn’t require much planning, so combined with the bargain basement price point it should be a hit. At 2k sales so far, it most certainly is. But it’s also worth studying why the emotionally positive upper deck opening hasn’t yielded a big boost in attendance, yet the Pass is set to do just that.

The price point helps, yes. Disregard that for a moment. Is the problem more that the traditional walkup ticket sales model is dying, if not already dead? So much has happened to the entertainment sales model since the iPhone launched in 2007. The proliferation of apps has created new economies around tickets, with purveyors recognizing that ease and convenience are bigger factors than tonight’s pitching matchup or the A’s slugger pair. Last weekend I went to see a friend’s musical in a local regional theater. That mom-and-pop operation uses Walletini, an app aimed at modernizing small live theater ticketing operations. Movie theaters have been using Fandango for years. Sports events have Ticketmaster,, and a myriad of secondary market apps. The Pass cuts through all of that by making the Coliseum a sort of club where you can just show up – and not be forced to pay anything else once you’re there.

It’s a nearly egalitarian way of selling baseball to fans, except perhaps for longtime loyal season ticket holders who now have been severely undercut. I expect that if the A’s continue with the Pass, they’ll need to offer greater perks to retain those high-revenue customers in ST plans. Otherwise there will be questions about the value they’re getting. As far as marketing experiments go, the Pass operates at multiple levels. It’s trying to bring in new fans or disenchanted old fans. It’s trying a different pricing model. It’s trying to balance those new subscribers against the needs of MVP and club seat holders.

All of it put together should provide a good picture of what A’s baseball is really worth to A’s fans.


3 thoughts on “Actually it’s a Flash Sale for A’s baseball

  1. I am wondering if Season Ticket Holders consider a special entrance enough of a perk?

    What other perks do Season ticket Holders get? I haven’t been one for 5 years now, because there really isn’t any upside that I cared about. I can sit basically anywhere I want and I don’t have dead tickets to pay for.

    What other perks do you think are needed to incentivize buying a package?

  2. If it gets asses in the seats at the Coliseum, then it’s worth it.

    I suppose some of the STH’s may view this as diluting the value of the ST packages they bought, but Ballpark Pass isn’t for the lower bowl (at least I don’t think so), and doesn’t guarantee the same seat for every game.

    I think the A’s may have been a bit premature in stopping sales of the Ballpark Pass – and now they’re getting smacked around in the Twitterverse and elsewhere for the sudden – and unannounced –
    change of plan.

    Much like what’s coming out of the White House these days, this was a good idea that could have been handled far better.

  3. Not sure if they did this before, but CAL is trying a version of this:

    Only problem is that instead of the $10/game that a seat-filler should be paying, they’re asking $170 total ($28.33/game.)

    With the Bearitory Pass, enjoy the ultimate flexibility, the convenience of digital delivery, and an incredible value at an unbeatable price! On sale now for just $170, the Bearitory Pass will grant you access to all 6 Cal home games. Tickets will be delivered digitally via your mobile device 24 hours prior to kickoff, and your exact seating location will vary from game to game.

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