Home Business of Soccer The Whitecaps’ 12 per cent ticket discount — real savings or marketing gimmick?

The Whitecaps’ 12 per cent ticket discount — real savings or marketing gimmick?

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The Vancouver Whitecaps began a 12th-man promotion today, offering a 12 per cent discount on 2013 season tickets — if they are purchased within the next dozen days.

It’s a slick marketing campaign; coach Martin Rennie sits at a desk, pushing a contract towards you. He offers a pen, asking you to sign the deal.

But, even with the 12 per cent discount, does this mean that ticket prices have gone down for 2013, or is this a case of the marketing shell game, when the price goes up — and then fans are offered a discount on that new, inflated cost?

According to the Whitecaps’ own ticketing site, the cheap seats (greens) cost $329 a season ticket in 2012, while the most expensive tickets, the pitchside  seats, went for $1759 a season ticket.

For 2013? The greens are regularly priced at $349, but discounted down to $307 for the next 12 days. So, the regular price does represent a $20 increase over 2012, but the tickets are cheaper if fans act in the next 12 days. But, with Vancouver’s cost of living, is a $20 increase seen as an increase at all?

The pitchside seats? Regular price: $1950. With the discount, a season ticket will set you back $1716.Same situation as the cheap seats — more expensive regular price, but, with the discount, a better deal than 2012.

The Whitecaps does this right, no matter what you think of the regular/discount price plan: Season-ticket holders are offered first right of refusal on additional matches such as friendlies and playoffs. They aren’t forced into their packages. We remember the outcry from Toronto FC fans who were obligated to buy tickets for the 2010 MLS Cup as part of their package, which led to a backlash of no-shows. If they had been given first right of refusal, most would have bought the tickets to the big game happily, simply because the gun wasn’t being put to their head and MLS had done Toronto a solid by giving it the championship game so early into the team’s existence.

Vancouver uses the carrot, not the stick, with its fans.

But, when it comes to pricing for 2013, the 12 per cent discount is a nice marketing scheme. But, if you want to compare how much the tickets cost next year compared to 2012, we have pricing charts for both the 2012 and 2013 Whitecaps seasons, below. It really looks to be a case of buy now and pay less than 2012, buy later and pay more than 2012.

2013 prices
2012 prices

 

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