The puck will drop on a new Thrashers season in just under two months now, but there are already many in Thrasherville who are already hard at work preparing for this the eleventh NHL campaign. Among those already in mid-season form is the team’s ticket sales department.
One of the new features that has been rolled out recently is the Thrashers Flex Plan in which fans can not only purchase partial season ticket packages, but they can pick and choose the games they want to attend. It’s a plan that Thrashers VP Ticket Sales and Service Kyle Brunson believes will be very popular with the team’s fan base, especially given the fact that it was they who helped formulate the idea.
“Overwhelmingly we heard fans wanted to choose their own plans”, Kyle told me recently. “They didn’t want us to say ‘Here’s your seven games option, here’s your thirteen-game option’. So we listened and decided to give them the choice.”
The new Flex Plan has been available for a couple of weeks now, but already it’s been well received in Thrasherville. Part of the appeal is not only the flexibility of games…but also the fact that fans can also watch from different locations if they so choose.
“We truly are flexible,” Brunson continued. “We allow people to choose any game on the schedule, no limitations. We also allow people to try out different seat locations. Most people prefer a specific seat location and they want to stick with it. But the option is there for those who might like to enjoy games from various vantage points.”
“If you have a special night where you wanted to upgrade or you wanted to go upstairs one night, you can do that. You can mix it up. We are as flexible as we can be about this.”
Flexibility is one thing, of course, but price and value is what drives sales. This is why Kyle explained to me why they’ve added other built-in extras with the Flex Plan.
As far as cost is concerned, it depends on how many games and where you buy your tickets of course, “but the savings start at 15%…and that does not include the money saved from any ancillary ticket fees.” While the savings don’t match those of a season ticket package, they’re far better than buying tickets on a single game basis.
And then there are the Home Depot gift cards that are added to help sweeten the deal. “We give you a $25 card with 6 to 10 games purchased then it goes to $50 gift cards for 11 to 14 games, $75 for 15 to 19 games and then a $100 gift card with 20 games plus.”
For those who traditionally purchase multiple tickets for each game attended, the gift card levels add up per ticket purchase. For example, if you buy four tickets for six games, that’s 24 total tickets so you would be eligible for the $100 gift card.
According to Kyle, the games that are selling the most in their Flex Plans are…in order… the Capitals on opening night, Chicago Blackhawks on November 6, Penguins on April 10, New Jersey Devils on December 18, the New York Rangers on January 22, Philadelphia Flyers on January 14 and the Penguins on November 13. The Red Wings are the eighth highest selling game so far…they come into Philips on Thanksgiving Eve.
After that are Vancouver, Carolina and Buffalo in total sales.
Improvements on the Thrashers ticket plans are one thing, but Brunson also keeps in mind their most loyal of customers…the full season ticket holders.
“We’ve been working on the season ticket holder pricing and value for the longest period of time. Everything starts there. Full season ticket holders have the best value, that’s the best way to experience Atlanta Thrashers hockey…both from a price standpoint and from a benefits standpoint.”
Yes, it can sometimes be a bit of a balancing act between honoring STHs and creating new incentives to attract more customers. But it’s something Brunson says the organization takes very seriously and they are committed to securing the best value and greatest incentives for full season ticket holders.
“Season ticket holders are the lifeblood and so we want to have the most value there. And not just with price, but also with additional benefits like ticket banks, exchange nights and invites to exclusive events.”
Kyle told me that the Thrashers ticketing and service department intend fully to keep the full season ticket holders and their feelings in mind while at the same time exploring all options to attract more fans.
“We have season ticket holders located throughout every price level in the building, and we want to honor their value and their commitment.” So the organization is ever mindful of these valued fans when ideas are placed upon the table for discussion. “We never want to do something that gives an appearance of undercutting those loyal customers. But generally speaking, when it comes to college students or military personnel, most everyone universally understands it makes sense to give unique deals to those individuals.”
“So it starts with full season ticket holders, flex plans are kind of the next level of value and then obviously on the single game side we’re going to continue to develop promotions that target families, college students and military personnel.”
“And on the single game side of things, everything is in ‘full discussion mode’…we’re engaging with sponsors and looking to roll out additional promos. We will continue to do things like Chick-Fil-A Family nights again and it’s our intention to do that that for as many games as we can.”
And as stated above, they are also committed to college and military discounts as well.
There are other ideas in the works as well that the Thrashers look to announce in the coming days before the puck drops on the 2010-11 season.
If you are interested in learning more about the Thrashers Flex Plan, you can phone 866-715-1500 or go to the Thrashers web site found here.