Idea To Fill Haas
I've been thinking a lot this year about the empty seats in the lower half of Haas that occurred at every game. I feel like everyone is in agreement that it is frustrating and that something should be done about it. But nothing is being done, and unless Cal tries something different, it's going to continue indefinitely. Just calling people and telling them we'd like them to use their seats isn't going to work. I hope this is one of the top items on Ashwin Puri's must get done list.
My idea is a simple one- have a Ticket Exchange run through the Calbears.com website. Season ticket holders could put their seats up for sale in realtime on the website, and for any price they want. The natural laws of supply and demand would cause, for example, the UCLA and Stanford games to be priced higher by the seller, while a Wash St game will be priced pretty low. A buyer would be able to select the exact seats he wants, pay a $2 dollar fee to Cal to cover costs, have assurances that everything is legit since it's all through the University, the buyer could either print tickets at home or have them at will call, and the seller wouldn't have to deal with any hassles or mail any tickets (their current tickets would be electronically voided when they are reissued), and the funds could be credited by Cal to the season ticket holder's account on record.
I think the SF Giants did this (I'm not sure if they still do this), and I know other Professional sports teams have some iteration of this idea.
I believe there may be a Ticket Relay already in place at Cal, but the problem is that a season ticket holder would have to find a buyer on their own, which clearly hasn't been enough incentive to get the seats sold/filled. A Ticket Exchange would eliminate this problem by matching up buyers and sellers.
I would love for someone to poke holes in this idea and tell me why this isn't smart or can't happen. The only thing I can think of is that Stubhub is a sponsor, and they decreed it illegal for Cal to do this since it would be competing? I would normally be fine with Stubhub providing this service, BUT IT'S NOT WORKING. The lower seats are clearly not being sold/bought, so the Stubhub angle is a failure. I think the combination of Stubhub being a 3rd party website that people perhaps don't 100% trust or don't know about, the high fees it charges (15% and 10% for buyers and sellers?), and the hassle of mailing tickets instead of Cal handling everything has made it hard to make this a solution.
If the Stubhub advertising dollars is the reason Cal doesn't have a Ticket Exchange, I'd like to know how much is the actual dollar amount we are saving in order to sell our soul and have a half empty arena. It is silly that night after night the best seats in the house are empty, and I want to find a tangible solution. Just coming up with reasons why we can't try a particular idea is not the way to solve problems. We need to come up with a solution and then work through all the problems that are associated with it so that we can make it work.
As I see it, the Ticket Exchange is a Win-Win-Win-Win-Win. Buyers get better seats, buyers like myself would go to many more games if for a reasonable price I didn't have to sit in the rafters, sellers would gain money for unused tickets, the ATO would look like geniuses, Haas would be rocking.
I encourage people to tell me where I'm wrong. And if someone has a better solution, by all means let's hear and consider that instead.
-Frustrated Bear Who Simply Wants My Alma Mater To Be Even Better Than It Is
I have been a proponent of the Rupert Pupkin solution for years (cardboard cutouts) but so far my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.*
*I've seen cutouts show more excitement during a game than some of those chairbackers sitting front row, midcourt.
Good idea. I, too, have been frustrated with the attendance by lower level chairback ticket holders. A ticket exchange like you described can ONLY help fill the seats. Definitely can't make it worse.
One of the issues with the chairbacks is that some of these season ticket holders, quite frankly, don't give a f*ck. They are very well off and consider season tickets a "donation". They are content at not going to any games and simply don't care to give them away or sell them, so a ticket exchange wouldn't even apply to these people. These people are the real problem with attendance.
Maybe they are afraid that the unwashed masses might leave "residue" in their seats.
Originally Posted by seattlebear02
I hear you that there will always be some rich people who don't give a f*uck, and there's probably not much that can be done about that. But I find it hard to believe that the majority of chairback seat holders are in this catagory. Since on average half the chairbacks are empty for each game, even getting half of those empty seats filled would go a long way toward making Haas seem full and creating a better environment.
Originally Posted by seattlebear02
Which still begs the question, why can't we have a Ticket Exchange?
Please re-read my post. I AGREE with you. There is no reason why Sandy and the new marketing guy shouldn't make this happen.
Originally Posted by 75bear
Last edited by seattlebear02; 02-23-2012 at 10:38 AM.
True Blue Golden Bear
The AD is primarily concerned with the bottom line, and allowing access to chairbacks from their perspective would reduce the incentive of season ticket holders to donate and buy the best seat they can. If you could get a chairback for $30-40 on the secondary market for many of the better home games, you might end up spending a lot less on your season ticket.
Originally Posted by 75bear
The problem at Haas (and at Memorial Stadium too) is that right now capacity is too large to create a significant pressure on ticket prices, this is the legacy from having designed Haas back in the early 90s when Cal basketball was a very exciting and well-attended program.
True Blue Golden Bear
I agree that Haas is probably 2000 seats too large. A nice solution to the empty chairbacks issue and the capacity issue is to build luxury boxes around the top of Haas. That will provide those who want to help Cal sports a way to do so, yet allow fans who more consistently go to games to have the lower seatbacks, and provide a better environment and home court advantage.
Haas won't miss the fewer seats, Cal hoops would be the hot ticket, the Cal donars help the program, and we better help the team win.
However, I really doubt something this will ever happen.
p.s. I think those Chairback season ticket owners DO care about Cal basketball/sports, otherwise they would not be buying season tickets despite their spotty attendance. I think we should lighten up on our opinion of these people. They are helping Cal sports, not hurting them.
Originally Posted by Cal88
‘I don’t need easy, I need possible.’ Jorge Gutierrez
Cal wants $75.00 for a single chairback seat
they include an amount as a donation. As long as the pursue this policy, the seats won't sell. Casual fans buying one seat for a particular game probably won't pay that much.I understand that they want to protect the product but it might be better to just get buts in the seats.Also those single chairbacks have been in row 22 or higher which is another reason they don't sell.
Perhaps the new Ticket manager will look at how these seats sold and revise the policy , which might lend itself to a seat exchange such as you suggest.Making the ticket print at home would help since Stub Hub Charges $15.00 for overnight mail.
Corporate Sponsers who probably hold seats in the first 5 rows on the West Side probably wouldn't list the tickets. Part of their perk is holding them until the last minute so they can give them to clients etc. Cal should contact these people, advise them of how important it is to have theese seats filled.Play on how much they support Cal and do they really want 3 empty rows at court side. I would track the seats and see which ones are always empty and then Call these people and speak to the decision maker to come to some kind of arrangement so the seats do not continue to remain empty.
I don't think it's too large. We almost sold out for the Oregons, Stanford and Arizona. Most years UCLA is a big draw as well.
The Athletic Department is concerned with revenues first. If a corporate sponsor or a big law firm buys a block of seats and doesn't use them then that's still fine from the AD's perspective.
Here's how I'd like to see the chairbacks filled with rabid screaming Cal fans:
Tickets are electronically scanned now and the Athletic Department can tell which seats are not being used during the games.
Let students and "Young Alumni" get on a list for free upgrades during the game. An automated email (or text or tweet) could be sent out to people 10 minutes into the game telling them which seats they've been upgraded to. (And another email sent if the ticketholders show up late and they're about to get bounced to another set of open seats.)
Chairback people normally sit in the club room and arrive atheir seats 10 minutes late. Do it at half time and you would be safe, except you would have to tell students no standing in those seats or you would **** off major donors seated there.
I don't think the AD wants to do this. If people can buy cheap center court chairbacks then they won't pay that same money for GA tickets. It's not like we're selling out Haas but not getting people to show up, there's plenty of seats available.
Also, this would **** off donor season ticket holders. Those folks pay a lot of money for their seats. If random people are buying singles at a fraction of the cost through Cal they're probably going to be pretty unhappy, at least when they do show up to games and see/experience it.
Shrinking Haas? Are we furd?
Well, one problem might be that those sales would compete with the sales of other seats, and there isn't much incentive for Cal to set up a system where two buyers buy the same seat but Cal only gets paid once. They had a system a while back where season ticket holders could donate their seats back to the University and take a tax writeoff, and Cal made them available for sale. If they weren't sold, I believe they donated them to charitable organizations or something. In any event, that system meant that Cal got paid on the transaction with the second buyer.
Originally Posted by 75bear
The Giants's system is really just a partnership with StubHub that allows folks to unload some of the 81 high priced tickets they buy. Because Giants seatsare always in demand these days, it makes more sense for them.
I generally agree with your proposal. I would think that we should enhance this by doing the following:
- All electronic print-at-home tickets. Makes transferring easier.
- Somehow limit only to season ticket holders, or to at least prioritize. Allow season ticket holders to "buy up" for a fee, and if there are tickets left over, expand to the general public for face value (not a smaller fee because that would anger donors). Putting on calbears.com does not limit this to Cal fans, though.
I believe the proposal has merit
It needs to be tweaked, obviously, but I don't see "pissing off" donors as a major drawback. Most of us (I have 4 chairbacks) contribute to Cal Athletics because we care, not just to buy tickets. We also get other perks: the Haas Club Room, preferred parking, etc. Also, it is not true that "most" of the lower West Side seats are corporate. There are very few corporations that buy tickets to college events in the Bay Area. Bob and Wally Haas and their families sit low down at center court, for instance.
I also don't agree that Haas is "too big." following are in thousands
McHale seats 14.5
Utah seats 15
Matthew Knight seats 12.8
HAAS is at 11.8
WSU is at 11.6
OSU is at 9 and Maples at 7.3, but those are the only significantly smaller arenas in the Pac-12. The issue is not Haas, it is our fanbase.