NFL teams including the Indianapolis Colts are desperate to keep filling seats with season ticket buyers. Amid rising fear that ever-improving big-screen televisions and surround-sound speaker systems could make it more appealing to stay at home to watch games, NFL officials this month announced a new perks program for season ticket holders.
The Membership Club, as it has been termed by the NFL, is the first time a league-wide perks program has been rolled out. It is designed to add incentive to the nearly 1 million season ticket holders for the 32 teams to keep paying for those 10 tickets each year.
Season ticket sales are key for all NFL teams not only because it’s a vital revenue stream and the league is bent on playing before sellout crowds, but also because it’s a lot cheaper to sell season tickets than to fill the stadium by selling single-game tickets.
The name of the new perks program is meant to coincide with the league’s initiative to get teams to start calling season ticket holders season ticket “members.” The term, the officials said, is meant to convey that buying a season ticket carries more exclusive perks than merely game admittance.
NFL executives promised that the three major perks offered to season ticket holders this year is just the beginning and that new perks will be rolled out at the beginning of each season.
The first major perk rolled out to season ticket holders just before the season kicked off is free RedZone access on any cell phone. Red Zone is the NFL’s popular live look-in channel that darts around to all the games to bring viewers the best opportunity to see scoring plays.
Brian Lafemina, the NFL’s vice president of club business development, pointed out that season ticket holders will have access to RedZone even if they use a cell phone service other than league sponsor Verizon, which currently has exclusive rights to show RedZone via mobile devices.
The RedZone access could address one of the main complaints of season ticket holders for the Colts and other teams—that they miss all the other NFL action while attending home games, in the case of Colts fans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Lafemina added that season ticket holders will have access to RedZone on their cell phones even when they’re not at a game or in the stadium.
The NFL is also offering its video game-loving ticket buyers something to get excited about. Season ticket holders who buy the EA Sports Madden football game will be offered a free download giving access to additional players and teams. EA officials said they will offer NFL season ticket holders exclusive downloadable content.
The third component of the Membership Club this year is free or discounted access to NFL Game Rewind, the league’s digital offering that provides subscribers with online access to regular season games on demand. Normally, that subscription costs $69.99 annually.
Despite the massive popularity of the NFL, several teams have seen declining season ticket sales.
The Colts had difficulties two years ago when Peyton Manning was injured and the team’s on-field performance sank. The season ticket waiting list shrank dramatically and the team had to resort to selling single-game tickets to keep its sellout streak alive. A couple of times it was a close call.
With the emergence of quarterback Andrew Luck as a bona fide superstar, Colts season ticket sales have been greatly bolstered and team officials announced that virtually all the permanent seats at Lucas Oil Stadium are sold this year.