As NFL teams try to lure more people to stadiums (as long as they leave their Indiana Jones/Joy Behar satchels at home), the Chargers have discovered a creative new wrinkle.
According to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego (via SportsBusiness Daily), the Chargers will open practice on Monday to season-ticket holders only. The goal, obviously, is to get more people to buy season tickets.
“We’ve had a lot of new sales,” CEO A.G. Spanos said. “Renewals are not where we’d like it to do be. . . . We have over 1,000 more new [season] tickets sold than at the same point last year. New sales-wise, year over year, we’re much better. Percentage-wise on renewals, we’re about the same, but we started with a smaller base. That’s what the problem is. We’ve got to get our renewal percentage higher.”
It’s unclear whether giving season-ticket holders exclusive access to a training-camp practice will be enough to push fence-sitters toward buying tickets. It is clear, however, that limiting access to paying customers won’t give the Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs, or any other team the ability to buy a season ticket and scout practice.
Early in Daniel Snyder’s tenure as owner of the Redskins, the team decided to charge a fee for training camp access. Which allowed other teams to send employees to pay the fee, watch practice, and take notes. Which resulted in a quick decision to quit charging for training camp access.
But the Chargers’ approach won’t give other teams an opportunity to show up for practice. “We would not consider that charging admission to a training camp practice,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells PFT via email.
Look for more teams to use this approach, then. Especially those teams that don’t have lengthy waiting lists for the ability to buy season tickets.