Discount Tickets Without Losing Value

Creating ticket promotions can be tricky so you can keep the integrity of the product intact by not giving the tickets away, but also getting new fans to test out your product.  For a fan that has never been to a game, the price you set for their first experience is the value they will always associate with it.  If you’ve read “Predictably Irrational”, you know that consumers’ buying habits don’t always make sense.  And even though I’ve read the book, I still find myself doing some of these things.

For example, I was buying a laptop bag for the first time years ago and had no idea what a fair price was.  They were out of bags when I went to the store, but the price was listed at $20.  When I went to the next store, they were selling bags for $40, which I now thought was way overpriced.  Just like that.

Women’s Basketball tickets are already affordable so I prefer to add value in an effort to sell tickets, like receiving a free gift or experience with your purchase, but if I do implement a ticket discount, you can create the right combo to keep the value intact.

1) Sponsorship: Show fans the savings is being passed on to them by a sponsor, for example, if you want to do $5 tickets, Subway is a good fit because their advertising campaign centers around the $5 footlongs.

2) Earn It: Ask fans to do something in order to receive the discount, like showing a ticket stub to a past game, Tweet a photo in their school gear, come to a community event, etc.

3) Limited Time Offer: Set a deadline so the offer isn’t ongoing to give it a sense of urgency.

4) Cheap Seats: If you’re going to make the seats less expensive, sell the cheap seats rather than premium ones.

5) Current Events: Get in the conversation of something that’s already going on, like a holiday, Black Friday, etc.

6) Routine: When creating the deal or the process for ordering, make it as easy and familiar as possible.

7) Tell People About It: If you’re going to discount tickets, find a way to make this offer stand out among everything else you’re doing.  And after you run a promotion, evaluate the success so you know how to make it even better next time or not implement it again.  Don’t discount just to discount.

Using any combo of these things can keep the integrity of the ticket.  Louisville is a great example of a recent ticket promotion that worked, and that was for selling tickets in December for games that don’t happen until March with the teams being unknown.  The Cardinals are hosting one of the regionals for the NCAA Championship and they are working hard to sell it out early.  This is how it went down:

– Advertised as the perfect stocking stuffer (5)

– Buy one, get one free, which is what most retail stores and restaurants offer over the holidays with gift certificate purchases (6)

– Fans could only purchase the tickets at the December 21st game (3)

– The game on the 21st was a huge matchup with #7 Louisville and #11 Colorado, and Coach Walz got on the microphone to encourage fans to buy tickets (7)


The result was moving 291 tickets in just a few hours.  What ticket promotions have been the most successful for your teams?  Did you implement any ticket sales over the December holidays?  What are your thoughts on discounting tickets?  Should you ever give out free tickets?

Tracie Hitz has 16 years of experience working in the sports industry, which includes college, professional, agency and association.  If you want to be a guest blogger, email her at, and join the conversation on Twitter (@TracieHitz), using #WBBmarketing throughout the year.


One thought on “Discount Tickets Without Losing Value

  1. Just this past weekend, we offered a Five for $5 promotion. I set it back in October but it ended up being a perfect storm for this last game as we were undefeated, ranked 11th, and hosting the 15th ranked Oklahoma State team. This promotion focused on our upper balcony, behind the basket seats (our least desirable). Fans could buy 5 GA tickets for a total of $5 ($1 tix essentially) but they had to be purchased in increments of 5 to receive the offer. We sold close to 1,500 tickets just for that promotion. We’re still evaluating the data, but have heard that for several people, this was the first WBB game they attended. Hurray for new buyers!

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