All that Jazz! NBA Team Gives Pricing New Rhythm

New System Prices Tickets Based on Many Factors

Funny how we find out about things. I was carefully reviewing the TV channels last night as a guy is prone to do—women may have another word for this art—when I came across the closing seconds of the Utah Jazz home broadcast of their basketball game with the Cleveland Cavaliers on the NBA network. That’s when I heard this:

“Utah Jazz J-TIX: Buy Early, Get the Best Prices!”

Hmmm. That is sort of like the tagline we here at SIPA have been using the last week to promote our SIPA 2011 Conference, June 5-7 in Washington, D.C. Responding to requests from folks who say that it may be better for them to spend end-of-year dollars on a next-year event, we are offering $250 off SIPA 2011 registration if you register by New Year’s Eve.

I’m not sure if that thinking has gone into what the Jazz are doing. Here is a description from their website: “J-TIX is the demand-based pricing system of single-game tickets for Utah Jazz home games, with the prices being driven by fan demand and seat availability. Because prices are automatically adjusting to availability, demand, opponent, and day of the week, you’ll be able to find some real bargains.”

Wow. I had heard about this concept before—I believe some baseball teams charge more for, say their Yankees and Red Sox games than for other opponents or even for an exciting pitching matchup—but never to this computerized length. If we look at their grid, the cheapest lower-bowl ticket is $40.30 against the Detroit Pistons. That same ticket is $77.50 against the high-powered Boston Celtics. Then on the bottom of the page, it says: “Get the Super Steals Desktop App for best deals” and “Get the Super Steals Facebook App for best deals.” I guess they haven’t figured out what to do with Twitter yet.

Back on Aug. 7, Loren Jorgensen of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News wrote about this new system: “For the 2010-11 season, the Jazz are one of three NBA teams (the Rockets and the Hawks being the others) that will use a computer program in an attempt to quantify the value of each game and then price the tickets accordingly.” Is it any surprise that the Atlanta Hawks are one of those teams? They are owned by Bruce Levenson and Ed Peskowitz, co-founders of UCG.

The “pricing solution” software program was developed by Qcue of Austin, Texas. Jorgensen wrote that “even weather and other market conditions” factor into the price. “The price of specific seats will change, depending on the demand for that game,” Jim Olson, Jazz senior vice president of sales and marketing, told Jorgensen. “It will create a lower price for games in less demand and a higher price for games that have a higher demand…It’s a new revenue stream for us, which I think our fans are OK with knowing that we continue to put more money into keeping us a competitive team.”

So the question becomes, how does this translate to the specialized publishing industry? Does your best-selling Webinar become more expensive as the day gets closer? And likewise, does a lesser-selling one become a bargain the day before? Do certain issues of newsletters get priced differently depending on open rates or industry buzz perhaps? There is a lot to consider, but certainly the idea of taking in more money on your most popular publications and/or webinars, and then delivering good will by pricing down some other items deserves thought—and an abacus.

“The Jazz will now be able to re-price tickets in minutes as opposed to the several days it took previously,” Jorgensen wrote. “So if there are tickets remaining for a midweek game and there is a big snowstorm on the way, Jazz fans willing to brave the elements may be able to get some outstanding deals.”

For now, here at SIPA we’ll stick to Register Early and Save. (This will be our best SIPA 2011 price.) But check back with us after the next snowstorm for other stuff.

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FUN FACT OF THE DAY
The Utah Jazz are so named not for the burgeoning jazz scene in Salt Lake City (though there may indeed be one).
The New Orleans Jazz moved to Utah in 1989. Similarly, the Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

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