Would You Buy A Mushroom And Anchovy Pizza?

20 Jan 2020 5:10 AM | Steve DeLay (Administrator)

It pains me to see it – even now in 2020.

I’ll consult with teams and they’ll invariably say, “We need to sell more season tickets.  We’re not going on sale with groups or ticket packages for a few months so we can focus on season tickets.”

WWWWHHHHYYY NNNOOOTTT? I want to scream at them.  Why not have a full array of ticket products to sell every single day, all the time?

Think of all those sales calls the salesperson makes where the customer wants to buy something, just not season tickets?  They are left with saying, “I’ll give you a call back in a few months when our packages (or groups) go on sale.”  What are the odds of that prospect answering the phone again?


I love pizza.  I would eat it every day if it wouldn’t make me 400 lbs.  That’s why I like to use my favorite pizza shop as an example.

The call might go something like this:

Potential customer calling in: “I’d like to order a pizza.  I’d like pepperoni on it.

Pizza Shop: “We aren’t offering pepperoni pizza until 8pm tonight.  We’re trying to sell our mushroom and anchovy pizza instead.

Potential Customer: “Well, I don’t like mushrooms or anchovies.  In fact, I hate them.  I want pepperoni.

Pizza Shop: “What if we threw in some free breadsticks?  And a free two liter of soda and we dropped the price of the mushroom and anchovy pizza by 30%?

No longer a Potential Customer:  “No thanks.  That’s not the product I want.  I’ll spend my money somewhere else.

Now, the skeptic might say you could get a few people to bite when you include all the freebies.  Maybe.  But then, when they get their pizza – with anchovies and mushrooms – and hate it – how do you think they will feel about going back to that pizza shop ever again?


Certainly, this is crazy.  No pizza shop would ever operate this way, would they?  Of course not.

If a pizza shop wouldn’t do it, why do sports teams basically do the same thing by not selling ticket packages and groups from Day One of the selling season?  Why do teams still wait to sell ticket packages until they’ve ground up the market in hopes of selling season tickets?  A product probably 95% of their market doesn’t want?

Think of it this way. 

What’s better?  The fan buying the right product… or trying to shove season tickets down their throat?  Should teams really be bribing the fan with boatloads of expensive freebies, huge discounts or other worthless (to the buyer) perks to get them to buy a product they don’t want?


I’ve heard the arguments all before. Here are the two big ones:

1.      “We wait because customers would just buy the smaller package and we need to sell season tickets.”  -

“Nope,” I would respond.  You need to sell the right ticket product to each customer so they:

1)      Use the tickets.  If someone bought too many games or too many tickets due to a high pressure sales pitch, and then don’t use them, that empty seat crushes the in-game atmosphere.  That empty chair doesn’t cheer or make noise.

2)      Renew.  If someone bought too many games and didn’t use them, the odds of renewal are pretty slim.  Regardless of what perks and benefits you throw in, nobody is going to spend money on something they don’t use.

3)      Eat concessions.  For someone who bought too many games, they are less likely to consider the games an event and buy food and drinks and merchandise at the games.

2.      “My salespeople will just sell the smallest package because it’s easier.”

“That’s on you as the sales manager and your training,” I would shoot back.  If you train your salespeople correctly, they will make a specific recommendation that fits the prospect’s needs.  If you don’t train your salespeople, they’ll just hand over a ticket brochure and keep their fingers crossed the prospect will buy something.

There is one simple rule when it comes to Full Menu Marketing:

  • Sell the customer the product that makes the most sense for them, not the product that the team wants to sell.

Fundamentally, the product that makes the most sense for the customer should also be the product that the team wants to sell.  Unfortunately, more often than not, it isn’t the case.

As we dive in to Full Menu Marketing over the next several columns, we’ll cover:

1.      Identifying target audiences – This includes hard core fans, casual fans, social fans and businesses.

2.      Creating ticket products that fit each of your target audiences.

3.      Developing a marketing strategy to reach those target audiences.  It’s not one-size-fits-all when it comes to reaching your different audiences.

If you need some advice or feedback on your Full Menu Marketing strategy or just how to get your bosses to buy in to it, feel free to give me a call at 702-493-2661 or email me at stevedelay@theultimatetoolkit.com

NEXT COLUMN: Monday, February 3 “Who are your target audiences?”

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