Zgoda's NBA Insider: Wolves have to sell hope to sell tickets

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Updated: March 16, 2013 - 11:15 PM

The Wolves have had a lost season. In order to sell tickets, they must sell hope that next year will be better.

hide

Nikola Pekovic appeared in a commercial with a fan as part of the ‘‘Get Closer’’ campaign to sell season tickets. Only 70 percent of season ticket holders renewed for next season.

Photo: Courtesy of the Timberwolves,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

In a season that began with so many expectations, the injury-ravaged Timberwolves are on their way to missing the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year.

Only 70 percent of their 10,000 season-ticket base has renewed for next year when the team is increasing prices after slashing them to bargain prices three years ago. And that’s with offering 10 percent back next year if the team doesn’t make this spring’s playoffs.

The Wolves recently began a “Get Closer” campaign to sell new season tickets with a series of off-beat television commercials featuring Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Andrei Kirilenko and Greg Stiemsma as well as a promise to make those buyers more a part of the family through a five-level membership program that will offer everything from viewing parties and town-hall meetings to road trips and dinner with owner Glen Taylor, based upon the buyers’ level of commitment.

Wolves President Chris Wright last week discussed the challenges of selling tickets for a team that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2004.

 

Q: Having a third of your season ticket holders not renew seems like a lot. Is it?

A: Our research said it’d be about that, given we’re increasing prices. We’re right where we thought we’d be. A lot of the seats we’re losing are in the upper level. We sold so many of those $5 seats three years ago and they went to $14.

 

Q: This question is from a guy in a newspaper industry that has given its product away for free on the Internet for years: How do you wean fans off ticket prices you cut in some cases to cheaper than a movie ticket?

A: It’s hard, but we still have 1,000 seats in the lower level for next season that are $20. There’s a piece of me that says that’s still a great buy for consumers. It’s probably one of the cheapest seats in the lower level for any NBA arena, but it is very, very difficult once you have lowered prices to take them back up to average NBA levels.

 

Q: Will you be back in the ballpark with these price increases?

A: I still think we’ll be below NBA average. This is the 15th-largest marketplace in the country and with 30 teams in our league, we should be at average. And we’re not there yet.

 

Q: You say you’re raising prices by an average of 20 percent. Do people believe that getting 10 percent back next season is a good deal?

A: In the end, it was a smart move for everybody to be in this together. The fans really believed this was a team capable of reaching the playoffs and our players and we believed we were capable. It goes back to the campaign: Get Closer means we all have a little bit of skin in the game, and we’re prepared to go down that path together.

  • related content

  • Wolves: the week ahead

    Saturday March 16, 2013

    wolves’ week aheadSunday: 6 p.m. vs. New Orleans (FSN)Monday: 7 p.m. at Memphis (FSN)Thursday: 9 p.m. at Sacramento (No TV)Friday:...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 86 4th Qtr 2:50
Miami 95
LA Clippers 111 4th Qtr 5:10
Boston 90
Dallas 61 3rd Qtr
Indiana 55
Memphis 42 3rd Qtr
San Antonio 51
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 1 2nd Prd 12:49
New Jersey 0
Chicago 1 2nd Prd
Winnipeg 0
San Jose 0 1st Prd 3:11
Pittsburgh 2
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 0 2nd Half
Real Salt Lake 1
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
UCLA 82
(5) Baylor 7:30 PM
(2) Notre Dame

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Major League Soccer be successful in Minnesota?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close