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.

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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.

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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.

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Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
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Minnesota 2 Top 9th Inning
Baltimore 3
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Cleveland 1 Bottom 9th Inning
Kansas City 1
Detroit 5 Top 9th Inning
Chicago WSox 4
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Colorado 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Arizona 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 6th Inning
St. Louis 4
Los Angeles 0 Top 6th Inning
San Diego 1
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San Francisco 3
Oakland 0 Top 4th Inning
LA Angels 0
Washington 2 Bottom 4th Inning
Seattle 0
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
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Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
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Western Ky 59
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Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
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(24) Missouri 38
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(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
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(20) Kansas State 52
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(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 4th Qtr 14:05
Miss State 42
Texas-El Paso 24 3rd Qtr 1:56
New Mexico 21
North Texas 0 3rd Qtr 3:35
Texas 28
(1) Florida State 20 3rd Qtr 10:45
Oklahoma State 17
(14) Wisconsin 10 2nd Qtr 12:12
(13) LSU 7
Idaho 0 Delayed 14:50
Florida 0
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 2nd Half 5:00
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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