Looking for a way to spark ticket sales and take advantage of games against the star-driven Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, the Minnesota Timberwolves are rolling out a dynamic ticket pricing model tonight, March 1, in what is the latest professional sports organization to adopt such a program.
Working with dynamic pricing specialists Qcue, the Timberwolves will apply dynamic pricing to tickets for their remaining games of the 2011 season.
Prior to the start of this season, the Timberwolves enacted a four tiered ticket pricing system, where the more popular games, against such opponents as the Lakers and the Heat, were priced higher than the less popular games. However, this switch to dynamic pricing allows for each individual game to be priced at its market value, allowing for a greater range in pricing overall, for both fans and the organization.
Dynamic pricing, which is quickly becoming the pricing option of choice throughout professional sports in the United States, allows for the price of a ticket to an event to fluctuate based on a series of variables, such as day of the week, the strength of the opponent, and the current availability of tickets. This process then allows for the final ticket price to reflect the true market value of the event. For example, a ticket to a game between the Timberwolves and the Miami Heat on a Saturday evening would be priced higher than a Tuesday evening game between the Timberwolves and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
While switching to dynamic pricing mid-season is far less popular than making an off-season switch, in this instance, the mid-season switch will have immediate advantages to both the Timberwolves and ticket buyers. For the Timberwolves, the use of dynamic pricing for their upcoming match-ups with tops teams such the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Chicago Bulls will help to increase ticket revenue. For fans, games with other teams will be more affordable than they may have been under a standard pricing model.
In terms of the implementation of the dynamic pricing system, Qcue CEO Barry Kahn told TicketNews that the entire implementation was completed within the span of two weeks – a new record for Qcue in terms of speed of implementation. According to Kahn, the average time of implementation was roughly six weeks, but thanks to the increasing popularity of dynamic pricing and through the strong relationship Qcue has developed with Ticketmaster, the implementation time has dropped dramatically.
“The Wolves Tix page, where fans may buy tickets, went live almost immediately,” Kahn said in a phone interview.
The Timberwolves now join an ever increasing list of professional sports teams who have opted to implement dynamic pricing. And, it certainly appears as if dynamic pricing will continue to grow in the sports world, in fact, Ticketmaster is preparing to roll out its own dynamic pricing platform this summer.
“This is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Kahn. “Within the next two to three years, I’m almost certain all major professional teams will be using dynamic pricing.”