Pearl Jam Shows Sports Business/Theatre/Concerts A Path Out Of The Pandemic!

This is from my weekly newsletter: Talking Tickets! Get it free!

1. Pearl Jam drives tourism dollars!

I’ll always find a way to introduce Pearl Jam’s business model into the newsletter, so here it is! 

This study provides a framework for us to think through getting our venues relaunched and to maximize our likelihood of success when the time comes to welcome folks back. 

First, the important things. 

Over the weekend of the Pearl Jam Home Shows in 2018, $58M in new hotel revenue, $9M in hotel taxes, and millions in spending in the local economy of Seattle was generated by the two Pearl Jam shows. 

As an example, when I went to the Sunday night “Away” show in Boston in 2018, my approximate spend for 24 hours was likely somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000. 

(Too many breweries, too many beers, too many souvenirs to put an exact dollar figure on this.) 

Fenway holds approximately 40,000 folks for a concert and my plane from DC was packed with folks in Pearl Jam shirts and the plane back from Boston was packed with Pearl Jam shirts. 

Take that for what you will. But I know that I met a group of 6 guys in Boston for the weekend. 

Second, consider what this means for marketing and selling tickets in the future. 

For one, if you can get Pearl Jam to play in your ballpark, you should. 

The report says that this is likely the upper limit of the benefit you can see from an event. 

This means that competition for the bands that will draw audiences from around the country or the world is going to be intense. Because I’m fairly certain from talking to people that these kinds of shows are what people are jonesing for the most. 

Translation: costs here will be higher. 

Second, looking at the data around the financial impact of a typical Mariners’ game on the local economy, it helps us see that we may want to rethink our marketing and sales process to provide a lift to games or less high profile events to help capture some of the same vibes. 

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Holy Trinity of marketing the last month or two: Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. 

I know BIG DATA! 

Our current situation provides a lot of opportunities to apply better thinking around data and how we should be using the tools of marketing to effectively drive revenue to our events. 

For one, look at bundling. 

Frederic Auoud and I spoke about this on our We Will Recover webinar back in the spring. Recognizing that games and other events are attractions for locals that don’t spend significant money in the city core provides a challenge, but also an opportunity. 

Coming out of the pandemic, the opportunity exists for more stay-cations or destination events where safety and control are at the heart of the experience. 

Again, opportunity. 

Another thing, the pandemic is having an impact on our consumption patterns. Some of these impacts are present now like changes in TV consumption or grocery buying. 

Will these be permanent? 

It much too soon to know for sure. 

What they do indicate is that we are seeing the value proposition of products and services change around us and the likelihood that we are going to re-enter an environment where there is a much different we should take the opportunity to shift our customer orientation and rethink our value proposition. 

TV ratings were falling before the pandemic for a lot of sports and the ratings for the return of sports have only shown that trend continuing. Real turnstile attendance has fallen consistently over the last years. Right now, theatres, stadiums, and other venues can’t generate much if any revenue. 

This should have alarm bells for change banging everywhere! 

How do we attack this? 

First, flip the lens on your business and ask what your guests are going to see when they see you. This is my definition of being market-oriented. Understand what your customers are seeing and looking for when they look at you, then work to give it to them. 

Second, take a good hard look at the Holy Trinity of marketing: segmentation, targeting, and positioning. 

A term I heard a lot when I was preparing a talk on change last year was “getting older and whiter” wasn’t a good strategy for the long-term stability of our business. 

In thinking through the challenge of getting folks back to venues, ballparks, and stadiums, a similar phrase would be “the way we have always done things ain’t going to work any longer.” 

So rethink the assumptions your business is built on and look at your customers. 

Who are they?

What do they value? 

What can you provide them? 

I question how useful historical data is going to be when events return. We aren’t really going to know anything useful until the pandemic ends.

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