Ah, variable pricing. The never-ending possibilities. Let’s talk about it.
Variable pricing is when prices change based on a region, location, date or other aspects. This is also known as ‘real-time pricing.’
Ah, variable pricing. The never-ending possibilities. Let’s talk about it.
Variable pricing is when prices change based on a region, location, date or other aspects. This is also known as ‘real-time pricing.’
Do you know what I want? A place where I can go to watch GWS or Swans games with other GWS or Swans fans. Yes, it’s Sydney, but that doesn’t mean I know very many GWS and Swans fans. And if I get my way and end up in Melbourne in a few years (working for the AFL, of course) I’m going to know even fewer GWS and Swans fans. There are a few bars that say they play all the Swans games but should be easier than it is to find them (if anyone wants to know, Dick’s in Balmain is my new favourite place to watch games – can’t wait until the season starts again). Even harder is finding other NBL and ABL fans. Other than the people I know who work for NBL and ABL teams and leagues, I don’t know very many people who are keen to watch the game. So why not partner with a venue? Since it’s Australia, it should probably be a bar (have you ever told Aussies they can’t drink while watching sport? Yea – you probably don’t want to) although you’d want to have an alternate venue for families… more on that later. Continue Reading
Yesterday, boyfriend and I got into a heated (heated is an understatement – I almost drove away and left him at the park) discussion.
You see, he seems to think that you should pay players based on performance. He was talking about Melbourne and the hot mess that makes up their club (I mean honestly – losing to the Gold Coast by 60 points AT THE MCG? You have got to be kidding). I will write a post about what I think Melbourne needs to do to get back on track (spoiler alert: A LOT) but in the meantime, I am going to address boyfriend’s concern. Because if he thinks this is a possibility, he can’t be the only one.
Now, I’m not saying it’s not a good idea. I’m saying it is too difficult to implement. There are too many issues… as you will see (and honestly, I shortened this post because I care about your eyes).
NOTE: It wasn’t until after I wrote this post that I realised I wrote it about AFL. But if you take out the stuff about the CBA, it’s applicable about to any sport.
It won’t change things anyway
Studies show that performance based pay makes no difference when employees are committed to the company. Therefore, you can already say that it won’t work, because we know that players are dedicated to their club. “But Kayla!” you say, “what about players who aren’t dedicated to their club?” Well, anonymous reader, that’s a great point. You show me a professional athlete who doesn’t want to win games and a Grand Final… and I’ll show you a player who shouldn’t be a professional anyway. Don’t worry about those idiots – drop ’em. There are 1,000 more ready to take his place.
It’s (almost) not quantifiable
People get payed based on performance all the time, right? That’s what sales is – there are entire industries built like this. In those instances, however, it’s easy to see who is performing best. You typically get a percentage of your sales/billables as a bonus, or everyone at each level gets the same amount (i.e., seniors get $x, juniors get $y, and so on and so forth). Obviously, the latter is not what we’re talking about here. The problem is: how do you quantify contribution? It may be easy for one game. Let’s say you have Ryan Crowley tagging Gary Ablett (sound familiar?) and because of him, Ablett only gets three touches (this was the example my boyfriend gave). Okay, sure, he had an impact on the game. But let’s say in that same game, Fremantle wins by ten goals and Nathan Fyfe scored six. Who was more valuable to the team? Who do you pay more? And if you pay them both the same because of their contribution, then what about the rest of the team?
Not only is it hard to quantify it each game, but how do you quantify it over an entire season? If someone dominates at the start of the season, but gets injured and can’t play in the last games, are they less valuable? Or what if you have a player that dominates when it doesn’t matter (like Tom Lynch scoring 10 goals against GWS yesterday) but crumbles under the pressure of playing a top-of-the-ladder team? Are they effective… or not?
Of course, you can always take the Dream Team approach and play them per goal, or per touch, but as we all know… that doesn’t tell you how valuable a person is to a team and those taggers who dominate their opponent? Well, don’t expect them to be noticed or paid more.
Boyfriend says you can just have the coach decide. But then, how much room does that leave for favouritism? LOTS.
There’s already a bonus in place for this
Clubs are allowed to award bonuses to players who are in the top ten best and fairest of the club. This is not part of the salary cap (at least, I don’t think it is). The best players – taggers, scorers, defenders… – will likely find themselves in the top ten, anyway. What’s the point of doing it twice?
They may not reach TPP
The CBA says that clubs must spend at least 92.5% of the salary cap on salaries. If you plan on usig bonuses as part of salaries, there is no way that you can start the season having spent that much. You’d have to spend more like… 50% (at the most). But what if you go through the season and everyone does terribly? You’ll probably have money left over which means that you’ll have to divide it – equitably – amongst the players. That’s all well and good, but it also defeats the purpose of this idea: don’t pay players that don’t perform.
Requirements will be unclear
If you want merit pay to work, requirements have to be made clear to the employee (the player) by the employer (the coach). In sales jobs, for instance, it’s easy: you get 5% commission of what you sell. But if you implement this system, you can’t say to a player, “You’ll get money based on how much you impact each game in relation to your teammates.” You will literally be able to see question marks forming over their heads.
Players will compete against each other
As we know, each club has a limited amount of funds (duh, we call it the salary cap). This means that, like it or not, in this system players would be paid relative to his teammates. Therefore, you can expect that they will try and outperform their competition – their teammates. This makes for terrible play, and even worse club culture. Players will be selfish with the ball, try and hit ridiculous shots and it will give the club a generally negative vibe.
Not to mention, although the AFL does not release player salaries, eventually estimates get out. If you think you did better than your teammate and he gets paid more at the end of the year… well. I can’t imagine you’ll be handing him that ball so readily next season, will you?
It’s against the CBA
This may be the most important one. The CBA basically dictates everything about money in the AFL and it lays out what can be a ‘bonus’ and performance isn’t one of them. According to the CBA, bonuses can be awarded for the number of senior matches played, for being in the club’s top ten best and fairest, and for competing in the grand final. Bonuses based on performance are not included and therefore, (at least until 2017 when the CBA is renegotiated) is not allowed. The end.
Not to mention, there are caps on how much you can pay each player (usually based on the number of years they’ve played or the list they’re on) and it’s not fair for a rookie, say, if he’s killing it every week, to be paid less than a senior player who does a mediocre job, just because he’s a rookie. That would happen in this case.
My last point. Buddy is MIND-NUMBINGLY amazing. Everyone knows that. But how do you pay someone like him based on their performance? It’s an impossibility.
Like I said… it can’t actually be done. Agree?
Although, I think this might be a fun assignment for me for the end of the year… Anyone interested in seeing what I’d pay players based on their performance at the end of the season? I’ll keep that one in the pipeline.
Want to know more? Read this.
My friends give me such amazing ideas and they don’t even know it. No, no, I don’t steal ideas – they say things like, ‘I wonder how he gets fit,’ and I think AFL WORKOUT WEB SERIES. They really are geniuses. I also think that’s what marketing is about – giving people what they don’t know need want by listening to what they want.
So this idea came from couple friends of mine – shout out to Sammy and Liam!
Sammy got Liam a Swans Membership for Christmas. I reprimanded my boyfriend for not getting me the one (although, I do live two hours away so maybe he was just being smart). But then I thought about it… and THAT’S who you need to call to sell memberships – the partners.
If someone had put the idea in my head that my boyfriend would LOVE a footy membership for Christmas/his birthday, I would of bought one for him (he’s also a North Melbourne fan and we don’t live anywhere near North Melbourne so there’s that issue). I don’t think I’m the only girl who thinks that way. It’s HARD to buy presents for guys, especially if they don’t have a lot of hobbies or they have hobbies you can’t contribute to. My boyfriend, for instance, is in the process of building a bike. I know nothing about bikes so even if I wanted to, I couldn’t get him something for it because odds are, it’ll end up being wrong. So it really is difficult to get guys a present unless you already know what they want. And we hardly ever know what they want. Footy tends to be the national language so getting your partner a membership for a team, even if it’s the cheapest option possible, is a great (and safe!) idea. Guys tend to be big sport fans all around, so you could even get him a membership to teams he may like but hasn’t gotten around to seeing. The Sydney Blue Sox and other ABL clubs, for instance, have really cheap memberships so it’d be fun!
I’m not sure how you would do this, but the best way would be to figure out people who bought tickets and aren’t members – Liam wasn’t a member before this and that’s why I thought of this idea – reaching a new market is key.
Furthermore, if you can’t aim to sell to the partners… aim to sell partner memberships to the members.
Stay with me here.
Envision this: you’re a guy (most of my readers won’t have to envision this because they are, in fact, guys) and your girlfriend/wife/partner doesn’t like footy (GASP!). This means that they want to pull you away from the TV on weekends and have no desire to go to games and their eyes glaze over when you talk about stats and the ladder. Now imagine they become a fan. How much better would life be?! Let me tell you, my life got exponentially better once I convinced my boyfriend that old movies can actually be enjoyable (don’t tell anyone, but he liked The Wizard of Oz). Sharing interests is great – and it can be a moneymaker for clubs. If you can convince your members to buy an additional membership for their significant other, you will make the big bucks… FAST. Plus, if you can just get them to games consistently, you can turn them into fans so if/when their relationships end (and odds are they probably will – not a pessimist, just trying to help the clubs out) those two members will bring their new partners to games.
How genius would this be?
If a club can figure out how to get to these key people… they could sell so many extra memberships.
PS – I have a mind-blowingly amazing commercial idea to go with the second half of this post… but I can’t share it online (lest it be stolen!). UGH.
It’s been a couple weeks, I know. Things get hectic (ughhhh, midterms!) and I get distracted. Fun fact about me: I ALWAYS begin the day as though it’s going to be amazing, no matter what I have going on… but if the first few hours are not a success… the rest probably won’t be, either. I am still working on my new years resolutions (you should see my calligraphy!) and I am shocked that the year is going by so fast!
How are things with you?
Lane On Wrong Highway – Kevin Sheedy, GWS Giants. Oh, Kevin Sheedy. You do make me laugh. And despite a few typos… this is such a great artcile.
Most Powerful People In Sports Media – Richard Deistch, Sports Illustrated. Not a single female. Not that I want to be in media, but still. Pretty discouraging.
Death By Free Tickets – Kirby, Sports Tao. All about dynamic pricing and free tickets. Still a bit of a touchy subject – not even stats geeks are big on it yet – but a great read.
How I Won AFL Dream Team In 2012 – Dream Team Talk. He did not tell me how to win this year (curses!) but it’s still interesting – remember to use your own strategy!
Australian Players Making Inroads In The Majors – Nathan Humphreys, MLB. You know how I feel about the ABL… and I’m glad other people are noticing!
What a great week. Looking forward to the weekend (it’s my boyfriend’s birthday tomorrow so we;re having a party tonight!) and next week. So many opportunities!
I recently wrote a post on the madness over at the Blue Sox – where people are buying memberships and not using them. I still have to write the post on why this is an inefficient process (I know, I know, I’m so behind in all the posts I want to write) but for now, I thought I would help the Blue Sox out and talk you through how to select the one that is best for you. With the Australia Series next weekend and the season opener just around the corner, is there a better time for this post?
From the website (and hopefully from my previous post!), you see that there are many, many different membership options.
Those options are: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Base or Supporter and you can get them for an adult, child or family (with discounts for students and seniors). They mean the following:
Gold: Tickets to ALL games. Every single one.
Silver: Tickets to HALF the games.
Bronze: Tickets to ONE GAME PER SERIES.
Base: 10% discount on tickets.
Supporter: Awesome Blue Sox stuff (like caps and other cool things) and discounts on things AT the game. Special access to tickets… but no actually tickets or discounts on tickets. You get the Supporters pack with any membership purchase. Even if you just buy the Base membership… it’s totally worth the money. A cap is about $30, so you practically get your money’s worth right off the bat (no pun intended). Members also get a ticket to the Australia series… as long as you sign up before then.
(Sorry – I’m in a colorful mood today)
Why should you even bother with a membership? Because you save money. For example, let’s say that you want to attend one game per series and sit behind home plate, without a membership. If you pay at the gate, that’s $40 per game and for 7 series, that’s $320. If you got the membership, it’s $198, which means a savings of $122. THINK OF ALL THE MERCH YOU CAN BUY WITH THAT SAVINGS!
So which one should you get? I know what you’re thinking: GOLD. OBVIOUSLY. Because it sounds the coolest. I agree – it really does. But does it make the most sense?
First, remember that there are 23 regular season games (plus, a few exhibition games and, MAYBE, a few surprises 🙂 ). In order to choose the best membership for you, here’s the question you need to ask yourself:
Before you answer that question… Remember that most of the series happen in this order: Thursday, Friday and Saturday night games, and a Sunday afternoon game. So think about these things:
Work: Will you have the energy to go to a Friday night game when you’ve been working all week? Can you actually make it on time and enjoy it? Likewise, are Thursday night games going to be a possibility? Do you work late? Will you be tired (or slightly hungover) on Friday morning after cheering a team on for several hours? Will you be prepared for work if you spend Sunday afternoons at the ballpark?
Family: Does your family share your enthusiasm for baseball? Do they also want to spend four days in a row at Blacktown Stadium (if you can answer yes to this, I envy you!)? Can you afford to buy them all the jerseys, balls and inflatable hands they will, most certainly, want? And how will bedtime got if they’ve been hopped up on sugar all day? If you bring your kids to the games, will you enjoy it as much? Or if you’ll be leaving them at home – are you certain you’ll be able to find a babysitter for every game? Do your kids play baseball, as well? How much does that interfere with the games? What about their school commitments or birthday parties or… what ever it is that kids do?
Other commitments: What events do you have coming up? Weddings? Vacations? Anniversaries? Birthdays? The Swisse Color Run? (Sorry about that one – I’ve just registered and I’m pretty excited) Do they interfere with games? How likely is it that something big comes up that need immediate attention? If I can’t make it to a game, do I know someone who may want to use these tickets?
If you can foresee lots of these being an issue, than a Gold membership isn’t for you. Sure, you might save a bit of money, but is it really worth having if you can’t use it? A Silver or Bronze membership is probably better for you. And no, you don’t get the pleasure of saying you’re a Gold member, but you also don’t feel the guilt of not attending games and taking tickets away from someone who actually wants to (and can!) go to that game. It’s not fair to keep your ticket and not use it when someone else wants it! (I say this because that someone could be me) So should you get a Gold membership? Only if you’re able to go to AT LEAST 23 games. Otherwise, depending on how you answered the above questions, get the Silver or Bronze. It just makes more sense.
This is not meant to put you off the Gold memberships – not at all. If you are able to go to every game (or nearly every game) then, by all means, buy that Gold membership and enjoy every minute of it. You have my jealousy. But for the sake of the Blue Sox fans who have been turned away… think about the practicality first.
My last thoughts: Don’t be scared of memberships. They are not a big commitment, honestly. If you’re hesitant… maybe check out a game first, before you buy? The game will convince you – I swear.
It should come as no surprise that the ABL battles to meet numbers. Baseball is traditionally, after all, an American sport. By establishing a league in Australia, there should have been enough interest to produce a successful season (or at least a season with earnings, not losses). It’s not looking that way.
First, I have going to commend them on their membership pricing and options. There are so many and I can see why each one would be purchased. It’s genius… and probably why they have a solid number of members. The memberships are also affordable, which is more than can be said for some clubs/venues (*cough*SCG*cough*). They have perfectly planned the membership… but members aren’t actually coming to games. And that’s the real problem. I want to tell the Blue Sox to count their blessings – they got the money from memberships and people are turning up to games! Who cares if the members don’t show up? But that’s not what they want…
Apparently, they’ve had to turn fans away because the stadium is technically “sold out.” A reason this is a problem, although no one has said this, is because members get discounted tickets. When a team has to turn away someone who was willing to pay more, that’s market inefficiency (I’ll write more on this some other time). And can you imagine if you finally made it out to Blacktown for your first game with the kids, and you were told the stadium had sold out? Ugh. There goes that fan, FOREVER. The solution is simple: lower the number of memberships sold, increase the cost (those who want the membership will still purchase it) and make more tickets available to new fans. Although… that might not be as easy as it sounds because:
1. The stadium is out of the way. Seriously, Blue Sox? What were you thinking when you decided your games should be played in Blacktown? It is completely out of the way – it takes ages to get to via public transport and driving out there would be… unpleasant. I’m going to a friend’s AFL finals this weekend (Go Dom and Sydney Uni AFL!) and I am dreading it. Not because I don’t want to see him play, but because I don’t want to have to trek to Blacktown. I am not the only one that feels this way. If the Blue Sox want to appeal to young people (and really, doesn’t everyone?), a Blacktown venue is not ideal.
The perfect solution? Party bus! Or at least offer transportation… Most clubs (Sydney Swans, GWS etc) have special transportation on game days. I feel like this would be especially helpful for the Blue Sox since the stadium is out of the way. And as far as the party bus goes… I can’t think of college student who wouldn’t go to a sporting event if there was a party bus involved. Seriously, here’s how you do it: grab a marketing student (or poor college student), call them a “promoter,” give them a cool shirt and get them to round up their friends on Saturday morning (and giving them a good buzz) before piling them onto a bus and sending them to the ball park. Everyone wins. (Blue Sox, if you want to do this, start at Sydney Uni Village – American AND Aussie students. It’s what I’d like to call a “gold mine.”)
I understand the ABL isn’t exactly rolling in the dough (yet) but they’ll ever be if they don’t put a little investment into it. Aussies aren’t going to just start liking baseball more than rugby.
2. Most of their players run away in the off-season. Players want to play in the MLB – I get it. I wrote a post about it. But by allowing the key/most popular players spend their winters in America (and getting back-to-back-to-back summers, those lucky, LUCKY men) you’re missing out on some fabulous promotion opportunities. If people are going to care about the Blue Sox, part of that mean caring about the players. I have a friend (who shall remain nameless) who started going to the games of a certain rugby team because she had a crush on one of the players. She had the crush because they had spent an evening together at a bar and had a great time. Ah, true love (actually, they never spoke again, but that’s a separate issue).
I’m not saying you need to turn your players into alcoholics and win over the hearts of every girl at the bar (although it couldn’t hurt, right?) but players need to be present. Send them all to a festival and tweet about it, post to the website about it and put up some photos/videos of them with fans. Make them humans first, then turn them into gods. Spending time with the public (in a real way, not just letting them sign autographs at some event) is a quick way to grow a fan base… and in the off-season, what else do the players have to do (except train constantly, of course)?
3. There is no advertising. Have you ever seen a Blue Sox commercial? No? I’m not surprised. I haven’t either. BECAUSE THERE ARE NONE. Other than the website (which is very well kept, I must say) I have seen no advertising for the Blue Sox at all. And I’ve been in Sydney for over a year. Nothing in a year?! That’s absurd. Again, if it’s a money problem, that’s understandable. But something needs to be done.
Personally, I get half my knowledge from those big posters. You know the ones they use for concerts and they put 10 of them in a row up on random walls around the city? I think that’d be perfect for the Blue Sox! Maybe go guerilla-street and plaster schools with fliers. Maybe a small (not too small) ad in the sports section of SMH? Get your interns/volunteers/whoever is in charge of marketing to submit articles to SBI or The Roar (or, if you’re interested, my blog!) just to get the team out there.
Or they could even… and stay with me now… do a commercial. But not just any commercial. A commercial during the AFL grand final. If the Blue Sox, or even just the ABL, were to make a good commercial (something as good as this, perhaps?) so many people would see it and, as a quality commercial, it would stand out (seriously, have you seen the stinkers they air? It’s almost embarrassing).
As an outsider, those are the three major issues I see that are preventing the Blue Sox from reaching their attendance goals. The solutions seem pretty easy, right? Any other ideas or glaring problems I haven’t come up with?