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June 30, 2020

Marketing Menu – Options for Limited Capacity Seating

As a community, we all continue to face uncertainly for live events this fall. Everyone is working through various scenarios waiting for the right time to execute their plans given current conditions. With so many factors, organizations face a potential scenario of limited capacity and socially distanced seating. For many colleges, that scenario could represent fewer seats available than season tickets sold, requiring new approaches to take care of season ticket holders and donors. With that in mind, Paciolan developed a marketing menu of options that can help venues to retain and generate revenue for the upcoming year.

Communicating Your Seating Plan and Policy

mktgMenu_Virginia.pngThere are no “silver bullet” answers, but soon there will be more clarity, and teams will need to communicate their seating capacity and policy to fans. When that happens, it will be essential to deliver proactive messaging to customers to understand their options and teams can influence a positive outcome. For example, if there are more season tickets sold than the capacity available in the venue, it will be vital to communicate a ticket assurance program to the potentially affected customers alerting them of options in advance. This message preemptively educates fans with the opportunity to roll over credit for future ticketed events, take advantage of tax-deductible gifts and earn increased priority points, or elect a refund. And this message can be delivered even before the seating plan and policy are published. Both the University of Virginia and Tulane University distributed a fantastic, proactive communication to fans.


mktgMenu_Tulane.pngOnce your seating plan, policy, and timing for communications are established, leveraging marketing automation and Salesforce is a great option to create targeted communications to season ticket holders. This integrated solution allows organizations to segment their database, scale customized communications, and track preferences for tickets and seating assignments. In a limited capacity scenario, some fans may elect to keep a credit for next season, roll over the investment into a donation, or ask for a refund, which marketing automation and Salesforce can easily track. Paciolan then provides teams with bulk processing functionality to allow them to take action on fans’ requests in mass.

Donor Campaigns – An Opportunity

Although there might be limited capacity for tickets this fall, there is no limit on encouraging fans to support an organization and donate. Video storytelling is a powerful ally to share the narrative of what motivates and inspires student-athletes. This type of video campaign can be very influential in showing the benefits of a scholarship fund, and influence a donation, especially with season ticket holders who may be impacted with limited seating capacity this year. Pre Covid-19, the University of Michigan did a great job with a donation video that highlights student athletes and helps tell the story of supporting them.

Selling Tickets for the 2021 Season

An opportunity will present itself this fall to sell 2021 season tickets during the 2020 season. Typically, teams are focused on selling remaining inventory or trying to accomplish a sell-out for upcoming games. This year, with the potential of limited capacity, there may not be additional inventory to sell, and there will be fans that want to be in the stadium but physically cannot attend. Teams can capitalize on a big win or early season momentum by targeting fans to sell season tickets for next year. You can lock in fan loyalty through a season deposit campaign or flexible monthly payments that become a "subscription model" for next season. Both marketing automation and digital marketing campaigns can target fans to drive sales. Promoting marquee opponents for next season’s schedule is also an excellent way to increase awareness and demand, especially immediately after a big win.

Leveraging Data to Sell Additional Inventory

mktgMenu_Fanbase.pngThis year a big trend is going to be marketing efficiency. The key to marketing efficiency is data. Data allows teams to maximize budgets and generate the most revenue possible through intelligent data-driven targeting. If you are a partner with Learfield IMG College, you can unlock the ability to append even more data to your campaigns with the Fanbase solution, including things like household income, homeownership, education level, families with kids, and more. Armed with this data, teams can create personas and target specific products like premium seating, season tickets, family packages, or donations. A data-enriched persona helps organizations craft more personal messaging to those audiences and find more precise lookalike audiences for acquisition campaigns through digital marketing.

Next Steps

There are many unique strategies and marketing menu options that organizations can choose from based on their circumstances. For more information or to have an in-depth discussion around marketing menu options, connect with your Paciolan digital marketing or FanOne team member.


authorPost by Craig Ricks, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Paciolan