“Consumption is changing drastically, and subscription usership models are winning across content categories,” said FanRally co-founder and Chief Executive Chris Giles.
Giles said consumers 40 years old and younger are really not into “buying anything” and are more likely to be attracted to services like FanRally that give them access to seats at sporting events while not locking them into the significant financial commitment of season tickets.
Giles has seen this trend unfolding. Until January 2020, he was the chief operating officer of the Oakland Athletics, tasked with maintaining and growing season ticket sales, something he said had become simply impossible. Conversations with colleagues in his position confirmed to him that what was happening wasn’t a temporary dip but a generational trend.
“I’ve yet to talk to a team executive that is having any real success selling season ticket bundles to the modern consumer,” Giles said.
The proof of that can be seen in how quickly FanRally, based in the Bay Area and launched in September, has been able to sign up organizational clients including the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings as well as downtown-based ticketing platform AXS.
Ryan Miller, Kings vice president of ticket sales, said in a statement that he believes FanRally will give his organization a “direct relationship with every person that enters our building, and that is an absolute game-changer.”
Other organizations coming aboard to use FanRally’s tech include the Milwaukee Brewers, University of Pittsburgh and Stanford University women’s athletics.
Sam Mahjub, Milwaukee Brewers vice president of business analytics and strategy, said in a statement that his organization elected to use FanRally because its “capabilities allow us to build membership programs that resonate with modern consumers.”
Giles first developed the FanRally concept while with the A’s and observing an ongoing decline in season ticket sales. While those 50 and older seemed to value the product, it held little attraction for those 40 and younger.
“We weren’t selling any (season tickets) to modern consumers,” he said.
The FanRally model allows subscribers to have access to seats set aside exclusively for the service.
Giles said teams ensure members have equitable access to reservations by capping the number of simultaneous reservations each member can hold. Subscribers can also gain access to special deals on concessions, merchandise, and other products and services a team wants to offer.
For instance, Stanford University is using FanRally for all of its women’s sports programs to offer what it is calling its Cardinal W Pass. The annual subscription that currently starts at $30 a month allows a member to reserve seats for all ticketed regular season women’s athletic events, but a $45 premium tier is also available with added benefits.
Growing its presence in major metros with sports teams and establishing deals with sports venues is part of the company’s strategy.
“Obviously, being in a market like (Los Angeles) is big for us. Very big,” Giles said.
But Giles added that he believes the subscription service being offered by his company will travel the not-unusual tech road from initial curiosity to simply how things are done.
“Based on current consumption trends, we expect industrywide subscription membership revenue to surpass season ticket revenue within the next five years, and completely replace it within 10,” he said.
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