I’m starting to get first person narratives directly from my clients in pro sports and the feedback is a bit unsettling. There is a deep concern about the “new normal” of the elimination of business write-offs for sporting event tickets and Suite ownership. Some corporate clients have already advised several of my clients that they are “re-evaluating those expenses” – we all know what that means.
However, there is good news – that pro sports teams are more than the product that they put on the field, court, or rink. My colleague Jason Aplin is fond of saying that a pro sports team is really a brand engaged in many activities, and it so happens that one of them is fielding a team. Their biggest activity is the pursuit of fans; people who voluntarily evangelize the brand and want to be engaged with it.
We believe, strongly, in each team owning its brand, monetizing the relationship that fans have with it, and each team-brand becoming its’ own bank. Let’s face it, tax reform isn’t a change that could be planned for, it is a disruption; we just don’t know yet how large a disruption.
But, by engaging all of your fans, not just the portion who buy season or single-game tickets, any shortfall in projected revenues could be more than made up by courting those fans who identify with your brand and are more than willing to support it with their behavior.