Five ways the Chiefs can make season ticket holders feel special
By Britt Zank
The Kansas City Chiefs need to change their approach to their most passionate fans, their season ticket holders. Here’s how they can improve things.
The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the most loyal fan bases in the entire NFL. But after nearly 30 years of sustained success it appears the team is beginning to take it’s most lucrative fans for granted.
My family has maintained season tickets since 1989, and it’s a great deal of family pride. It’s always been cool to say I was season ticket holder, especially growing up in the ’90s when Chief tickets were the hottest in town. However, over the last few years, it’s started to feel less special and the fault lies squarely with the Chiefs.
It doesn’t help the Chiefs that it is quite nice to watch an NFL game at home. Going to a Chiefs game is very expensive and takes a whole Sunday. You miss the rest of the NFL schedule, weather can be bad, and you see more on TV as it is. So to spend the money and invest eight Sundays a season in those conditions it needs to be worth it.
The perks for being a season ticket holder (STH) this year are few and far between. You get 10% off of merchandise in the team’s store, Chiefs Reward points, early ticket priority to Arrowhead events (like concerts) and ability to spend reward points on STH-only events. Those events include the draft party, holding the flag for the national anthem, being on field during pre-game and pictures on the field after the game. While those events are cool, they cost a lot of reward points so you can only afford one or two events unless you do all the work earning bonus points.
I’ve spoken to many other season ticket holders and hear the same thing over and over: we just don’t feel special anymore. For over $2,000, we don’t get much more than the average fan. So I have a few ideas of ways that the Chiefs could make STHs feel special and that they are getting their money’s worth without costing the Chiefs much at all.
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The Chiefs could engender a lot of good will from their season ticket holders if they gave us some free stuff. No, I’m not asking for $250 jerseys or anything extravagant. I am thinking more in the way of cheap swag that STHs can show off with pride. My car used to be filled with STH bumper stickers that I loved receiving year to year. How about a Chiefs t-shirt that says “Season Ticket Holder” that is only for us? Another idea I was told by a friend was a cool patch that could be put on a piece of clothing—not just the STH patch but one with decent design.
These are small things that fans can display to show their season ticket holder pride. Not only does this incentivize the experience, but it serves as a marketing tool for the team. My bumper stickers in the day started many conversations about the Chiefs. Multiple times I had people say they’ve never been and I was able to talk about how awesome it was. You turn fans into a free sales department.
For the price of $10 worth of swag, the Chiefs could make their biggest fans happy and gain loads of free marketing. It really is a no-lose proposition for the Chiefs.
Game Day Extras
The game day experience of Arrowhead Stadium is special, and it’s something any sports fan should have on their bucket list. But for STHs, I feel like they are paying for a better overall experience than what everyone else gets. An idea I have to make fans feel special is that they get something that the average fan doesn’t (and is something all sports fans love): free food.
Giving every season ticket holder one free soda and one free food item would be seen as a big perk. Once again this doesn’t have to be something huge that cost the Chiefs a lot. The drink could be one free medium soda. Anyone who has worked in any job that has fountain drinks knows these cost the business at most $0.10. So that is $0.10 to make your fans happy seems like a steal.
The food side could be a smaller food item. I don’t expect the team to give away one of their $20 specialty items. So instead give the fan a choice of a free hot dog, regular nacho or medium popcorn. All three of these items are cheap for the team and easy for attendants to hand out in bulk if they get a rush of STHs.
Again this is an opportunity for the Chiefs to get two benefits for the price of one. In order to get these items, put the coupons on the Chiefs phone app. This gets fans downloading and using your app which gives your app traffic which boost your app generating revenue. Plus how many fans would just get one soda and one popcorn? The majority of fans would get their free stuff and then buy a beer or a cheeseburger because even after spending $10 on a beer they’ll feel like they are ahead.
So once again, for a minimal cost to the Chiefs, they get happy fans, increased app traffic and bonus sales.
Landmark Anniversary Prizes
At this point, whether you have been a season ticket holder for 29 seasons or are signing up for the first time, every STH receives all the same stuff. For the most part, I think that is just fine because we are all apart of the same STH club. At the same time, it is frustrating to know that I’ve had tickets since 1989 and I’ve never gotten anything special that a first time STH hasn’t also received.
Yes I do feel special and a little privileged that I have had season tickets for so long. I also look beyond me and think someone who has had them for 45 years should be getting a lot more than me. So my idea to fix this problem is to have anniversary prizes.
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How about creating a system where every five years a STH qualifies for a new prize? The prize could be rewards points, clothes, special experiences or memorabilia. Of course the size of the prize would get larger for each anniversary. For example, the fifth year as a season ticket holder could be a choice of 2,000 points, a Chiefs yearbook, $10 gift card to team store or Chiefs keychain. While a 40 year STH would have choice of 30,000 points, jersey of your choice, $100 gift card or autographed football.
There are an unlimited number of prizes the team could use, a lot of which the Chiefs already give away in drawings and auctions for rewards points. But these are extras that make a long time STH feel like they’ve earned something for their time. It would also give people incentive to maintain their tickets because they are just a year away from an anniversary and really want that prize.
As it sits right now, season ticket holders receive very little information from the team. The last communication we received outside of generic weekly game day information was the day John Dorsey was fired. That day Clark Hunt sent an email to us discussing how they retained Andy Reid and let go John Dorsey. It didn’t say anything of real significance that wasn’t in any of the press releases, but it did feel nice to get an email from the desk of Mr. Hunt.
I think this could be done with a monthly newsletter emailed to all STHs. There could be a letter from the owner, an update from the scouting department, a look at new STH experiences coming and even a season ticket holder of the month award along with a bio. The letter from Mr. Hunt wouldn’t have to be in-depth, but something along the lines of he feels how the season is going or what he’s looking forward to. Other updates could rotate between departments, providing general insight into the team’s process or personality..
A newsletter would make STHs feel like we are in the loop rather than feeling like outsiders. We can know if the owner shares our frustrations or if he sees something we should get excited about. The reports could come from all kinds of departments to reveal the goings-on in every corner of 1 Arrowhead Drive. The STH of the month would be fun to get to know other fans and if we make it one month, we can brag to all our friends.
Along with this, I would recommend the team sending out emails from the owner or general manager anytime something big happens. A year end review after the season, a pre-season preview opening week and a quick letter after a big acquisition could all be made to explain the mindset with the move. These items would cost the Chiefs nothing as they are just emails, but it would make every STH feel like a special insider who is getting news no one else is getting.
Improve The Rewards Program
I mentioned the rewards program at the beginning of this article and it is great. Whether you are a STH or not, I recommend you go sign up for the program when you finish reading because it’s worth it. They have great auctions, raffles and buy now items that make it worth spending those points.
Kansas City Chiefs
The points also aren’t all that hard to build up. As a season ticket holder, I get a headstart based on where your seats are. Even if you aren’t an STH, you get 25 points a day from a daily quiz. There is a bingo game on game days that is fun and can build your balance quickly. You get daily points for just opening the app, tweeting, reading articles on Chiefs.com and many other things.
From a season ticket holder’s perspective of the program though, it’s not that special for us. Yes there are experiences that are only for STH like the draft party, post game pictures on field and holding the flag during the anthem. All of those are awesome things that are pretty cool perks. The problem with them all though is they are cost a lot of rewards points.
I’ll use myself as an example. I spend over $2,000 renewing my two season tickets and parking pass in the lower level. For that commitment I get given 3,700 points that the average fan doesn’t get. That sounds like a lot of points until you realize to get one picture taken on the field post game cost 2,500 points. Tickets to the draft party cost 2,000 points. All other experiences cost between 1,500 and 2,000 points a piece. In other words, 3,700 points doesn’t go that far and you get fewer points if you are in the upper deck.
To really get the full benefit of the STH extras it is up to me to put in all the extra work of earning all the points that any other average fan can earn. A STH isn’t really getting much of an advantage over the average fan in terms of the rewards program at this time. I think an easy quick fix would be to lower the cost of the STH extras. Rather than 2,500 points make it 500.
This lower of the cost of experiences means that a STH has a greater ability to have more experiences which will make them feel like they are getting more for their money. And this doesn’t cost the Chiefs anything as these experiences are already happening and it’s not like rewards points have any monetary value.
All of these ideas are simple and cheap ideas of ways the Chiefs can make their STH feel special. Not only would they feel special, but they also feel like they are getting their moneys worth for their large investment in money and time. Being a STH is a costly and time-consuming investment and all we want is to know we are getting our money’s worth. These ideas would give us our money’s worth while also showing that the team not only wants us, but truly appreciates us.
The renewals that went out this week left many STH feeling like we are being taken for granted. It’s left a lot of us questioning our investment when it’s so nice to watch games at home and you could get into the playoff game for only $25. We aren’t asking for the moon. We are simply asking to be appreciated and wanted. In return, we’re ready to strut around town, ready to brag that, yes, we are Chiefs season ticket holders and we’re damn proud of it!