Pros and Cons 2013 – 2014 Pelicans Season Ticket Holder Changes

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Published: March 7, 2013
BensonPelicans

All New Orleans Hornets Season Ticket Holders know that it’s time to `renew’ and get their 2013 – 2014 New Orleans Pelicans Season Tickets lined up. Since this is the first season where the renewal process took place with Tom Benson in the captain’s chair, let’s take a look at the differences from prior seasons and see if this is a step forward.

The team’s site has a good breakdown on the various packages, so it won’t be recapitulated here.

For those who are unfamiliar with the system, by becoming a Season Ticket Holder, you get a ticket to the same seat for every game of the season at a price that is discounted compared to paying the gate price for each game. Additionally, there are other benefits including first right of refusal for playoff tickets. Again, not all are detailed here, and just the changes are emphasized.

Changes

The first new thing this season is that most seats have been discounted to some degree. The largest discounts are associated with the most expensive seats, but even some of the cheapest tickets have been reduced ($504 for upper end, following a $76 discount . . . see what they did there?).

((42 sense: Discounts taste good. Good job, Mr. Benson.))

Some ticket prices have increased. More on that below.

A 10% discount at the team store is nice perk and long overdue. A 10% discount on concessions is also available, but the money must be committed ahead of time. A Season Ticket Holder ID Card will also be issued.

((42 sense: Discounts taste good. Good job, Mr. Benson.))

Rather than a 10 game Buyback program, there is a 5 games Buyback program and a Ticket Swap program. In this system, tickets for game A can be transformed into credit towards tickets to game B. These tickets can be of higher price if enough tickets are turned in or the STH pays the difference. Likewise, they can be transformed into tickets of lower price but greater quantity. Also, you can pick up additional single game tickets at the season ticket price.

((42 sense: Overall I like this. You still don’t have to make every game, but they are encouraging people to get into the Arena. The best ads for the team are it’s most dedicated customers. Using STH in this capacity is smart, and many fans will embrace this. We do, after all, love to display our hospitality, and this is a great way to exercise that love. Good job, Mr. Benson.))

The Lagniappe Program is being discontinued but will be replaced by increased Concierge Program. Rather than accumulating points by spending money, then spending those points on a fixed set of items, a more informal process involving your Ticket Representative is used to get you perks. For example, if you have the in-laws in town, you just call Gena, Blake, etc., explain it to them, and they try to get you some nice tickets for the game. If the in-laws are in town every week . . . they better get used to your normal seats. You will also use this method to get involved in Chalk Talks, Locker Room tours, etc.

((42 sense: Again, this is a net plus. I miss the guaranteed giveaways, but as long as there’s a menu of things for me to ask my Rep for plus the freedom to ask for custom things, then this is great. This will really put pressure on reps, so in time, the reps will be among the best in the business. It’s really good to get to know your rep and for them to get to know you. For instance, my rep knew I looked up to Gerry V, so she worked hard to get me to stand with him and Sean Kelley at one of their last broadcasts together. I was sooo happy. I would not have even really thought to ask if it was not listed on the Lagniappe menu. Good job, Mr. Benson.))

Many Lower Bowl seats get extra benefits detailed here, but centering around free parking passes, wait staff during games, free food, access to special areas of the Arena on game day, or priority access to select Arena events.

((42 sense: In many cases, this priority status for Arena events is available when there are PSL’s or something similar (Personal Seat Licenses). These are nightmare creations we’ll have to deal with at some point, but getting this for buying the more expensive tickets is a great move. Also, take care of those customers. Give them that and more. Good job, Mr. Benson.))

Also, there will be opportunities to purchase tickets to a 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend Event (not the Jam Session). For the 2008 ASW, the rookie-sophomore game was the most common event. The more financially committed patrons will get a guaranteed offer. Other STH will be addressed as supplies allow. This, of course, is not something that can be enjoyed annually.

((42 sense: We deserve a chance to be a part of the weekend. Yes, deserve. Good job, Mr. Benson.))

One Improvement

For those reading my running commentary, you can see that I’m pretty happy with these changes, and you can likely tell that I’m happy being a Season Ticket Holder. There is one main beef, and it’s related to the price increase mentioned above.

One of the changes to the Arena is the Party Perch, a new social area located in the upper end with a bar and bandstand. The bar area will be more open to the Bowl than a typical concourse area is making it easy to enjoy the bar and the game at the same time. It’ll be like the familiar Hub Club without the free food.

The problem is that those seats are increasing in price. The equivalent seats are $504 for the season while the Party Perch seats are $630, which is still an increase over the $580 those seats were last year.

That’s a dollar a game. I get that. Many will happily pay that price and partake of the proximate Perch.

There are some, however, who are not happy with this. Some Season Ticket Holders I’ve interacted with can bring their families because of that lower price. They can’t just drop a seat to make up the money since that would break-up the family outing.

Additionally, some of these Season Ticket Holders have put in the time to get some good seats within their price range. That may seem like a small thing to some, but having a nice row 1 seat so your kids can see easily can be a big deal.

There’s nothing to be done about the march of progress. It tramples. That’s fine. Everyone understands, even the trampled.

We’re talking about a small number of Season Ticket Holders, however. Pelicans reps should reach out to those who have expressed dissatisfaction at being either moved or the price increase and take their names down. Then, when inventory comes available in the other end that is their current row or lower, or whatever their criteria are, then they get first crack at those seats. If they pass up that chance, then the duty is discharged. Maybe the team needs them to maintain status as a Season Ticket Holder. Maybe the team does not. Maybe the team hooks them up a little (Concession card?). Maybe they don’t.

Still, this is a small problem for the team, but a big problem for a few Season Ticket Holders. The same ownership team tried as best as they could to accommodate Saints fans displaced by the press box in the Superdome’s upper deck. Just do that here, with the likely smaller problem. Help the fans who stayed with this team through so much stay with the team a little longer on their terms and at your prices. It’ll likely be one of the highest-return investments the team can make in its fan base. It really targets the `little guys’, both economically and in age. It’ll make a nice story in the press, and those customers will be sure to be among your biggest advocates for years to come. This is not a million dollar problem or a million dollar solution. This is about doing that little something extra we’re so famous for down here.

Being early March, there is ample time to implement this and get the inventory list ready for when the deadline for renewing passes and additional inventory comes available. Then, remind those customers that more will come available as others move during Select-a-Seat events.

Mr. Benson, Mr. Lauscha, please consider this request on behalf of the Season Ticket Holders I’ve spoken with on this matter.

Punchline

Overall, these are positive changes if they pan out as expected. If it’s a pain to the get 10% discount, that subtracts. If losing a little card means I loose my concession money, that subtracts. Et cetera. In other words: If it’s as easy as possible to separate me from my money, I’m happy.

Did I just say that?

Speaking of, the prices here might give some people sticker shock. Don’t worry, the Hornets have payment plans, including a 12-month plan (which I advocated for, so I like to think it’s my idea). Under this plan, two of the cheapest seats (which offer a fine view of the game, will go for $1,008 total, or $84 a month. After a 5 game buyback, that’s just over $73 (net, you still pay up front but it helps in the next season). Find some buddies to split the tickets with, sell the Lakers tickets, etc., and you can drop the price pretty low and still be in line for the playoffs in coming years. Nota Bene: This 12-month option auto-renews for the following season, so you have to opt-out early. Everything has a cost.

I don’t walk through the calculation to try to sell tickets. I just do so to lay out the facts plainly. I do think seasons tickets are a good value, but being a season ticket holder is not only important, but also rewarding. You meet great people at games and build a nice, fun, social, civic habit. Is each game worth the price? No. Some are stinkers . . . just like TV, movies, restaurants, etc. But the games that deliver make it all up and more. And when `it’ happens, you’re there.

For those interested, call 504 525 HOOP (504 525 4667) or purchase online after browsing here.

Full Disclosure: I’m a season ticket holder and have been for years. Neither I nor Hornets247 was prompted to write this post or received any benefits for doing so. Also, I’ve renewed and was unaffected by the Perch.

13 comments
jmiles562000
jmiles562000

Hey guys! Wanted to chime in on the season ticket subject. Their are GREAT deals going on so u better act fast! I recently attended the kings game two Sundays ago. Won tickets by attending the bridal show on the 100 level. Ironically this was the same day that the times picayune had a story out on the price drop on season tickets. So I mentioned to my fiancé that I was interested in getting maybe a half season plan. She agreed so I went to the first sales booth I saw. He asked what I was interested in. He quoted me $240 a seat for half season tickets in the upper level baseline corner. That was off the top of his head because he was having computer issues. He took down my name and number and said he would call me tomorrow and tell me what he had available. Now I'm going under the assumption that 41 games is a lot of games to try to attend so I'm try to push it. So he calls the next day and says "I know u were looking for a half season package but I would recommend u take this deal we have going on for full season tickets in the upper level row 11 baseline corner end seats for $210 per seat!!!!" My mouth flew open in shock. Thats $5 dollars per game per seat for 42 games (theirs one preseason home game). This is coming from a guy who tried to go in on season tickets with friends in 2006 when the saints came back and there wasn't a waiting list. Now it's 50,000 plus on that list. I jumped on that deal and now my fiancé and I are proud pelicans season tickets holders. Total price comes up to $430 dollars for the whole season for her and I plus shipping cost for tickets. Next season, being apart of the inaugural New Orleans Pelicans season will be special in my eyes and I wanted to be part of it somehow. New name.....new identity! It's something I can tell my future kids that I was at the first pelicans game. Now I can possibly attend all of the 42 games. I'm sure gonna try.

rdutsch
rdutsch

Calmes, Thanks for telling me about the site. I visit the site at least 3 times a week. You and your colleagues are doing a great job. Ryan

Hank
Hank

As someone who frequently buys vintage nba merchandise, there is alot of money to be made off of seeing that the name wont be used for the foreseeable future and definitely bot here in New Orleans. I cant imagine how much those unsold Davis jerseys are going to be in 12 years whens he's a clear cut hall of famer. I might go stack up a few right now.

NolaHog
NolaHog

I'll be renewing. Excited about the price decrease. On a slightly different tangent. . . I went to the Saints (now also Hornets/Pelicans) facility out on Airline Dr. & had lunch with my ticket rep. He said the push was already on to forget about all things Hornets, and he was told not to wear his "I'm In" pin any longer, because everyone needs to embrace the Pelicans. I was asking him if I could get a hold of Hornets stuff when the season is over, specifically asking if I could get one of the Peja heads. He said he thinks they're going to destroy all of the Hornets stuff once the season is over. I think we need to begin to petition Benson and his group to auction the Hornets stuff off for charity, because it would be really sad if they just destroyed all of that vintage Hornet paraphernalia.

Chris W
Chris W

I find what that rep said very interesting. I don't quite understand that attitude towards the Hornets identity, something Benson has had and promoted since the beginning of his ownership (and my only real knock on his short tenure). I am a full supporter of the rebrand, love the Pelicans and will fully embrace it, and hope many new fans do, but I don't think that means the city should be taking an MIB neuralyzer shot to erase all things Hornets. The Hornets identity is part of New Orleans basketball history and should be linked to the Pelicans history, not forgotten. We have a division title banner hanging in the arena with the Fleur de Bee on it, will they want to get rid of that? Make it a Pelicans banner? I really really hope not. What are they going to do with Bobby Phills' banner? That's a link to the Charlotte Hornets, and Benson has expressed how everything Hornets may be right for Charlotte but not here. I think auctioning off Hornets items would be a great idea because there are plenty of us who don't want to forget 10 years worth of New Orleans Hornets basketball.

mateor
mateor

We talked about Phills in the name change thread. My money says both of the banners you named go away.

Chris W
Chris W

Yeah I know Phills has Louisiana roots being from BR and playing for Southern but my point was he played for the Charlotte Hornets with his banner even being done in the style of that franchise. That doesn't seem to mesh with the complete shedding of the Hornets image that Benson and the organization seem to be pushing hard for.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

The Heat have Jordan's Bulls 23 jersey in the rafters.

mateor
mateor

Destroy often means "Send it to Africa." You would think the Patriots won five Super Bowls if you went over there, with championship shirts from 08 and 11 being routed to Free Town and hat not. The Sugar Bowl loser has an alternate reality they can visit in Ghana were things like Hawaii '08 happened. But yeah, here in New Orleans...the Hornets stuff has to go. Rip off the band-aid.

Jared Ennis
Jared Ennis

These are way more affordable than I thought. And that's coming from a broke college kid. I think I might actually do this!

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Tell you what... I'll send you a pair of tickets if you like. Go scout. The cheapies are WELL worth it. Not a bad section in there, really.

Jared Ennis
Jared Ennis

Indeed. These are well worth the price considering how better we will be next season. Good call Benson.

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  1. [...] Arena to something we’ll see this Fall, we arrive at a subject near and dear to my heart: the Party Perch. This caused some relocations and price increases. The Loge boxes merely caused relocations, as [...]