Pros and Cons 2013 – 2014 Pelicans Season Ticket Holder Changes

Published: March 7, 2013

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.


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.


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.


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