Friday, September 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What's good for the guys is good for Sixers

'Guys Night Out' has grown into one of the team's most popular promotions.

What's good for the guys is good for Sixers

It didn’t take long for the Sixers to realize last year that their “Guys Night Out” promotion had developed some traction.


“It was crazy,” said Eric Blankenship, VP for marketing, earlier today. “I remember the first ‘Guys Night Out’ we had 50, maybe 75 people. Then we had 100, then 200, then 400, and by the end,t he last two or three, we were doing like 700 or 800. It was incredible. We do a lot of different ticket packages, but we’ve never seen grow exponentially grow like that. So obviously it made our decision easy on whether we wanted to do it again this year.”


They didn’t only duplicate the idea, they doubled many aspects of it, tapping into the interest to work on building an average attendance that has been sluggish to grow so far this season. Through 11 home dates, the Sixers are averaging 13,780, tied for 26th in the 30-team NBA.


The package includes four seats, four hot dogs, four beers or sodeas, four $10 Dave and Buster Power Cards, access for four to the new Philadelphia Park Sports Bar, four Sixers Dancers swimsuit calendars, and a meet-and-greet with the dancers in one of the concourses at halftime.       


Blankenship said this year’s program more than doubles the available dates (7 to 15), doubles the package options (fans can now pick from seats in the upper or lower levels) and upgrades the dance team posters to the swimsuit calendars that were produced for the first time this year.


“That actually has been a nice little piece to this,” Blankenship said. “You know what? I’m biased, but in all honesty this one is pretty good considering it’s our first one. We put a lot of effort into it, and it has taken off. It has really been crazy.”


The lower-level seats cost $175 and are located behind the basket; the upper-level package costs $125 and put fans in one of the corners. “So we have two price points now,” Blankenship said.


This isn’t a promotion unique to the NBA, but Blankenship said they were one of the first teams to try it. Detroit, Houston and Indiana are among a couple of the other franchises that have added this promotion to their schedule. Last season the Sixers unveiled the promotion in February and ran it only on Wednesday night games through the remainder of the season. In order to incorporate more games this year they selected a few other nights besides Wednesdays; for instance, Blankenship said around 300 bought in for Saturday night’s game against the Nets.  

Paul Vigna
About this blog
Paul Vigna still has the seat he wrestled out of the concrete at Connie Mack Stadium parked in the finished basement, a 1980 Phillies championship mirror hanging above it. Now, why he’s kept an autograph of former Flyer Bruce Gamble on a sheet of Hockey Hall of Fame paper is another story. A native of Philly who grew up in Lansdale, he’s an assistant sports editor at the Daily News in charge of special projects who has written two columns related to sports and consumers: View From the Seats and Savvy Consumer.

Athletic contests were, for a long time, simply fun and games. Nowadays they’re just a small part of a sports entertainment industry that puts billions of dollars into play and a number of issues into motion. Moneyball indeed. You might be closer to the action than ever before, but that privilege comes at a price - and often it’s beyond what you can afford.

With that as the backdrop we’ll use this blog to dig out stories and swap advice about how the fan experience is changing and what it’s costing you now and in the future. Some of it will educate, some will let you vent. And in a sports panel format, it should allow for a consensus of opinion that can carry some weight.

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Paul Vigna
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