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Decide What You’re Selling

Decide What You’re Selling

A 2016 Planet Money podcast highlighted the economics of stadium vendors at Fenway Park. Based on seniority, each vendor got to pick what they wanted to sell each night and what section they were going to sell it in. Hot dogs in the bleachers. Beer behind home plate. One by one, they all picked their product and section.

One might assume that the same vendors would pick the same products and sections nearly every time. But that’s not how it happens at all. The vendors know they have to analyze everything about the game and the crowd in order to pick the right product and the right section to maximize sales. They strategize based on what time the game starts, what the temperature is outside, the demographic makeup of the available sections and multiple other factors before making their decisions.

In the high-priced seats, Diet Coke sells better than Coke. Hot afternoon games bring more water sales and cold evening games see more hot chocolate sales. It’s pretty obvious stuff but what fascinated me was that it’s the individual salespeople that have to do the analysis and strategy in order to decide what they’re selling.

I think it’s important to recognize that in athletics marketing, we should be doing the exact same thing. We aren’t selling the same product to the same people in the same section each time a ticket gets purchased. For some fans, we’re selling nostalgia for a time they came to events as a child. For others, we’re selling an afternoon with their children. We’re selling date nights and social gatherings and new experiences. And to maximize revenue, we have to analyze our market and the climate and only then decide what we’re selling and to whom.

There’s no one-size-fits all solution to sports marketing. Old Hat’s Sports180º process helps athletic organizations analyze their playing field and make strategic marketing decisions based on conducting research, developing insight and creating strategies to make sure what we’re really selling and who the most likely buyers are.

For more information on how Old Hat can help you move the needle for student attendance, ticket sales or fundraising contact us at (405) 310-2133 or email

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