Talk about a smart move. A year after going 4-12 the AFL’s Arizona Rattlers have guaranteed their fans that they will make the playoffs in 2008. But this isn’t an empty promise. If they don’t, they’ll fully refund their season-ticket holders.
Twelve of the 17 AFL teams make the playoffs, so the odds are in their favor. But it’s about more than that, really.
“If you don’t make the playoffs the fans should get their money back,” Managing Partner Brett Bouchy said. “This should be the stance for all pro teams.”The team needs to do something to boost its sagging attendance. Once averaging 11,000-12,000 fans in the 90’s, last season it bottomed out at around 5,000 per game. And this offer will do exactly that. It will get fans in the seats.
Yet even if the Rattlers don’t make the playoffs, they’ll still be winners. They might have to give back the money spent on tickets, but it’s likely that the revenue from parking, concessions and souvenirs will more than make up for it. It’s a gutsy move in some respects, and will get them a lot of attention, but it’s also a safe bet. Attendance will surely go up, and fans, thinking they might get some money back, will likely spend more than they would have otherwise.
It’s a forward thinking move for the Rattlers, whose business model has suddenly become like that of a movie theatre chain than a sports team. It’s all about relevance, and the Rattlers will now have it, regardless. And Bouchy knows it.
“This may hurt us in the short term but I think it will really help in the long term.”