Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Economic Crisis And Luxury Suites

The big draw for people to buy luxury suites is generally for businesses, who are attempting to woo potential clients. But with business going south, it leaves less money for companies to spend on exquisite items such as luxury suites. One would figure that the market for luxury suites would crash in this market.

However, it appears that's not the case. I've never had the opportunity to sit in a luxury box, but if I ever had the money, now would seem to be a great time to buy. Teams are now offering more bang for the buck for those in luxury suites:
The economic downturn has turned the tables on teams, which are now offering well-heeled fans time on the field during batting practice, meet-and-greets with players and free wine tastings just to stick around. It's a buyer's market for baseball's premium seating, with teams getting more creative and private seats becoming more accessible to willing investors.

"In any economic climate, creativity will always be rewarded," says William Droste, premium sales manager for the Boston Red Sox.
My biggest question is this, it's easy for teams in big markets and passionate fan bases to be creative, but how about the teams in somewhat smaller markets that lack a craze driven fan base? Even with the economic crisis, I would expect teams like the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, and Phillies (all talked about in the article), to do very well with luxury suite sales. But how about the Twins, Nationals, Brewers, and Padres? Are those teams able to sell out their luxury suites?

This is a valid question that this article fails to discuss.

I would imagine that teams with smaller and often times less passionate fan bases would have a much tougher time retaining their big dollar luxury suite clients. In times of economic turmoil, I imagine that the Royals luxury suite would be one of the first things to go.



Anonymous said...

Not sure how you fold the "Nationals" with those other teams as "small market teams" that may not be able to sell their luxury suites in tough economic times. First, DC is not a small market, it is one of the biggest in terms of population, size of the economy, and economic performance during the economic crisis. It has a huge corporate base as well (DC is not just the Feds--the DC area has more Fortune 1000 companies than Boston and is about on par with Philadelphia). But yes, I would expect the Nats to struggle in the luxury suites area, but because of another factor you do not mention. The Nats don't just generate no buzz, they generate negative buzz. Corporations uses the boxes for business purposes, but in order to use them at all, they have to attract the clients to the suites in the first place, and for that you need to have either an extremely traditional team with a great brand and Q rating within the market (think Cubs, or Giants) or a succesful team. The ones with a combination of both have waiting lists for those luxury boxes. Teams with no "it" factor--no strong brand, uncompetitive team--just have an uphill struggle, regardless of the size of the market and the conditions of the economy.

Jorge Says No! said...

Great point about the buzz needed to sell the suites. I'd like to see the stats and see how the Nats did selling luxury suites during the inaugural season at Nationals Park. During that time, the team had some true buzz surrounding it.