Originally Posted by anthonypacino
The Owners and Team don't really care either way, as long as they have $$$ that's all that matters. What stinks is when they start to cater to the ones in the higher tax bracket, for the most part people from that crowd are the ones following cause it's "trendy" driving away the bread and butter fans that have hung in there for years championships or not. When that team goes throught the down time that all teams go through, they will have to reach back out to the old die-hards and hope the don't hold a grudge.
Here's article from today that supports your agruement of the owners target market.
Teams woo the wealthy with amenities, access
Pats are the masters but Fenway, Garden aren't far behind as competition heats up
By Sasha Talcott, Globe Staff | June 2, 2006
No matter how the teams perform, 2006 is shaping up as a banner year for Boston's wealthiest sports fans.
At Fenway Park, they are dining on crab cakes with lemongrass remoulade while seat warmers keep them extra toasty on chilly nights. Across town at TD Banknorth Garden this fall, fans who pay $15,000 for two memberships to the new Boardroom club will have access to any Bruins and Celtics games they want, and can watch the Red Hot Chili Peppers and other concerts in style.
Fifteen years ago, Boston's sports teams all but ignored their richest fans. Today, they are working harder than ever to court them . When the New England Patriots opened Gillette Stadium in 2002 with its gleaming Fidelity Investments Clubhouse, they set a new gold standard that Boston's other teams have been racing to match.
``When you sit in that club, you can see the field," said Bill Dorsey , executive director of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors. ``I don't know how the Patriots did it, but they've done it the best."
One reason for the growth of premium seating -- high-end seats with amenities such as waiter service -- goes back to Boston's position as one of the most sports-obsessed cities in the United States, and increasingly one of the wealthiest. That potent combination allows all four of Boston's teams to set ticket prices at or near the top of their leagues, even for regular fans.
The teams' premium seats take pricing to the extreme. The Patriots, for example, not only have the highest club-seat prices in the National Football League (an average of $566.67 a game), but they charge nearly twice as much as the second-place team, the New York Jets , according to Team Marketing Report, which tracks ticket prices. Club seats generally are sold to wealthy individuals and businesses on a seat-by-seat basis, while luxury suites, similar to condominiums, are walled off and sold to corporations in their entirety. Clubhouse members can use the stadium for business meetings and bar mitzvahs, travel to away games on the team's charter jet, and are guaranteed Super Bowl tickets when the Patriots play in the game.
As Boston's sports teams pour money into new seats for the wealthy, competition for those fans is intensifying. The Red Sox earlier this year unveiled the EMC Club at Fenway Park, where, for $275 a game, members have their cars parked by valets, sit on cushioned seats, and dine at a restaurant with white tablecloths. Upstairs, fans can watch the game from the new State Street Pavilion, which features a casual restaurant and bar overlooking the field. At the Garden earlier this month, executives unveiled plans to convert one end zone into a sports bar catering to young professionals, and the other into the Boardroom, a high-end club aimed at businesses.
The new seats were overdue: Fenway Park, more than 90 years old, had among the fewest premium seats in baseball. Its old glassed-in .406 Club, which the team razed to make way for the new seats, was so insulated that the Sox had to pipe in sound. That all changed this year, with Fenway's two new open-air clubs.
``You didn't even feel like you were at the ballgame last year," said Laurie Lisi , who got pavilion tickets to a recent Yankees game from her employer, Eastern Bank. ``It's wonderful. This is way better."
The Garden faced its own share of problems. For several years, executives struggled to sell the high-end tickets at the end zones and corners, where the view for basketball is not good. The mediocre performances of both the Celtics and the Bruins took a toll. At the same time, consolidation in Boston's major industries, such as financial services, left fewer large companies to buy luxury suites.
The Garden's new premium seating plans tackle those issues head on. Executives adopted a simple business strategy: Sell to a broader group of fans. Whereas a typical premium seat requires fans to pay fees as high as $18,200 for a full season at the Garden, and gives them tickets to every game, its new areas require far less commitment. At the premium sports bar, fans who find themselves priced out of premium seats at Gillette Stadium or Fenway Park can get a 10-game package for just $2,000. The idea is to hook younger fans and convert them into premium customers for life.
In the Boardroom, members who pay the $15,000 fee for two tickets will get the freedom to attend any games and concerts they want -- or none at all. After the fee, they pay for each event individually, but are guaranteed spots. The concerts broaden the appeal beyond sports: Performers this summer include Madonna, the Dixie Chicks, and Mariah Carey.
Garden executives designed the Boardroom to appeal to technology firms, life sciences companies, or any others in which executives travel too often to commit to a full luxury suite.
``We're not maxed out," said John Wentzell , the arena's president. ``There are customers out there. That's the good news."
The idea appears to be paying off. Membership sales at the Boardroom have been so strong that the Garden will knock out two additional suites to enlarge it, Wentzell said. Several mid-sized law firms and other companies already have signed up, he said.
The sports bar, called the Premium SportsDeck, also is attracting fans. Bob Smith, director of Northeast Utilities, received an e-mail from the Garden several weeks ago with a pitch to sign up for the new seats. Because the minimum commitment of 10 games was so low, he took a chance and bought two tickets in the sports bar.
``It's something that's new and the Bruins have done a great job on marketing," he said. ``I'm willing to take their recommendation that this is worth trying."
Successful premium seats come down to three things: access, exclusivity, and amenities. Wealthy fans are treated as VIP guests from the moment they walk in the door -- and sometimes even before. The Patriots give their premium customers their own lanes in and out of the stadium grounds, allowing them to avoid post-game traffic, and their own entrance to the stadium. At the Garden, executives arrange golfing outings for fans at country clubs, including the Tournament Players Club in Norton.
``Unless you knew someone, you wouldn't be able to get on" that course, said Joe Lombardo , a Garden premium club member who impressed his clients by taking them golfing at the TPC soon after the Deutsche Bank Championship there.
Though premium seats remain out of reach for average fans, they feel their effects in a dozen different ways. Without premium seats, Gillette Stadium and the Garden would never have been built. Premium seats generally are sold well in advance, giving teams a stream of money that does not depend on whether they win. Bankers look for that when deciding whether to lend money for construction. The seats also make teams richer -- and, if they spend the money well, more likely to win.
Still, for some fans who have traveled to other new ballparks around the league, none of that is important. All that matters is that Boston is finally catching up.
``It's beautiful; it really is," Michael Krone, a title insurance company executive, said of the new Pavilion at Fenway. ``We've finally come of age."
Sasha Talcott can be reached at email@example.com
© Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company