Timberwolves Flash Seats Platform – where’s the free market?

If you haven’t heard, the Minnesota Timberwolves are 10-21. There are many reasons why, just check out any blog or sports website to learn more.

If you haven’t heard, the Minnesota Timberwolves are 29 out of 30 when it comes to NBA home attendance (https://www.espn.com/nba/attendance) this year. A key reason why is self-inflicted by Glen Taylor and the Timberwolves organization.

A season so far that has seen multiple double digit leads lost and more barking by Tom Thibodeau than a Michael Vick dog rescue shelter.  The reality is the team shows encouraging signs of having the individual talent to be a formidable team for years to come – but the expectations of the team and the immediate return of the new coach is one year to early.

I’ve struggled with when and where to get season tickets some day – a dream of mine since I was a little kid hoping to catch one Wolves home game a year.  The ability to get a sheet full of tickets, look through the games and attend many, and surprise family and friends with a set of tickets are the reasons why I’d finally cave and buy them.  But then the Wolves “became leading edge” and struck a deal with Flash Seats – a ticketless system that has caused much consternation and issues with many season ticket holders.

Why Flash Seats?

If you had arrived at Target Center over the years, you were bombarded with a seedy broker network that made scalping for tickets uncomfortable.  Ticket brokers would buy tickets by the bulk, then look to turn a profit in the aftermarket.  The Timberwolves had no control after the initial sale and saw profits potential escaping.

What’s wrong with the Timberwolves Flash Seats?

First off, the Timberwolves have been selling hope for close to 10 years now; the fact that the cheapest ticket for an average to above average home game in the lower bowl is $60-85/ticket, for a team with 10 wins, is asinine.  A family of four who wants to bring two kids to become lifelong fans, while enjoying a nice dinner and some beers will shell out close $400 when all is said and done.  This is called mispricing the market.

Second, Flash Seats sets pricing floors in which season ticket holders can sell their ticket.  In addition, a 15-20% fee is taken when someone does sell. The result?  Tickets in the aftermarket are close to or above the face value of already overpriced tickets.

The result of all of this? The 29th rated attendance in the NBA. At a time when the team has so much young talent – yet is still so unproven.  The chance for a new generation of fans to watch a team grow up over the coming years and when they start to make the leap, shell out more money for season tickets to a playoff caliber team.  For young kids to latch onto their generational KG or Marbury (in Towns, Wiggins, and LaVine).

I ask Timberwolves, what is the value of playing home games with 40-50% of the lower bowl empty?  From a pure business standpoint, you are better off producing a real game day atmosphere that helps a team improve their home record and in return helps the team get one step closer to return to the playoffs…which will drive justification for increased season ticket sales, greater demand for tickets and memorabilia, and what do you know…more profits!

Given how expensive Vikings and Wild tickets are in this city, it’s a shame the town doesn’t have a chance to watch this young team grow up within realistic costs.  The market would say the quality on the floor isn’t worth the price tag you’re selling.

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