If the Bay Area fans just walked away from Warriors basketball, would you blame them? I might even applaud them for standing up to bad ownership. Since the 1994-95 season there have been just two years with a winning record, one really memorable moment (the upset of Dallas in 2006). Only one team has fewer winning seasons (the Clippers, the league’s punching bag) and they have as many playoff appearances.
Yet Warriors fans fill the building. The fans know the game and are passionate despite Golden State’s ownership trying to beat any love of basketball out of them. This year, despite the glimmer of joy that is watching Steph Curry play, the fans may finally be worn down.
So how is Golden State getting fans to come next year? Cold hard cash.
As had been widely rumored, the Warriors today announced discounts in the renewal rate for every season ticket in the house, a drop of anywhere from 8 to 28%, depending on the seat. (General rule: The worse the seat, the bigger the discount.)
They’re calling it “Loyalty Pricing,” which is good marketing, since it taps into perhaps the ONLY thing that is keeping the Warriors’ ticket base in the upper strata of the league, after all these awful seasons.
It says a lot about franchise concerns about season ticket holders that they are making this move. This is tough on the cash flow, but if it’s the only way you get people in the building, you have to do it.
The other way to get fans in the building is to inspire the fan base by making some changes that suggest winning is on the way. Like a new coach and a new front office power structure. But that’s a Larry Ellison dream world. For now, they’ll take the cash.