Suns smart to try fun guarantee gimmick in uninspiring season

When you lose your marketable franchise player and seem destined for a lottery season, you have to take some chances in the marketing department.

That’s what the Phoenix Suns are doing by offering a money back guarantee to fans who attend Thursday night’s primetime battle against the Dallas Mavericks.

Here are the official details, per Suns.com:

Good Times Guaranteed, or your Money Back. Come see the edge-of-your-seat action live Thursday, December 6 as your Suns battle the Dallas Mavericks and if you’re not completely satisfied with the experience, we’ll give you your money back.

As Zim wrote when this was first announced and as ESPN’s Darren Rovell originally reported, Suns president Jason Rowley was struck by how many fans seemed to enjoy the team’s Nov. 14 game against the Bulls despite it being an overtime loss.

“Normally, when a team loses, fans are down,” Rowley told Rovell. “But not with us. And that was an eye-opening moment.”

This gimmick could be worth it just based upon the headlines it generates alone. It’s an innovative idea that was a featured story on ESPN.com and written about prominently across many major sites that cover NBA basketball.

The ultimate plan, of course, is to sell more tickets and convince some fans who would prefer to watch the Suns lose from the comfort of their own homes that the atmosphere of the games makes it worth it to purchase a multi-game ticket package. The Suns are confident enough in their product that they feel there will be a minimum amount of refunds requested (people are generally pretty honest in these situations) and that the potential for future customers outweighs the potential revenue lost through issuing the refunds.

You also need to consider the opportunity cost, which is nothing for tickets the Suns would not have otherwise sold. There’s a pretty decent chance that the additional tickets purchased will make up for any refunds they have to give back, and that’s especially true when it comes to future ticket revenue this might generate.

It also makes sense for the Suns to choose this game to maximize their chances of having a rocking US Airways Center for their first national television audience of the regular season. The Purple Palace has not exactly been a hotbed of excitement in the early going, and we know this management team cares an awful lot about how the franchise is perceived nationally. It was worth it to offer this incentive to pack the stands for the TNT audience even if some of that money will eventually be refunded.

It’s unfortunate for the Suns that they have to rely on quirky deals like this, but such is life with Goran Dragic as your most marketable player and a 7-12 record that beats out only New Orleans and Sacramento in the Western Conference. In addition to the fun guaranteed night, the Suns have also advertised a deal on their broadcasts for free Lakers tickets if you buy additional games although I could not find further information online about the specifics of that deal.

It’s great to see the Suns’ marketing department get creative, but the players now must know they have to put on a show so as not to lose their bosses too much money through this promotion.

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