Suns smart to try fun guarantee gimmick in uninspiring season

Posted by on December 5th, 12:01 pm

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.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 bk // Dec 5, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    7 / (7+12) * 82 = 30.2. Suns is on right track projected to be a 30 win season.

  • 2 R. Bourland // Dec 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Negative! This is another step in making the NBA (and more particularly the Suns) a 3 ring circus: full of noise, various acts, and anything except searching out the purity of the great old game of basketball. Count me down as old school love for the game!

  • 3 Ty-Sun // Dec 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Lol. This kind of reminds me of the gimmicks that the old ABA teams used to try to draw in fans way back when they tried to challenge the NBA. The 3 point line was the best ABA “gimmick” IMO… and in the NBA’s opinion too since it’s become part of the game since then.

    And I still kind of miss those red, white and blue ABA basketballs too…

  • 4 grover // Dec 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Ahhh, yes… If only Jackie Moon would by the Suns and bring some talented, forward thinking to our little team.

  • 5 lution // Dec 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    i think the suns will make the playoffs and more if they learn how to finish a game they should try starting oneal for gortot

  • 6 lution // Dec 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    lets do this suns now is the time to shock te wourld and turn the seoson around and go on a winning streak

  • 7 lution // Dec 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    o yea and lets play better d

  • 8 suns68 // Dec 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    and better o

  • 9 Tony // Dec 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    @Michael,

    I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you, but I could not disagree more with you. This gimmick is really pathetic. It’s as if the FO is begging people to watch the team play. How lame is that? This gimmick only serves to illustrate how far this once great Suns franchise has fallen under current management.

    This comment by another one of Sarver’s clowns sums up how bush-league this front office is. “Normally, when a team loses, fans are down,” Rowley told Rovell. “But not with us. And that was an eye-opening moment.” How does Rowley even know they were Suns fans in the first place? Is it possible that the reason these fans he alluded to were smiling after the Bulls won was because they were in fact Bulls fans????

    Moreover MIchael, your claim that this management team cares about how the franchise is viewed nationally makes no sense because the management is already perceived as extremely incompetent and abysmal failures when it comes to managing the Suns. Find me one nationally-acclaimed NBA analyist who has anything positive to say about them….I certainly could not find any. The only bastion of support this management group has remaining, is from some of the local Suns-commentators and a couple local sports reporters.

    Make no mistake about it Michael, this latest Suns gimmick has turned the Suns franchise into the laughingstocks of the league. And what about thoe Suns fans who had previously purchased tickets to the upcoming Dec 6th game? Are they also entitled to a full refund if they do not enjoy their experience? If not, how is that fair to them?
    I seriously hope this gimmick totally backfires on the clowns in the front office!

  • 10 john // Dec 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    So much angst for no good reason. I feel bad for you.

  • 11 m.i.milliman // Dec 5, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    It does stink of failure, but yeah, damn Tony, you’re so angry. You’re right, the front office is bad… but you’re so angry. I think someone needs a hug.

  • 12 Tony // Dec 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    @Milliman,

    To the contrary, I’m not angry, just merely frustrated. Moreover, my frustration with the Suns FO is giving way to apathy regarding the Suns.

    Lastly, it’s silly to call me angry for speaking the common-sense truth. I don’t remember exactly how long ago the streak ended, but for a while during the SSOL era, the Suns had a home sellout streak lasted several seasons if not longer. Now, on the other hand, the FO has to resort to giving away free tickets in hopes that they don’t get embarrassed because of a half-empty stadium on the TNT national broadcast tomorrow night. Am I wrong that this gimmick isn’t pathetic?

  • 13 Casper Frank // Dec 6, 2012 at 12:14 am

    The Rockets get James Harden. We get a fun guarantee. GTFOH!!!

  • 14 Dan Smith // Dec 6, 2012 at 12:14 am

    What exactly does honesty have to do with it if you’d like a refund because your team is playing like horses!#t??!

  • 15 Dan Smith // Dec 6, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Also another random point I’d like to make, the Suns schedule so far has been crazy…playing every other night except for one break where they got 3 nights in a row off. I use to play high school and college, and still play so I know how tough it is on your body and the aches you get the next day with only a single day off. I noticed their schedule doesn’t get easier till Feb., March when there season will already be over. I’m just using this in defense of the players, but not the shortcomings of the FO and coaching staff…

  • 16 Dan Smith // Dec 6, 2012 at 12:26 am

    And also, I’m actually going to be pissed if PHX wins this game, the first during this 4 games losing streak…oh, so nobody plays hard any other games but wins when Sarver has coin to lose??! I have no doubt in my mind that ownership/management will speak to them beforehand and say ‘c’mon guys..treat this like a game 7 of the nba finals’. Shouldn’t the organization be going all out every game of the season??

  • 17 m.i.milliman // Dec 6, 2012 at 1:14 am

    @ Tony

    I think it was the calling of them “clowns” and the over all tone of the post I was more referring too. Otherwise, I agree with you, they’re not very good at what they do. They rival only Michael Jordan in they’re ability to accurately scout talent and build a team. But they’ve made their bed (even if it were a sloppy job and my mother would have never let me go play with as sloppy a bed making job as they have done) so they might as well try something to get crown interest.

    I do find it funny how Rowley totally misunderstood fans excitement for seeing a close game and the rush that comes with it; the early season optimism that fans can have when they see a close game and think that its coming together; that someone can misunderstand that reaction so much as to say that the fans are cool with it. That is comical. I guess I can see where the clown comparison came from. Clowns are funny… aren’t they?

  • 18 shazam // Dec 6, 2012 at 1:53 am

    take the make up off of a clown and all you get is an old pervert

  • 19 john // Dec 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I totally agree with the article. I don’t really see a downside here, and I think they’ll do a good job of acheiving their goals (get butts in seats for a TNT game, namely).

    I’m all for this type of stuff. When the Rattlers did that playoffs or it’s free thing a couple of years back, I loved it. Sure, it’s gimmicky, but everyone knows that already. Just because something is a gimmick doesn’t make it bad.

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