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Boosting Ticket Sales: What Your Performing Arts Organization Can Learn from the Los Angeles Kings

CC Image by Connie Kim
CC Image by Connie Kim

In our previous article (link) we pin-pointed and outlined three strategies for boosting your performing arts organization’s ticket sales:

1)   Pre-Sale Promotion

2)   Promotion Through Social Media

3)   Group Ticket Sales

While these strategies can help you boost your ticket sales right now, we’re also very interested in helping you boost your ticket sales long-term. Today we will take a look at the Los Angeles Kings and their new business strategy for cultivating and maintaining long-term fans and audience members.

The Back Story

In the 2011-2012 NHL season, after six games against the New Jersey Devils in the final round, the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This win (the ultimate “win” in the NHL) brought the Kings into an entirely new realm of popularity. Previously used to competing against many of the other Los Angeles professional sports teams, the Kings individual game tickets and season tickets became a hot commodity on the market.

CC Image by Waltarrrrr
CC Image by Waltarrrrr

The Kings’ ticket sales continued to rise as they played well in the seasons following their Stanley Cup win. Let’s take a quick look at their sales over the past few seasons:

  • Prior to the 2011-2012 season: the Kings sold a total of 9,421 premium and non-premium season tickets.
  • In the 2012-2013 season the Kings saw non-premium season tickets rise 23% to 12,230.
  • During the 2013-2014 season, 12,307 season tickets were sold.
  • As of June 2014, there were 13,082 season tickets sold for the 2014-2015.

It’s important to note that the Kings ticketing strategy differs slightly from other NHL teams because of their home arena, the Staples Center. The Staples Center is owned and operated by Anschutz Entertainment Group; AEG takes care of selling the premium season tickets (such as the suites and premium seats). So, the Kings main focus is only on increasing non-premium ticket purchases.

The New Strategy

The numbers speak for themselves. But just in case you wanted to hear it from AEG also, in a recent Forbes article Aaron LeValley, AEG Sports’ Senior Director of Digital Strategy and Analytics said that “our fans in Los Angeles have really taken to the team and demand for tickets is crazy.”

The Kings have dramatically increased their non-premium ticket sales over the past four seasons…so now what? They’ve turned their focus to fan engagement! Of course, fan engagement is all part and parcel of encouraging present and future ticket sales so this actually is just good common sense.

A team (or performing arts organization) never wants to take for granted their existing fans. These are people that support you at present, and like any other relationship their appreciation and continued interest depend on your ability to nurture through engagement.

The Kings have put together a fantastic system for engaging and connecting with fans. Through the use of Adobe Campaign, the Kings have set up email communication campaigns for fans which contain links to different areas of the team website. This in turn helps the Kings track engagement, learn what their fans are most interested in, and customize their future communications. They also have subscriber “Welcome” campaigns, pre- and post-game communications, season ticket renewals, and seasonal promotions.

CC Image by Matthew Nelson
CC Image by Matthew Nelson


So what can you, as a performing arts organization, take away from the Los Angeles Kings success and engagement campaign efforts?

  • Ticket sales are for now, but engagement is forever. The process of fan nurturing and engagement is a never-ending process. It doesn’t start when the event makes it onto the organization’s calendar or stop after the event has concluded.
  • Research for maximum potential. It is crucial that your organization understand what your fans are most interested in…and then give them more of it! This will help you maximize the potential of your continued engagement effort.
  • Format for consumption. Be sure that your organization’s information, blog, calendar etc. is formatted for mobile viewing. As the popularity of smartphones increases, so does the need for mobile-friendly content – make it easy for your fans to engage with you and your organization’s content!

Does your organization already have some of these engagement strategies in place? If so, how have they worked for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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