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Do millennials find value in a professional sporting event?

September 29 2015

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What gets millennials to the game? We were curious, so we surveyed more than 500 millennials ages 21-34 about their experience purchasing tickets for – and attending – professional sporting events1. And while we know there are all types of attendees, from the social viewer to the die-hard fan, we really wanted to know why any type of millennial would buy a ticket to the game.

What are the barriers and what are the motivators? Are there things an arena or team can do to improve the experience? What we learned may surprise you:

  • 53% of survey respondents said they have not purchased a ticket to a sporting event within the last year
  • 79% said the team’s win/loss record does not impact their purchase decision

We found that overall, millennials don’t purchase tickets to a game because of the cost.

  • 53% said buying tickets is too expensive
  • 58% wished their home team would offer more ticket deals

However we also found data that reinforces existing research that millennials value experience above all else. 56% of respondents said they were looking for more than a game. They were looking for a full night out: exciting game, great food, drinks, and entertainment.

Many professional athletic teams are now looking into different ways to market to millennials for reasons similar to those listed above. They’ll attend a game whether a team is good or bad, yet they think it’s too expensive to go through with the purchase. And if there is one thing we know, it’s that millennials have different expectations than the Gen X and Gen Y demographics. In fact, Ticketmaster’s current data indicates that millennials spend on average 13 percent less for sporting events than their non-millennial counterparts2.

There is good news for the industry though. We learned that the largest segment of respondents (25%) said they would travel more than 60 minutes to attend a game. And that 71% want to see an exciting game. Which means this group is already willing to invest their time, if not their dollars.

Key Takeaways

There’s no doubt that millennials enjoy sporting events [70% of millennials would rather watch live events from the stands than at home3], but there seems to be a big breakdown in value. Arenas and professional teams need to think differently about how they bring this audience to the game, and understand what they are looking for. At the end of the day, there seems to be a disconnect about the price. Millennials have many different ways to consume this type of content. Why should they spend their hard earned dollars on this experience vs. another? It appears that the only options here are to lower costs or add more value.

Want to learn more about our sporting event survey? Check out the full infographic here:
Millennial Stats: Sports Survey Infographic