Tennessee launches 'flex ticket' pricing model

Flex pricing for UT football games for 2013.

Photo by UT Sports

Flex pricing for UT football games for 2013.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- As part of an ongoing effort to improve ticket sales and attendance, the University of Tennessee Athletics Department will engage with Qcue to make individual game tickets in the south upper deck more accessible using a flex pricing approach. Qcue's technology considers all available data to price tickets more accurately. The system applies advanced analysis to adjust prices based on sales and other measures of shifting demand. The result is market-driven pricing that better reflects the true value of in-venue seating.

"This is really a test program for us targeting upper deck seats in the south end zone," said Chris Fuller, UT's senior associate athletics director for development and external operations. "Through our partnership with Qcue, we have evaluated data regarding the market value for our individual game tickets, and the flex ticket pricing model allows the cost of the ticket to be adjusted based on demand."

Flex pricing will apply to about 6,700 seats in the south upper deck only.

One of the goals of flex pricing is to provide more affordable tickets for our fans. For the first three games of the season, prices will start at $20 in parts of the south upper deck. The initial price for the remaining four games will be set at the face value price (Georgia $80, South Carolina $80, Auburn $70, Vanderbilt $55) but may be adjusted as the season progresses.

The flex ticket pricing model will impact individual game sales only in designated locations. Preferred seat locations will still be reserved for season ticket holders. "Our season ticket holders and donors will continue to be our highest priority from a service standpoint," said Fuller. "We believe the flex approach will complement our overall sales effort and provide greater opportunity for our fans."

More than half of Major League Baseball teams use some type of flex or dynamic pricing, as well as many NBA and NHL teams. Tennessee is one of the first major college programs to implement a flex pricing model.

Questions and Answers on Flex Pricing:

Q: Why is Tennessee implementing a flex ticket pricing model?

A: Many fans choose to purchase individual game tickets through secondary market sites. That price is driven by market demand. Flex pricing allows us to have a pricing option that is market-driven.

We think that having the ability to adjust our prices closer to the market value will help us sell more tickets and generate additional revenue and as importantly help us fill seats that have been empty at times over the last few seasons.

Q: How often will ticket prices change?

A: Prices can change frequently, so fans interested in finding the best price on tickets should visit UTTIX.com often.

Q: What happens if the price drops after I've bought a ticket?

A: All ticket sales are final at the time of purchase.

Q: Can this affect tickets I've already purchased?

A: Not at all. This impacts only a small section of seats in the south upper deck - row 16 and above. Nothing will change with season tickets, mini-plans or single-game tickets in other parts of the stadium.

Q: Does this change how I buy tickets?

A: No. Single-game tickets will still be available on UTTIX.com, by phone at 1-800-332-VOLS and in person at the Tennessee Athletic Ticket Office and Neyland Stadium ticket windows.

Q: Will you publicize price changes in the south upper deck?

A: We'll promote ticket prices in several ways, including our #GBO Insider e-mail newsletter, our official Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Current prices are always available on UTTIX.com.

Q: Will prices increase for any games?

A: Flex price tickets for high-demand games like Georgia and South Carolina will likely sell at a higher price than years past, but other games will be available for lower prices than fans have paid in past seasons.

Q: Does flex pricing have anything to do with Tennessee's partnership with StubHub?

A: No. StubHub is our exclusive secondary ticket market partner. These changes only affect our primary market sales.

Q: Do you have plans to increase the number of flex priced seats in Neyland Stadium in the future?

A: Not at this time. We will continue to monitor and evaluate our pricing models and make adjustments accordingly.

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Comments » 28

govols26 writes:

I know at least one major university using this model for every single game ticket sold. The main difference is they say that for the first week or so the tickets are on sale, those are the lowest prices those tickets will sell for. They could stay there or go up depending on demand afterwards- just gives you reason to buy them earlier or risk paying more. Not a big fan of this system, personally.

DawgDayAfternoon writes:

Next they'll be giving them away with the purchase of 4 Krystals. I thought Butchie Boy was the savior? Why no confidence? It's okay though, think of how nice all that Dawg red will look against the backdrop of East Tuckysee fall colors - as the Dawgs "Roar For Four" over the Big Gray!

Central_IL_Vol writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Next they'll be giving them away with the purchase of 4 Krystals. I thought Butchie Boy was the savior? Why no confidence? It's okay though, think of how nice all that Dawg red will look against the backdrop of East Tuckysee fall colors - as the Dawgs "Roar For Four" over the Big Gray!

Well now, the Mangy Mutt has graced us with her presence! How's that bad case of fleas, Mutt? Going to be in Knoxville when the Big Orange neuter you and the rest of the Mangy Mutt Morons?

Now be a good doggie and go lay in the corner before I take the newspaper and smack you across the mouth!

Get ready to be Butch's B!TCHES!

6972 writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Next they'll be giving them away with the purchase of 4 Krystals. I thought Butchie Boy was the savior? Why no confidence? It's okay though, think of how nice all that Dawg red will look against the backdrop of East Tuckysee fall colors - as the Dawgs "Roar For Four" over the Big Gray!

I am wondering if you would have the gonads to call him "Butchie Boy" to his face.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to 6972:

I am wondering if you would have the gonads to call him "Butchie Boy" to his face.

It has no nads. Remember Butch's female doges

Orange_Beach writes:

They couldn't fill up NeyBoob if they put a pair of tickets in every box of Cracker Jacks.

mrrs007 writes:

So in short UT is now in the scalping business...

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Just a few comments so far and wouldn't you know it.............several are by the idiots, AKA trolls ( Wilted flowers and I am obsessed with Tennessee/Orange Beach.

6972, you're correct sir. Wilted daffodil/Flowers only prowls these forums. He'd never have the guts to face any of those guys in person...........Kremser, Glenn Ford, Majors, Hart, Butch Jones........anyone for that matter.

What a fraud. Posing as a Georgia fan. Everyone knows him for what he is, an impostor.

The Orange Beach clown is just an arrogant nuisance..........worthless at best.

Pompey writes:

...a slap in the face of the season ticket supporter especially if they live out of town...HDTV looks better and better!

WetumpkaThumpa writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Next they'll be giving them away with the purchase of 4 Krystals. I thought Butchie Boy was the savior? Why no confidence? It's okay though, think of how nice all that Dawg red will look against the backdrop of East Tuckysee fall colors - as the Dawgs "Roar For Four" over the Big Gray!

This guy has issues.

Glentenn writes:

I'd rather see UT get the revenue from market based ticket sales than the scalpers. Every little bit trims the Athletic dept deficit.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Next they'll be giving them away with the purchase of 4 Krystals. I thought Butchie Boy was the savior? Why no confidence? It's okay though, think of how nice all that Dawg red will look against the backdrop of East Tuckysee fall colors - as the Dawgs "Roar For Four" over the Big Gray!

Speaking of Krystal's, I heard you frequent them in Alabama and pretending to be passed out/intoxicated.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

"We think that having the ability to adjust our prices closer to the market value will help us sell more tickets and generate additional revenue and as importantly help us fill seats that have been empty at times over the last few seasons."

Let me go ahead and clear up the magical market forces driving your decreased ticket sales over the past decade. You hire losers to coach the football team, they lose, and then people don't show up.

I have never once in my life heard the following from a UT fan:

"You know, I'd love to go to the Georgia game, but the ticket prices are so arbitrary and really don't respond to fluctuations in the real market valuation of the individual nosebleed seats. I just can't bring myself to spend money on gas, hotel, food, concessions, and parking only to look down at my ticket and realize that I've ended up on the short end of a marginal market differential."

Also...UT students should NEVER pay for student seating. It's a travesty that we now require them to pay, however much. It's pathetic and the University should absolutely be ashamed of itself.

imw8n4u writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Speaking of Krystal's, I heard you frequent them in Alabama and pretending to be passed out/intoxicated.

LOL -

Colliervol writes:

Sounds like a good plan to me. Given the cost of going to games (which is out of reach for more and more fans) and the plethora of games on TV, you'll see more schools going to this. $75 to $80 a ticket is pretty steep.

Mama_Also_Calls_Me_Precious writes:

Ya know, do away with pricing gimmicks because if Tennessee football starts winning again, this flex system won't be necessary anyway, and I fully expect Tennessee to start winning again. Maybe not this year or next, but I think Coach Jones will be a successful coach here, just like Coach Majors and Coach Fulmer were...

tovolny writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

Next they'll be giving them away with the purchase of 4 Krystals. I thought Butchie Boy was the savior? Why no confidence? It's okay though, think of how nice all that Dawg red will look against the backdrop of East Tuckysee fall colors - as the Dawgs "Roar For Four" over the Big Gray!

Somebody needs to scratch you where you inch. It will probably take a big boot and a strong leg. When it happens, I'll buy a ticket to watch. On the other hand, you have (without a doubt) lowered the image of the dawg fans. I have some close friends that are Dawg, Gator, and Tide fans. We rib and tease each other, but it is all in good fun. You, however, bring a great deal of embarrassment to the Dawg fan. When the scratch takes place,I bet they will want a ticket also. Other than that, have a good day.

tovolny writes:

Inch is not itch...but a substitute word.

dirtmerchant writes:

This Chris Fuller guy quoted here is the same idiot who a couple of years ago said UT would never discount ticket prices for fear it would "devalue the brand."

I remember reading that quote right here on this site and my mouth fell open in disbelief - "devalue the brand" is what he said.

volhome writes:

And so for the season ticket holders that have the privilege of paying full face value for their tickets, and the privilege of providing a forced donation to the Tennessee Fund, you now can be sitting at the game next to someone who paid less than face value with no donation, and it is the University that is doing the reverse scalping, instead of the ticket hawkers on the street. Hmm, that seems like strike three this week by the UTAD, and yet, the hits just keep on coming. Keep it up, folks, we love being slapped in the face with a dead fish.

McMinnVol writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

"We think that having the ability to adjust our prices closer to the market value will help us sell more tickets and generate additional revenue and as importantly help us fill seats that have been empty at times over the last few seasons."

Let me go ahead and clear up the magical market forces driving your decreased ticket sales over the past decade. You hire losers to coach the football team, they lose, and then people don't show up.

I have never once in my life heard the following from a UT fan:

"You know, I'd love to go to the Georgia game, but the ticket prices are so arbitrary and really don't respond to fluctuations in the real market valuation of the individual nosebleed seats. I just can't bring myself to spend money on gas, hotel, food, concessions, and parking only to look down at my ticket and realize that I've ended up on the short end of a marginal market differential."

Also...UT students should NEVER pay for student seating. It's a travesty that we now require them to pay, however much. It's pathetic and the University should absolutely be ashamed of itself.

Could not disagree more with your last paragraph. Best way of doing it for students is let the ones who want to go to the game pay for it, and then those who don't want to go don't have to pay for something they don't want (if mandatory students fees for tickets applied to all). And I say this with two students currently at UT, both of which have to pay for their tickets. $10 for a UT ticket is a great deal.

GO VOLS!

dtacker#607308 writes:

in response to Colliervol:

Sounds like a good plan to me. Given the cost of going to games (which is out of reach for more and more fans) and the plethora of games on TV, you'll see more schools going to this. $75 to $80 a ticket is pretty steep.

$75-80 for a single ticket is ridiculous especially when you are considering taking a family.

underthehill writes:

Flex pricing has been going on outside the stadium for as long as I can remember..the closer it gets to kickoff ..the lower the price..I have seen 'em go for as little as $1..or being given away..

LynnDalton writes:

Well, it's about time the UT Athletic Department learned about "the market" e.g., supply and demand. I held season tickets on the 40-yard-line for 39 years but UT's greed and arrogance forced me out of its market. I could no longer afford to partonize UT football games. Notwithstanding that my estate will enrich the University, they just want more and more.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Mama_Also_Calls_Me_Precious:

Ya know, do away with pricing gimmicks because if Tennessee football starts winning again, this flex system won't be necessary anyway, and I fully expect Tennessee to start winning again. Maybe not this year or next, but I think Coach Jones will be a successful coach here, just like Coach Majors and Coach Fulmer were...

Clearly, the policy isn't graven in stone. If the Vols again become big winners, the tickets will again be in great demand. The ticket office will have a pretty good idea of how many seats will be available for such pricing by the time all season-ticket holders confirm their seats. If they sell that year's allotment of season tickets or experience an increase in demand for them, flexible pricing will likely disappear. That's why they call "FLEXIBLE" pricing.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tovolny:

Somebody needs to scratch you where you inch. It will probably take a big boot and a strong leg. When it happens, I'll buy a ticket to watch. On the other hand, you have (without a doubt) lowered the image of the dawg fans. I have some close friends that are Dawg, Gator, and Tide fans. We rib and tease each other, but it is all in good fun. You, however, bring a great deal of embarrassment to the Dawg fan. When the scratch takes place,I bet they will want a ticket also. Other than that, have a good day.

That guy is no Dawg fan, he is our very own home-grown troll, Jeffy Flowers. I wouldn't be at all surprised if several of our more persistent trolls weren't phonies also. You can usually tell who the genuine fans are because, while they may talk a little trash from time to time, they are also interested in sports as such and can offer useful insights of their own. We should welcome genuine fans of other programs, but we shouldn't allow ourselves to be suckered by trolls who only PLAY at being fans when their only real interest is in showing what a__holes they can be.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volhome:

And so for the season ticket holders that have the privilege of paying full face value for their tickets, and the privilege of providing a forced donation to the Tennessee Fund, you now can be sitting at the game next to someone who paid less than face value with no donation, and it is the University that is doing the reverse scalping, instead of the ticket hawkers on the street. Hmm, that seems like strike three this week by the UTAD, and yet, the hits just keep on coming. Keep it up, folks, we love being slapped in the face with a dead fish.

Most season-ticket holders have much better seats than the ones that fall under the flex-pricing system. Even those most devoted to the "Vol brand" can in fact recognize when they are being "slapped in the face with a dead fish" when whole sections are largely empty. As I and many others have said, it is better for the school in nearly every way for as many seats as possible to be filled, regardless of the face value paid for tickets. And, as has also been pointed out in various national media, virtually all sports at all levels are having problems selling all their tickets for all their games. This a relatively new development which has caused LOTS of sports-management people to rethink their basic ideas of the price-to-value ratio. The calculus of many fans has also clearly undergone a major shift recently as the costs of game attendance rise steadily with little overall improvement in the fan experience and with the simultaneous emergence of cable/satellite service and HD TV.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to dtacker#607308:

$75-80 for a single ticket is ridiculous especially when you are considering taking a family.

I admit to feeling a certain painful jolt in the wallet region when I realized what those "big-game" tickets were going for these days. You would think all the big TV contracts the major conferences have these days would relieve some of the pressure to milk the fans for all they are worth, but nooooo! You can only squeeze so much blood out of a stone, as it seems some programs are beginning to realize.

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