What is the biggest benefit of being a season ticket holder according to Kris Katseanes, FC Dallas VP of Ticket Sales? "Beyond just the typical benefits of membership and the added value of an improved stadium, season members also are guaranteed a seat for all the biggest matches of the year." A guaranteed seat? That's not "Beyond" anything. That's the most basic reason for buying a season ticket in the first place! An improved stadium? The only renovations taking place this year are the removal of the south stands and the addition of more bleachers on the stage.
Before the first game kicked off last year, season ticket holders received a page of coupons offering a free soda, a candy bar, a cinch sac, 10% off in the team store, 20% off on one occasion, and two buy-one-get-one free tickets. I was underwhelmed when I opened the envelope with the entirety of the season ticket holder benefits. At least last year's ticket book had a nice presentation. Dan Hunt said in a Facebook chat that he thinks this package is among the best in the league! Just to be certain, I asked supporters of other teams. Most teams give free scarves. The Red Bulls give 25% off at the team store. Fire season ticket holders receive free parking in a separate lot and 20% off at concessions. Some teams offer free USL and away tickets!
The biggest STH exclusive event for FC Dallas is Meet the Team night. However, anybody can interact with the players at the fantastic Cocktails and Cleats, which is open to the general public. The membership website lists "exclusive pre-sale[s]" as some of the biggest benefits. I was a season ticket holder because I love FC Dallas, not because I need to purchase USWNT or Jimmy Buffett tickets in advance of the general public.
The general public is frequently offered packages that are better than what STHs are offered. For example, FC Dallas tweeted out on October 14, "Secure your seats for our first two playoff games now and get the regular season finale free!" I had already purchased tickets for the first two playoff games and had purchased the season finale ticket as part of my season tickets. What benefit did I receive as a diehard fan that comes rain or shine? As things currently stand at FC Dallas, fans are perversely incentivized by frequently discounted tickets and a lack of benefits to not become season ticket holders.
A STH Rewards System that Rewards the Biggest Fans
The season ticket holder rewards system I would like to see FC Dallas adopt is the one used in Houston (I know, but hear me out). STHs have an account with points that can be redeemed for awards called "Dynamo Custom Rewards." New season ticket holders start with 20,000 points and renewals can get 30,000 points. Dynamo season ticket holders can also earn points by liking Facebook posts, downloading their mobile app, posting photos with team hashtags, and checking in at the stadium.
The season ticket holder logs into an online portal to see their points balance and select awards. Putting a name in lights or a membership scarf costs 5,000 points. Attending a post-game autograph session or standing in the rally tunnel is 10,000 points. VIP Club passes or an MLS Live subscription is 15,000 points. A private meet-and-greet is 20,000 points. This allows season ticket holders the flexibility of picking the rewards that suit themselves and their families.
To make this system even better, each season ticket holder could have a smartphone app that is scanned before purchases. This would enable the concession and merchandise discount automatically. It would also allow STHs to accumulate points for in-stadium purchases.
This new system is designed to properly reward the biggest fans. Those who have been fans longer are rewarded with more renewal points. Those who attend more games get more points. Those who purchase more concessions and merchandise in the stadium receive more points. Those who interact with the club on social media get rewarded. There could even be a competition in the smartphone app to accumulate the most points to become the biggest FC Dallas fan!