Outraged Season Ticket Holder

Good morning gentlemen,


I recently read Andy’s Roeser’s impassioned email message of April 3rd and I’m not sure if I am amused, embittered or just merely disgusted with the organizations’ inability to relate in the minutest of ways to what I believe season ticket holders must think and specifically to what I, a 25-year Clipper season ticket holder actually feels about the club, its operation and in particular to this ludicrous communication from Mr. Roeser.


Let me set the stage by saying that I have spent most of my professional career in direct marketing arena.  A significant portion of it in consumer facing organizations focused on building loyalty & retention programs.  I have in all my years never seen such an incredible disconnect between a company (the Clippers) and its customers as is evidenced by this email.


And, for the record my 25 years as a season ticket holder have seen; a mere 2 winning seasons, 14 head coaches, 22 years (soon to be 23) as a perennial and consistent lottery participant, almost 400 roster changes, only 3 playoff appearances and approximately $375,000 (boy is that number painful to see) invested in a franchise that has proven to be the poster child for sports ineptness.  Like so many, I am now for the most part unemployed, searching for a job and could really use some of those hundreds of thousands of dollars of mine the Clippers have enjoyed. 


While I cannot speak for other season ticket holders, the accumulated frustration can be evidenced by an observation my friend Richard and I made as we sat almost alone in section 101, row 6 at last weeks New Orleans game.  We counted the number of season ticket holders actually present at the game.  The potential for the first 7 rows was 154 and the number of season ticket holders actually present at the game totaled a mere 12, including the two of us.  It would be an understatement to say they are staying away in groves, but why?


While there are probably many individual reasons for the lack of physical support including; bad team, lack of effort, over-priced and poor food, bad music, mediocre coach, and a myriad of other grievances, the most offensive and the latest is the teams undercutting of what season ticket holders paid by as much as 60% in offers to the general public, including seats right in our section, seats we bought at full-price. 


I wonder how Mr. Sterling or anyone would feel if they pre-paid the full price for the purchase of a product or service only to find out that the next person in line (without any negotiation) was able to obtain that same product for 60% less?  Maybe the Clippers just do not get it!  Put another way, Mr. Sterling buys a new Bentley for $400,000 in September and Mr. Roeser buys a similar car in April for $160,000.  One could assume that he would be at a minimum, extremely agitated by the situation and seek recourse. Well, I paid about $25,000 for four seats this year and the Clippers have been selling those seats to anyone recently at more than half of what I paid, what is my recourse?


When I attempted to contact the Clippers regarding this inane policy (hard to get return calls from Mr. Lahr or Roeser) I was told by Mr. Lahr’s assistant that it was an unfortunate situation, but the lack of ticket demand forced the Clippers to react in this fashion.  Ah, the Clippers at least acknowledge that demand is soft and their pricing strategy reflects this lowered demand for which the marketplace has mandated the price reductions on seats to the “general public.”


In my analogy and at the end of the day Mr. Sterling would still have the overpriced, but well made Bentley. We season ticket holders cannot make such a claim as the product we witness year in and year out is significantly inferior to other teams, never performs as promised and is always breaking down.  It’s like going to Morton’s and finding out that Denny’s catered your meal; you would and should be outraged and demand satisfaction.


Being loyal to the Clippers has cost me $375,000 and yes I have received some measure of enjoyment, but now every season ticket holder’s loyalty is costing them money, money they may no longer have to spend frivolously. 


This renewal email from Mr. Roeser is a personal affront to each and every long-time season ticket holder and insults the intelligence of all us who are now struggling to make ends meet.  I can only assume that the essence of the email was to placate season ticket holder when he wrote, “To help make your renewal decision a little easier, we are pleased to announce that there will be no price increase in the lower level.”  He and the Clippers must be kidding.  Is the light on?  Why should I invest full price for tickets only to have the Clippers undercut what I pay and reward the general public with up to 60% off lower bowl seats – and they may even throw in a hot dog and gas card.


Mr. Roeser is either foolish or a fool as he closes the email with “we need your support more than ever, etc., etc.”  O.K., if the Clippers want loyal fans to come back and be supportive of a team that at best will miss the playoffs again, be injury riddled, probably fire the coach, serve inedible and over-priced food, and once more delight ESPN with their on-court ineptness, I have a more rationale and realistic alternative purchase plan for the Clippers based on the “real” market pricing.


I would suggest the adoption of the following season ticket discount (market pricing) purchase program, a program that given the quality of the product, given the lack of product demand and given the current economic conditions might persuade season ticket holders to renew.


The Rick plan is a very simple, reflects current conditions and rewards loyalty.


For 25+ year season ticket holders           - ticket price reduced by 50%

For 20-24 year  “         “       “        - ticket price reduced by 40%

For 15-19 year  “         “       “        - ticket prices reduced by 30%

For 10-14 year  “         “       “        - ticket prices reduced by 20%

For all other season ticket holders - ticket prices reduced by 10%


This is a far more rationale view of what a Clipper season ticket is worth in today’s marketplace as evidenced by the Clipper’s public marketing of their product.


I urge each and every season ticket holder to consider the value of his or her seat as reflecting by the undercutting of what we paid versus the incredible discounted price the Clippers offer to the public.  The current conditions depict what economist and politicians say is a “pay for performance” or in the case of the Clippers, pay for ineptness.  Ownership and the players should understand this, season ticket holders should not continue to reward such ineptness and lack of understanding.


Why pay in full when you can buy at deep discounts later?  Please pass this letter along, let the Clippers know how you really feel about their product.



Rick Kaplan

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