Timberwolves hope to keep Target Center momentum rolling with season-ticket renewals
Season tickets are set for first price increase since the 2018-19
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves as an organization believe there’s momentum building, specifically, around Target Center.
One season after going 26-15 at home, the Wolves are 20-13 in downtown Minneapolis in the current campaign, including 15-7 since Nov. 30. Home attendance has also increased by roughly 500 fans per game over last season, per ESPN’s database. Minnesota has announced 14 sellouts through 33 home games.
“The home-court advantage has been real,” said Ryan Tanke, the Timberwolves’ chief operating officer. “Our whole goal is can we continue that momentum? We’ve come a long ways, but we’ve got a long way to go.”
That was the sentiment as the organization sent out ticket renewals last week, which included the first price increases on season tickets since the 2018-19 campaign. Tanke noted many of those increases were nominal. He said the average price increase on a seat is 8%, adding 82% of the building’s seats are increasing by fewer than $5 per game.
He also said Minnesota remains the “most affordable lower-level season tickets in the league.” The lower-level get-in price for Timberwolves season tickets is $27 per game next season.
“You’re not going to find NBA teams with that friendly of lower-level pricing,” Tanke said. “That’s something that’s important to us.”
Tanke noted that’s why the “end zones” in the lower level — areas flush with season-ticket holders — are packed on a night-to-night basis. Tanke said Minnesota retained 93% of its season-ticket holders from last season to this year, while adding 2,500 new full-season tickets ahead of this campaign.
And the focus, Tanke said, remains on customer acquisition. Minnesota’s goals are more centered on building its base versus growing its revenue.
So, with that in mind, why increase prices at all?
“I think part of it is at a certain point you have to grow your business. As we go through and evaluate, some of it is demand-based,” Tanke said.
He noted many of the areas seeing the largest price increases are where season-ticket sales are currently 100% sold and also feature waiting lists. He also said the Wolves have analyzed secondary-market data and witnessed spiking resale prices. Tanke did confirm Minnesota will maintain its 75% resale floor — which means a $100 ticket cannot be sold for less than $75 on the resale market — in place, though he added that floor rarely comes into play given the current demand. The organization’s stance is that measure protects season-ticket holders from a “race to the bottom” should demand ever dip.
The Wolves are also keeping current season-ticket holder benefits that include a 50% member discount on in-arena concessions and retail purchases for those that renewed for another season. New season-ticket purchases will receive a 25% discount.
The Timberwolves also continue to test a number of things to improve the Target Center viewing experience. That’s included rim microphones that magnify the sounds the ball makes when it bounces off the rim or swishes through the net.
“We’ve been trying to get that dialed into a good spot, but overwhelmingly, the fan response has been really positive on that,” Tanke said. “So it’s something we’re going to continue."
Another experimentation: shooting jerseys into the stands during timeouts, instead of T-shirts.
“That’s a massive investment, but we’re trying to do some things that are testing, and then we can kind of evaluate the response,” Tanke said. “Just the overall entertainment aspect of the games is certainly an area that (prospective majority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez) have dialed into and I think have brought a lot of good ideas, fresh ideas and things like that and how we’re able to decipher and execute some of them. It’s been good.”
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