Thinking about going in 50/50 on some season tickets with my friend. Does anyone have any comments about their experiences as Season Ticket Holders?
Were you able to sell tickets when you couldn't make the game(s)? Were there any problems you experienced?
Thanks in advance,
Welcome to the club (potentially)! This is one of my favorite topics, so I hope you have some time. I'm going to echo a lot of what others have said, but here are a few of my thoughts:
Your desire to be a STM should be proportional to the number of games that you want to go to. Making a profit on your tickets is secondary. I've been a STM since the last year of the Big 3 (Rondo/Garnett/Pierce). After that, the team tanked badly and prices went down significantly. They've risen for the last couple of years (up 11% for me this year), but my tickets actually cost less per seat now than they did the first year, because I bought them at a cyclical high. My seats are also better. My tickets, though, are below face value because I've been a STM for six years. It takes a while before you fall into that category. Fun fact: In the three years that I've had my current seats, I've never actually met the person who owns the two seats next to me. They sell almost every game.
Also worth noting is that my rep told me that they were almost entirely sold out of season tickets last year. You'll still get a discount if you buy the entire season, but it's not going to be what it once was. I go to about 10 regular season games per year and the games that I sold last year covered the cost of the entire season, including the ones that I went to. In other years, though, it has only been 75-80%.
I wouldn't mind splitting my tickets with somebody (I own all 43 games) but there are some benefits to being a STM that would be hard to split. For instance, one game per year, you can go out on the court and play after the game. Sometimes, a current Celtics player will also come out and take photos with you (The picture of my not-quite 4' tall son with Amir Johnson is a funny one.). Also, if you have kids, they get to do the high-five tunnel once per year, where they high-five players as they come onto the floor. There are also occasional goodies, such as the chance to meet players, go to a practice or receive the occasional t-shirt or vest. The extras get better as you gain tenure and buy more expensive seats.
My rep is Alex and she is excellent. Emails and phone calls are always answered on the same day and requests are taken seriously. I had a problem with my seats when they moved a media desk so that it partially obstructed my view. I called Alex and the desk was gone the next day. I definitely feel valued as a STM and the Celts seem to take it pretty seriously.
Ticket resales: This can be the best or worst part of the package. NBA Tickets is the official resale site where you are supposed to list it. The problem is, not only does Ticketmaster charge the reseller 5% but they also charge the buyer a whopping 21.5% service charge! What makes it worse is that if you are buying tickets directly from the Cs, they only charge a $5 handling fee, making your tickets that much less competitive. I cannot say enough bad things about Ticketmaster. The site is incredibly user "unfriendly" and they mask a lot of information that would make it easier to price tickets. I hope that other resellers do to them what Uber is doing to cabs. They've had a monopoly for so long that there's been no need to innovate.
I have been selling more and more of my tickets through StubHub, which is way more user-friendly. SH charges me 10% and the buyer 10%. Still high, but consistent.
In terms of games, what you get absolutely depends on who we are playing and when we are playing them. This is where the tiered pricing structure that somebody else mentioned comes into place. Your tickets may average $100 per ticket for the entire season, for instance, but the Cleveland ticket will have a face of $120 and Sacramento will be $80. For a Tuesday night against Orlando, I'm happy to get back 80% of face. Of course, one Golden State game can make up for a lot of Orlandos. Currently, my tickets for the Cleveland weekend afternoon game in February when Paul Pierce's jersey will be retired are currently listed at a price several times face. It works for me because I'm relatively agnostic as to which games I go to. I have a mind-numbingly complex spreadsheet that tracks what tickets have sold and for how much. It makes my wife laugh at me, but it also helps to price tickets from year to year.
One benefit of ST is that you'll have first shot at playoff tickets. Prices for your seats in the playoffs are higher, but they're yours if you want them. In theory, you shouldn't have any problem unloading playoff tickets, but last year got kind of wacky.
In a worst-case scenario, you can give the tickets to the Celtics' charity until 11 am of game day (or the Friday preceding game day) and take a tax write-off.
I hate Craigslist. You'll get next to nothing for your tickets and some of the buyers can be a real !#@$@#. I do have one or two people that I've met on CL who come back to me every year for the games that I can't get rid of and have developed a pretty good relationship with them.
Each year, in the spring, they have a "move-up" day. Based on your seniority (cut-offs are every five years), you will have the option to move up to any seats that are available. I've only been doing it six years, so I get the leftovers of the 10-15 year people, who get the leftovers of the 15-20 year people, etc.). It's always fun to look, but the chances of my moving are slim. I'm in the first row of my section, two seats off the aisle on one side and a single seat on the other, which often goes vacant. First rows are nice: Not only do I have a couple of extra inches of legroom but the barrier in front of me makes a nice little spot to rest trays of food.
The bottom line is that season tickets will work best for you if you are going to go to a bunch of the games that you are buying. If you're only going to go to a few, you can always find tickets at a discount on game-day (Sellers really panic in the last two hours.), with the exception of the most popular games.