Experience vs. Ease – Rockies misstep

The recent debacle of World Series ticket sales in Denver raises an interesting question. While the Internet, in all its glory, is quite fabulous, are there some real world experiences that consumers don’t want replaced? Aside from the fact that online-only ticket sales opened up the ticket market to the entire world resulting in many many Denverites getting shut out of the game, it also robbed local diehards of a time honored tradition, waiting in line.

Camping out in front of ballparks or music venues to get tickets to the big game or big show is a shopping experience. While many enjoy the ease of e-tail, there are many that cherish the real world experience of shopping. They go to malls on Black Friday, hit after Christmas sales at Macy’s, etc. Despite the crowds and mayhem, they go. Similar types enjoy the badge of honor that a fan gets to wear when they say “I slept on the sidewalk for 3 days waiting to get tickets”.

Badges aside, ticket window sales also ensure that locals get an exclusive opportunity to go to the game for face-value. It is after all the local fans that have been filling seats and buying hot dogs and beer all season to support the team both financially and emotionally.

Its not exactly clear what the Rockies management was thinking… as it turns out online sales certainly didn’t end up being easier for the team. More importantly, they robbed their fanbase of a brand experience. As we think about how we create brand experiences, it is important to balance new and innovative ideas with experiences consumers have grown to expect and love.