Premium Seating
The following article originally appeared in SEAT magazine, published by the Association of Luxury Suite Directors, a strategic partner with IAVM. Visit them at

Editor’s Note: This research on college athletics premium seating buyers is presented in two parts. Here in Part 1, the research team provides a breakdown of industries currently purchasing premium seats. Part 2 was published in the 2014 summer issue of SEAT.

Advancements in technology coupled with consumers’ increased access to live entertainment within the comfort of their own homes have placed sport properties in a continual battle with the living room when it comes to all types of ticket sales. Premium seating sales teams are constantly trying to present a value proposition to prospective customers that articulate the benefits of attending a live sporting event as opposed to enjoying that same event on a couch in front of a 60-inch television. As a result, it has become increasingly challenging to move open ticket inventory, including in premium seating areas.

One segment of consumers with large amounts of discretionary entertainment ticket dollars in their budgets are businesses. And premium tickets offer many business development solutions, such as client entertainment and employee rewards, that in turn deliver a unique value proposition. With the amenities premium seats offer, the wins and losses of the team really do not make a difference, since spending quality time with a client is the underlying purpose.

The Study

To provide insight into who is buying premium seating within college athletics, Ohio University Center for Sports Administration partnered with Full House Entertainment Database Marketing to replicate their previous studies that analyzed professional sport premium seating purchasing behaviors.

[fm_sidebar]Top 10 Industries Buying College Premium Seating

  1. Attorneys/Legal Services
  2. Insurance
  3. Real Estate Agencies
  4. General Contractors & Home Builders
  5. Doctors’ Offices
  6. Banks, Bank Holding Companies & Credit Unions
  7. Finance & Investments
  8. Offices and Clinics of Dentists
  9. Accounting, Auditing & Bookkeeping[/fm_sidebar]

While a similar methodology was used, the current study focuses solely on the collegiate landscape. Over 7,700 corporate ticket purchasers were analyzed, with 1,746 of those companies being classified as premium buyers. This part of the report (Part 1 of 2) for SEAT magazine contains an overview of the study and a breakdown of top industry segments found buying premium seating in college athletics.

Part 2 will dive deeper into the results highlighting business characteristics such as number of employees, annual sales volume, business status, and reasoning behind the statistics.

The Background

Full House and Ohio University approached this study by casting a wide net in an effort to capture what types of companies are buying collegiate premium tickets across the country. It was important that the study not be limited to certain regions where specific industries may be more prevalent and potentially compromise or skew the statistical analysis.

The research team solicited participation from universities across the seven most notable NCAA Division 1 athletic conferences, and in the end, received commitments from member institutions of the following conferences: ACC, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-12, and SEC.

Each participating institution provided a comprehensive list of its corporate season ticket and premium customers, which contained unique contact information such as company name, address, phone, and customer type. The data was then used to match each customer within a proprietary database and append important metrics such as industry, sizes, business types, age of the company, etc.

The Results

The outputs created from the databases were then used to drive the analysis around understanding company trends buying collegiate premium tickets, and ultimately answering key questions, such as:

  • What industries are buying premium seating?
  • What is the number of employees of the typical corporate premium ticket holder?
  • What is the revenue threshold of the majority of premium buyers?

There are many unique findings that have been discovered analyzing the customer data. Of 250 industry classifications identified, the top-20 industries represent 54 percent of premium buyers, with 38 percent represented in the top 10. A key takeaway from these statistics is even with the hundreds of industry classifications that are available today, focusing on the majority of buyers in the smaller percentages of industries will prove to make ticket sales and marketing efforts much more efficient and productive for a college ticketing department.

Most collegiate ticketing departments are spread pretty thin, so having access to proven business segments that buy is invaluable. Investing dollars from already tight budgets into marketing communication with known buyers could prove to be the turning point in best practices for many departments.

The Conclusion

This study aims to provide a unique perspective that will enable collegiate ticketing departments a guideline to finding new customers and a jump-start on becoming more efficient with its time and resources. Understanding the answers to the above questions will not only provide insight into the type of business customers that sales teams should target, but also provide insight into the type of prospects unlikely to buy. Full House Entertainment Database Marketing and the Ohio University Center for Sport Administration look forward to sharing additional results later this year. FM