As the NBA has just announced that all pre-season exhibition games are now cancelled, I wonder if they realize their customers drive their astronomical salaries and their ability to charge prices for seats like they were made of gold?
I don’t know all the details behind the negotiations and I refuse to even study them. Why? Because I simply don’t care about their issues. I’m the customer and I care that I won’t be seeing any games, sort of. Frankly, I care a whole lot less than I used to.
Let’s look at it as if the NBA were a business—rather, as if they ran it like a business.
1. The product is lousy and customers have been telling them that for years now.
2. While the average ticket price actually declined slightly the last two years, that follows almost 10 years of ticket price increases. And, although the average ticket price declined slightly last year, the average cost to take a family of four to a game is almost $300 and increased 1% from the prior year (that includes tickets, parking and food and drink). So ticket prices have not really declined.
3. Employee/Owner relationships are so bad they cannot deliver their inferior product to their customers.
Why am I picking on the NBA, when the NFL went through the same process earlier this year? For one, I always felt the NFL would solve their issues and I don’t feel that way about the NBA. Second, there is simply more demand for the product the NFL offers.
I think the NBA needs a strong dose of customer focus. They need to understand what their customers want and deliver it. They need to think about their customers before taking actions that only serve to further alienate them. Because right now, they are cooking the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg.
The NBA needs to be run like a customer-focused business.