On Thursday night, over 17,000 was the announced attendance for the "Satisfaction guaranteed" promotion against the Dallas Mavericks. The front office wanted to get more fans out and the promotion seemed to do it's job.
But with such a bold promotion, what will it take for it to be a success. We spoke with team president Jason Rowley about it before the game on Thursday.
The timing of the promotion was interesting. It came not long after an embarrassing performance on the road against the Detroit Pistons, who beat the Suns by 40 points. It made a lot of people wonder if this was a last ditch effort to keep fans around after the team looked so bad that game and not caring.
"It was before that," Rowley explained, referring to when the idea of this promotion came up, also noting that it was something that happened fast. "It was before we went on the road trip after the Chicago and the Miami games."
Why did the team do it, then?
"Really the impetus for it was the fact that normally when you have a loss, people walk out of building kind of down," explained Rowley. "Everybody kind of shuffles out without a whole lot of energy in the building. The difference we all noticed after those two games when these guys were out there competing really hard, people walked away kind of surprised/happy/shocked and the building was still a little electrified.
"People just don't know this team as well, so they didn't know what to expect. When they came out and saw that a team that played hard and even though we lost, they were pretty excited about it, They realized there was something there. We need to get more people out here to see this new team, and not just the team but see what we've done with the arena."
An important detail about the money-back guarantee was that it is a no questions asked situation. You have to have purchased a ticket (no comped tickets) and have had it scanned at the game (yes, you had to have attended the game). You fill out a rebate form and mail the ticket in with it, and there you have it.
So, what about calling this promotion a success?
"For me, measuring success of this endeavor is not necessarily about the turnout for this game, although that's important and we're obviously going to look at that," said Rowley. "It's much more about the concept of getting people out here and what that means long-term."
Was the team worried about have to dole out a lot of money in rebates?
"Here's the thinking on that," responded Rowley. "Most people just want value for their money." He knows that "most will not" request the rebate no matter what happened, but Rowley said, "I will live with the people that do that to get everybody else enjoying themselves."
Essentially, in a nutshell, it will take time to know whether it is a success. They expected a big crowd for the game on Thursday. They got that. Next in the process is to see if there is an increase in attendance to see if any other the fans that showed up Thursday and were entertained, if they come again.
I wrote how this promotion was a great idea. I don't see how they can lose out, except if there is some extraordinary number of rebate requests. Even if they rebate some, they spent money while at the arena. And the truth is that, since you have to mail in something to get the refund, that will be enough to make it just a little too hard to do.
Rowley didn't know whether this will be something moving forward, or if even this could be something that the team made as a standing guarantee for all home games.
The Suns put their money where their mouth is. Now they are waiting on the fans to do the same.
Why the TNT game? had not targeted a game, but decided the Dallas game was a good night to do it because it was after a long road trip and waiting too long would not have the desired effect. Of course, being a late game, there were other issues that made it not the perfect night to have the promotion.
"If we generate more long-term fan affinity, which will be tough to measure, but I think we'll get feedback," said Rowley.