Open Thread: Three preseason games, and a question: Are "grassroots ticket drives" by teams very successful to building a casual fanbase?

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

There will be three preseason games this morning and early afternoon in the WNBA. But I have a topic that I'm more interested in talking about than preseason games which are for the most part, tuneups. My question is this. Are grassroots ticket drives and word of mouth sales something that can build a casual fanbase?

So, last week or so, I finally got my Washington Mystics season ticket card which has all my tickets loaded on it and I can use that instead of looking for paper tickets when going into Verizon Center. I love these tickets since I'm already used to them from last fall with the Wizards, but that's not the point. In addition, I got a flyer that solicited referrals from season ticket holders (STH's) to be "Mystics Influencers." Basically it's a referral program to get fans to get their friends and/or business associates to buy ticket packages for the Mystics where STH's get groups of folks in their network to a private event and then a salesman comes and gives his/her pitch I assume.

Programs like these aren't exclusive to just the Mystics. I believe many teams, if not most or all of them have such programs so my opinions on them are going to be on them in general, not to the Mystics specifically.

Some people are in social or professional circles of many fans of either the WNBA and/or women's college basketball. I could see these programs being a potentially effective way to attract folks to the pro team. Maybe that's what the teams are looking for with these referral programs.

But for me, most of my friends and much of my family who are basketball fans don't like the WNBA one bit and nothing's going to change that. I also respect that and I don't try to force the WNBA on folks who just aren't going to like it. In addition, the friends and family who have gone to games with me and have enjoyed the product on the floor, though not necessarily because of the Mystics (well the last two years didn't help) also are in this situation: they're just going to use my tickets when they want to go to a game. It's not like they will be dying to buy their own season tickets when they know one. Same goes with the Wizards too. I don't see close friends and family trying to get season tickets because they'll probably ask me to give them my tickets for the game and pay me for them.

Obviously with business prospects, they have completely different reasons to buy tickets than individuals and often it's for game entertainment, rewards, etc. But at least for the prospective STH who is an individual, the number one thing that every team needs in order sell tickets, whether it's for a referral program or otherwise, is to have two things. First, the team needs to provide good customer service, which is something salesmen can control. The second part is to provide either a perennial winner or at least a team that is on its way there.

And now, the games:

11:30 AM ET, the Brazil National Team travels to DC to play the Washington Mystics. We'll see how rookie Tayler Hill and the veteran duo of Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie do in their first game with Coach Thibault. And yes, we expect some Nasty, both in the form of Gregg Popovich's style of basketball and with Natalie Novosel playing minutes. Today is also a "school-day" game so school groups can take part in a game.

Given that the Dream obliterated Team Brazil on Monday, the Mystics should win this game.

12:00 PM ET, the San Antonio Silver Stars come to Indianapolis to play the Fever. They played last Saturday with Indy drawing first blood. We'll see if the Stars even up the score here.

12:30 PM ET, the New York Liberty travels to the Windy City to play the Chicago Sky. EDD has her debut as a Sky player. The Sky will play at Jacoby Dickens Gymnasium at Chicago State University.

If you are going to be at the games this morning, feel free to chime in on here. Want to talk about grassroot ticket drives? Feel free to chime in on that too. I will not be at the game since I'll be at work. Hope to see Coach T and his players make me eat my words this entire season!

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