The Arizona Desert Lamp

Incentives that matter

Posted in Sports by Evan Lisull on 5 September 2009

ZonaZooThe football season kicks off in just a few hours, and with it begins the new ‘points system‘, the latest attempt to draw students towards sporting events that aren’t football or basketball games. This may or may not have been inspired by former Sen. Macchiarolli, who offered the plan during his campaign and alluded to it occasionally during his tenure. However, his plan emphasized that fans earning the right amount of points would be granted priority seating; this plan grants them entry into a raffle for somewhat lackluster prizes:

August 23 – September 30
Special Edition Zona Zoo Shirt

October 1 – October 31
UA Polo

November 1 – December 18
UA Hooded Sweatshirt

January 13 – February 28
Bookstore Gift Card

March 1 – March 31
UA Baseball Hat

April 1 – April 30
UA Basketball Jersey

Such prizes are nice, but not exactly inspiring. Further, according to the email the raffle is only open to the top 10 point-getting fans for each period, which increases the odds of winning but sets up pretty high barriers of entry. In all likelihood, the same ten kids will enter the raffle each time, with only minor variations.

Yet ZonaZoo could bifurcate its current student sections, cordoning off an ‘elite’ section of the best seats – our crack marketing squad can no doubt come up with a winning name. This section would be watched over by members of the ZonaZoo crew to insure that no crashers broke through the lines. Rather than offering the allure of a t-shirt, Zona Zoo members would have the following offer: if you earn X number of points, you get to sit in these seats. You can afford to show up a half hour before the game, rather than five hours or whatever ungodly amount of time it takes to get in the first five rows on the fifty.

There is a risk that these seats will be over or underbooked, depending on how successful this program is (see: clunkers, Cash for). But at the same time, it’s not like Zona Zoo will be caught off-guard – they’re the ones administering the program. Before gameday, they can look at the numbers and see who made the cut, and perhaps even send email alerts out informing them. Based on these numbers, the Zona Crew can expand or contract the roped off section.

You could still keep the set number system – top 45 fans, or something. Yet it seems that such a system is most beneficially when it encourages the greatest number of students to attend the greatest number of events. So why go to that volleyball game if ten people are already doing that, a cross country meet, and Bear Down Fridays? By providing the point guarantee, attendance at non-football/basketball events becomes a positive-sum game, rather than a zero-sum game for those top ten spots.

Image courtesy of Flickr user uacheesehead


One Response

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  1. Dave said, on 6 September 2009 at 1:47 am

    It only takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to sit in row 5 at the 50.

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