• David Millay

Ep. 18: Sports as a Service w/ Chris Giles: Show Notes

Subscription models - seems like almost every industry and product has one. Except for live sports & events. But what if...

In this episode, we're rethinking the entire business model of ticketing and access to sports & events. Our guest, Chris Giles, was the COO of the Oakland Athletics, where they created a first-of-its-kind membership model called A's Access. The program debuted in 2019 and has had smashing success according to a number of different metrics, from revenue growth to number of members to customer satisfaction.


Instead of selling ownership of an individual seat for a season, what if we sold access to the stadium and certain perks associated with it? And we could play with, test and adjust the perks as time goes on? It's certainly a model that caters more to the Millennial and Gen Z consumption patterns, but where does that leave more traditional fans? Could your ticketing software even process such a change? What other roadblocks did Chris and his team face when trying out this massive change to "the way we've always done it"? If you want to explore a change like this, where would you even start?


These are the questions we set out to answer with Chris on today's episode.


After his experience with the A's, Chris founded Greenfield Sports Group and is helping progressive sports properties navigate these new waters of changing fan behaviors and expectations.


Listen to the Full Podcast Episode Here

Time Stamps


[5:40] Chris’ view on the changing behaviors of fans

[8:40] How A’s Access business model hits the goals and motivations of fans

[11:00] How A’s access strategy provides flexibility and makes fans’ feel more valued

[16:50] How to transform sporting event tickets from a product to a service

[20:00] The consequences of transferring your privileges on the secondary market

[23:10] Importance of viewing ticket business as a collection of lifetime values

[24:00] Differentiating fan experiences and the benefit of subscription monthly payments

[25:00] The traditional headaches you can avoid w/ sports as a service

[26:50] How Chris handled his teams’ reaction to this business model shift

[29:33] How to prepare your team for this shift

[32:00] The way Greenfield Sports is helping other organizations explore sports as a service

[36:11] Is there a cap on how many memberships you can sell?

[37:40] 4 pillars that determine if sports as a service is right for you

[39:40] Overcoming struggles that Chris’s team came across pitching sports as a service

[42:11] Statistics on A’s Access first year

[44:20] Chris’s influences

[47:10] Understanding tickets as an evolution


Where to find our guest


Connect with Chris Giles here:

Twitter: @chrisgiles01

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christophergiles/


Follow Greenfield Sports:

Twitter: @GreenfieldSpts

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/greenfield-sports-group/


Additional Resources


"Subscribed" by Tien Tzuo


7 Takeaways from Panera's Unlimited Coffee Subscription


Shifting from Consumption to Participation


From the Bridge, Ep. 17: Creating Great Fan Experiences w/ Vince Thompson

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