Cardinals Cash Creates Cuisine Currency

23 Aug

The St. Louis Cardinals have become the third major league baseball team to utilize stored value ticketing through Tickets.com.

Named Card Cash, the program allows fans to assign value to the bar codes of tickets, which can be redeemed for food, beverage and merchandise purchases. The program utilizes Tickets.com’s UpTix software, and can be used by fans who want to add food to tickets they give to their guests, or by teams as a promotion.

On July 31, the Cardinals held a pre-game ceremony in honor of former Hall of Fame Manager Whitey Herzog, whose number 24 was being retired. Ticketholders for every seat number 24 throughout the ballpark received $5 in Cards Cash added to their ticket. Each person seated in section 240 also received $5 in Card Cash, and a $5 bonus for each strikeout thrown in the third-inning (there was one). The team estimated that 75 percent of ticket holders that received “24” themed Card Cash spent all or part of their winnings that day.

“It’s a good tool to drive per caps, they get prepaid revenue and they get lift from having prepaid tickets,” said John Rizzi SVP of Product Management and Strategy for Tickets.com.

All of the POS systems at Busch Stadium in St. Louis accept Card Cash as a form of payment, along with the team store. The system can detail which fans from which sections purchased concessions from specific food stations, creating never seen before geolocational data.

The Houston Astros utilize a stored value system on the Ticketmaster platform, and the Philadelphia Phillies run a similar program on Paciolan. The San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics — both Tickets.com clients — also use UpTix.

“Rather than using discounts to move tickets, we’ve found it is a great way to add value” to distressed inventory, said Steve Fanelli, the team’s director of ticketing.

The team rolled out the platform this season, replacing its $35 all-you-can-eat section with a $6 ticket that came preloaded with $6 worth of food, priced at $12. The 990-seat section typically moves 650-700 seats per game, Fanelli said. The section has a value menu with $5 beer and $4 pulled pork sandwiches.

UpTix has also helped with some group sales, and the team hopes to roll out the program for season tickets next season.

Oakland also puts an expiration date on unspent value in the gift card, but Fanelli said the goal isn’t to keep unspent money, known as breakage, but to encourage people to spend more than the card’s value, a practice known as lift. — Dave Brooks

Interviewed for this article: John Rizzi, (714) 327-5469; Steve Fanelli, (510) 563-2270

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