When you’re selling tickets, one of the main groups you need to appeal to is the millennial generation: the 18-34(ish) year old group of current students, recent grads, and local sports fanatics.

And guess what?

They’re broke.

Not just college-student-eating-ramen broke or first-job-small-salary broke, but seriously broke.

In 2016, there were more households in poverty headed by a Millennial than by a member of an older generation. Massive student loan is partially to blame: borrowers under the age of 39 are on the hook for 2/3 of the nation’s $1 trillion in student loan debt. Older generations often talk smack about lack of millennial responsibility and how they’re waiting longer to get married, buy a home, etc. but part of the reason this generation is lagging behind is because they simply can’t afford those “grown up” expenses.

Even though this group doesn’t have much money today and probably only makes up 25%-30% of your current revenue base, you shouldn’t write them off. Millennials are the biggest generation this country has ever spawned and they aren’t going to be broke forever. Just about the time Baby Boomers are dying off, Millennials will be hitting more solid financial ground and will represent the majority of your target audience.

So how do you get this strapped-for-cash group to spend money on tickets today?

Focus on the experience.

According to an Eventbrite report, Millennials are more likely to spend money on attending events than on material goods. They’re all about having experiences and creating memories. More than ¾ of Millennials credit an event or live experience with creating their best memories, and they’re eager to make more. When they come to a game, they’re there for more than just the game itself – they view it as an opportunity to hang out with friends or family and feel like they’re part of the action. They’re also driven by FOMO, so if you make your game the place to be they’ll want to be the one showing up and sharing it on social media.

Make it affordable.

Millennials love discounts and getting a good deal. What are you doing to put tickets within reach for this group? Think beyond simply offering discounted tickets for students and get creative. Have you tried a buy-one-get-one promotion to encourage greater attendance? Extended payment options for ticket packages? Geo-targeted digital ads that include a special offer in the days leading up to the game? According to a NACDA report, just over half of Millennials say they’d share their location in return for a relevant coupon or promotional deal, especially if it means better access at events. What about special discounts on game day? TodayTix (think Uber for ticket sales) did some research, and they found that men are 30% more likely than women to take advantage of last-minute sales. That’s an another insight worth keeping in mind as you design day-of-game discount promotions targeted at this group.

Even though the bad news is that Millennials don’t have much money to spend on tickets, the good news is that they’re more likely to spend their limited dough on experiences and events. Your challenge is to make your games both affordable and engaging. While this might not be your core fan base today, the more of a relationship you can form with Millennials, the more likely they’ll be to continue to support your program in the future when they’ve got some money to burn.

Take a second and think about the things you absolutely love to do. Whether it's your job, a hobby, a food...just think about how much you love it.

Could you do or eat that exact same thing starting today and continue until you are 95 years old? For me, that would be 67 years, one month, and 23 days.

I ask these questions because recently, while we were on campus at SMU for our basketball video/photo shoot, Dustin and I had the opportunity to meet someone special.

Meet Brad Bradley - sports photographer and legend. He has been taking photos at SMU and around Dallas for the last 70 years! He is 95 years old and still working. Why? Because he absolutely loves it.

We had a few moments to talk with Brad and his son Jimmy, and the stories of what they've done over the last seven decades are amazing. Doak Walker. Larry Brown. Michael Jordan. Brad took photos of them all. He was the photographer for the Southwest Conference, SEC, and ACC. He would drive around the country and hit every school in those conferences in one trip over the course of a few weeks. As we continued talking, he very humbly told us he pretty much pioneered the sports "action" photo. Instead of having guys posing and hold the ball or helmet, he had them act out some moves/positions from their sport. It hit us that we were talking to the inventor of what we were there doing. He compared our lights/camera set up to how he used to do it, and Dustin and he talked through technology advancements and techniques. It was so cool.

It made me step back and think about how much Brad truly enjoys his work. He could have retired 30 years ago, but he didn't. I hope we all have something in our lives we love so much that we want to do it for 70+ years.

To read more about Brad and his career, take a look at this article from a few years ago.

And of course, here are a few photos with Brad from our shoot:

 

What can we say about the newest addition to the Old Hat design squad? Caitlin Murphy has made QUITE the impression whether it's stories about her giant dog, her office microwaving misadventures or her attempts at playing Spikeball. This former collegiate libero turned stud designer has some serious skills that we think you'll DIG.

Here are 20 Questions with Caitlin!

1. NAME: Caitlin Murphy

2. OCCUPATION/TITLE: Art Director

3. HOMETOWN: Amarillo, TX

4. YOUR GO-TO WORK MUSIC: Whatever Spotify recommends to me for that day. Today is Throw-Back-Thursday

5. HOW DID YOU END UP AT OLD HAT: One of my references knows the company so he reached out to me and asked if I would be interested.

6. FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: Getting to play and design on the computer all day.

7. WHAT’S THE HARDEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB: Sitting down all day.

8. HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT WORK: Anything that involves with being outside.

9. ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF: LISTEN TO MY PARENTS. They’re actually right about everything.

10. EXPLAIN YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY OR HOW YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK/OUTSIDE PROJECTS: Most of my designs happen by accident, I’ll be working and accidentally hit a button and sometimes it looks great so I go with it.

11. IF YOU COULD ONLY WATCH ONE MOVIE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WHAT WOULD IT BE: Pretty Woman. Hands down. No question.

12. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Drunk History

13. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT AT OLD HAT: Getting hired was a great moment.

14. IF YOU COULD TRADE LIVES WITH ONE OF YOUR COWORKERS WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY: James, so I could play instruments without hurting peoples ears.

15. WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO WORK DISTRACTION: Coloring, I have a box of sharpies and colored pencils at my desk that I doodle when I need to.

16. FAVORITE SUPERHERO: Iron Man, only because I’d like to marry him.

17. IF YOU WERE AN SNL CHARACTER WHO WOULD YOU BE: the Kristen Wiig character where she gets so excited about literally everything.

18. WHAT’S THE STUPIDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE: Superglued my shoe to the floor.. horrible idea.

19. WHAT’S THE LAST SHOW THAT YOU BINGE-WATCHED: The Crown

20. IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS JOB WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING: trying to figure out how I can be a history storyteller on Drunk History.

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