Somewhere in a house in suburban Rochester, NY, is a ticket stub from the inaugural game of the Buffalo Stampede, a short-lived team in a just slightly longer-lived league. Below the names of the teams is stamped one of the most incredible days in the history of American sports: June 17, 1994. Whether they know the exact date or not, nearly every American sports fan and many other Americans remember what they were doing and what they were watching on that day. Few, though, have physical proof, hard evidence, tix-or-it-didn’t-happen of where they were on “the day sports collided.”
Maybe a few hundred Buffalonians still have, somewhere, the novelty souvenir of a Stampede ticket stub. Surely thousands more consider as almost priceless their tickets from Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Arnold Palmer’s final round at the US Open, the Kansas City Royals game where the Seattle Mariners’ Ken Griffey, Jr., tied Babe Ruth’s record for most home runs before July 1 or the opening ceremonies of the 1994 FIFA World Cup. If only the New York Rangers had issued ceremonial souvenir tickets to their Stanley Cup victory parade.
If there were somehow ever another day like June 17, 1994, no one would have such a memento. Digital ticketing put an end to one of our great collectibles.
There’s still hope for souvenir tickets
Teams and venues are starting to realize that fans lose out on some of the experience when they do not have their ticket as a souvenir. Physical tickets represent part of the excitement of sports: you never know, as you enter the arena, just what that little rectangle will represent by the end of the night.
Souvenir tickets are bringing back some of that special feeling to fans and attendees. With a single click, fans can upgrade their ticket from a QR code that gets them through the door to something they can hold in their hand, display on their wall and – as necessary – wave around as proof that, yes, they were there the night THAT happened.
Souvenir tickets not only give fans a deeper sense of connection to the venue and the event, they are a source of add-on revenue for the seller.
Souvenir tickets earn extra revenue
With COVID restrictions limiting attendance, souvenir tickets are an expedient to keep the fans who would be there feeling as close as possible to being there, while also letting the team make some money on the game. In January 2021, a team in the eighth-tier of English soccer, Marine FC, faced off against Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup. Under normal circumstances, such a meeting of David and Goliath would have netted each club about $175,000 – close to the annual budget of the David club. In an attempt to cover the lost revenue, Marine sold virtual tickets for £10… and sold over 30,000, including one to their opponent’s manager!
Those were virtual tickets. Had they sold physical souvenir tickets – if not for everyone, at least for the 3,185 fans who would have otherwise packed the stadium – the sting of the missed opportunity for revenue and engagement would have come down a bit more.
Tickets for any purpose
While sports memories are all about the surprise and spontaneity, many memorable events are planned well in advance. Souvenir tickets can be a keepsake from corporate events, birthday parties, weddings… dare we suggest souvenir tickets to gender reveal parties? If the parents are both sports fans or regular concert goers, it would be on-brand!
WW&L has over a century of experience in printing tickets, from the kind stashed in shoeboxes to the ones that use RFID for a seamless venue experience. We can customize souvenir tickets to sell throughout a season, a marketing campaign or for a single event.
It’ll be up to you to make the event memorable. Or just do what the Buffalo Stampede did and schedule your event on the most surreal day in the sporting lives of generations of fans. We’ll be there to ensure the fans have something to prove their slice of that history to others.