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Former Oakland A’s exec pursues new membership ticketing venture

Chris Giles, chief operating officer for Major League Baseball franchise Oakland Athletics, has left the team to create his own firm that will focus on what he describes as a “new approach to ticketing.”

In 2019, Giles moved the MLB club over to A’s Access, which turned standard ticket sales into a membership programme.

Fans pay a monthly fee based on how many games they want to attend, from 10 to all 81, as an alternative to buying a season-ticket plan with a set number of games.

Giles told the San Francisco Chronicle that he decided to leave the A’s to create his own business, Greenfield Sports Group, which will sell similar customised memberships to other franchises and create software that can enable teams to execute them.

He said: “We’ve had a ton of success. It’s a fundamentally new approach to ticketing. There’s a lot of interest from other teams and properties on how to be able to do that.

“As an industry, we need to start thinking about what teams can sell that can’t be replicated through a secondary market transaction.”

A’s memberships can be customised to accommodate those who want a fixed seat every game or for those who want a variety of seats for each game. They also include parking, concessions discounts and access to clubs within the Coliseum, the team’s ballpark.

The A’s sold roughly 18,000 memberships in 2019 and average attendance increased from 19,427 in 2018 to 20,521 in 2019.

MLB suffers from an increasingly worse attendance problem, which has spurred on this new way of ticketing. The Seattle Mariners have also launched a flexible season ticket membership scheme and claim to be the first in the league to use this method.

Image: David Brossard