Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Correcting Mistakes Is Key For Marketers

Everyone has experienced that people make mistakes, promises go unfulfilled and stuff just gets messed up. Surly, it's bad for business but it's most definitely a going to happen at some point.

For the National Football League, that point happened to be Sunday, during the Super Bowl. Fans couldn't get into the game. Their tickets were good. The seats were not. The temporary seating was deemed unsafe on the day of the game, just hours before kickoff.

To recover from their fumble, the NFL is welcoming them as "guests of the NFL" to next year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis and refunding their tickets for three times the face value. They also allowed these customers to be part of the on field celebration on Sunday and were given free food and drinks. (Although at least one Steeler fan is disputing the last claim).

Initially, it sounds like the NFL goes above and beyond to atone for its mistake. That's until one remembers that a lot of customers were here to see the Packers or the Steelers, and it's unlikely they will be in next years big game. Tickets to the next Super Bowl will mean a lot less to them. Also, while while refunding three times the ticket price is sounds like their making a profit, some customers that purchased from secondary markets may still wind up in the red.

Easy for me to say, but I think it sounds fair. Of course, resolving this issue is made more difficult logistically because a ticket holder isn't necessary a ticket buyer. As tickets are circulated beyond their original owners, it's impossible to determine what every individual paid. I think three times face value sounds close to the average price on the secondary market.

UPDATE: Shortly after this post went live, the NFL announced a change to their recovery plan. Now offered is free tickets to any Super Bowl.

I have correction as well. I omitted earlier that fans would receive airfare and hotel accommodations for that week as well.

What do you think? Should they have done anything else? Should the 800 others who got in but missed parts of the game standing in line get something as well? What would you do to fix the mess?

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