The Pens have unveiled a new Fan Loyalty Program. Read about it here. On the surface, there is nothing bad about this move by the Penguins. Rewarding fan loyalty with some free swag? It's a great gesture. The Pens made some moves during the first four home games of the season, too, with stuff like free concessions and discounted merchandise at the PensGear store, so they're really going out of their way to thank the fans after the lockout.
But there are some catches to this, as it seems more like a CONSOL Energy Center and city of Pittsburgh Loyalty Program. Read More...
We downloaded the app and went through the quick registration process. Great app, by the way.
Basically, by partaking in certain activities involving the Penguins, you can build up points that will eventually translate into some free Pens gear and soda.
The downside: The big rewards are slanted toward season-ticket holders and Pittsburgh residents.
Non-Pittsburgh area residents:
-- You get 0 points for attending an away game.
-- The most points a non-Pittsburgh-area, non-season-ticket-holding fan can get for the remainder of this season: 165 points. That would be 5 points for listening to the radio, and then 5 social-media points for crossing the elusive 100-point barrier. Those 100 points will get you a 7UP voucher, which may not even be redeemable if you live outside the Pittsburgh area.
-- There are some Bonus social-media points available. Not sure how those are gonna operate.
-- Non-Pittsburgh residents have been forgotten in this Loyalty Program. But this is the first time we run into the Loyalty runaround argument: People living in Pittsburgh can easily be seen as more loyal to a Pittsburgh sports team than someone who lives in another part of the world. It's a simple statement that makes sense.
Non-season-ticket-holding, Pittsburgh area residents:
-- Do you want a Limited Edition Reebok Penguins shirt for 400 points? Of course you do. You could go to the final 19 home games this season and get 475 points. Average ticket at CEC, according to Forbes, is $63. So you'll be spending $1,197.
-- And actually, if you don't have season tickets, you can attend the Miller Lite Nights(?) for 25 points a pop.
-- Combine those 475 points with some radio broadcasts and concession purchases, you may be able to get up to 800 points, which lands you in the hat zone.
-- This is the only group of people with a legitimate shot to get the good rewards. For this current season, if you attend the final 19 home games and buy a concession item, you will get into the Penguins shersey zone. Not bad. If you make some more moves, you can snag a sweatshirt.
-- This is also the only group of people who will come even close to getting to the 2,400-point mark in a regular 82-game season, the reward for which is a jersey foul.
-- If you're a season ticket holder in an 82-game season, scanning your IceTime every game will get you 1,025 points, which is not even halfway to the 2,400-point barrier.
-- In order to get to that holy grail of 2,400, you will basically be in your own episode of The Amazing Race every game as you try to attend the Miller Lite Night, go to the game, buy a concession item, and listen to a radio broadcast, or some combination of those.
But, hey, at least if you fall short, you'll be able to pick up where you left off the following season, right?
You'll have to live, eat, breathe, sleep, crap, and pee Penguins to reach the 2,400 points, unless we're missing something. That being said, the 2,400-point level would be exactly that -- an extremely loyal Pens fan. Also possibly insanely rich and/or without a job. Pens fans putting money into the franchise will be rewarded in this system. The "Loyalty" thing is something to get everyone jazzed up, but at the larger end of the rewards scale, it's the Pens thanking the people who fill CONSOL every night: the season-ticket holders. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you're the type of Pens fan who saves up for months to buy a Penguins jersey, this Loyalty program isn't for you.
What the Pens should have done
This idea could have been a lot more fun with a few adjustments.