Scam, sting or genuine promotion?
February 26, 2006 3:59 PM   Subscribe

I recently received (via US mail) an offer for free basketball tickets that seems too good to be true. Is it?

The Portland Trailblazers recently sent me an offer in the mail for two free tickets (a $140 value) to any game in March as part of their "New Portlanders" promotion. (I recently moved back here from the east coast).

Now, my general philosophy is that when something seems too good to be true, it usually is, but I went to the web site for the promotion and it didn't ask me for any information that they didn't already have or could easily obtain (my full name, address and phone number), which seems to rule out a scam of some sort.

The other possibility that occurs to me is that this may be the kind of sting you sometimes hear about on the news: sports team offers free tickets to people with outstanding warrants, cops round 'em up as they come in. The thing is, as far as I know, there's no reason why anyone would want to arrest me for anything, and, after all, since they mailed this to my home address they know where to find me if they want me for something....

So am I just being paranoid for no good reason? Is the most likely answer that the Blazers are just a terrible team with flagging attendance who are trying desperately to fill their arena? Or is there something more sinister afoot?
posted by dersins to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
After moving twice in the past two years, I've received all kinds of "welcome wagon"y kinds of coupons and discounts in the mail, and I've been surprised how soon I get junk mail after moving -- the USPS sells their mail forwarding lists to companies for these very same sort of promotions.

It's also not too uncommon to find free passes for movie previews, concerts, and other events -- companies use these to not only drive attendance figures, but also sell concessions (which can often provide a huge profit).

I'd take it at its word -- that they got your name from the USPS as a recent move to Portland, and they're trying to increase attendance.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 4:09 PM on February 26, 2006

It certainly could be in their financial interests to get you involved and wanting to go to games. I'm not saying it's legit, but it might not be totally retarded on their part. Also when you say it's a $140 value, you're confusing value and price! People do that a lot on free offers. :D
posted by aubilenon at 4:10 PM on February 26, 2006

Is the most likely answer that the Blazers are just a terrible team with flagging attendance who are trying desperately to fill their arena?

That would be a good guess on your part. :)
The clincher for me is trying to imagine a scenario where the "" domain has somehow been hijacked by nefarious evildoers. Not very likely, especially when weighed aginst the "Please, God! Why won't anyone come to our home games?!" scenario.
posted by misterbrandt at 4:46 PM on February 26, 2006

You're right - the Blazers are dire. Their attendance is plummeting to levels not seen since, well, pretty much ever. Even now that they're shaking off the "Jail Blazers" tag, the franchise has a bad reputation locally and nobody's going to the games. This is why you got that offer, and why it's straight up - they're desperate to not only put butts in seats, but to convince some of those butts to buy ticket packages for next year as well.

If you take them up on it, expect to get marketed nearly to death with season-ticket pitches for next year.
posted by pdb at 4:48 PM on February 26, 2006

Perhaps a bit lo-fi, but why don't you just call them and ask if it's legit?
posted by gavia at 5:11 PM on February 26, 2006

It doesn't cost them anything to give you the tickets if they're nosebleed seats that wouldn't be sold anyway. In exchange, they get your parking fee, any concessions you buy, and maybe you'll buy a t-shirt. I see lots of reason to send you free tickets.
posted by smackfu at 6:37 PM on February 26, 2006

I'm a Blazer fan who just left Portland. There are two things you should know.

1) The stadium is owned by a different company than owns the team; tickets for the first few rows, the middle sections, and the suites need to be purchased from the stadium, not the team. This is causing some serious competition for ticket sales that has never before been seen in Portland as until this year both were owned by the same person/company.

2) Both parties are currently putting on some insane deals. You can get two tickets to four upcoming games (against GOOD teams), plus a full jersey set for $76. I don't know where the tickets are, but even if they are $10 seats, that still works out to be a great deal.

One other thing I guess. It's worth going to a game, they aren't that bad. I'd avoid games on the weekend though, too many damn kids making too much of a racket. Another thing too, go get drinks at happy hour sometime downtown and take the MAX across the river for free to the game.
posted by pwb503 at 9:19 PM on February 26, 2006

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