By Steve Gunn
MUSIEGON – How’s this for a deal?
The same $500 will also purchase a small ownership stake in the new professional team, which will begin play in March at Muskegon’s L.C. Walker Arena.
Ironmen owner Terrance “TJ” Williams said he decided to small shares of the team, with season ticket privileges, to help cement the bond between West Michigan and the franchise.
The “Lifetime VIP” package will be limited to 200 fans on a first-come, first-serve basis. Payment plans are available.
“It’s an offshoot of the model the Green Bay Packers use,” said Williams, referring to the National Football League’s only publicly-owned franchise. “Our whole concept is ‘your town, your team.’
“We want the community to feel a true sense of ownership in the team. What better way than to offer some ownership shares?”
The Ironmen, an American Indoor Football expansion team, will open their inaugural season March 13 in Missouri against the River City Raiders. Their first home game will be a week later, on March 20, against the Northern Kentucky Nightmare.
Purchasers of the $500 “Lifetime VIP” package will be able to select any seat in the L.C. Walker Arena, maintain it season-to-season or switch between seasons, Williams said.
“That’s a lifetime season ticket, as long as you want to renew,” Williams said. “There will be a small administrative fee each year, but you get to keep your favorite seat for as long as you want to keep it.”
While the sale of public ownership shares is usually a sign that a company needs operating revenue, that’s not the case with the Ironmen, Williams said.
The new team is offering the special opportunity as part of its effort to connect with fans, without selling too many shares of the business, he said.
There will be no sharing of potential team profits with VIP package holders, at least in the beginning, according to Williams.
“This is not about generating revenue – we’re good to go with that,” Williams said. “We limited it to 200 because we looked at the raw cost of doing this and that’s the number we came up with.”
“Lifetime VIP” holders will be invited to participate in an annual ownership meeting and other exclusive team events, Williams said.
Ticket sales will begin at the L.C. Walker Arena box office within the next few weeks, according to Williams.
Individual game tickets range from $8 to $25 and season tickets range from $45 to $125.