Subscription sports: the future of fandom?

Patrick Campbell Oct 7 2019

Today on Recur Now, the astronomical findings of Zuora’s Subscription Economy Index are released. We’re also talking subscription sports with a pricing expert, and highlighting a former Netflix culture-building badass. Can you guess who?



Your top subscription news

Buildium's building the best

Our neighbors at Buildium are awarded “Best Perks & Benefits” by Comparably’s Best Places to Work Awards. 

Each year, Comparably releases a list of the best companies to work for—in regard to items like compensation, career-personal balance, perks, and happiest employees. This go-round, we spotted Buildium in the top 50 for "Perks & Benefits" in 2019, as rated by their employees. 

Buildium creates a software that helps property management companies become more efficient and profitable. Check out their site if you're intrigued, plus see Comparably's full list here.

Airbnb x animals

Airbnb partners with World Animal Protection to launch 1,000+  ethical animal-centered travel experiences. Condé Nast Traveler reminds us: "travelers don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to treating animals well."

"Whether it’s taking selfies with beached dolphins instead of returning them to the water, picking up a bison calf over fears that the furry wild animal was “too cold,” or riding elephants in a so-called sanctuary, things can—and often do—end poorly for both the animals and the seemingly well-intentioned visitors."

With that being said, animal interaction can undoubtedly up the appeal during a stay abroad—whether it's short, hour-long tours or a multi-day natural immersion. But Airbnb and World Animal Protection plan to be seriously strict with these offerings, and all animal-related experiences will have to comply with the new guidelines to be listed. World Animal Protection Executive Director for the US Alesia Soltanpanah reminds us that those visiting these attractions (think captive marine life and elephant sanctuaries) are animal lovers, they just don't realize there's cruelty going on behind the scenes.

“What we want people to understand is that you can participate with wildlife without interacting with them personally and still enjoy your experience.”

Check out the full rundown here.

WeWork lets go

WeWork—sadly yet inevitably—announces major layoffs, and NY Magazine’s Scott Galloway has a fresh take on when malfeasance becomes downright fraud. 

Bloomberg initially reported that WeWork's parent company, We Co., was in talks of job cuts, ultimately numbering in the thousands. 

"Executives said clients and tenants were still interested in WeWork’s offerings, and implored staff to focus on its core business and customers. The executives also said they expect WeWork to continue to grow, but at a slower pace, and that the company planned to make some divestitures as part of an effort to “right-size” its business, according to the attendees."

But Scott Galloway over at NY Magazine is not so sure. The Intelligencer posted an awesome Q&A with Galloway, where he rips into the WeWork saga in black and white. 

Here's a taste:

What are your initial thoughts on WeWork pulling its IPO filing? How does the company rebuild toward another IPO? 

Dude, there is no IPO. I’m taking a bit of a victory lap here. I said in 2017, this was the most overvalued company in the world. I said earlier this year that the IPO was not going to happen. This is now a distressed asset. IPO? It’s comical that people are still using those letters.

How much of the company’s problem was solved when Adam Neumann stepped down? 

At this point, I would say about none. He and SoftBank entered into a suicide pact, and he jumped out of the plane before it hit the ground. He pulled the rip cord. He has exited the suicide pact with $740 million, and everyone else gets to ride this out to its logical end, which will likely be a bankruptcy file.

Why has it taken so long for people to realize that? We’ve had three weeks of a disaster, and people are still talking about the IPO like it’s something the company can still accomplish some day. Why? 

CNBC wants to be friends with Jamie Dimon and Masayoshi Son. It’s hard to believe that the prom queen is addicted to diet pills and a heroin addict. The fall from grace here has been so dramatic and yet so fucking obvious.

Anger aside, our thoughts are sincerely out to those who've lost their jobs (or are soon to be let go). WeWork's saga has been a trip, and we can't imagine what their crew is going through. 


Subscription Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers introduce a subscription model for fans: the Cavs Monthly Pass.

With the Cavaliers facing another rebuilding season, it looks like the team’s considering new ways to entice sports-goers, now offering a ticket subscription plan with unlimited games for a monthly price.

“The idea behind it was to get creative and provide fans another multi-game option to get in the doors for each Cavs home game this season and to see the new Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and everything it has to offer," says Eric Clouse, Cleveland Cavaliers Senior Vice President of Sales and Service.

And I sat down with John Mangini—ProfitWell subscription, pricing, and sports fanatic.

"I think they should go not just subscription, they should go pure freemium. Let people in to the upper nose bleeds for free... Ultimately get them in the seats and start getting that engagement."

Deep dive

Zuora's SEI drop

Zuora, the friends we know and love as the leading cloud-based subscription management platform provider, released the latest edition of its biannual Subscription Economy Index, also known as the SEI. 

And the findings were astronomical

For the first time since its inception in 2012, the SEI analyzed the impact of subscription businesses by sector, comparing subscription businesses in SaaS, IoT, manufacturing, publishing, media, telecommunications and business services to their respective S&P 500 Industry benchmarks.

Over the past 7.5 years, the Subscription Economy (a term coined by Zuora) has absolutely boomed. Growing more than 350%, as consumers increasingly demand access to convenient, digital services over the ownership of physical products.

It’s not to say we’re surprised here in any regard, but seeing the numbers gets our subscription nerd selves pretty amped. 

Some noteworthy findings from the report: 

  • Business services and manufacturing industries experienced the lowest churn rates across all sectors, with 16.2% and 20.4% churn rates, respectively.
  • However, media, and publishing industries saw the highest amount of churn. Dr. Gold, Chief Data Scientist at Zuora, adds: “Lower churn could be attributed to the ‘sticky’ nature of B2B subscriptions, which serve mission-critical functions and tend to be deeply embedded within a business' operations.”
  • Launching and monetizing new services drive greater individual account growth.
  • From Dr. Gold, “Add-on and up-sell opportunities inherent in digital services and connected hardware support high ARPA growth rates.” 
  • Incorporating usage-based pricing facilitates lower churn and higher overall subscription growth.
  • “Companies in industries like publishing that do not adopt usage billing generally have higher churn than companies like those in SaaS or business services that do. This suggests that the balance and flexibility of usage-based pricing plays a useful role in customer engagement and retention,” Gold highlights.

Nerd rant over. But you have to admit, pretty telling stats. The data doesn’t lie, subscription is here to stay. 

Subscription Sapiens

Today's Subscription Sapien is Patty McCord, who worked 14 years as the Chief Talent Officer for Netflix, completely transformed traditional workplace culture, and is a self-proclaimed cultural anthropologist. Currently, Patty coaches and advises companies and entrepreneurs on culture and leadership. Her approach to workplace culture has startups and corporations perceiving her as a 'powerhouse of fresh air.' Patty once said in a TED Talk, 

"We've created so many layers and so many processes and so many guidelines to keep those employees in place that we've ended up with systems that treat people like they're children. And they're not. Fully formed adults walk in the door every single day. They have rent payments. They have obligations. They're members of society. They want to create a difference in the world. So if we start with the assumption that everybody comes to work to do an amazing job, you'd be surprised what you get." 

And that’s a wrap for your October 7 subscription news. Recruit your friends into the subscription know by sending them to to sign up for episodes on the daily.

If you have news to share, hit me up at and we'll collaborate.

By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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