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Orange County Register Adds the Angels to Its Membership Rewards Program

Ken Doctor, a media expert often quoted in other people’s articles, has gone long-form this week at Nieman Lab about the topic of the Orange County Register‘s ongoing bold experiment. His article is a worthwhile read for anyone closely following the paper’s fortunes.

Next Tuesday, some of the fans sitting inside Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the mighty team’s home opener will be doing so for free, courtesy of the paper’s seven-day subscriber membership rewards program. In this particular case, all at the behest of newspaper president Eric Spitz and CEO Aaron Kushner:

The Register approached the Angels, located 10 minutes away, with the idea of better using the empty seats the Angels couldn’t sell. The Angels found themselves sitting on almost 600,000 empty seats last year over 81 games. Put another 7,000 butts in those seats each night, even without getting paid for the ticket, and the club is pulling in another 10 bucks or so on Chronic Tacos, garlic fries and overpriced Corona.

Subscriber tickets for the Angels home opener, offered on a first-come, first serve, three-day-advance basis, went on sale today. There is a service fee of $5 per ticket and “Register Connect” members are limited to a total of 96 such stubs per season.

Meanwhile, as the Register prepares to flipped the switch this week on its non-metered “hard” paywall, Spitz confirmed to Doctor that he has chatted with folks at the Dallas Morning News, one of the very few other U.S. newspapers to be pursuing this all-or-nothing digital model. Love ‘em or doubt ‘em, Spitz and Kushner certainly appear to be covering all the bases.

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