Deep South baseball is personified by the Savannah Sand Gnats, led by President John Katz, who rescued a troubled brand a few years ago and transformed it into a thriving business. Katz talks about how working with elbow grease and duct tape has built a fun fan experience environment for any patron who enters to watch the Sand Gnats play. Katz discusses the history of the Sand Gnats, including the elimination of bleachers which were once a symbol of Southern segregation as Katz sought to involve every community member into the Sand Gnats’ brand equally.
One of the major third party ticket companies to emerge in the last ten years for both professional sports and college athletics is Turnstyles Ticketing. Helmed by founder Chris Hutson, Turnstyles Ticketing tries to break the mold on how to speak to the fan through customer service out-bound calls, especially when discussing personal seat licenses. Hutson discusses his vision for the company, his involvement with selling tickets for the National Football League and New York Yankees, and how crucial protecting the price point is to ticket sales efforts in the future.
Steven Ziff is one of the top branding minds in the National Hockey League, taking his retail experience from Office Depot over to the Florida Panthers, which have shown an increase of attendance in 2012-13 of over eight percent in a shortened-strike year. Ziff talks about the challenges which face the Panthers, especially with a lack of hockey tradition, a population of only 30 percent who are actually originally from the Miami area, and what efforts the Panthers are doing to show a true ROI guarantee to local sponsors.
Don’t tell Chris Palin that a local team has a harder time trying to sell hockey in their market than he does. Palin’s Everblades have no residences to the West (Gulf of Mexico) or the East (The Florida Everglades). Palin also has to deal with a population age in the mid-60s, with games at night when most of his residences may not want to drive. Despite that, Palin has helped increase sales of the Everblades hockey team, by focusing on a fan-first mentality. Palin discusses the ways in which his ECHL hockey team has developed a firm loyalty brand with the residents and is growing continuously with the businesses in the market.
Bill Herring has worked on both the business and the consumer side of corporate sponsorship, amassing a ton of experience while working for Dell Computers’ examination of whether to sponsor the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, setting up the media center at the Circuit of the Americas Grand Prix in Austin or establishing corporate sponsors for BMW Sauber F1 Team. Herring talks about the differences between what corporate sponsorship activation works and what most organizations seek to sell a sponsor on trying to buy. Twitter: @Bill_Herring
Jarrod Simmons oversees stadium operations for the Jacksonville Suns baseball team. While the fans may be having fun, Simmons is responsible for the safety and enjoyment of each patron, amid beer, on-field promotions and natural events. Simmons talks about his role with the team, how his ticket sales to fans and professionalism with minor league players and coaches matter, and the small things that most people don’t consider about his job which play a major part in what he does during every event during the season. Twitter: @J_Simmons882
Please note that there is a video version of this conversation available on www.sportstao.com for free.
The complex world of supply, demand and dynamic pricing is broken down in stark detail with Analytix President Anil Malhotra. The conversation extends into both the primary and secondary ticketing market, as well as the philosophical reasons why to and why not to dynamically price tickets. Malhotra works with major symphony orchestras and sports organizations in the U.S., Canada, Australia & Europe on pricing analytics, and his knowledge in the area extends beyond the seats into the hard numbers of how customer buying habits factor into price, supply and demand. www.analytixlive.com
Jason Taylor loves to talk his passion, which is group sales. Rebooting the Jacksonville Sharks’ group sales efforts for the Arena Football League team, Taylor talks about why group sales matter, and how to increase those 20 ticket group buys into a 200 tickets group buy. Taylor talks about his original break in sports with the New Jersey Nets organization as part of the inside sales unit, then his time at Muncie as part of PMI College’s out-bound efforts at Ball State University.
One of the major innovators in Sports Digital E-Commerce over the last ten years has been Laura Rozentals. She was part of Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media ticketing system from its implementation, then moved over to the NBA and Turner Sports, before working with Bloomberg Media. Rozentals discusses the various forms of applications with mobile and digital use by consumers, players and coaches, and where the industry is headed, especially in the world of e-commerce revenue streams.
The complexity of leadership is discussed with Jacksonville University Athletic Director Brad Edwards, who brings both administrative and NFL playing experience to the topic, particularly when mentioning his former coach, Joe Gibbs. Edwards broadens the topic to how his leadership skills have developed, especially when dealing with donors, coaches, student athletes, and promises made by previous administrations that he must now fulfill.