Talking Tickets: November 1, 2019

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November will see me in New York City, Sydney, Melbourne, and Hong Kong. If you are in any of those places, let me know and let’s grab a cup of coffee or a drink.

(Should note that the AFL in the first story refers to the Arena League.)

1. AFL shuts down team operations, doesn’t know what’s next: I’ll refer you to a story written many years ago by my friend, Troy Kirby.

Not to pile on, but he highlighted a lot of these issues from the very start.

The reason I’m highlighting this story is that the AFL’s struggles highlight a scene that we can see in many places if we are paying attention: the need to improve the value proposition of the event, the marketing and selling of the events, and the business acumen of the tasked with doing these things.


I’m a huge fan of the AFL. I still have an Arena Bowl t-shirt that I wear from time to time and I tried out for the Miami Hooters in my early-20s. But to just try and keep the league limping along without some definite changes in the value proposition offered, business model, and way that the game is marketed and sold would be prolonging the inevitable.


To me, it is time for a few days with a whiteboard and a bunch of big questions like, “What do we want the league to become?” Because knowing the destination is going to be key to long-term success.


2. The Golden State Warriors get into the broker game with their ‘StubHub for luxury boxes’Innovation in the way that a team is serving its customers is a great thing! We need more innovation.


In my reading of the situation, this is likely to work well for the Warriors in the short term, but I’m hesitant to offer it up as a meaningful solution to teams that aren’t moving into new buildings and have one of the hottest teams in the NBA.




I’ll give you two reasons:


1. I spent a day in NYC with Tony Knopp and TicketManager at their annual event, chatting with suite holders and ticket buyers from corporate America. The big challenge that many organizations are dealing with isn’t access to tickets, but utility and proper usage.


An exchange is great when there is truly high demand like there will be in SF this season.


But when it comes to helping corporate buyers better use their tickets or your event, these kinds of things are just too easy for people to allow to become commodities and can become an excuse for poor selling and marketing habits around the premium and corporate selling space.


2. The biggest challenge that sports teams are facing in regards to tickets is marketing. A platform like this sounds great, maybe works great, and probably only adds to the confusion of customers.




Well, you aren’t your market. And, all too often, decisions get made about selling or marketing to a customer or a customer base and we make the assumption that because we understand the buying process, everyone does.


Again, this program seems like it could be confusing to potential customers if not handled properly.


I’m curious on your take! Let me know by hitting reply!


3. Nets strip fans of tickets over reselling: Lo and behold, the Nets are now hot and selling tickets so they are shutting down resale from fans and other ticket buyers?!


I’m not surprised.


For many years, depending on the fortunes of a team, they will be at the WTC and Ticket Summit in Las Vegas, proclaiming themselves, “broker friendly”. As soon as the tide turns and the team is on the upswing, broker relations seem to chill.

As my son would say, “True Fact!”

Why this story is interesting is because the article highlights the possibility that the Nets are working to protect their consolidation partner, Dynasty Sports and Entertainment.

Which would be really interesting because I don’t recall a single situation where a team went to bat to protect their relationship with a consolidator.


So when you add up the ingredients of consolidation, protecting a partnership, a hot team, and a lawsuit that is built on the premise of protecting “…fans and free enterprise…”, this story bears watching because it will likely have some interesting stories that come out of it.


4. Feds probe White Sox about comp tickets: If you’ve been around the ticket game for long enough, you’ll have heard tales about “ice” and turning clocks back 2-3 minutes, or paying kids to stand on line…the list goes on.


Where there is a ticket, there is often the opportunity for some sort of sketchy behavior to take place.


Tony Knopp put together a blog post a few years back that lists any of the number of ways that people gain access to tickets, legally and illegally.


This story is interesting because it involves brokers, but also an inside source. It also highlights how useful data can be when used well…especially when the data shows patterns of strange behavior.

Don’t even get me started on what this says about the struggles of MLB to sell tickets and get fans into their stadiums.

5. The West End can weather a downturn, but what about everyone else?One of these days, I want to be able to get a byline in The Stage because I love how thoroughly they write about issues around pricing, sales and marketing of tickets.

This is an interesting piece because it highlights a number of issues that we all need to think about:

1. Pricing strategies, especially in difficult economic times. One of the big issues with a lot of primary side dynamic pricing that I hear about from consumers is that the price goes up, but never down.

The challenge for any of us is to get the pricing of our events and our experiences right.

In a recession or a downturn, pricing properly is more of a concern than ever. Along with the ultimate challenges of selling and marketing properly.

2. Pricing, marketing, and selling isn’t a one-size-fits all endeavor. In too many places, I see teams, venues, and organizations try to take the same marketing plan that worked in Los Angeles, London, New York City, or Paris and apply it everywhere.

That doesn’t work.

You have to understand the basics of strategy through the eyes of the people you are trying to serve. I’m going to tell you from experience that a DC buyer is a lot different than an NYC buyer and all of them are different than folks in Copenhagen.

3. Discounts will kill you!

Bonus story today since several of y’all thought this was funny: 

Man City drops influencer ad agency! 


When you are right! You are right!


If you think I’ve missed something or you see a story that I better see, send it to me…by hitting reply to this email. 


I’m in NYC on 7-8 November. So if you are around, send me a note and let’s get coffee or a drink. 



What I’m up to?

Had my buddy, Derek Palmer, on the podcast this week. He explains why he called me the only marketer he knows that isn’t full of shizz!


Are you coming to my workshop in Melbourne, Australia on 18 November? Only about 12 tickets left! How awesome is that! Buy one of them!


I will be in conversation with Oli Shawyer at the AFL’s Fan Day on 19 November at Marvel Stadium. We will talk marketing, revenue, and fan experience.


Keep up with me at

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