Talking Tickets 20 March 2020–What A Week?

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Where do we even start this week?

That was something, wasn’t it?

How are all of y’all holding up? You can always email me, call, or text me. I’m here. My cell is +1 917 705 6301. I also WhatsApp! Don’t feel like you are working through this complex time alone…we are all in this together.

I’ll probably spend more time here than I will with the stories this week, but I think that’s okay. Writing a newsletter about the business of entertainment and tickets in the week that the whole business shuts down isn’t a lot of fun. But I’m grateful for every one of you that allows me to come and visit with you each Friday.

Someone shared a tweet with me earlier in the week, mentioning that this is likely to be a defining moment in the way that your kids remember you. I posted a thread on the Twitter about this.

But to restate a few ideas here this morning:

1. It is tough for all of us right now. But don’t go through it alone. You have friends and colleagues, people need people. And, I know the tough part of this virus thing is the social distancing thing…but that’s important too. But if you need someone, call, text, email, but don’t go it alone.

2. As tough as things are right now and as dark as it seems, try to focus on the things you can control and the things that you can find positive out of this experience. It is tough to do, but take a moment to catch your breath and give yourself room to think. I’ve only ever screwed things up when I’ve run too quickly into the next thing out of panic. In the next week or so as I figure out what the timeline of this pandemic looks like and when we might possibly start to see economic activity come, I’ll start putting together some webinars, chats, and other ways that we can lean on each other to figure out what comes next.

3. Find something to distract yourself from all of the news. The constant barrage of cable news, Twitter, and other media will drive you nuts. I’m fortunate that we have a nice backyard and live on a street where there is basically not many folks around, so the boy and I have been doing soccer drills. I’ve also picked up my favorite book of all time, Underworld, again. Also, here are a couple of concert bootlegs for you to remind you how awesome live music is:

The National at the Sydney Opera House
Pearl Jam at Fenway Park in 2018
Wilco’s 25th Anniversary Concert

You pick your own, but just find something to take you out of your own head for a moment.

BTW, I put together a Slack Channel for folks in tickets, sports, entertainment, and such to connect, chat, and just have a place for a little bit of community. Go in there, find the area that best fits you and connect.

I’m doing a little sports business happy hour Google Hangout today with my friend, Ken Troupe, at 430 PM EST. I did a happy hour for St Patrick’s Day at the last minute to test the format, it works and it is likely a good way to break the monotony of the day.


1. What comes next? 

I really liked the above LinkedIn post because I had been struggling with what to say to my friends, colleagues, and clients.

I’m certain all of us have struggled with our thoughts, feelings, and direction this week.

But Alan’s post really helped me to clarify my thinking.

What is next?

I’m not 100% sure. People keep telling me, “live is going to roar back.”

But I’m not so sure. Someone pointed out to me that many markets never recovered after the 2008 financial crisis.

Live Nation lost 2/3 of its market value in a month. And, a lot of companies are having a hard time right now…okay, all companies. 

Michael Billington writes up a really good reminder of the power of the arts to help us make sense of the world we live in that I want to hold close to me and my thinking as we move forward over the next few weeks and months.

As often happens, I’ve turned to re-reading Peter Drucker. I’m working back through, Managing In A Time Of Great Change. 

What I love about Drucker is how he focuses on taking action in the present to create the future.

We are discussing the book in the Slack channel, but I’m curious to hear from all of y’all about where your heads are and what you are thinking about right now.

Another resource I came across, TicketManager put together a guide for their clients in troubled times that might be useful to some of y’all.

2. The entertainment business comes together: 

Around the industry, people are coming together to try and support their partners and the live entertainment industry.

QCue starts a collaboration initiative; Stay22 drops commissions; and, Spektrix offers a tool to convert refunds to donations.

INTIX has started a COVID 19 forum and more organizations are doing things.

Goldstar is turning on all of its promotional activities to help its partners.

If you or someone is doing something to support the industry, let me know and I will share it in Slack, in the newsletter, and on social media.

3. In the short term, leagues, teams, and owners are trying to do right by hourly and part-time workers: 

Marc Cuban led the way with his comments right after the NBA suspended the season. But we’ve seen a lot of teams, owners, players, and others jump in to support the season and part-time workers that make the gameday experience go for so many.

MLB commits $30M to ballpark employees and pays minor league players until April 8.

4. The NBA was better prepared than the federal government:

This story is wild! Especially when you combine it with all the great reporting coming out on Thursday about the Senate ignoring warnings but telling their donors and selling stocks to protect themselves while poo-pooing the danger to the American people. And, as I was finishing this, here’s a thread with links to all of the Congress critters sales of stocks after the January meeting where the issues at play with the virus were laid out.

I mean, I’ve been one of the most widely read project management writers in the world for about 8 years now and I know that one of the biggest things you can do is have a risk plan in place. So to see the NBA’s risk plan is amazing.

I do think we all need to think about putting risk plans in place for the future.

5. There are a few bright spots: 

South Korea’s basketball league is making the first moves towards restarting.

Marble racing is totally a thing!

The CoronaChoir made the news. I’m a fan of alliterations.

Chelsea offers up Stamford Bridge for NHS use and Ronaldo offers up his hotels and pays medical staff.

And, if you don’t mind the time difference, you can get your fix of AFL and NRL games. (Go Dees!)

I’m excited to watch some footie, but just the site of all these examples of folks contributing, moving forward, or innovating…it helps let us know that things will get better.

I hope I’ve struck as much balance as possible this week. It wasn’t easy to write this one.


What am I up to this week?

I’m taking care of the boy and supporting my lady as we try to figure out how to deal with social distancing and the measures that are being put in place to help slow the progress of the coronavirus.

I will get back to writing and podcasting next week. Let me know if you have any guests or topics you want to learn about. Keep an eye on and I’ll keep adding stuff there as I can as well.  

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