Talking Tickets–22 May 2020! Bundesliga! Revenue! Rocking At The Drive-In! More!

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Thanks for being here again this week. If you are enjoying this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues to sign up by visiting this link.

Heading into the long weekend in the States, if that really even matters right now…here’s a video that came my way of The National performing a set around the time of their album, High Violet, which is excellent. I’m guessing that they won’t be playing their show at Wolf Trap, but if something changes…I’m there.

I had a chance to participate during Eric Fuller’s Rescue Meet on Tuesday along with Anthony Esposito and a few others from different areas of the industry. You can watch the replay here.

Don’t forget Happy Hour with me and Ken Troupe this afternoon. Ken has fixed the technology and we can definitely have more than 6 people or whatever crazy number kept getting folks bounced that one week.

To the tickets!


1. Events Are Starting To Come Back With Drive-Ins and Social Distancing: 

In the span of a few moments, we went from having the first social distance concert to having it postponed, to having it back on again. Then we had a drive-in show with 600 cars!

While all of this is positive, the cluster developing at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa shows that we still have to be cautious with our expectations and with the speed of being able to bring events back online and things back to normal.

Casinos in Las Vegas and Mississippi are going to be coming back soon. These aren’t live events, but I do think they will provide us an opportunity to learn about what safe openings and safe gatherings will look like or can look like.

The same can be said for the opening of museums, parks, and other places where folks gather to see art, hangout, and commune. Though I do wonder how marathons and big races are going to manage to come back in the near term…if you’ve never run the NYC marathon or seen it, social distancing is tough.

Th0ugh if you’ve never run the NYC marathon, put that on your bucket list.

All of this highlights the need to continue to watch what other countries are doing, try to learn best practices and to be cautious but creative like these mixed events in Norway. 

2. We will come back, but what will that look like? 

If the coronavirus has taught us anything in the States is that if you don’t have a lobbyist, you don’t have much of a chance of anything.

So far, live entertainment has been hurt about as much as any industry and we don’t have anything to show for it. Regular folks, are in the same boat for the most part. Maybe we should all go into banking or lobbying…

I did do some nerd reading this week and found an interesting piece about neoliberal economic policy and the coronavirus that put a few ideas into my head that I think we can all learn from in this crisis:

* The ideas lying around are important.
* What is feasible and likely can change pretty quickly.
* Ultimately, ideas change the world.

For all of us, this means a few important things…

* First, push our ideas of helping live entertainment recover. Countries around the world have varying plans for doing just that. In America, we definitely need to continue to push that agenda. My neighbor is a lobbyist and he’s explained the dark arts to me and I’ve worked on a presidential campaign, so I understand how ridiculous the whole process can seem and feel from the outside…and it is, just the people in the middle of it can’t let their own self-importance get in the way of recognizing how ridiculous it is.

* No idea is a crazy idea. You need crazy ideas to come up with workable solutions…look at the stuff above with drive-ins and social distance concerts.

* Show up and do the work. I’ve been talking about change, innovation, and evolution for my entire career…this stuff doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t come fast, but to give up now in the face of the need for innovation is just crazy. The industry needs everyone to be smarter, more thoughtful, and more creative.

I’ll cover economic models and ideas in point 5.

3. Football, Futbol, Soccer Saves Us?! 

Have you picked your Bundesliga team yet?

I’m still sticking with Bayern Munich because of their connection to Oktoberfest and beer!

Did y’all get a chance to catch any of the action from Germany over the weekend? I liked Haaland’s socially distanced goal celebration, but I have to say it was still weird watching football without fans.

On top of the Bundesliga, we also are going to see the return of the Liga FPD as well. (That’s the Costa Rican soccer league.) (ESPN will be showing their games.) (My team is Limon FC…I’ll explain over drinks sometime.)

The French league has already declared Paris Saint-Germain winners, but most of the other leagues around the world are attempting to finish their seasons with the Champions League looking to finish by August.

In the Premier League, we are seeing a lot of caution.

But it will be great to see the EPL return since all of Spurs injured players are back…but we all long for the return of home-field advantage. 

In South Korea, there was a little story that likely gives folks a bit to think about with “unique” partnerships!?

And, if the Grand Final can have fans, I’m hoping that I can be there.

A couple things here:

* I’m glad to have sports back to watch.
* Keep paying attention to what is working and what isn’t.
* Constantly ask yourself what you are learning from all of these experiences and these events so that you come out of this stronger than before.

4. Arts Have Always Come Back, Yeah! 

I’ve been saying it for months now, people will come back eventually. To think otherwise is to laugh in the face of thousands of years of recorded history.

The challenge in the short term is what will this coming back look like, how quickly will folks feel comfortable, how many financial challenges will we be dealing with, and whether or not we get the marketing challenge correct.

This virus and the financial conditions created by the shutdown of economies around the world have created the most challenging environment for the arts and entertainment in any of our lifetimes, true fact. But the virus and the financial crisis has also highlighted a lot of bad business practices, poor business models, and the need for more innovative thinking any many places.

The challenges that everyone are dealing with aren’t unique to one area of the industry. I mean, movie theatres, musuems, and bars are feeling the pinch as well. Everyone is in the entertainment and hospitality industry.

In speaking at Eric Fuller’s Rescue Meet event this week, I come back to a couple of ideas that seem to sum up where my thinking is this week:

* Creativity and innovation need to be at the front of everyone’s thinking.
* Cooperation is going to be key to being successful going forward.
* There won’t be a one-size-fits-all plan or approach to coming out of this. And, we have to recognize that earlier rather than later.

5. The Way To Generate Revenue Is Going To Need Some Attention: 

I’m doing a webinar on Tuesday, 26 May with Frederic Aouad from Stay 22 on revenue and creating revenue opportunities now.

Two sessions: 9 AM EDT and 2 PM EDT. We wanted to give folks a chance to join if they were in markets outside of the US or mainland Europe.

The genesis of the idea came out of someone grabbing my notes off the stand at INTIX in Dallas and how I had to come up with a presentation on revenue on the fly. 

Revenue numbers have been in the news a lot the last few weeks as we saw Adam Silver talk about how about 40% of the NBA’s money comes from fans going to games. This week, we saw MLB’s owners share that playing games without fans will cost about $640,000 in losses per game!

I’d always thought the NFL had a little less reliance on in-game revenue, but a report this week put the number at around 38%.

For minor league sports, the threat is even more severe.

So we see that tons of money is still tied up in getting people to get into the games when they are played.

Which really begs a serious question: if getting fans into the stadium is so important, why has the sales and marketing models of the teams in the States been stagnant for so long?

The hard truth is that in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and many other markets, the creativity to capture more of their fan base has existed for a lot of time and we have to get on-board. I had David Fowler on my podcast before the lockdowns started, but he appeared on Richard Clarke’s podcast this week and talked about his ideas in the context of the coronavirus and I think listening to these guys can be useful. David’s big three are contentcreativity, and community.

This all comes up in light of the need to rethink where the money comes in from, this week Kirk Wakefield wrote up a piece about how little folks actually notice sponsors during games. Which was paired with the idea that MLB teams might cover seats with sponsored tarps to help recapture some revenue from not having fans in the ballpark.

And, don’t even get me started on “impressions”, “likes”, and that sort of thing that is basically meaningless but easy to measure. Even though there have been lawsuits about the accuracy of a lot of these social web measurements.

Revenue going forward is going to need a lot of thought, but I’ll offer up three things to consider now:

* The way tickets are marketed and sold needs some serious attention. The folks that have invested in their fans over the years are the exceptions that prove the rule. We all need to rethink marketing and selling practices…which should have been a priority before but when you could just easily raise prices, sell to brokers and consolidators, and fall back on “tickets distributed” as the way you reported attendance…YOLO!

* Investigating where folks are doing things better or where we can learn is going to create a lot of opportunities. What can we all learn from a professional services brand? What can we learn from the school bake sale? A nonprofit? There are millions, or more, examples to learn from.

* I said this in a very pointed way that was likely a bit ruder than I wanted to say it at INTIX in Dallas, but none of us are limited in the way that we make money and generate revenue…we are limited by our creativity and that’s the biggest challenge we are dealing with, limiting our creativity to predetermined ideas and solutions. And, I get it, there are real challenges facing everyone right now, but that should cause everyone to be a lot more creative.

As MJ said, “BREAK!”


What am I up to this week?

Check out my webinar with Frederic and the folks from We Will Recover. I’m working on getting two or three exclusive blog posts and articles up on the We Will Recover site from some of the smarties I know from around the world including a really great piece from my friend, Georgia, down in Sydney.

The podcast is sitting there with over 100 episodes. I’ve been trying to think about what form, if any, it takes going forward and I’ve come up with an idea now that I think will work for me and offer value to all of y’all. I’m going to focus on the future and I’m going to bring in more folks from my work on strategy and marketing that don’t always touch the world of entertainment as a way to introduce more ideas and a different viewpoint.

Visit my site,

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