Talking Tickets–31 July 2020: MLB! NBA! More!

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Hey, Y’all! 

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. 

If you haven’t already had the opportunity to fill out my ‘Talking Tickets’ survey, could you take a minute or so to share your opinion with me?

It is going to help me deliver better ideas, content, podcast guests, and other stuff so we can all recover from the pandemic. 

Come have a drink with me and Ken Troupe tonight at 5 PM EDT. Ken will hopefully be recovered from his need for Gatorade last week and back with some fancy beer, I’ll be having a bourbon or sparkling water in my bourbon cup! You never know! 

End of July, how did you get here so quickly? 

July felt a little more productive for me. What about you? Let me know…if you reply to this email, you get sent directly to me! And, if you need anyone to talk to about anything at all, let me know. I’m here for you. 

To the tickets! 

————————————————————————————————————

1. MLB returns and… 

It didn’t take long for the season to hit a roadblock when a significant portion of the Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Insert Florida Man jokes at your own risk! 

All kidding aside, this isn’t a joking matter because it highlights how difficult it is going to be to really put together a sports season with the pandemic still going strong in the States and other countries seeing a resurgence of cases as they work to open up as well. 

The bubble concept seems to be working pretty well for the NBA, but how do you really make that scale…I mean, athletes are likely to buck against being separated from their friends and families for the length of entire seasons, but I could be wrong. 

We continue to see a real struggle going on to bring back sports because until there is some sort of overarching national strategy, followed up with consistent messaging on what people need to do and why, and the resources are committed to ensuring that the infection rate of the virus goes down to the 5.0% or less number that has been consistently stated as a marker for being able to reopen large parts of the economy…we are going to struggle. 

I’ve been writing about the need for stronger leadership to get us through this situation in my monthly column for the Project Management Institute for months now. And, it is frustrating to me that many or most of us continue to be sidelined with no end in sight because of a lack of leadership across the country. 

What we are learning here is that when push comes to shove, folks can come up with some new ideas to generate revenue. So now we know imagination is the only limit to our ability to come up with new ideas. 

Also, we all should have gained a new appreciation for having fans at games and I hope that it gives folks the incentives necessary to rethink their strategies around driving attendance, pricing, and customer service. 

And, we continue to learn what works and what doesn’t work as we continue to try and overcome the virus and get back to work. 

2. The NBA is back, but there could still be huge losses due to the coronavirus: 

From what I gather while I am writing this, folks like the NBA’s return and something about Shaq’s outfit. 

Earlier in the pandemic, we started to see how much revenue came from having fans in the seats: around 40% in most cases.

Which begged a whole different set of questions around pricing, sales, marketing, and more. 

But looking at the numbers being reported with one owner saying that they might lose $50 M next year, there is going to be a lot of brainpower needed to close that gap. 

That’s on top of the what will the impact be if the NBA has to do a whole season in a bubble as has been floated by the NBAPA? 

A few things here: 

* First, the lack of liquidity is being exposed as a major problem. 
* Second, we are seeing that a lot of the ownership groups are in businesses that have been hit especially hard by the crisis and the financial crisis. 
* Finally, as people have mentioned to me a few times…this is maybe the incentive necessary to drive expansion, especially when you see talk of selling draft picks. 

Bring ‘Em Back! 

As the NBA grapples with these issues, I’d suggest that they look to my friends in Australia as their codes had to do a really creative job of fixing their financial pictures using restructuring of media deals, real estate, and more. The numbers are different, but creativity is the point. 

3. How do we safely return? And, what can we do in the meantime!? 

Isn’t that the magic question. 

I’ve been following Richard Howle’s Twitter feed as he has been sharing images of different venues he’s visiting as the UK works to find a path back to having folks in venues. 

As we’ve seen with Major League Baseball, even the best-laid plans can be thrown off by the action of one person or a small group of folks. 

The above piece does lay out a bunch of good ideas including strengthening your relationships to your members, testing new ideas with a small group, and, maybe one of the ones we don’t consider nearly enough, making people feel safe. 

In looking at socially distanced seating maps and talking about cleaning actions and things like that, we often focus on the steak and not the sizzle. One of the biggest keys to getting folks coming back is to make them feel safe, especially the longer this goes on. 

I know we don’t have all the answers to this laid out yet, but building off of Tessitura’s ideas:

* What can we do to expand our membership and fan bases now? I’ll point back to the work that the Australian Football League does with its digital memberships to share their sport with fans around the world! G0 Dees! 

* Don’t just communicate more because I know people I’m talking with feel like they are getting so many messages from brands and companies that they might have bought from once many years ago that they are overwhelmed with offers, but make the communications you do send out targeted and valuable. 

* Be willing to be creative in offering value and creating things that your customers and fans can spend money on now. One thing I love from the pandemic is the way that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group has opened up Churchkey’s beer list to sell delivery beer to DC residents! Churchkey has one of the best beer cellars in America! What would or could something like that look like for you? 

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the German plan to allow fans back into football stadiums. 

4. Things will come back and the business models will be different: 

I took the morning on Thursday to sit outside in this little patch of grass and think. I mind mapped what I wanted to think about and focus on over the next few months based on the stuff I’m learning from the survey at the top of the page, conversations I’m having with folks around the world, and a lot more. 

One thing I wrote, circled, and underlined was the idea of “testing our assumptions”. 

The Treefort Music Fest is a prime example of rethinking and testing assumptions that led to the “community owner” program. 

This is a cool idea and I’ll watch what happens with it going forward because my buddy, Oli Shawyer, wrote up a piece this week that really stuck with me because he highlighted something we need keep in mind heading forward: the idea that if we are going to ask folks for their money and attention, we have to offer up real value. 

Coming out on the other side of the pandemic, we are going to see a lot of changes in the business because I think this ends up being one of those once in a hundred years events that makes everyone rethink everything

This isn’t a complete answer for how to approach things in the future, but some useful questions that I came up with as I read these pieces are:

* What assumptions are we making about our audience? 
* Who really is our customer? 
* How can we add value in the future? 
* How will this pandemic force us to change? (Especially outside of the obvious things we’ve beaten to death already?) 

I’m curious to hear what ideas y’all come up with. So share them with me…I’d love to know where your head is. 

5. Here are some random things that I like, but didn’t develop a theme for this week:

BTS mobilizes their Army to raise money over $1 million dollars for Black Lives Matter in one day: I’ve pointed to the power of fan clubs and fan bases a lot, typically using the Grateful Dead and Pearl Jam because those are the two biggest in our house, but building an audience is really powerful. 

Man City may not have been on the up-and-up with their arbitration defense: There are a few stories popping up today about the Man City arbitration hearing that Man City won, allowing them to take part in next season’s Champions League. This goes hand in hand with the Saudi attempt to buy Newcastle, the ownership of PSG, and a lot of other stories about the concerns in futbol that having a nation buy a team isn’t good for the sport. I love the business of European soccer, so maybe I’ll have more to cover here next week.

With no events, Coke’s revenue falls 28%:  Who knew? 

My new favorite NHL team is the Kraken and I think they did a pretty solid job launching the brand. 

BTW, Derek Palmer, NITO, and NIVA need you to fill out this form to tell your Congressperson and Senators to do something to save live entertainment. 
—————————————————————————————————————-

What am I up to this week? 

Lots and lots of podcasting! Great guests coming up over the next few weeks…a lot of folks that people requested in the survey! This week I had Matt Wolff from Ticket Time Machine on. We talked about marketing, memorabilia, data, and more. 

Lots of advising. Want to set up a call with me to talk about the path forward for you and your organization, I’d love to talk with you. 

Some new stuff coming out on the We Will Recover site. Lots of new blogs and ideas from around the world! 

Check out the well-being package from Booking Protect. I talked about mental health and well being with Andy Romero-Birkbeck earlier in the pandemic. It is so important in general, but it is more important now! If you don’t take care of your people, they can’t take care of your customers. 

I’m in DC this week! If you are in town, let me know. I’ve found a great social distance spot for coffee or beer. 

Hey, Y’all! 

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.

If you haven’t already had the opportunity to fill out my ‘Talking Tickets’ survey, could you take a minute or so to share your opinion with me?

It is going to help me deliver better ideas, content, podcast guests, and other stuff so we can all recover from the pandemic. 

Come have a drink with me and Ken Troupe tonight at 5 PM EDT. Ken will hopefully be recovered from his need for Gatorade last week and back with some fancy beer, I’ll be having a bourbon or sparkling water in my bourbon cup! You never know! 

End of July, how did you get here so quickly? 

July felt a little more productive for me. What about you? Let me know…if you reply to this email, you get sent directly to me! And, if you need anyone to talk to about anything at all, let me know. I’m here for you. 

To the tickets! 

————————————————————————————————————

1. MLB returns and… 

It didn’t take long for the season to hit a roadblock when a significant portion of the Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Insert Florida Man jokes at your own risk! 

All kidding aside, this isn’t a joking matter because it highlights how difficult it is going to be to really put together a sports season with the pandemic still going strong in the States and other countries seeing a resurgence of cases as they work to open up as well. 

The bubble concept seems to be working pretty well for the NBA, but how do you really make that scale…I mean, athletes are likely to buck against being separated from their friends and families for the length of entire seasons, but I could be wrong. 

We continue to see a real struggle going on to bring back sports because until there is some sort of overarching national strategy, followed up with consistent messaging on what people need to do and why, and the resources are committed to ensuring that the infection rate of the virus goes down to the 5.0% or less number that has been consistently stated as a marker for being able to reopen large parts of the economy…we are going to struggle. 

I’ve been writing about the need for stronger leadership to get us through this situation in my monthly column for the Project Management Institute for months now. And, it is frustrating to me that many or most of us continue to be sidelined with no end in sight because of a lack of leadership across the country. 

What we are learning here is that when push comes to shove, folks can come up with some new ideas to generate revenue. So now we know imagination is the only limit to our ability to come up with new ideas. 

Also, we all should have gained a new appreciation for having fans at games and I hope that it gives folks the incentives necessary to rethink their strategies around driving attendance, pricing, and customer service. 

And, we continue to learn what works and what doesn’t work as we continue to try and overcome the virus and get back to work. 

2. The NBA is back, but there could still be huge losses due to the coronavirus: 

From what I gather while I am writing this, folks like the NBA’s return and something about Shaq’s outfit. 

Earlier in the pandemic, we started to see how much revenue came from having fans in the seats: around 40% in most cases.

Which begged a whole different set of questions around pricing, sales, marketing, and more. 

But looking at the numbers being reported with one owner saying that they might lose $50 M next year, there is going to be a lot of brainpower needed to close that gap. 

That’s on top of the what will the impact be if the NBA has to do a whole season in a bubble as has been floated by the NBAPA? 

A few things here: 

* First, the lack of liquidity is being exposed as a major problem. 
* Second, we are seeing that a lot of the ownership groups are in businesses that have been hit especially hard by the crisis and the financial crisis. 
* Finally, as people have mentioned to me a few times…this is maybe the incentive necessary to drive expansion, especially when you see talk of selling draft picks. 

Bring ‘Em Back! 

As the NBA grapples with these issues, I’d suggest that they look to my friends in Australia as their codes had to do a really creative job of fixing their financial pictures using restructuring of media deals, real estate, and more. The numbers are different, but creativity is the point. 

3. How do we safely return? And, what can we do in the meantime!? 

Isn’t that the magic question. 

I’ve been following Richard Howle’s Twitter feed as he has been sharing images of different venues he’s visiting as the UK works to find a path back to having folks in venues. 

As we’ve seen with Major League Baseball, even the best-laid plans can be thrown off by the action of one person or a small group of folks. 

The above piece does lay out a bunch of good ideas including strengthening your relationships to your members, testing new ideas with a small group, and, maybe one of the ones we don’t consider nearly enough, making people feel safe. 

In looking at socially distanced seating maps and talking about cleaning actions and things like that, we often focus on the steak and not the sizzle. One of the biggest keys to getting folks coming back is to make them feel safe, especially the longer this goes on. 

I know we don’t have all the answers to this laid out yet, but building off of Tessitura’s ideas:

* What can we do to expand our membership and fan bases now? I’ll point back to the work that the Australian Football League does with its digital memberships to share their sport with fans around the world! G0 Dees! 

* Don’t just communicate more because I know people I’m talking with feel like they are getting so many messages from brands and companies that they might have bought from once many years ago that they are overwhelmed with offers, but make the communications you do send out targeted and valuable. 

* Be willing to be creative in offering value and creating things that your customers and fans can spend money on now. One thing I love from the pandemic is the way that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group has opened up Churchkey’s beer list to sell delivery beer to DC residents! Churchkey has one of the best beer cellars in America! What would or could something like that look like for you? 

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the German plan to allow fans back into football stadiums. 

4. Things will come back and the business models will be different: 

I took the morning on Thursday to sit outside in this little patch of grass and think. I mind mapped what I wanted to think about and focus on over the next few months based on the stuff I’m learning from the survey at the top of the page, conversations I’m having with folks around the world, and a lot more. 

One thing I wrote, circled, and underlined was the idea of “testing our assumptions”. 

The Treefort Music Fest is a prime example of rethinking and testing assumptions that led to the “community owner” program. 

This is a cool idea and I’ll watch what happens with it going forward because my buddy, Oli Shawyer, wrote up a piece this week that really stuck with me because he highlighted something we need keep in mind heading forward: the idea that if we are going to ask folks for their money and attention, we have to offer up real value. 

Coming out on the other side of the pandemic, we are going to see a lot of changes in the business because I think this ends up being one of those once in a hundred years events that makes everyone rethink everything

This isn’t a complete answer for how to approach things in the future, but some useful questions that I came up with as I read these pieces are:

* What assumptions are we making about our audience? 
* Who really is our customer? 
* How can we add value in the future? 
* How will this pandemic force us to change? (Especially outside of the obvious things we’ve beaten to death already?) 

I’m curious to hear what ideas y’all come up with. So share them with me…I’d love to know where your head is. 

5. Here are some random things that I like, but didn’t develop a theme for this week:

BTS mobilizes their Army to raise money over $1 million dollars for Black Lives Matter in one day: I’ve pointed to the power of fan clubs and fan bases a lot, typically using the Grateful Dead and Pearl Jam because those are the two biggest in our house, but building an audience is really powerful. 

Man City may not have been on the up-and-up with their arbitration defense: There are a few stories popping up today about the Man City arbitration hearing that Man City won, allowing them to take part in next season’s Champions League. This goes hand in hand with the Saudi attempt to buy Newcastle, the ownership of PSG, and a lot of other stories about the concerns in futbol that having a nation buy a team isn’t good for the sport. I love the business of European soccer, so maybe I’ll have more to cover here next week.

With no events, Coke’s revenue falls 28%:  Who knew? 

My new favorite NHL team is the Kraken and I think they did a pretty solid job launching the brand. 

BTW, Derek Palmer, NITO, and NIVA need you to fill out this form to tell your Congressperson and Senators to do something to save live entertainment. 
—————————————————————————————————————-

What am I up to this week? 

Lots and lots of podcasting! Great guests coming up over the next few weeks…a lot of folks that people requested in the survey! This week I had Matt Wolff from Ticket Time Machine on. We talked about marketing, memorabilia, data, and more. 

Lots of advising. Want to set up a call with me to talk about the path forward for you and your organization, I’d love to talk with you. 

Some new stuff coming out on the We Will Recover site. Lots of new blogs and ideas from around the world! 

Check out the well-being package from Booking Protect. I talked about mental health and well being with Andy Romero-Birkbeck earlier in the pandemic. It is so important in general, but it is more important now! If you don’t take care of your people, they can’t take care of your customers. 

I’m in DC this week! If you are in town, let me know. I’ve found a great social distance spot for coffee or beer. 

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