Talking Tickets 27 November 2020: Stub Hub! AudienceView! Young Fans! And, More!

This piece was originally printed on Substack!

Hey There!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and colleagues, but I’m thankful for all of you for being here each week. 

No Happy Hour tonight as I will need a nap after the holiday celebration at my house…okay, it was the spice cake my neighbor brought me. 

As we head into the final stretch of 2020, don’t make yourself feel like you have to get through this period alone. I’m around if someone needs or wants to talk. And, I’ve set up a Slack Channel where a couple hundred folks from all over the world get together to connect. I even think folks have found jobs due to the Slack Channel. 

One thing you can do for me this holiday season, share this with folks you know. 

Share Talking Tickets! 

Also, check me out at the National Sports Forum on the 9-10 of December! 

To The Tickets! 


1. There’s still a lot to be thankful for this year:

The turkey came early this year because I was on the AudienceView podcast this week talking with Mike Evenson about things we can be thankful for, the future of tickets, and things I’ve learned during the long pause. 

You should listen to the episode. I think it is good to have the chance to reframe things from time to time. 

But I’ll give you a few things to help you reframe your thinking heading into December and the end of the year towards 2021, which has to be better. 

As we head into the end of the year and look to turn the page, we need to keep in mind getting back to the basics. 

For me, that’s the basics of marketing and strategy. 

Looking at the world through the eyes of the people I’m trying to serve, doing research on the market, breaking up the market into segments, targeting the right people, and positioning my business accordingly. 

That’s a lesson that we need to keep in mind more than ever. 

Second, keep in mind the positives that have come out of the pause and the year we’ve spent in limbo in business. 

They may be hard to find and they may not jump out to you right away, but I bet there are things you are proud of or that were positives. 

I know for me, I’ve had a chance to connect with new people and help people when they’ve really needed it. I’ve had the chance to be there for my neighbors during some incredibly difficult times. I got a chance to go back to school and get a certification in marketing that is going to make me more obnoxious than ever about doing marketing the right way. 

Do me and Mike a favor and check out the episode. We wanted to be positive and provide some things that we can be happy about. 

And, let me know what you are thankful for. 

Even if you aren’t in America! 

2. Because the times are uncertain, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan: 

This is great! 

I find that David writes a lot of pieces that I wish I had written and this is one of them. 

This is a really well thought through piece about planning when planning can seem pointless. 

There are two things that I want to highlight here that we really should incorporate into all of our best practices:

  • Listening more 
  • Focusing on value

Right now, being market oriented is very important. 

Much of the research you are going to do right now is not going to be very valuable. 


Because people’s intentions are often different than the actions they take. 

But what you can do is talk with your customers and your market and listen to the things that they are saying. 

What are they struggling with?

What are they afraid of?

What do they love? 

What do they miss?

These are likely to hold or they do a good job of opening the door to you to better define the value you deliver. 

Value needs to be on everyone’s mind right now and going forward. 

First, if you are doing the job of marketing and selling well, you realize that what people are buying is an experience and something they can’t get somewhere else. 

That’s value and that’s unique value. 

Second, if you are doing the value identity stuff well, you are going to be able to command a price that you might not otherwise have been able to achieve. 

By communicating based on value, you are better able to create price security for your organization and the things you are selling. 

Remember, folks don’t pay premiums for commodities. 

3. Young fans are a problem:

This has everything I’ve been ranting about for years all tied up in one place:

  • The need to get fans involved in your product early.
  • Being out of touch and making stuff up about being able to just win folks over at a specific age.
  • Your competition isn’t always who you think it is. 

This story isn’t surprising, I’ve been talking for years about the need to focus on audience development. 

What is interesting here is how folks can so easily stick their heads in the sand and say, “The fans will show up at 35.” 


The best time to start building and rebuilding your fans is right now. And, you have to start building a fan base right now for the future. 

The NBA has been losing TV audiences for a decade and like all the leagues, attendance has been a challenge before the pandemic. 

The ratings for sports programming has been down since the pandemic started and games returned. 

The average age of a fan of MLB has been steadily increasing and attendance has been dropping. 

These are all bad signs. 

As I mentioned at the top, the time to get back to the basics is right now:

  • Customer Focus
  • Research
  • Segmentation
  • Targeting
  • Positioning
  • Strategy
  • Price
  • Product
  • Place
  • Promotion

The good thing here is that the NHL is actually using customer focus groups and talking to folks. That’s a good start. 

But this challenge is a long term challenge. One that lends itself to getting confused by throwing every new tactic at young folks, but one that really needs to be wed to strategy. 

Where will we compete?

How will we win? 

4. StubHub and Viagogo goes on and on:

This week we find another story covering the ongoing StubHub and Viagogo merger. 

This story continues to be interesting because it touches the world of ticketing globally. It is also interesting due to the tact that Jeff Fluhr is supposed to be taking by claiming that the reason to force StubHub to sell to his group is because of his expertise in the secondary market when the resale in the UK is often a touchy topic.

To me, the bigger thing is that this deal is the antitrust implications, but to be fair…who knows if that still holds now? 

This is interesting to watch, but in truth we have no idea what a good price for the company would be right now, what the resale market will look like going forward, or what customer demand is going to be like. 

5. A few quick links for you because it is a holiday week and I can get back to normal next week:

Again, thanks for being here every week! I’ll be back to normal newsletter production next week. 

In this strange year, keeping something normal going like this newsletter has been helpful to me. 


I’m in DC still! 

Check out my podcast!

My friends at Booking Protect shared what they are thankful for on their blog, check it out! 

We Will Recover had a good story on what the new vaccine means for the live industry!

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