Talking Tickets 25 December 2020! Merry Christmas! The Melbourne Theatre Company! The America’s Cup! Save Our Stages! More!


Merry Christmas if you are celebrating! And, welcome to the last newsletter of the year! 

I know I’ve mentioned I had a good chat with my friend, Cat, a few weeks back and she said, “Tell me something good that has happened to you this year.” 

I loved that and as I’m wrapping up 2020, I wanted to take a moment to share a couple of things that are good that happened this year:

  • The newsletter continued to grow! Thank you for continuing to read the newsletter, share it with your colleagues, and support the ideas I offer. Share
  • I’m grateful for the chance to do some studying this year. I’ve got some new marketing qualifications that will be useful in recovering from the pandemic. 
  • I’ve been around to spend time with my family and neighbors…and that’s been pretty good as well, even if we are all stir crazy and driving each other nuts by now! 

What about you? 

No happy hour tonight! 

If you have a moment, give the newsletter a rating! If you’ve done it already, thank you! 

To the tickets! 


1. The Melbourne Theatre Company will lead the charge into 2021 and recovery:

The big idea here is that many arts organizations around Australia are seeing high demand as these productions return to the stage around Australia. 

The challenge that is laid out is what will the limitations be like for crowds as the vaccination for the virus continues to roll out and will this demand be maintained over the long haul. 

For all of us anywhere in the world, we can see some real light at the end of the tunnel for getting productions running again. 

  • Asia, Australia, and New Zealand have shown that working to “eliminate” the virus from their communities has helped these countries have greater success saving lives. We’ve also seen the power of strong government intervention to protect people, jobs, and important parts of the community throughout this. 
  • We are seeing demand be strong at soccer matches in Europe, theaters in Australia, and concerts in Asia. This is a good early sign and one that we should keep an eye on as shows with crowds are more regular. 

On the flip side, we have to keep an eye on:

  • How long the vaccination process takes in our individual countries. In the States, we are hearing about the end of the summer as the time when we might hit a level of vaccination that would signal herd immunity. So until we have a widely distributed vaccine that people have taken, we are likely to continue to see ups and downs with openings and events. 
  • We are going to need to keep an eye on the demand curve and where our prices are. The impulse as seen in the States is to price very aggressively and not always sell out. We are going to need to keep an eye on this because customer’s habits are changed now, people’s economic situations may be different, and we can’t just assume that people are going to do things the way they’ve always done them. 

In looking to Melbourne, it is great to see an innovative plan to deal with re-opening, recovery, and relaunching their company. That’s great and I hope more organizations take an innovative approach to recovery. 

In reading through the story, you see the hallmarks of some strong marketing efforts like a focus on giving the customers something of value in a form that the company can produce. You are also seeing them focus their efforts on recognizing that they need to change the way that their shows are priced and distributed to reflect the reality of the pandemic. Finally, you are seeing a recognition that partners matter and shaping the narrative of your partners by using impact is important by the way they talk about each dollar the government invests in their company produces $11 in activity. 

That’s a great ROI, by the way! 

2. Congress passes a COVID relief bill that includes the Save Our Stages provisions:

A relief bill to support Americans and the live entertainment industry finally passed the Congress in the United States. 

There are a lot of folks that worked hard to help get support for the live entertainment industry this year and the fact that this drug on until legislators were going to want to go home for the holidays is a reminder of how much suffering folks have had to deal with this year because the American government hasn’t been nearly as responsible in their actions around the pandemic as other nations. 

But…so it goes. 

This is a nice holiday gift to the industry and shows the power of advocacy and consistent effort. 

3. The numbers on eSports are pretty amazing:

I did a presentation to a team on Friday, talking about 14 numbers to pay attention toin 2021. 

A lot of them were around esports and the larger population. 

Here’s some pretty interesting numbers on esports to give you some context for how to think about esports and whether or not it has a future:

  • 41% of the world’s population is under 25. 
  • 82% of folks played or watched some sort of video game content during the pandemic. Add to that, 53% of folks downloaded a free game to be part of a community. 
  • 18, the age that the NFL’s research pointed to as being a dividing line between whether or not you can create a new fan. 

Is esports a little overhyped? 


But that’s the nature of our world. 

What we can learn from the growth of esports that can apply to our businesses in any market?

  • The power of the community around events that’s being market oriented by recognizing that 53% of people are downloading free games to take part in a community. And, I’m sure that is a realistic number because if you think about all the old Facebook games we were sucked into over the years…and that number seems a little light. 
  • Developing fans and supporters early is a winning formula. One challenge that pro sports in the States has been dealing with is that the young fans haven’t been tuning in like earlier groups of kids. I’m certain there isn’t an easy answer here, but esports could be a helpful way to get kids to think about your games or events…top of funnel. 

There’s more. If you go back to the podcast archives, my first podcast was with an esports CEO. I won’t link to it because it is bad! BAD! 

But esports has potential, especially if some of the best practices for businesses and community building are used. 

The flip side being that the potential of esports could be blunted by poor sales and marketing practices that haven’t kept up with the zeitgeist are used instead. 

4. Real Madrid’s president thinks soccer needs to innovate coming out of the pandemic:

I have felt that there has been a need to constantly reinvent yourself for years. 

Soccer is ahead of the sports in the US in the recognition that you figure out strategy before tactics and that if you aren’t disrupting your business someone else is. 

That said, businesses that are ripe for disruption typically exhibit the following signs:

  • Customers don’t trust the current system. 
  • New technology isn’t being utilized. 
  • Prices are out of the range of the average customer. 
  • Inconvenience is at a high. 

Let’s take these one by one:

  • Customers don’t trust the system: check. With tickets, folks don’t know how to get a ticket or feel like they can’t get a ticket. 
  • New technology isn’t being utilized: depends on the market or part of the world. Some places are doing better than others. 
  • Prices are out of the range of the average customer: check. We are seeing the costs of tickets, merchandise, and other things are outstripping the rate of inflation. 
  • Inconvenience: duh! Think through that idea I’ve been pushing lately, market orientation and look at the way you sell and market your product through the eyes of your customers. 

Soccer is ahead of this in a lot of ways, but I do worry that they won’t take the step back and look at the business through the eyes of their customer and will create a product oriented solution to this challenge of innovation. 

5. In New Zealand, the America’s Cup saw the pubs and waterfront packed…and I’m jealous!

First, hello to all of my Kiwi friends! 

Second, New Zealand has done a very good job of handling the coronavirus and I’d offer up the idea that they talked about “eliminating” the virus pretty early on. I mean, it is easier to do something like this on an island, but going all-out war on a problem teaches us a good lesson for life. 

Meaning, when you are targeting a market or an opportunity, sometimes you just need to push all your chips in on the opportunity. 

See…I can turn anything into a marketing lesson! 

Bonus: NBA more seriously considering expansion!

I can analyze the article at a later date…but let me just say this on Christmas Day:

Bring ‘em Back! 




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As you are re-opening your business and starting to sell tickets again, revenue is important to you, peace of mind is important to your customers, and certainty will be on everyone’s mind. So check out my friends at Booking Protect to find out how refund protection can give you a new revenue stream and can give your customers peace of mind.

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