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The conversations we should be having in tickets, sports, and entertainment business


This may or may not be my last post directly about what happened in Baltimore at INTIX, but it isn’t really an INTIX post at all, but one that is more directly directed at the world of tickets as a whole and how the industry can have better conversations about tickets, selling and marketing events, and maximizing the opportunities and revenues that these experiences should create.

First, the idea at INTIX that made me think of this is that the board said, “they wanted INTIX to be part of the conversation around tickets.”

The second thing that made me start thinking about this is the series of posts I did at the end of the year about the future of tickets in 2018.

The final thing that made me think about what I am going to write is the ongoing conversations about attendance numbers, TV ratings, revenues, and other stuff that can easily become skewed to hyperbole, misinformation, or misinterpretation.

But the reality is that for the industry to maintain its health and continue to grow, honest conversations need to occur and tough conversations need to be had as well.

So here’s a few ideas about propelling the world of entertainment forward in the context of tickets, selling and marketing, revenues, and opportunity creation…(and what will likely happen is I will flesh these out even further in future posts.)


We are at an interesting crossroads in the world of tickets. I was mentioning to a colleague today that I think we are at the end of the current cycle of whatever you think is going on in tickets.

Here’s what we are looking at:

  • We did a poor job of marketing tickets as access points to experiences in a lot of cases and now we are trying to put the genie back in the bottle.
  • The secondary market won. They have convinced consumers that their first search should be on a secondary market website.
  • Attention for games and events is tougher to come by than ever before. Even hot artists don’t get the same level of attention any longer.
  • There is a huge divide between the haves and have nots.

What does all this mean?

It means in the next cycle, we are going to have to find ways to recreate the magic of attending a live event.

I don’t think that Verified Fan is going to do this.

I don’t think that having the market flooded with tickets and creating an environment where fans wait until the last minute to buy is going to change this.

I think a reimagining of the purchase lifecycle is going to need to happen to change this trend.

Here’s what’s at stake, training people to buy at the last minute is costing everyone that has a stake in the market to lose money.

The secondary market won’t go away, but the richness of the deals they are willing to make with the primary is going to change because the secondary side isn’t going to be willing to take the same risks.

You will see more and more empty seats because people are going to have other things capture their attention or steer them away from going to a game or concert or event.

This will only enhance a further widening between the haves and the have nots.

The conversation we need to have here is simple…

  1. How do we make fans feel valued throughout the customer lifecycle. Because if we don’t build connections, there will never be a real incentive for fans to do anything but buy at the last minute from some site on the internet.
  2. We are going to need to rethink the customer experience to make people feel valued when they arrive and attend an event. While I get poked for focusing too much on the customer, customer acquisition is fairly expensive, especially if you are having to recreate customers over and over. Plus, if you are not worried about the customer experience, it becomes more likely that the customer has a bad experience and turns his back on you.
  3. We will have to think more readily about how we market and present the stories, games, and narratives around our buildings, teams, and events. Marketing matters now more than ever.

Selling and Marketing Events: 

In every industry, most of what passes as marketing and selling these days is pretty crappy.

You see recycled sales scripts, marketing and advertising that is pretty generic and could be for anything, and no emotional connection…even though we are selling some of the best stuff for emotional connection available.

What has happened is that we have become in love with best practices and hacks to the point that we realized that marketing and selling is about a transfer of emotion.

If we don’t do a better job of stimulating emotional connection in the buying and selling process, we are going to suffer because without emotion, nothing happens.

That feeds the cycle of waiting and buying at the last minute or not buying at all.

That’s the conversation to have. How can we infuse a sense of emotion and urgency into the marketing and selling process.


I learned all I know about revenue in night clubs back in the 1990s.

The power of simply asking someone what kind of vodka they like created about $500,000 in pure profit with next to no expense.

That taught me everything I need to know about experience, revenue, and value.

In entertainment, we’ve fallen in love with the spreadsheet.

I know that buildings have yield management spreadsheets that say they can for sure charge you $12 for a 16 ounce beer.

But how does the customer feel about that beer?

I also know that the average draft beer in that cup costs less than $1.

You take this same concept and apply it to every touch point and if you were on the other side of the coin, ask yourself, “how would I feel?”

Probably pretty taken advantage of.

Which gets me to the revenue conversation we should be having.

The right conversation should be:

  1. How can we create an environment where customers want to spend money and feel grateful that they could?
  2. How can we create an environment where we make a healthy revenue number on each visit, but we still encourage that person to come back?

The first question is about making sure you take advantage of the opportunity you get when someone comes to visit.

The second question is about making sure that you get repeat business.

Which leads into the last part:

Creating Opportunities

We all know that in selling, we have to create opportunities.

In entertainment, we seem to have become too wed to what everyone else is doing.

The thing about creating opportunities is that there is infinite numbers of ways to do so.

The key conversation here is to ask yourself: “How can we create more value for our guests?”

If you ask that question daily, you’ll create opportunities and that will take care of all the other stuff I wrote about.

What say you?




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