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Talking Tickets 12 August 2022: LIV Golf! Michael Stipe! The Lionesses! And, More!

Hey, y’all! 

Come on you Spurs! 

The big match against Chelsea on Sunday. I’ll be seeing y’all in Asheville, Durham, Athens, and Atlanta over the next week. If you are in one of those cities, let’s grab a drink or catch a game. 

Also, I’ll be in NYC the week before Labor Day to go with the family to the US Open for a few matches…so I’ll look at doing some drinks at the Rockefeller Center Other Half because the guys that started the brewery went to Landon, same as the boy. As he tells me, “Bears support Bears.” 

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To the tickets!

1. The Big Story: Tiger Woods is offered $700-$800M to play LIV Golf

Big Ideas:

  • Tiger turned down Big Cheddar to stay with the PGA. 
  • Your brand means everything to you.
  • Loyalty ain’t seen often these days. 

When someone turns down this much money, that catches my eye. 

Corey Leff wrote a bit about not caring about LIV in his newsletter and I’ve been in the same boat with this because I don’t see LIV lasting very long as a viable business unless it really is just a greenwashing move by the Saudi Arabian Investment Fund. 

That out of the way, Tiger turned down a boatload of money in an environment where turning down money doesn’t really happen. 

So, make all the Tiger jokes you want…he did put his money where his mouth is in this regard. 

The news of Tiger’s rejection comes on the back of his vocal admonishment of folks for taking the money and moving to LIV. 

Just like turning down the money, you don’t see a lot of this kind of loyalty in sports these days. 

Maybe Tiger can say that right now because he’s got more than enough money to do whatever he wants and for the next many generations of Tiger’s family to do what they want, but you still have to recognize the move as unusual. 

But, this gets interesting for me with the nature of brand building on both sides. 

For Tiger, his brand equity in relation to his winning all of those majors meant something to him. 

From a brand management standpoint, Tiger is likely the greatest golfer ever. He had his divorce and personal problems in the middle of his career. Now he is working to recover his form as a golfer, hoping to catch one more bolt of lighting. 

This tells me that he wants his brand associated with the success at the PGA level and that he prizes the association with the all-time greats like Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Arnold Palmer. 

As for LIV, they’ve been trying to buy brand equity. 

It has worked pretty well so far, but we are already starting to see the story become a little bit tired. 

The thing about branding is that it means everything to your business or your organization. 

In the case of LIV, the idea that I share all of the time of your brand being the accumulation of all of the good and bad moments your market has with you over time bears remembering because a lot of what people associate with LIV is the bad stuff like the Saudi connection, the suspension of golfers from the PGA tour, and the quality of play which hasn’t been as high as might have been expected. 

Those are all negative associations. 

What’s good? 

I haven’t seen a ton minus the big names that have signed on, but, again, they are also having to manage everything in connection with the negative aspects of those other aspects of their brand equity. 

Getting out of this jam is a difficult situation. No doubt. 

The big idea is that brand management has to be on your mind all of the time and you have to manage those interactions with the market, good and bad. 

Take homes:

  • Brand management is an ongoing challenge. You have to deal with the good and the bad moments. 
  • Good stuff adds up slowly, but bad stuff can take you down in an instance. 
  • You can’t decide how your market sees your brand, you can only try to get across the image you hope to get across. 

2. The Road to Recovery: Women’s football is having a moment

Big Ideas:

  • I’ve been telling you to invest in women’s sports because there is opportunity there. 
  • Women’s football is having a moment all over the world. 
  • This is an example of the power of consistency in brand building. 

Okay, this will be quick. 

First, I’ve been telling y’all for a while now that women’s sports presented an opportunity for growth. Now that women’s football is rising up, I’ve been proven correct once again. 

Obviously, pay attention to me. 

You’re welcome. 

Second, this moment isn’t just happening in England but all over the place. We are seeing the Spirit grow in DC. Angel City FC is having success in LA. And, women’s teams all over Europe are achieving growth. 

That’s just good to pay attention to because often it is a different audience than you might find for men’s sports or other forms of entertainment. 

But to find these opportunities, you’d have to do the proper work of marketing. 

Finally, the success that women’s sports is seeing right now has to do with consistency in marketing over many years. 

I tell y’all all the time that you have to do the long and short of things when you are focusing on growing your business. 

This means, long term investment in brand building. But you also have to do some short term sales activation. 

What you are seeing right now is the pay off from investing in your brand over time. You see sales pick up and stay up. You see more overall awareness. And, you see that people outside of the normal audience have started to buy into what you are selling. 

Invest in your brand, y’all. 

Take homes:

  • Invest in the long and short of things. Brand building takes time, but it pays off. 
  • Women’s sports is a good opportunity. 
  • Growth doesn’t happen by accident. 

3. How To: Be Michael Stipe

Big Ideas:

  • Michael Stipe is still an artist. 
  • R.E.M. has a claim to be America’s greatest band ever. 
  • I can’t confirm nor deny that I’ve set off his alarm when I was staying at my cousin’s house in Athens they were neighbors for a few years. 

I find that Michael Stipe’s take on things is very soothing for me right now. I mean, imagine being a kid from outside of Athens and the biggest band in the world is from your part of the world? 

It just seemed unreal. 

In this interview, Michael talks about his art, his music, and his view on the world. 

Go into your podcast app and listen to any Michael Stipe conversations you can find. The ones about his life as an artist are really interesting. 

4. Tech/Tools/Profiles: Matt from True Tickets talks about Blockchain in tickets

Big Ideas:

  • Matt is on ‘The Business of Fun’ and we get into a full-on ticket discussion. 
  • Sabre is a system I haven’t really thought about in a long time. (That’s on me though.)
  • “What is a ticket?” (RIP my inbox.)

I had Matt on the podcast and I will be releasing it in the next few days. 

This conversation is a good one from a technical point of view. 

When Matt is on my podcast we get into much more of the utility of True Tickets when it comes to offering a ticketing solution so if you are interested in the tech side of things…definitely check this conversation out. 

The one part of the conversation I found most interesting is the connection between True Tickets and Sabre. 

Sabre is the airlines’ version of a ticketing system and when I was working on the secondary market, I became pretty familiar with it because Sabre had historically been an important part of the NYC ticket and hospitality industry when things happened directly with travel agents, ticket salespeople, and brokers. 

I hadn’t thought about Sabre for a while, but this connection between Sabre and True Tickets does clear up a bit of the thinking around the customer journey for a ticket buyer. 

It is a chain of custody and verification. 

Which brings me to the last point today: “What is a ticket?” 

With the news around Bruce Springsteen, antitrust, and blockchain, I’m guessing this argument will pop up again. 

For some people, a ticket is something that you buy, own, and can do whatever you want once you’ve paid for it. 

For others, a ticket is a revocable license that has terms and conditions that can be enforced. 

My definition, I’m not 100% sure. As crazy as that sounds. I can see both sides of the argument and I think that a lot of the argument comes down to brand power and having the ability to build an audience. 

Unlike my definition of a brand, I struggle much more with my definition of a ticket right now…but I think that’s partly due to my thoughts on the industry changing a lot as we come and go through different phases. 

What I can tell you is that I think everyone should develop a definition of a ticket that they use in their business, just like I ask you to come up with a definition for what you think of a brand. 

I’ll work on mine and share it with you later. 

Take homes:

  • Define a ticket for your business. I think knowing exactly what you consider a ticket can help you make decisions. 
  • Thinking of blockchain tickets like Sabre is a new way for me to share with you. It helps define the path of custody. 
  • Make sure you subscribe to ‘The Business of Fun’ so you don’t miss my conversation with Matt. 

5. Blurbs and Such: 

Broadway grosses seem to have stabilized a bitThese numbers are starting to look more stable from week to week now. We will see what happens in the fall and as we head into the winter. I’m sure there is still a bit of uncertainty around COVID/economy/political unrest/climate/etc. What a time to be alive? 

Elton John’s tour of NZ and Australia could be the biggest one ever for these countriesWhat’s your favorite Elton John song? What about the Watford support? Elton is going out with a bang. 

Vivid Seats is named one of the top 100 places to work for innovatorsVivid has jumped to the top of the platform businesses in the secondary market and they are pushing their advantage. This recognition highlights the reality that investing in your team and innovation takes hard work, but it can pay off with very strong results. 

What do Ayn Rand and LIV Golf have in common?A sense of misplaced victimhood!? I will humor this hypothesis because obviously billionaires, professional athletes, and royal families have been treated poorly by people for far too long. 

The Fringe Festival is “too angry”I mean, I went to see Rage Against the Machine the other night and Zack de la Rocha told me, “Your anger is a gift.” So I’m guessing you can’t be too angry. All kidding aside, art is meant to provoke and art uses different emotions to achieve its goals so the Fringe can just do its thing.