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How Will Theatre (Everyone) Deal with New Realities?!

Hey There! 

Next week, 1 June 2023, I’m doing a FREE webinar with AudienceView about brand management for ticket-selling organizations

You’ll learn things like:

  • How branding can help you from having to wait for a “HOT” ticket. 
  • Why is all the money made in the diagnosis stage of brand management?
  • What a brand code is and why that creates a shortcut to decision making.

Don’t miss it! 

To the Tickets! 

Share Talking Tickets! 

P.S. I’m going to start doing a monthly FREE webinar series. I’m asking for help figuring out where to begin. Can you help by answering this one question?

I. Can the A’s sell out every game in Las Vegas?

Anything is possible. 

2.5M tickets sold in Las Vegas…that’s a pretty strong attendance number. 

Is it likely to happen?


We know that ticket numbers are boosted due to the concept of “tickets distributed”. 

What does this mean?

You can theoretically distribute more tickets than you have fans, knowing that in most case, the comps are likely coming into the building at a rate of 35-50%…if you are lucky. 

Why are these numbers out there?


You have to sell the vision so that you can create the impression that this is a foregone conclusion. 

The ‘Field of Schemes’ blog does the best job of covering this kind of stuff. 

The blog has shown over and over that the numbers produced are always overly optimistic, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions and millions of dollars in tax breaks that don’t seem to benefit the communities involved in the manner promised. 

From my POV: I look at the type of business model and change to the sales cycle that is necessary to actually fulfill the promise of selling out an entire season. 

You’ll need:

  • A real, long-term focus on brand building. 
  • Updated sales efforts that include better practices on opportunity creation, customer management, and selling based on value. 
  • A focus on fans because in Las Vegas there are even more alternatives than in other places. 

II. Theatre is facing big challenges, how do they overcome them?

Volatility is an opportunity. 

You know VUCA?

  • Volatility
  • Uncertainty
  • Complexity
  • Ambiguous 

This is a popular term to hear floated around now. As if the business environment wasn’t always VUCA.

One side of the conversation is all the downsides. 

One side of the conversation is the upside potential. 

I was on a boat once with a tech CEO that does business in theatre, he said that the industry is “In a race to be first to be second.”

This puts pressure on the downside of VUCA. 

The upside is opportunity. 

This week’s graphic shows you speed of action and comfort with volatility. 

  • Fast to act/Comfortable with volatilty: Market leaders. They see an opportunity and they act. 
  • Comfortable with volatility/slow to act: A step behind. In a competitive environment you risk being a me too product that has to fight on commodity attributes or the market has moved by the time you get there. 
  • Fast to act/uncomfortable with volatility: Late adapters. This means you are on the downslope of the curve. You wait until the product/service/trend is established then you act. It might be too late by the time you get to taking action. 
  • Slow to act/low comfort with volatility: Dead in the water. Volatility is our companion in this life. You can’t stick your head in the sand and hope for the best. Think of this like Kodak. They knew digital cameras were coming and had the technology to leap to the next thing, but didn’t want to disrupt their film business. 

III. SeatGeek made a discount code error…

I find this a very reasonable look at the situation. 

What do I think?

  • In the US, the secondary market provides competition, marketing, and distribution that doesn’t exist in the primary market in a lot of cases. 
  • The idea of willingly taking advantage of someone’s mistake is bad business. 
  • The complexity of the system makes errors like this expensive, bad PR instances, and feeds the belief that the industry is full of folks looking to pull one over on a customer. (The truth is that if you talk to customers, they feel that way about both sides in a lot of cases.) 

P.S. Come check out the World Ticket Conference in Nashville in July. I’m sure they’ll be talking about this topic and more in Tennessee. 

IV. NYTimes looks at sports betting:

I’m not anti-gambling. I am worried about the impacts of an unregulated gambling industry. 

Action is happening fast: I’ve read Rob Davies book about the gambling industry in the UK and that’s part of the reason I had pause about the YOLO nature of the gambling industry in the States. 

What does this mean?

That gambling being the salve that would solve all of sports businesses problems is likely to get more attention. 

Is that good or bad? 

It is probably good because it will require folks to think more heavily about their business model and how they can continue to create value for fans. 

V. Links:

Retail isn’t much different than tickets

This idea of relative differentiation matters everywhere. I applied the topic to retail. 

I’ve told you I love Australia! 

Mike Lorenc is giving money and soccer balls to kids and people in Ukraine

Support his work! 

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