Most teams are lying to you about ticket sales.
How can I make such an accusation?
If ticket sales are truly the lifeblood of a team or athletic department, why do teams just pay lip service to it? The ticket sales staff is the lowest paid. They get stuck doing the grunt work like substituting for the receptionist, driving players to the airport or unloading boxes. Heck, rarely does a team even have enough staff to come close to maximizing ticket revenue.
EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND TICKET SALES
Sure, sponsorships are a big source of revenue. But if nobody is going to the games, why would someone sponsor the team?
I once had a minor league owner tell me sponsorships were more important than ticket sales for his team. I asked him what would happen to sponsorship revenue if nobody was going to his games (which, at the time, hardly anyone was going anyway). He just stammered and blabbed something about his team had a losing record last year which is why attendance was so bad and it would eventually turn around.
As an owner of my own team, - the Macon Bacon – I don’t pay attention to wins and losses. My manager might hate me for saying this but I don’t really care if we win. I care if the fans have a good time and are entertained. (Our entertainment budget is more than our team travel, equipment and salaries budget). I care if the beer is colder than the hot dogs.
What about the TV money? Sure, it’s big for an NBA or NHL or MLB team. However, if nobody is going to the games, eventually, those TV ratings are going to go down the tubes and those big rights fees will float away. Attendance matters in the long-run – even for TV rights fees. There is no Twitter feed called @lowsportsTVratings. But, there is a Twitter feed called @EmptySeatspics.
TURNING AROUND TICKET SALES IS NOT AN OVERNIGHT SENSATION
Sure, if you’re a college and hire a big shot coach, you’ll see a spike in ticket sales. However, it won’t last forever if your school doesn’t start winning big. Heck, Notre Dame - still ranked in the top 15 - just had their sellout string end.
If you’re an NBA team and sign LeBron or Kawhi Leonard, your ticket sales will most definitely spike but there is only one LeBron and one Kawhi. And, neither are playing minor league baseball or minor league hockey.
If you’re a Sales Manager and not getting the respect you deserve, put together a plan.
You’ll have to work at ticket sales. There are five key steps I focus on with all my consulting clients and our Ultimate Toolkit teams:
1. Build a sellout strategy.
2. Develop ticket products your fans want to buy, not just products you want to sell.
3. Create a marketing and sales strategy to sell those products to their target audiences.
4. Hire, train and manage a sales staff to maximize that strategy
5. Keep track of everything so you know what’s working and what’s not working.
Over the coming months, we’ll spell out each step in detail in this blog. Check back every two weeks to learn the Secrets of The Ultimate Toolkit.
You can also follow me on Twitter @SteveDeLay2 or on LinkedIn to get the notice of new blogs. Or, just give me a call at 702-493-2661 or send me an email at email@example.com. I look forward to sharing the secrets.
NEXT TOPIC ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 2 – Why sellouts matter