SEAT Spring 2012

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SEAT Spring 2012

  1. 1. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES PREMIUM SEATING: A Portrait of the Community Page 32 S E AT leading the premium seat industry www.alsd.com Spring 2012 P u b l i s h e d b y t h e A s s o c i at i o n o f L u x u r y S u i t e D i r e c t o r s Community Curriculum: The 2012 ALSD Conference Program Has Arrived PAGE 38 Plan Your Trip to Minneapolis, Home of the #1 Stadium Experience in North America Sports Technology Corner: Renewable Resources: BBVA Compass Stadium: Venue Technology Group, How to Retain Existing Clients A New Icon for a Club, Mobile Apps, and CRM With Stand-Alone Departments a City, and a League PAGE 52 PAGE 62 PAGE 70
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  4. 4. springS E A T 20123 Published by the Association of Luxury Suite Directors COVER STORY 8 THE COMMUNITY It’s time to register for the 22nd Annual ALSD Conference and Tradeshow in Minneapolis. Check out this year’s schedule of events, sessions, tours, and keynote speakers. FEATURES6 2 BUILDING A SALES RETAINING WALL Recently, some teams have constructed stand-alone retention departments to resist decreases in season ticket renewal rates. BY RYAN MIRABEDINI70 IN A FIRST FLUSH OF LUXURY SUITES The new BBVA Compass Stadium is ushering in a new premium era for the Houston Dynamo and for MLS and is a new icon for the City of Houston. 38 BY JARED FRANK8 2 STRATEGIES AND BEST PRACTICES TO KEEP SPONSORS COMING BACK A recent survey completed by 38 teams from MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, and NHL sheds light on the best approaches for retaining sponsors. BY DR. PETER TITLEBAUM AND TODD C. KOESTERS, MSA, JD86 INTRODUCING THE SPONSORSHIP HEALTH REPORT Former Bank of America executive, Ray Bednar, says it’s time to focus on corporations’ objectives throughout the life of their marketing investments. And he has developed a program that does just that. INTERVIEW BY BILL DORSEY SPORTS TECHNOLOGY CORNER 6252 WHO OWNS YOUR APP? Teams and venues need to consider owning their own mobile applica- tions to ensure a desired fan experience and new revenue stream isn’t lost. BY PAUL KAPUSTKA54 THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS The Venue Technology Group has its own division within the ALSD and its own community. Check out this year’s schedule of events, sessions, tours, and keynote speakers.60 The Corners of the Database Marketing and CRM Markets Learn all the options your organization needs to consider when address- ing your data management situation. 70 BY BOBBY WHITSON About the Cover: The ALSD Conference features a visit to Target Field this year, which in 2010, was rated the number one stadium experience in North America by ESPN The Magazine. Contents continues on overleaf #SEATSpring2012 | www.alsd.com | S E A T | 5
  5. 5. springS E A T 2012 Association of Luxury Suite Directors Chairman Bill Dorsey Executive Director Amanda Verhoff President Jennifer Ark, Green Bay PackersPublished by the Association of Luxury Suite Directors VP, Business Development Pat McCaffrey Director, Sponsor and Partnership Development Dene Shiels Editor of SEAT and ALSD.com Jared Frank National Sales Manager Scott Hinzman Membership Director Ryan Mirabedini Marketing Assistant Anne Corall Design Carole Winters Art + Design Director of Finance Dan Lindeman Financial Account Manager Vickie Henke Director of Interactive Media John Tymoski Executive Committee Chris Bigelow, Bigelow Companies Brian Bucciarelli, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Greg Hanrahan, United Center Tom Kaucic 32 Pat McCaffrey, ALSD Kim Reckley DEPARTMENTS Board of Directors Janie Boles, Auburn University8 NEW ALSD MEMBERS Natalie Burbank, Utah Jazz / Salt Lake Bees Richard Dobransky, Delaware North Companies12 ALSD STAFF EDITORIAL Trent Dutry, US Airways Center Editor’s Note Chris Granger, National Basketball Association BY JARED FRANK MIke Guiffre A Note from the President Adam Kellner, Chicago Bears BY JENNIFER ARK Gerald Kissel Rocket Science: Debbie Massa, ROI Consulting The Byzantine World of Ticketing Scott O’Connell, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club 24 BY BILL DORSEY Mike Ondrejko, Legends Premium Sales Tom Sheridan, Chicago White Sox Peter Titlebaum, University of Dayton20 ALSD MEMBER Q&A VENUE TECHNOLOGY GROUP24 INDUSTRY 2012 STEERING AND ALSD 2012 STEERING COMMITTEE Sue Brown, Levy Restaurants AND ASSOCIATION NEWS CONFERENCE COMMITTEE Britt Carlson, Minnesota Timberwolves ALSD veteran Rick Lassiter is cut from a Richard Dobransky, Delaware North Companies different mold Rick Temple, Venue Technology Group Executive Rachael Johnson, Minnesota Wild XL Center holds grand opening for Director; RKT Consulting Services, Inc. Scott O’Connell, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club Webster Bank Lounge during March Matt Lukens, ZiXi Tanesha Wade, University of Minnesota Athletics Madness Jim Ibister, Minnesota Wild Feature Recipe: Fenway Park chef Scott Jablonski, National Hockey League Published by Venue Pub. Inc. Copyright 2012. (All rights celebrates 100th anniversary of America’s Mark DiMaurizio, Comcast-Spectacor reserved). SEAT is a registered trademark of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors. SEAT is published quarterly and is Most Beloved Ballpark John Tymoski, ALSD complimentary to all members of the Association of Luxury Ron Contorno, Full House Entertainment Database Suite Directors.30 THE ALSD ONLINE Marketing Bobby Whitson, Whitson Sports32 MEMBER HIGHLIGHT Jason Koettel, Legends Hospitality Management John Avenson, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club SEAT visits with: Jason Coleman, Orlando Magic Britt Carlson and Staff Russell Scibetti, New York Jets Director of Premium Seating Association of Luxury Suite Directors Mark Feller, Arizona Cardinals Minnesota Timberwolves 10017 McKelvey Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231 513 674 0555 BY JARED FRANK Please Recycle This Magazine amanda@alsd.com92 COMING ATTRACTIONS6 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  6. 6. New ALSd Members spring 2012Jenny Jalet Jeffery Brenner David FriebergDirector, Premium Seating & Transportation Team Senior Director of Corporate Solution Sales Systems AdministratorUniversity of Michigan Athletic Department Rymax Marketing Services, Inc. Oakland Athletics1000 S. State Street 19 Chapin Rd, Building B 7000 Coliseum DriveAnn Arbor, MI 48109 Pine Brook, NJ 07058 Oakland, CA 94621P: 734-741-0392 P: 713-320-4848 P: 510-638-4900sutton@umich.edu jbrenner@rymaxinc.com dfrieberg@oaklandathletics.comTraci Sauerteig John Jurgensen Kristin ScottSupervisor, Suites & Party Facilities Director of Marketing Director of Development – Annual FundColorado Rockies Baseball Club Target Commercial Interiors University of Minnesota Intercollegiate AthleticsCoors Field 81 S. 9th St, #350 516 15th Ave, Suite 2752001 Blake Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 Minneapolis, MN 55455Denver, CO 80205 P: 612-343-7339 P: 612-624-6902P: 303-312-2368 john.jurgensen@targetinteriors.com klscott@umn.edusauerteigt@coloradorockies.com Brenna Haussman Daniel ZausnerRyan Barefoot Suite Services Coordinator Managing DirectorSenior Director of Premium Seating Texas Motor Speedway USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis CenterDenver Broncos PO Box 500 Flushing Meadow Corona Park1701 Bryant St, Suite 100 FT Worth, TX 76101 Flushing, NY 11368Denver, CO 80204-1752 P: 817-215-8519 P: 718-760-6379P: 720-258-3354 bhaussman@texasmotorspeedway.com zausner@usta.comryan.barefoot@broncos.nfl.net Evan Colborne Melissa GaleChris Faulkner Team Services Coordinator Coordinator of Suite SalesManager, Club Seat Sales and Services Cosmos Sports St. Louis Blues Hockey ClubDenver Broncos 1690 Bonhill Road Scottrade Center1701 Bryant St, Suite 100 Mississauga, ON L5T 1C8 1401 Clark AvenueDenver, CO 80204-1752 Canada St. Louis, MO 63103P: 720-258-3310 P: 905-564-4660 x237 mgale@stlblues.comchris.faulkner@broncos.nfl.net ecolborne@cosmossports.com Bobby WhitsonMarcus Lyons Cary Kaplan CEODirector of Premium Sales & Service President Whitson SportsColumbus Blue Jackets Cosmos Sports 1018 Steeplechase Drive200 W. Nationwide Boulevard 1690 Bonhill Road Brentwood, TN 37027Columbus, OH 45215 Mississauga, ON L5T 1C8 bobby@whitsonsports.comP: 614-246-3372 Canadamlyons@bluejackets.com P: 905-564-4660 Lauren Birnie carykaplan@cosmossports.com Coordinator, Premium SeatingWilliam Metropulos Ohio State AthleticsCEO Bryan Apgar 555 Borror Dr, Room 1020Smart Bar USA Director of Sales and Chat Innovation Columbus, OH 43210796 Tek Dr, Suite 100 WebsiteAlive P: 614-292-6246Crystal Lake, IL 60014 2100 West Loop South, Suite 900 birniel@buckeyes.ath.ohio-state.eduP: 815-236-3213 Houston, TX 77027cmccullagh@mysmartbar.com P: 888-696-4513 x13 Matt Lukens bryan@websitealive.com Vice President, Business DevelopmentChris Morrissey ZiXiPresident Adam Stass 950 Winter St, Suite 3102Big Dog Branding CEO Waltham, MA 024512201 Dover Drive WebsiteAlive P: 401-885-7764Fort Collins, CO 80526 2100 West Loop South, Suite 900 matt@zixi.comP: 970-416-9090 Houston, TX 77027chris@bigdogbranding.com P: 888-696-4513 x720 Jerry Gale adam@websitealive.com Alpha Video Minkun Zhang 7711 Computer Avenue Student Bruce Weener Edina, MN 55435 Columbia Graduate School of Business American Seating P: 952-841-3357 509 West 110th, Apt. 6D 401 American Seating Center jerryg@alphavideo.comNew York, NY 10025 Grand Rapids, MI 49504P: 203-980-0516 P: 616-732-6600 Jeff Volkmzhang12@gsb.columbia.edu bruce.weener@amseco.com Account Executive Alpha VideoTerrence McDermott Linda Dickson 7711 Computer AvenueStudent Vice President, Business Development Edina, MN 55435Michigan State University Axiom Insurance Managers P: 952-841-33114651 Little Harbor Drive SE 1701 Golf Rd, Suite 1-1112 jeffv@alphavideo.comGrand Rapids, MI 49512-9761 Rolling Meadows, IL 60008P: 616-446-7414 P: 847-621-6420mcderm51@msu.edu l_dickson@axiom-ins.com8 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  7. 7. TA N G E N TDESIGNED BY
  8. 8. New ALSd Members spring 2012Darren Whitten Doug Rempel Jacqueline KimAccount Executive Director of Sales Sales ManagerAlpha Video Friesens MYdrap 7711 Computer Avenue One Printers Way 306 Jersey AvenueEdina, MN 55435 Altona, MB R0G 0B0 Springlake, NJ 07762P: 952-841-3332 Canada jkim@mydrapusa.comdarrenw@alphavideo.com P: 204-319-8107 dougr@friesens.com Jillian HalbigKevin Groves Procurement ManagerVice President & Chief Operating Officer Jody Penner MYdrap Alpha Video General Manager 306 Jersey Avenue7711 Computer Avenue Friesens Springlake, NJ 07762Edina, MN 55435 One Printers Way jhalbig@mydrapusa.comP: 952-896-8989 Altona, MB R0G 0B0keving@alphavideo.com Canada David Bloovman P: 204-319-8102 Vice PresidentJohn Kolakowski jodyp@friesens.com Fresh Towel, Inc.Marketing Director 3313 W. Stokley StreetGreen Beacon Solutions Rachel Wendel Philadelphia, PA 19140255 Washington St, #245 Marketing/PR Specialist P: 215-226-1199Newton, MA 02458 Stratacache davidb@fibemat.comP: 617-485-5237 2 Riverplace, Suite 200jkolakowski@greenbeacon.com Dayton, OH 45405 Scott Brown P: 937-224-0485 Fresh Towel, Inc.Dane Koepke rwendel@stratacache.com 3313 W. Stokley StreetVice President of Channel Development Philadelphia, PA 19140Green Beacon Solutions Lis Hatfield scottb@fibemat.com255 Washington St, #245 MarketingNewton, MA 02458 Grand Rapids Chair Company Larry Silverman dkoepke@greenbeacon.com 625 Chestnut Street SW Fresh Towel, Inc. Grand Rapids, MI 49505 3313 W. Stokley StreetBrian Miller P: 616-774-0561 Philadelphia, PA 19140Inside Sales Representative lhatfield@grandrapidschair.com larrys@fibemat.comGreen Beacon Solutions255 Washington St, #245 Tom Southwell Paul Grossman Newton, MA 02458 Vice President, Sales/Marketing Fresh Towel, Inc.bmiller@greenbeacon.com Grand Rapids Chair Company 3313 W. Stokley Street 625 Chestnut Street SW Philadelphia, PA 19140Mike Tomon Grand Rapids, MI 49505 paulg@fibemat.comSenior Vice President, Premium P: 616-774-0561AEG/Staples Center tom@grandrapidschair.com James Zilli1111 S. Figueroa St, Suite 3100 CEOLos Angeles, CA 90015 Steve Haith Zilli Hospitality GroupP: 213-763-2146 National Sales Manager 613 N. Grandview Boulevardmtomon@aegworldwide.com Grand Rapids Chair Company Waukesha, WI 53188 625 Chestnut Street SW P: 262-547-9447Jason Diplock Grand Rapids, MI 49505 jim@zillihospitalitygroup.comVice President, Ticket Sales & Service P: 616-295-0738Toronto Blue Jays steve@grandrapidschair.com Sue Vershum1 Blue Jays Way, Suite 3000 Assistant Director of Premium SeatingToronto, ON M5V 1J3 Canada Lauren Philippi University of Michigan Athletic Departmentjason.diplock@bluejays.com MYdrap 1000 S. State Street 306 Jersey Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2201Russ Simons Springlake, NJ 07762 P: 734-764-5335Managing Partner P: 732-359-7555 svershum@umich.eduVenue Solutions Group lphilippi@mydrapusa.com8161 Hwy 100, #184 Paul MochoNashville, TN 37221-4213 Debra MacKinnan Director, Suite Sales & ServicesP: 816-352-6494 President Cleveland Brownsruss.simons@venuesolutionsgroup.com MYdrap 100 Alfred Lerner Way 306 Jersey Avenue Cleveland, OH 44114Ian J. Probert Springlake, NJ 07762 P: 440-824-3532TheStadiumBusiness dmackinnan@mydrapusa.com pmocho@clevelandbrowns.com101 Stratton HeightsCirencester Allen UhlerGloucestershire Executive Sales GL7 2RW MYdrap United Kingdom 306 Jersey AvenueP: +44 (0) 20 3239 1018 Springlake, NJ 07762ian.probert@xperiology.com auhler@mydrapusa.com10 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  9. 9. Editor’s note by Jared FrankDo you see the forest or just your tree?A ny big idea can be traced back Connect with me on to a small moment of insight. A spark of imagination is the root www.linkedin.com/in/jaredfrank of all creation. It’s one of life’s and follow me onparadoxes. Like when a brief glint occurs after www.twitter.com/SEAT_Editorretreating to a child-like worldview where for daily updates.time seems to stretch on forever, or when a Here is a sampling of my tweets:flash of brilliant detail emerges only whenreleasing life’s trivial details. To understandthe trees, you have to see the forest first. We just finished a great meeting with Scott O’Connell and staff. I can’t wait for the Target Field tour atAnd it’s impossible to deduce the depth and #ALSD2012. Get ready for Targetinis!breadth of the forest if you’re in deep amongstthe trees. Most people keep themselves busy water- such moments. 3M, for example, allows its Texas Tech reopens Dan Law Field. Renovated spaceing their own trees, even on a rainy day. You employees one hour per day to themselves to includes ten new suites and a 75-person capacity club suite.don’t have to be a botanist to know that explore personal creativity (naps are allowed),doesn’t make sense. Clearly, busy doesn’t so this idea isn’t magazine editor fodder. 3Mequal productive. Speaking generically, many has a 1-to-1 product-to-employee ratio, so I’d San Francisco 49ers could generate $500M in seatAmericans are fettered workers, chained to say they know how innovation works. license revenue. It’s reported that they have solddesks for eight hours; else, they’re considered Ironically, 3M is headquartered in the Twin $79M so far.lazy by their boss and their culture. No one Cities of Minnesota, also host to this year’swants to be labeled lazy, so they water their ALSD Conference and Tradeshow, themed LSU Tiger Athletic Foundation unanimously approvesown trees, even when it’s not necessary, just to “The Community.” The ALSD is a commu- expansion of Tiger Stadium. Additions to includeappear busy. nity, a forest of unique trees – some planted 4,000 club seats and 60 suites. Obviously, the sports industry is not your in professional sports, some in collegiategarden-variety American work environment athletics; some grown in big markets, some Philadelphia 76ers unveil Franklin Club &in terms of time commitment. When’s the last in small markets – all unified together. We FranklinKIDS for STH. Benefits include private teamtime you worked an eight-hour day? Probably are a gestalt that cannot possibly be described functions and an event with Dr. J.before you entered the sports world. But the merely as a sum of our members.idea is transferable. Maybe for us, the ques- The 2012 ALSD and Venue Technology University of Illinois eyes renovation. Wish listtion isn’t how busy are you really? But instead, Group Conference Program begins on page includes premium seating which would pay for thehow much time are you wasting? How many 38 of this issue of SEAT. Read-through it; bulk of the project.times is it really necessary to check your review the sessions, speakers, and venue tours;email during the course of a day? How many register and book your hotel room if youpictures on Facebook of dogs and baby bumps haven’t already. This is one of your best oppor- St. Louis Rams reject $124M renovation plan for Edward Jones Dome. Team has until May 1 to submitis the threshold between entertainment and tunities, if not your only opportunity, to take a its own plan.shame? break from watering your own tree to see the Why not instead replace those time- entire forest where the next aha moment andwasting, faux-work moments with taking subsequent big idea awaits. Cal Memorial Stadium will be “game-ready” bya walk, daydreaming, igniting creativity. By I’m as excited for this year’s show as I’ve September 1 opener. Eighty-five-to-ninety percent of “rough-in” work is finished.doing less, we accomplish more both in terms ever been for a show before. After you readof quantity and quality. Work smarter, not through the schedule of events, I know you’llharder as we say in the ALSD office. And agree. I can’t wait to see everyone soon in The preliminary agreement on a new Vikings stadiumwho knows? Maybe the next big revenue Minneapolis. includes 150 suites and 7,500 club seats.generating sales strategy or food and beveragepairing comes to you during this moment of Chicago Fire are building 150-person stadium club atZen. How do you ignite creativity in your daily routine? Toyota Park. Packages range from $6,500-$7,500. Many Fortune 500 companies encourage Email me at jared@alsd.com.12 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  10. 10. Create a suite experience.Swirl Tables®, created with an original handcrafted artistry, are the perfect solution for sophisticated andlinenless luxury suite settings. Designed to enhance the most memorable events, Swirl Tables® add a uniqueelement to your décor.caster tables serpentine tables cocktail tables lighted XCube tables www.southernaluminum.com/golinenless
  11. 11. Note From the President by Jennifer ArkExperience the power of theALSD Conference and TradeshowT he success of the ALSD Confer- home of the Minnesota Wild, was named the ence and Tradeshow is what you, best overall sports venue in the U.S. by ESPN the member, make of it. The goals The Magazine in 2004? We also will see the of the ALSD center on informa- home base of the Minnesota Golden Gopherstion, creativity, collaboration, education, and at TCF Bank Stadium which was completednetworking. Information is the power that for the 2009 season. Premium spaces atwill assist you when implementing a true “The Bank,” such as the luxurious DQ Club,relationship partnership with your clients rival most professional stadiums. All ALSDthat will last a lifetime. To do this, you need attendees will also have the opportunity toawareness of fresh ideas, innovative approach- explore Target Field where the Minnesotaes and resources through inspiring vendors Twins Baseball Club resides. In 2010, ESPNand counterpart relationships. The ALSD The Magazine rated Target Field the numberbrings that to you throughout the year via one stadium experience in North Americanvaluable online and print updates, in addition professional sports.to the annual conference. Back in the Fall And dont forget our very important trade-2009 issue of SEAT Magazine, I mentioned show. Our vendors and sponsors are integralthat, "The ALSD can only be successful if its to the success of the conference. I highlymembers offer their valuable insight. Team- encourage you to network and inform your-work is necessary to help collaborate on new self on the valuable amenities and benefitsideas as well as the challenges we have." "The ALSD can only be available to enhance your current premium Get involved! Reach out to us to find out programs. Maybe your program doesnt needhow you can showcase your organizations successful if its members that specialized item now, but the cycle con-premium seating successes and challenges offer their valuable insight. tinues, and soon you will.to support, share, and assist other members Teamwork is necessary to The ALSD Conference and Tradeshowgoing down a similar path. We would truly is designed to be a destination to network,enjoy your participation. help collaborate on new ideas educate, and entertain to better your premium as well as the challenges we seating programs in your venues. I welcomeSetting the Stage have." each of you to utilize the ALSD resources,Its time to set the stage and prepare to con- contribute your assets, and catch innovationnect at this year’s conference in Minneapolis. attendees. Attendees on both the league and to develop your premium seating amenitiesEach year brings something different. Your team side have commented on how valu- and your client relationships.team may be in a state of renewal or, perhaps, able that time has been to listen, to learn, to The Minneapolis stage is almost ready foryou need to focus on new sales or enhanced understand, and to brainstorm. you!programming to engage and validate your Keynote speakers bring enlighteningclients premium seating investments. From perspectives. Are you familiar with Rick Want to network with our President at the ALSD Conference?premium seating sales, service, operations, Burton, Jack Morris, Chris Wright, and Here is her business card:food and beverage, and IT, the ALSD staff Rick Krezwick? Check out www.ALSD.com Jennifer Arkhas it covered. The ALSD team has been to learn about the credentials of this years President, ALSDworking diligently to design thorough ALSD speakers. Director of Stadium and Guest Experience, Green Bay Packersprogramming for all the divisions of our vast A huge attraction of the ALSD Confer- 1265 Lombardi Avenuepremium seating family from across the globe. ence and Tradeshow is the spectacular venues Green Bay, WI 54304The conference program may be viewed in its we visit. New and old, we all live through the (O): 920-569-7270entirety starting on page 38. phases of our venues, and much adjusting (E): arkj@packers.com League Day really has taken off where takes place during the premium seating cycles COMING UP NEXT:league office representatives have truly we all experience. We can learn from each ROCKET SCIENCE:become involved in the premium seating venue this year depending on where we are in THE BYZANTINE WORLDmeetings by listening, presenting, learning, that progression. So where are we going? OF TICKETINGand sponsoring lunches for their leagues Did you know the Xcel Energy Center,14 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  12. 12. always the best seat...Find the perfect seat for every venue at Dauphin! Advanced in form and technology, we provideinnovative furnishing solutions to meet a variety of changing needs. Offer everyone superiorcomfort while catering to different styles and price points through our product offerings suitablefor multiple settings. innovative furnishings for dynamic spaces 800.631.1186 • www.dauphin.com
  13. 13. editorial by bill dorseyRocket science:the byzantine world of ticketingT icketing – putting butts in seats as they say – would seem a simple enough concept: people who want to go to a game buy a ticket. Thatticket has an assigned seat to it in most cases.The people who buy a ticket then go to thegame and sit in that seat. Oh, but I wish it were that easy. Ticketing in the real world, I am afraid is abyzantine process or as one wag who workedon dynamic pricing told me at PACnet (theticketing conference run by Paciolan): “It re-ally is rocket science.” Let’s try to explain how this came about. Not too many years ago, the ticketingworld was much simpler. If you wanted aticket, you called a team who owned them, oryou went to a team’s box office and purchasedthem. Then, the most complicated thingTime was, ticketing used to be such a simple thing. But not anymore. One wag at a conference I attended, talking about dynamic ticket pricing, actually looked at his audience and said: "It really is rocket science."you could do was perhaps buy a ticket froma street scalper on game day. They stoodsurreptitiously outside the stadium on streetcorners with a cardboard sign and sold ticketsthat they somehow collected through theirown entrepreneurial ways and means. Youcould walk up to one of these sort-of-shady,“hey-buddy-need-a-ticket” guys and buysome product from him. Usually, they wentfor a little above face value if they were goodtickets or under face value if the game wasabout to start and the scalper needed to getrid of the tickets or get burned with a product Ticketing has become very complicated; so much so that an entire new classification has emerged: the ticket management companies. These companies not only track usage, but they handle compliance issues for major corporations and can, in some cases, resell excess inventory.that was nearly valueless as soon as the game Top: The ticketing landscape that a major corporation now must face is presented. Bottom: Spotlight TMS’ solution to the end user, wherebegan. the company becomes the distributor to multiple outlets. Simple enough. The days of scalpers, which Charts courtesy of Spotlight TMS16 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  14. 14. This got me thinking: Am I Suddenly, a whole group of really smart kids Fan exchanges of some type (in most cases) were able to build websites the only one out there who are now the rule, not the and sell tickets over the Internet. The teams is confused? I’ve been in the thought they were online ticket scalpers, and exception. It’s clearly a business for two decades, initially, they were considered evil…in part double-edged sword. While because they one-upped the teams and the and I’ve never been more the fan exchanges can clearly big primaries who were caught with their confused? I guess I’m not a digital pants down. cannibalize a team’s own rocket scientist. This was the start of the hated secondary excess inventory, it can also ticket market. While the teams hated it, the help make their existing fans, who did not have to go skulking downstill exist, were simple. Everyone knew the back alleys, loved it. customers happy that theyrules. Then things changed. The secondary market grew. Really grew. can dump their unwanted Instead of teams controlling their own There are now literally thousands of sites inventory at any time. And atickets, national companies called primary which sell tickets. And it began organizing.ticket companies began to work on the teams’ It formed its own association; it has its own happy customer is a customerbehalf and sell tickets. Now you could get conferences; secondary market companies that re-ups.tickets from the team’s box office, or some- began buying and selling tickets amongsttimes, you could get them from these central- themselves just like any other commodity.ized portals which no longer just sold one They had, in effect, their own ad hoc com- the way they do business. Under the guise ofteam’s tickets, but many teams’ tickets; and in modity marketplace. sponsorship, the teams often offload inven-some cases, also concert and event tickets. tory to the secondary companies when they As the years have gone by, four or five pri- Once the fans began to control need to put butts in seats. Meanwhile, themary ticket companies have emerged. These primaries began to buy into the marketplace the ticketing experience, thecompanies operate a little differently than the and started to purchase or partner withteam box office. Some of these big primaries teams and the big primary already established secondary companies.(and we all know who) market tickets to a ticketing companies became You may think this is a conflict of interest,centralized brand. Other primaries work on and indeed it may be, but in the end, this was strange bedfellows with theirbehalf of the team and drive business to the another way to reach the customer.teams’ brands. And some teams, because of evil nemesis: the secondary The secondary market companies grewsoftware advances, are now their own ticket- ticket market. Today, the more sophisticated and started to createing primary. very well thought out exchanges for fans to distinction between the two Still pretty simply, huh? There were the market their inventory, one-on-one withoutprimaries with two ways of doing business, is more blurred than ever. the middleman. Actually, the middleman wasand then there were the street vendors trying Most primaries and many now the secondary company, not the primaryto time the market by buying low inventory company. The secondary companies took a teams are now partners withand selling higher inventory. transaction fee from both sides; it was a great Thus was the end of the 20th Century. secondary market companies business.Then around the year 2000, the Internet came to some extent. Of course, this clearly cannibalizes theinto being, and ticketing became trickier. market for the teams and the primaries, but not necessarily for the teams who are alreadyWhen the Internet came into The teams hated them for stealing business sold out. For those teams, they could use being, ticketing became from them, cannibalizing their own prod- these fan exchanges as retention tools for ucts. For awhile. Then something happened their customers who wanted to buy season trickier. Now an entire group again. The teams started to work with these tickets but did not want to go to all the of really smart kids were secondary companies. They became, in some games. able to build websites and instances, the team’s and even the primary Fan exchanges have become very popular. company’s unofficial “feet on the street.” The So much so that entire leagues have gotten instantly become online secondary companies were “connected” in a into the act. Leagues, such as MLB, now own ticket scalpers. The teams, way the primary and teams’ sites were not. their own digital rights for all the teams’ tick- who were caught with their They outhustled the primaries and the teams eting. In this scenario, the teams no longer to some extent, and they began bringing in even control their own brands. Instead, each digital pants down, initially business. team owner is a fractional owner of MLBAM considered them evil. So much so that the teams began to change and its centralized ticketing source. Now, #SEAT Spring2012 | www.alsd.com | S E A T | 17
  15. 15. In the past few years, there are products, and they are increasingly more Suites break the ticketing many ticketing variations on sophisticated. For example, we know of one mold in that they are leased team who only sells dynamically-priced seats a theme: dynamic pricing, where the TV cameras are, thus creating the products, not day-to-day paperless, discount pricing illusion of a sold-out or nearly sold-out venue. ticket sales. They come with through multiple outlets, and As everyone knows, if you create scarcity, you added-value amenities: golf will also create demand. That’s why venues even really clever new ideas for sports with major multiple events, such outings, tastings, celebrity such as ticket bidding and as MLB venues, have dropped the number of sightings, 24-hour access, seat upgrading. seats they contain. split leasing, per-event Dynamic pricing has several offshoots to it. One is, or could be, paperless ticketing – one leasing, suite sharing,and for some time, MLBAM owns its own of the new kids on the block. There are several fractionalized seats in thesecondary rights and exchanges. The prima- versions of paperless ticketing out there, and suites, premium seat clubs,ries pay a lot of money to own the exchange just about as many lawsuits of companies who claim they own the technology. major event hospitalityrights in the business. Confused yet? Well, it gets more compli- No matter. Fans don’t care about lawsuits. passes. Let’s not even getcated. They care about convenience. And paper- into personal seat licenses, Gradually, more sophisticated and targeted less creates, for a certain class of fan, a lot of conveniences. And again, if controlled by the in which you have to buy atools have come into the ticketing game.There are those discount services which can team itself, it can create its own secondary ticket to well…buy a ticket.offload excess inventory for teams at steep exchange in which the fan offers the ticket, Or equity seat rights, in whichdiscounts. Four or five of those companies but the team gets a cut of the action. Tickets can be transferred in the paperless you buy a ticket like younow exist. They work with teams. You knowtheir names. world digitally. Paperless cuts out the street would buy a house with a Then there is a company which now sells a scalper who has nothing to sell on a street mortgage payment. The listbidding service like Priceline.com. You don’t outside the building, but it can create some confusion for kids at a concert because it re- goes on and on as everyonequite know what you are buying, but youknow about what you are buying. And if you quires an ID or a barcode to enter the event; tries to put butts in seats.bid the right price and the team has enough else, you need to get your tickets from Willexcess inventory, you may be rewarded with a Call before the event.great ticket price for a game or a concert. With paperless, tickets are easily trans- you upgrade coach to first class, you will now Recently, the teams have had some second ferred over an email or even transferred by bar be able to do the same thing coming to athoughts about secondary markets which codes to smart phones. The beauty of paper- venue near you.have made more than a few geeks very, very less though is that the database records are Confused yet? I am. We now have fourwealthy, albeit not as wealthy as the athletes owned by the primary. Paperless is tough on or five reasonably large ticket inventory the secondary companies. Ironically, the edge companies who work for major corporationsTechnology is playing a role they had originally, the ability to move and and make sure their tickets are used properly. distribute tickets over the Internet, has now Some of these ticket inventory companies now and will in the future. been co-opted by the primaries. Cell phone have their own exchanges. On these ex- Phone apps are becoming ticketing has come of age. changes, they sell not just to the primary, but very big in the ticketing Cell phones now can be scanned at venues also the secondary markets and the discount who own the right technology, and of course, houses. space. in a few years, that will just about be all ven- But there is more. Tickets are sold to ues. As we know, you cannot do anything to promoters and then re-sold in various chan-who really benefit from high ticket prices. inconvenience the customers. nels in the concert industry in what I call a Thus ushered in the brave new world of The age of cell phone ticketing is here now, pre-sale market.dynamic pricing. In a sense, dynamic pric- so ticketing needs to be coded to the big The major events work with large hospital-ing is in itself a team sponsored secondary primaries API. More issues. But as that’s hap- ity companies and package tickets with hotelmarket. It’s based on the theory that you pening, some new things are coming online. rooms, pre- and post-parties, parking passes,can change the price of tickets daily or even One startup company has developed a prod- and celebrity groups. Golf outings and otherhourly based on supply-demand curves and uct which will allow seat or ticket upgrades added-value goodies are also part of thesealgorithms that really are rocket science. inside the venue once the game has begun (or packages.Several companies have developed these almost begun). Like an airline ticket where [continued on page 90]18 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  16. 16. tweet c heer Let them as much as theyEnhance the fan experiencein your stadium with Wi-Fi.AT&T Wi-Fi Services are the key to a complete and integrated wirelessinfrastructure, providing smooth, continuous connectivity. Enhance thestadium experience with Wi-Fi and keep every fan connected!Web-based Application Live In-Venue Functionality Mobile Concessions & POSEnablement Team news, photos, Instant replay, interactive games Wireless purchases of food,stats and social networking and location-based services beverages and merchandiseContact (877) 397-6931 or email wi-fi_sales@att.com.© 2012 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T and the AT&T logo are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property.
  17. 17. ALSD Member Q&AQuestion Topic:UNIQUE TICKETPACKAGING see an ad for Barrington in a recent SEAT Magazine, but we sourced these through a local rep. We are doing the Locker Caddy, A: Two years ago we converted ten suites (five Traveler’s Organizer, and Captain’s Bag. areas of two adjacent suites) into five largerQ:Regarding how you have packaged tickets for A: party suites. • These are mainly sold on an IG basis, but one suite holder relocated and bought itthe 2012 season: We have boxes created by Colad to put our for the season. • Please pass along ticket packaging ideas suite tickets in each year. The boxes are pretty • Sold as a whole – 20 seats with 4 SRO’s. that have “wowed” clients. simple, but provide a really nice presentation, • Being an older stadium, the feedback • If you have samples, photos or company and we’ve received numerous compliments received on these suites has been very recommendations, please pass along. from our clients. We aim to personally give positive. People have really liked the • If you have budgetary recommendations, them to clients at our Kickoff Luncheon each fact that we removed all fixed seats and please pass along. year, but for those that can’t attend, the boxes replaced them with moveable tables and fit perfectly in a large FedEx box. chairs which allows the suite to be moreA:We have done a really wide variety of packag- We have a total of around 175 boxes made for around $9,000. I’ve quoted out other com- panies, including our exclusive promotional open, allows hosts to socialize with guests much easier, and creates a much more open atmosphere.ing for our premium tickets since we opened provider, and no one has come close.our suites in 1997. We have always felt thatthe investment level of our clients warrantsa “vessel” that is both a treasured gift and a Question Topic: A: We turned four suites into what we call thecontainer that replaces a cardboard box or an REPURPOSING PREMIUM Hall of Fame Suite in 2007.envelope. SPACE • This area has 96 tickets that can be pur- In the early days when we only had 25 chased as a season ticket ($2,500/season)suites, we went quite elaborate and hadcustom pine furniture made for contractedsuite owners. These were fashioned after Q: For those who have converted two or more or an individual ticket ($275/game). We do not offer a group discount. • We sell this area out for each home regularhistorically significant “western” items such as luxury suites into a larger entertainment area: season game, but about 75% of the seatsa rifle chest (sized to hold CDs), an explorer’s • What did you turn the new space into? A are sold on an individual basis.map chest (sized to hold letter-size files), and Club Area? A Party Suite?a wine rack. These were made locally by afurniture manufacturer and averaged around$500 per piece. • Did you sell it annually or event-by-event? • Did you sell it as a whole or individual seat(s)? A: • We took six individual suites and con- As we opened our club and private res- verted them to three Super Suites (40taurant venues in the early and mid-2000sand increased our client count to almost 500,we moved to a variety of vessels that were A: We converted suites to a club about eight person spaces). • We sold them both annually and by event. We sold one out in shares, the others in“boxes”: a custom-made slate box, a wooden years ago. rentals.box with room for tickets and two wine • We now have two areas of 125 guests that • We sold them as a whole. The standardglasses, and wood boxes with room for tickets are our version of club seats. price includes 30 tickets. Patrons also haveand bottle of wine. • Because we only have ten football games, the ability to add up to ten more at an Most recently, we have done a variety of we sold them as a season-ticket-only incremental price. We have sold over 80%leather items in which the tickets were placed: package at $4,800 per seat, per season. The of available inventory.leather briefcases, leather travel toiletry kits, club is all-inclusive with the exception ofand a simple leather folder. Our budget isusually in the $50-$80 range per item, but wehave blown the budget a few times too! cocktails; non-alcoholic beverages, beer, wine, and food are all included. The club has sold out for seven of our eight years. A:We turned six suites into an all-inclusive This year we are using three different items club seat, including top-shelf liquor, wine,from Barrington – fantastic leather items, and beer, and food.they will customize these at very low numbers • We sell it annually. Only members can add(as often the minimum quantities for custom additional seats event-by-event.items are just too high to be feasible). I did • We sell it as individual seats. We will only20 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  18. 18. Personalized Dynamic Brand ActivationBranded TicketsTM is a full color personalization service that seamlessly integrates with your basic ticket design to allow Suite, Club and Premium Seat clients to “Brand” their tickets by adding logos, images or messages.High Impact, Premium Quality, Astonishingly Affordable John Watlington john@ptx.cc 804.598.9107 www.ptx.cc 30 Mill Street Wheatland, Pa. 16161 Toll Free: 800.941.1070 Fax: 724.346.1672
  19. 19. ALSD Member Q&A sell a half-season if we can find another suite administrator may order these extra For premium clients: business/individual to match-up. tickets. All ticket orders should be made The above policy applies in print to our pre- at least 48 hours before the homestand. mium clients; however, exceptions are madeThe renovated space has been very success- Orders received less than 48 hours before to this policy on a case-by-case basis. Forful. The key is making it small and intimate the homestand are subject to an increase premium clients, the ticket cost is defined as,where a member feels like they are part of in price by $5 per ticket. just that, the ticket cost. The ticket cost doesan exclusive club. There is a big emphasis put not include the amenities value, parking value,on networking with other members/business Lost or stolen tickets: or gift value that many patrons see as theirexecutives who also have seats. We also try to Suite tickets should be treated like cash. If a “premium season ticket cost.”put our celebrities and former players in there suite ticket is misplaced, it can be reprinted, We do not sell premium seating on the daywherever possible. Our owner’s suite is next but you must be able to provide the Suite of the event.door, so he is constantly popping in to talk to Services office with the exact row and seateveryone as well. number of the missing ticket. The original ticket will then be disabled and turned away DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION YOU WOULDQuestion Topic: at the gates. Lost guest passes and parking LIKE TO ASK THE ALSD MEMBERSHIP?TICKET REPRINT AND passes are not replaceable. For stolen tickets, Let the ALSD help you reach all your fellowORDERING POLICIES please contact the Luxury Suite office and be members at one time. We’ll help you find prepared to send a copy of the police report. your answers. That’s the true benefit of mem-Q:For the general public and for premium We can take orders on the day of game, but how quickly we can respond depends on the demands of the Game Day Supervisor. bership – not ALSD Member Questions, but ALSD Member Answers. Here’s how to submit your questions:clients: We avoid reprinting tickets for clients strictly • Send your Member Question exactly how • What are your building’s ticket reprint to leave at will call, but if our clients are in a you want it posted to members to Amanda policies? bind, we will do our best to help them out. Verhoff at amanda@alsd.com OR • In your building, are clients allowed to If we have a reprint for lost/stolen tickets, • Visit us on the web and submit your order on the day of a show/event, or is we document it very well, so if the original Member Question at www.alsd.com/ there a deadline to purchase by? tickets show up in our Ticket Services lobby, content/member-questions. Please note - • Do you charge a late fee for those orders everyone has access to the history. members must be logged in to coming in after the deadline? www.ALSD.com to submit questions.A: A: For the general public: • When submitting a question, include all contact information, including your Name, Organization, Title, Address, Phone andOur reprint policy is the same for both Lost or forgotten tickets purchased through Email Address, so respondents can reachpremium and public clients. If someone has the Athletic Ticket Office may be replaced you in the way most appropriate to com-lost their tickets, we ask that they send an for full face value plus a $5.00 fee per ticket pletely answer the question.email with the ticket locations that have been (paid at the time the replacements are issued). • ALSD tracks all responses and archivesmisplaced. We do charge $10 for each ticket Tickets purchased at the window, through a answers on www.ALSD.com.that is reprinted. If the ticket is lost in the second party, or at a ticket outlet may not be • Member Questions are sent to TEAMmail, and the client never received the tickets, replaced, as there is not a seating record avail- AND VENUE MEMBERS ONLY towe will reprint free of charge. able. Customers who locate and return their avoid solicitations. Our deadline is typically the business day tickets within two weeks of the event willbefore the event; however, we do sometimes only be assessed the $5.00 fee. Stolen ticketsmake exceptions for suite holders. We do not will be replaced for a service fee of $5.00charge a late fee. per customer if a copy of the police report is submitted to the Athletic Ticket Office at theA:Pricing for extra suite tickets is as follows: time of the request. In the absence of a police report, the above policy will apply. Laundered or mutilated tickets will be replaced for a • Premium games such as the Opening Se- service fee of $5.00 when pieces of the ticket COMING UP NEXT: ries, Closing Series, Dodgers, A’s, Phillies, are provided. If pieces of the ticket cannot be ALSD VETERAN RICK LASSITER and Cubs are $85 each. provided, it will be treated as a lost or forgot- MOVES TO 360 PREMIUM seating • All other games are $70 each. ten ticket. Replacement tickets have prece- AT THE FLORIDA PANTHERS • Only the suite licensee or designated dence over the original tickets.22 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  20. 20. WE FILL SEATS!“WebsiteAlive has helped us generate over six figures of new business and strengthen our current customer relationship.” - Mark DiMaurizio - Comcast Spectacor The Fastest Way toConnect With Your Fans via the Web & Mobile Plaforms Hello Live Chat Lead Form Click-to-Call ® 1.888.696.4513 TM Let’s Connect WEBSITEALIVE.COM Exclusive Provider of McAfee SECURE Chat © 2002 - 2012 AYU Technology Solutions LLC, All Rights Reserved. All trademarks held by their respective owners.
  21. 21. Industry and Association News Fenway Park celebrates 100th Anniversary, p.28 Member Highlight: Minnesota Timberwolves, p.32ALSD veteran Rick Lassiter is cut from a different moldThe relationship marketer is using his experience to promote the new Club RED at BankAtlantic CenterR ick Lassiter learned to sell at the ripe age of seven when, heeding his parent’s advice, he learned how to talk to all kinds of people aboutall kinds of things. Selling was never top ofmind; it was learning how to make conversa-tion and build relationships – the foundationof sales. “It’s more than the transaction, it’sabout the relationship,” explains Lassiter. Today, Sunrise Sports and Entertainmentand the Florida Panthers employs Rick Las-siter as Vice President and Managing Direc-tor for 360 Premium Seating, a subsidiarycompany created to sell, market, manage, andoperate the Executive Suites, ADT Club,Loge Boxes, SuperStar Lounge, Duffy’s Sky Lassiter (far left) and his 360 Premium Seating team do more than just selling: “It’s more than a transaction, it’s about the relationship.”Club, and Club RED at the BankAtlanticCenter. location, location, location.” ground, tax-tag-and-title, out-the-door op-Club RED The price to enter reflects the premium tion” where food and beverage and a uniqueLassiter is currently using his salesmanship location. An all-inclusive membership seat seating opportunity exists.to promote the ultra-premium, all-inclusive is priced from $17,500-$22,500 which aver- Lassiter began marketing Club RED soloClub RED (opening August 2012) which is ages from $235-$300 per event. Clients may in November, and by February, was fullycentered on five key pillars: Best Location, purchase incremental membership seats in staffed. Upon review of the program, the needBest Entertainment, Best Cuisine, Best Ser- the club that seats 672 for hockey and 732 for for package options – All Events, Hockeyvice, and Best Overall Experience. “The club concerts and shows. Only, Events Only – emerged. “[The differentis center ice and center stage,” Lassiter says. When asked if areas like Club RED are options] really helped us overcome the ‘no’“It’s located on the lower level, and it’s very cannibalizing the suite market, Lassiter response,” says Lassiter.exclusive. They’re the best seats in the house, responds that opportunities like Club RED Nearly as coveted as the location is thein all of South Florida, where it’s all about offer the former suite prospect “a middle quality of the food and beverage. Centerplate stepped up, bringing in Senior Executive Chef, Lou Iaconetti, from Denver. From the hors d’oeuvres to the carving and action stations to the seafood presentations to the exquisite dessert and pastry selections, Chef Iaconetti created a look, feel, and taste to the cuisine that mirrors the club’s posh theme. Club RED’s branding originates from the Panthers’ overall marketing campaign which started as “We See Red” and has evolved into “Believe Red.” The campaign, spearheaded by the team’s President and COO, Michael Yormark, melds passion, power, and a return- to-its-roots team concept. The lower bowl of the arena is outfitted with all new red seating; fans are encouraged to wear red jerseys and apparel; and the Panthers home team jerseys are red. It was only fitting to have red in theRoll Out the Red Carpet: Club RED, soon to be one of South Florida’s most exclusive, ultra-premium seating options, is centered on five club’s moniker.pillars: Best Location, Best Entertainment, Best Cuisine, Best Service, and Best Overall Experience. [continued on page 90]24 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012
  22. 22. Wine. Refrigeration. Ice. Hard Working. Easy Access. Elegant Integration for Every Accomodation.U-Line is keeping it cool in stadiums across the nation:Lincoln Financial Field PNC Park Lambeau FieldCitizens Bank Park Great American Ball Park Bradley CenterTD Banknorth Garden Canal Park U.S. Cellular FieldGillette Stadium USTA Billie Jean King Soldier FieldVerizon Wireless Arena National Tennis Center Xcel Energy CenterDunkin’ Donuts Center Minute Maid Park Conseco FieldhouseAgganis Arena Louisiana Superdome Rangers Ballpark in ArlingtonRalph Wilson Stadium Frank Erwin Center New Orleans ArenaNationals Park Coors Field Cleveland Browns StadiumHonda Center Invesco Field at Mile High All Pro Freight StadiumThe Palace of Auburn Hills Pepsi Center Quicken Loans ArenaComerica Park Dick’s Sporting Goods Park 5/3 Bank BallparkProgressive Field Morrison Stadium Miller ParkPaul Brown Stadium Camelback Ranch Scott Trade CenterOhio Stadium Angel Stadium of AnaheimNationwide Arena United CenterSeamless integration from the built-in undercounter market leadersince 1962. Learn more at u-line.com/products/commercial.html
  23. 23. Industry and Association News XL Center holds grand opening for Webster Bank Lounge during March Madness The repurposed premium space drives increased value for suite holders T he Webster Bank Lounge, the new- est addition to the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, had its grand opening this past March during the BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Champi- onship. The lounge area has high definition televisions, a cash bar, updated seating, and standing areas to watch events. The tip-off for the space proved to be a successful value-add for executive suite holders through increased socializing and networking opportunities. “Any time you get that cross-pollination, it helps,” says Michael Kassa, VP of Sales and Marketing for the XL Center. “The Webster Bank Lounge showcases a space that is new, that is fresh, and that is exciting to our suite holders because it provides them additional value to their premium seating experience.” Without a professional team tenant, with Take It to the Bank: As evidenced by its grand opening, the Webster Bank Lounge promises to be a valuable asset for the XL Center, its sponsor, and its patrons.  the premium level at the top of the arena, and because the building is 35 years old, the XL Center (the home of the UConn Huskies and other expenses of hospitality packages, more people are staying at the bar to socialize. and the AHL’s Connecticut Whale) is chal- especially during difficult economic times. “During the second half of events, all the lenged to sell premium space on a consistent “The opportunity to network in this space stools are usually filled up, and people are basis. “Because of the building’s age, we are adds value to our suite holders’ investments,” hanging out and having a good time,” recalls somewhat limited in our revenue driving says Kassa. Kassa. “They treat it as a high-end lounge opportunities,” Kassa explains. “We also don’t To cut the ribbon on the new space, for the type of environment which is exactly what we have any major league teams here, so we have duration of the BIG EAST Championship, were hoping they would do.” to think of creative ways to add value to our Webster Bank created a happy hour environ- The success of the XL Center-Webster suites.” ment with an open bar and free appetizers Bank partnership also spills out into the during the hour leading up to the beginning surrounding neighborhood. The economic“The opportunity to network of every session. “We had a lot of positive development of Downtown Hartford is an feedback which is great, both from the suite important initiative for both partners. Web- in this space adds value to our holders and from Webster Bank,” Kassa ster Bank, which had a hand in the design suite holders’ investments.” states. concepts from the very beginning all the way – Michael Kassa, XL Center The XL Center’s food and beverage part- to its completion, and the XL Center, which ner, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, is owned by the City of Hartford, both felt it views the Webster Bank Lounge as a small was important to hire locally for all the jobs revenue driver, primarily on the beverage created by the project, including the general After observing that a few suites were side, and staffs the lounge with a full-time contractor and architectural/design firm. “Our previously unsalable due to obstructive views, bartender. With the bar centrally located on partners all worked together very well,” says the XL Center decided on the renovation to the suite level, the XL Center expects patrons Kassa. “And the bottom line is the space looks better fit the building layout and its clients’ to typically get a single-serve drink to bring really great.” needs. The unsalable suites were combined back to their individual suites during the All factors combined for an exceptional to create the new revenue opportunity where beginning parts of an event. “During the first grand opening, and the Webster Bank it isn’t imperative that the sightlines to the half of events, whether they are basketball Lounge appears set to provide value to the action be pristine. games or hockey games, it is more of a tran- XL Center, its partners, and its suite holders The lounge creates a unique atmosphere sient space,” Kassa explains. “The single-serve during all future events. for suite holders to mingle in before, during drink opportunity is extremely popular, so – Anne Corall and after an event. This additional benefit that’s what we try to create with this space.” provided by the Webster Bank Lounge helps Then as observed during the BIG EAST companies justify the costs of suite ownership Championship, towards the end of an event, 26 | S E A T | www.alsd.com | #SEATSpring2012

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