S E AT
leading the premium seat industry winter 2010
Published by the Association of Luxury Suite Directors
Commemorate 20 Years
of Premium Seating
in New York City
At the 2010 ALSD Conference and Tradeshow: June 27 – June 30
Why Disney Institute Matters To You • Ticket Management Solutions
Per-Event Sales Strategies • The ALSD’s First Look at Target Field
Marvel Makes the Game!
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hoses, CO2 tank and regulator, drip tray and interior
Refrigerator cabinet encased in high Automatic interior light
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Full auto defrost Full extension drawer slides provide easy access
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S E AT
ConTEnTS WinTEr 2010
8 NEW MEMBERS
10 STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
What the premium seat industry must continue to do in response to change in order
to fill seats.
BY BILL DORSEY
12 STATE OF THE ASSOCIATION
What new ALSD leadership means for you and your association.
BY AMANDA VERHOFF
14 INDUSTRY AND ASSOCIATION NEWS
18 MEMBER HIGHLIGHT
He has a voice made for radio; he has a 26-year track record selling baseball
tickets in a football stadium; and he looks good in a hard hat. Meet SCOTT
O’CONNELL of the Minnesota Twins and visit his new home, Target Field, for the
26 20th ANNUAL ALSD CONFERENCE
AND TRADESHOW PREVIEW
Discover the program sessions and venue tours aimed at providing the solutions
to your team and suite holder corporate hospitality expenditure challenges. PLUS:
Why the ALSD is bringing Disney Institute to this year’s conference, and why you
should be listening.
BY AMANDA VERHOFF
37 THE LEADER IN PER-EVENT SUITE SALES
Per-event suites have a positive financial impact on those teams needing to
develop a more diverse premium seat product selection. If your team is behind the
curve, learn from the best in the business- the United Center.
BY JARED FRANK
41 TICKET MANAGEMENT
Out of the need for suite holders to achieve high ticket utilization rates stems the
necessity for sophisticated, sometimes confusing, ticket management systems.
Breakdown the top software solution companies side-by-side to decipher which is
best for your team.
EDITED BY JARED FRANK
46 INFUSION OF TECHNOLOGY ACROSS SPORTS
Nearly every segment of modern society is influenced by technology accelerators.
The sports and entertainment industry is no different, as the need to improve the
fan experience through innovation continues to grow exponentially. Find out who
the top companies are in this space in 2010.
BY CHRISTINE STOFFEL
50 INSIDE THE WORLD OF LUXURY SUITE ADMINISTRATORS
Suite administrators are the front line of the premium seat market, yet few
understand these unsung professionals. Investigate their common perceptions and
learn why we should care about these key stakeholders.
BY PETER TITLEBAUM AND HEATHER LAWRENCE
56 COMING ATTRACTIONS
The first look at stories being researched for the Spring 2010 issue of SEAT. See
how you can participate.
About the Cover: The ALSD with the New York Yankees and Legends
Hospitality Management will celebrate 20 years of premium seating at
The New York Marriott Marquis, host of the 2010 ALSD Conference the new Yankee Stadium, the first tour and reception of the 2010 ALSD
and Tradeshow. Conference and Tradeshow. Photo courtesy New York Yankees.
S E A T 7
new ALSD Members
ASSoCiATion oF LUxUrY SUiTE DirECTorS
Chairman of the Board Bill Dorsey
Executive Director Amanda (Kuntz) Verhoff
President Jennifer Ark, Green Bay Packers
John Bluck Courtney Brown VP, Business Development Pat McCaffrey
Sodexo AT&T Wi-Fi Service Director, Sponsor and Partnership Development Dene Shiels
District Manager 2600 North Central Expressway 3.4004
Director of Finance Dan Lindeman
Southeast Region Richardson, Tx 75080
P: 404-272-1024 P: 214-576-4341 Financial Account Manager Vickie Henke
F: 678-714-4813 F: 469-621-4979 Director of Information Technology Sean Kellner
Editor of SEAT, Website Director Jared Frank
Russ Mushro BJ Toner Account Executive Scott Hinzman
Sodexo Toner Cable
Design Carole Winters Art + Design
Vice President President
5 Lloydminster Court 969 Horshman Road
North Potomac, MD 20878 Horshman, PA 19044 ExECUTIVE COMMITTEE
P: 240-505-4275 P: 215-675-2053 Chris Bigelow, Bigelow Companies
firstname.lastname@example.org F: 215-675-7543 Brian Bucciarelli, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
Greg Hanrahan, United Center
Tom Kaucic, Southern Wine & Spirits
Phil Eletto Pat McCaffrey, ALSD
New Meadowlands Stadium Company Dianne Rowland Jamie Norman, Dallas Stars
Manager, Premium Services Toner Cable Kim Reckley, Detroit Red Wings & Olympia Entertainment
102 Route 120 Tradeshow Coordinator
East Rutherford, NJ 07073 969 Horshman Road BOARD OF DIRECTORS
P: 201-559-1737 Horshman, PA 19044 Pam Benoist, St. Louis Rams
email@example.com P: 215-675-2053 Janie Boles, Auburn University
F: 215-675-7543 Natalie Burbank, Utah Jazz / Salt Lake Bees
Trent Dutry, US Airways Center
David Stys firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Granger, National Basketball Association
Turnkey Sports & Entertainment Patti Kimbrough, University of Arkansas
Vice President John Chambers Gerald Kissel, Ball State University
9 Tanner St., Suite 8 netFactor Phil MacDougall, Sacramento Kings/ARCO Arena
Haddonfield, NJ 08033 6041 S. Syracuse Way, Suite 105 Debbie Massa, ROI Consulting
P: 856-685-1450 Greenwood Village, CO 80111 Mike Ondrejko, Madison Square Garden
email@example.com P: 720-489-5534 x205 Richard Searls, New York Red Bulls
firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Sheridan, Chicago White Sox
Josh Brickman Michael Smith, Philadelphia Union
Peter Titlebaum, University of Dayton
Turnkey Sports & Entertainment Rick Colford
Brian Varnadoe, Houston Texans
Director, Product Development Hulshof Leather USA Jon Vingas, Centerplate
9 Tanner St., Suite 8 4947 NC HWY 127 South Bob White, Calgary Flames
Haddonfield, NJ 08033 Hickory, NC 28602
P: 856-685-1450 P: 704-462-1188 SEAT IT Board
email@example.com F: 704-462-1154 Christine Stoffel, S5 Enterprises / SEAT Consortium
firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Wood, APS
San Diego Padres ALSD 2010 Conference Committee
Richard Dobransky, DNC Sportservice
Vice President, Partnership Solutions
Chris Gallagher, New York Yankees
100 Park Road Pat Jones, New York Mets
San Diego, CA 92101 Jon Muscalo, Legends Hospitality
P: 619-795-5000 Richard Searls, New York Red Bulls
email@example.com Rob Sullivan, New York Jets
Anne Wheat, New Meadowlands Stadium Company
University of North Carolina SEAT IT Division Steering Committee
Rams Club Director of Tickets and Christine Stoffel, Committee Chairman
Chris Wood, Committee Co-Chairman
Chris Dill, Portland Trail Blazers
PO Box 2446 Sasha Puric, Toronto Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
Chapel Hill, NC 27515 Mike Morris, Major League Baseball
P: 919-843-6432 Lorraine Spadaro, TD Banknorth Garden
F: 919-843-5777 Wayne Wichlacz, Green Bay Packers
firstname.lastname@example.org Casey Bookout, University of Oklahoma
Jim Darrow, Illitch Holdings, Inc.
Tod Caflisch, New Orleans Hornets
Brett Michalak, Tickets.com
John Pollard, IdentityMine
John Gallant, IDG Enterprise
Published by Venue Pub. Inc. Copyright 2010. (All rights reserved). SEAT is a registered trademark
of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors. SEAT is published quarterly and is complimentary
to all members of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors.
10017 McKelvey Road, Cincinnati, OH 45231 • 513 674 0555 • email@example.com
8 S E A T
State of the Industry
It is clearly a time of transition as the industry is beginning to respond
to changes in the marketplace with proactive adjustments.
By Bill Dorsey, ALSD Chairman of the Board
he state of the $10 billion pre- eveNT SuITeS: While leased inventory is declining, event suites
mium seating industry is in on a nightly basis are increasing. This is due to two factors: 1)
flux. What existed and what Availability. There is now open inventory that never before existed.
worked for the past 20 years is 2) Suite Flexibility. Many new venues are allowing for higher suite
changing in the following ways: flexibility in their new venue models. Suites often have open walls
and can be converted into larger event suites for special occa-
Leases are getting shorter. sions. So ironically, while many companies are going away from
full-fledged suites and opting to buy into four to eight person loge
Occupancy rates are lower
boxes, some companies are increasing their purchases of event
than the year before.
or per-event suites.
No shows on the club level
Bill Dorsey are up. fOOD AND BeveRAge: One price for F&B is definitely becom-
ing a trend. Companies are beginning to take harder looks at in-
corporating the price of food and beverage and suite tickets as
one hospitality package. It is predicted here that the day when
LeAgue INvOLvemeNT: Just a short time ago, premium seat- hospitality, which includes F&B, is considered part of the entire ex-
ing was only considered to be a local sports issue. To some ex- perience is just around the corner. The major F&B companies are
tent, because the vast majority of leases do come from the local beginning to look at how they are doing business in this regard.
marketplace, premium seating revenues are still very much a local Some F&B companies are beginning to rethink their pricing strate-
issue. But league offices are now beginning to take note and are gies for F&B as per-caps are declining.
providing teams with a lot of support that previously did not exist.
The leagues are beginning to compile and collate a best practices CONTRACT NegOTIATIONS: Leases are getting shorter and
group on the premium side in 2010. shorter, and companies who buy leases are beginning to under-
stand the pricing dynamics better. More contract negotiations on
TeChNOLOgy TAkeS OveR: High-tech is beginning to make annual leases is certainly a trend as companies realize the buyer/
inroads in venues across the country. The sports industry tradition- seller power relationship has somewhat shifted in more uncertain
ally has been slow on the uptake for high-tech items, but no more. economic times. Teams are going to have to incentivize lease in-
Suites are becoming media centers these days, and the amount vestment with such things as expensive amenities, renewal cred-
of IT infrastructure in a new venue is truly astonishing. This will its, re-selling options/alternatives, branding, etc.
In general, the rules of the premium seat game have changed.
New pRODuCT OffeRINgS: It is clear that some of the models Teams need to make adjustments in how they do business.
in venues built in the late 90s are failing. There are far too many Many are already doing so, but some teams, are very reluctant to
suites, especially in Major League Baseball, and far too many club change. On the corporate premium side, clearly teams are going
seats in all areas of sport. In many instances, venues that have too to need to look at more ways to fill their seats in 2010. And accord-
many suites are reconfiguring their premium spaces. There is not ing to most indications, the current trends are likely to continue for
so much a downsizing of these numbers on the premium side, but a few more years.
a change in the types of offerings. Suites are being torn down, and
they are being replaced by four to eight seat loge boxes, theater But help, on many fronts, is on the way. #
boxes, and multiple varieties of stadium membership clubs. The
price points on these new products, on a per-square-foot basis, Write to Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
are often higher than a suite price. It is just that many companies
do not want as many seats as are in suites on a nightly basis.
10 S E A T
State of the Association
The ALSD is a growing, ever-changing association, built on
reflections and new directions of the industry. At present,
the ALSD leadership is built on both principles.
By Amanda verhoff, ALSD executive Director
hose of us who work for the because in a way, it was my sense of competition. I wanted to do
ALSD know full-well that it better and be better than others, but I wanted to do it in a way that
takes all types to run an as- would please those around me. I wanted the “do-good, be bet-
sociation. That said I would like ter” image because I thought that was what it took to impress and
to explain which type I am, as please those around me.
well as my place in this associa- how am I making it work for me now?
tion. I will do so as it relates to Being a people pleaser is stressful. Not because specific
the founder and now chairman of tasks are hard or because the ones you want to please are dif-
your association. ficult, but because being a people pleaser ultimately means being
To put it simply, Bill is the new a personal critic. A mantra I undesirably hold deep down is that,
direction of the industry; I am the “It’s never quite good enough.” Consequently, there is an ongo-
reflection of the industry. ing struggle to please others for the validation that it, whatever
what does that mean? it is, is good enough…for them, for me. I take criticism, however
Bill Dorsey is a visionary. He constructive, to heart. I want to improve on things that are within
knows the industry inside and out; my control, personally and professionally. Am I a perfectionist?
he sees where the industry is heading and will lead the way. Con- Maybe. Am I perfect? If you read the mantra, you’ll see I am far
versely, I am the reflector of the industry. I can’t see what Bill sees, from it. And for that reason, I will continue to try to improve myself
at least not yet, but I learn more about the industry every day and in order to please others. At this point in my life, those others are
as the reflector, I will inform our members on where we are pres- ALSD members.
ently as an association and as an industry. why does it work for the ALSD?
what does that make me? As mentioned, I am young and I am a learner. Am I too young
It makes me a learner. It also too often makes me a repeater and too inexperienced to be the ALSD Executive Director? Some
of the Dorsey-ism, “Without you I cannot grow.” But that phrase, may think so, maybe I even think so. But understand this: the title
even as overused as it is in the ALSD offices, rings true. I am is not the role. I am still the ALSD Conference Director and the
young; I am less experienced than many. But I am a learner none- Membership Services Director, now rolled up together into a new
theless and will keep being an informational sponge to Bill as long title. Please understand though that I am not Bill Dorsey. I never
as he will let me. In turn, I will arm our association with the informa- will be. Understand that the individual, not the title, reflects what
tion I pick up from him. the role of Executive Director means. Bill is and always will be
who am I? the leader, the “boss” of the ALSD. He is simply handing over the
I am a people pleaser; one who got my start as the weird reins, slowly and cautiously, to a new generation. The role of the
middle kid who watched my older sister rebel like oldest kids do new Executive Director will be different than when he held the title.
and my baby brother act like one, though he won’t say so. And This Executive Director is a people pleaser, a reflector of the
there I was, in need of an identity other than “the weird middle kid”. industry, a member devotee. I will listen to you, the members, and
So, I turned to sports and in a few short years, that was me, an will take guidance from those who know the business better than
athlete. I had my identity. And I played to please for as long as I I do. I will always believe that, “It’s never quite good enough,” but
can remember. I wanted to please my parents – my dad a college I will use that to improve the association. I pledge to “do the thing
football player, my mom a graceful and theatrical drill team cap- that’s the best for the most people.” And one day, validation will
tain. They were good, so I had to be good too. I wanted to please come, maybe not for me personally, but for the ALSD. Validation
my coaches, my teammates, even my opponents (then beat them will come when the ALSD lives up to its “premium” reputation and
of course). Eventually I wanted to please those outside of athlet- is confirmed as the preeminent association in the sports and en-
ics too: my art teacher, my summer employer, my college mentor, tertainment industry. #
my husband and eventually Bill Dorsey. I needed to please them Write to Amanda at email@example.com
12 S E A T
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Halftime starting in four minutes and stadium network has just crashed.
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Pre-ordered four vegetarian plates for luxury suite.
Automatically adjust catering inventory.
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simplify management and improve revenue stadium-wide. Provide faster, more accurate service in luxury suites
and club sections with mobile POS devices. Speed up concession lines and increase sales volumes with easy-to-use
POS terminals. Maintain accurate inventory of every concession, bar, restaurant, caterer and fan shop—in real time—
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Industry and Association News
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NFL/SUPER BOWL/TECHNOLOGY
Cubs adding new premium club to wrigley field Cisco and Sportvision enhance Super Bowl XLIv
Chicago Cubs fans will have a new premium seating option for the through technology
2010 season. The team is constructing a new all-inclusive club Cisco’s StadiumVision platform and Sportvision combined their
designed by Populous on Wrigley Field’s suite level, the only of powers to enhance the content on two channels viewed on the
its kind within the friendly confines. The Executive Club (naming 1,500 HD displays inside Miami’s Sun Life Stadium during this
rights are expected to be announced shortly) will be home to the year’s Super Bowl. The first channel displayed the live network
most expensive Cubs ticket at $300 per game for each of the 71 broadcast, including the Sportvision yellow 1st and 10 line and
available seats. Season ticket holders will pay $24,300 to sit in the down and distance graphics. The second integrated Sportvi-
Executive Club in 2010. sion’s Feature Tracker and Synthetic Video effects to offer replays
The club, located down the left-field line, is the Cubs response throughout the game.
to unsold suite inventory. The new space is being created from the Feature Tracker combines a 2-D graphic with 3-D player trails
consolidation of six suites, which up until now were sold on a per- to deliver relevant performance data to fans, such as a player’s
event basis. It is an attractive premium option for those businesses speed, total distance traveled and separation distance from other
and individuals who cannot afford a leased suite product, yet still players. Synthetic Video presents replays in a 360-degree virtual
have a need for hospitality. A $24,300 season ticket package in- environment, so key plays can be viewed from multiple angles.
cludes many amenities including all food and beverage (alcohol
included), parking, the option to buy additional tickets for select
games, access to postseason tickets, tickets to concerts and other RACING
special events and access to corporate meeting space on non- Charlotte motor Speedway adds premium seats
While other raceways are reducing their number of seats and
ticket prices, Charlotte Motor Speedway has announced the ad-
giants organize auction to aid haiti relief efforts
dition of 15,000 new premium seats to be installed along the front
Many athletes and teams have come through in a big way to assist stretch of the 1.5-mile track in the Chrysler and General Motors
the worldwide community in supporting Haiti, which as we all know grandstands. The new seating area will have the best views of the
was ravaged by a 7.0 earthquake last month. The San Francisco start/finish line, as well as pit road. The renovations, which are part
Giants had a clever fund raising idea, holding an online auction on of the raceway’s Fan First initiative, will be ready in time for the
its website, www.sfgiants.com. All proceeds from the auction were NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 22.
coordinated through UNICEF and directly went to the supply and Season ticket holders will automatically become members of
recovery effort. the Victory Lane Club and have bronze nameplates installed on
Items up for bid included ten swings against a Giants starting their new seats. In addition, they will be able to take home one
pitcher, four field club seats, a pregame field visit, an autographed of the old seats as a piece of nostalgic memorabilia. Other mem-
bat signed by a player of choice, a baseball signed by the 2010 bership benefits include a personalized hard card, VIP parking,
Giants pitching staff, a private hitting lesson with Giants infielder discounts on ticket purchases and souvenirs in the speedway’s
Pablo Sandoval and hitting coach Hensley Muelens and a private gift shop and a free six-month trial membership to The Speedway
meeting with Tim Lincecum, two-time National League Cy Young Club.
Churchill Downs will continue Infield Club
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE with additional seats
Those fans with infield tickets to this year’s Kentucky Oaks and
future of “The Joe” in question Derby will once again have the opportunity to pay a little extra for
Hockeytown’s future residence is a bit cloudy these days. The Red added amenities. The Infield Club, which debuted last year, will
Wings lease with the city of Detroit to play in Joe Louis Arena, a have more seats this time around. During the 2009 Oaks and Der-
venue over 30 years old, expires in June. And the Red Wings say by, only 20 percent of ticket holders had seats available to them
it will cost upwards of $10 million to renovate The Joe. Major up- at any one time. This year each ticket sold is guaranteed a seat,
grades are needed to fix crumbling concrete, update concourses albeit on a first-come, first-serve basis.
with modern amenities and efficient concession and restroom set- Churchill Downs is also adding a VIP Club area, which will
ups, replace seating with more comfortable versions, build pre- include reserved seating with cocktail service, half-priced menu
mium spaces closer to the ice, add additional ingress points and items, elevated television screens, staffed and self-serve betting
provide better parking options. windows, concession booths and restrooms.
Team owner Mike Ilitch’s preference is to replace The Joe, Even with no direct view of the racetrack, two-day general
which is currently isolated from the rest of downtown Detroit by the admission tickets for the Infield Club are $250 and two-day VIP
Detroit River and neighboring Cobo Center, and build a new arena area access is $375.
downtown. Some reports have claimed the team is considering
playing at The Palace of Auburn Hills while the new facility is under
14 S E A T
Design creates culture.
tell your st o r y
loewensteininc.com | 800.327.2548 | a division of
Industry and Association News
COLLEGE made online through the Senators website, www.senatorsbase-
ball.com, or in person at the team offices at Metro Bank Park. Fans
update on university of California endowment could enter as many times as they liked and had their name en-
Seating program tered once for every $10 donated. 100% of the proceeds went di-
rectly to UNICEF. The winners were announced at the Harrisburg
As first reported in SEAT in the Fall 2008 issue, the University
Mall at the conclusion of the Senators event on February 10th.
of California is employing the innovative financing model dubbed
Endowment Seating Program (ESP) to finance a $321 million
renovation to California Memorial Stadium. The Regents of the
Also out of harrisburg…
University of California gave formal approval for the renovations The Harrisburg Senators are currently finishing up Phase II of a
last month, allowing Cal to proceed with the project. Preliminary two-phase renovation to Metro Bank Park. Part of this renovation
construction will begin in June 2010, with completion expected by includes new club seats in three sections directly behind home
the fall of 2012. plate. Amenities include a private entrance, restroom, and park-
1,700 ESP seats have been sold as of January 15th with a net ing. The restaurant, located directly behind the club seating area,
present value of over $215 million, which is in line with projections. offers an all-you-can-eat buffet; the buffet menu changes on a
Approximately 2,250 seats must be committed by the summer of nightly basis.
2011 to make the financial model work. The club seats are cushioned and wider than Metro Bank
Park’s normal box seats. At full price, seats are $2,000 each for
Board of Regents approves renovation of the 2010 season, but the Senators currently offer discount options
Arizona Stadium if a contract is signed by February 28th and paid in full by April 1st.
Also, if a seat holder buys three seats on a three-year contract, he
Another Pac-10 Conference school has received Regents’ approv- or she receives one free seat.
al for a football stadium renovation. The Arizona Board of Regents
last month agreed to $85.7 million in improvements to Arizona Sta-
dium, home of the University of Arizona Wildcats.
The upgrades will be paid for entirely by private funds. Ideally,
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
half the money will be raised in time for construction to begin in kansas City wizards’ wait for new stadium
2011. A private donation of $10 million has already been pledged approval is finally over
and earmarked for the stadium renovation. After many avenues pursued all leading to dead ends for various
Highlights: reasons, the Kansas City Wizards finally have approved plans in
• A multi-story building in the north end zone will be constructed place for a permanent, soccer-specific stadium. The Unified Gov-
to house team offices, 5,000 seats and a premium loge area. ernment of Kansas City, KS consented in January to the Wizards’
• A premium loge area will include 200 premium seats with club plan for new stadium and fields complex.
amenities and a donor lounge. There are no suites in the cur- The approximately 18,000-seat stadium will be covered by
rent plans. a roof distinctive of the popular style found in European football
• The scoreboard will be moved from the north end zone to the stadiums. The roof will serve a dual-purpose. It will shelter from
south. inclement weather, and also function as a crowd noise amplifier.
• The stadium’s lights will be replaced. The stadium will also include three club areas. One will be a
• Jimenez Practice Field will be enlarged. field-side club where players will pass by on their way to the field.
Front row seats will only be 16 feet from the touchline.
washington State renovation now to come online
in 2012 philadelphia union season ticket sales off
Washington State needs 80% of its premium seating committed to fast start
to in order to move forward with its third phase of renovations to The MLS expansion Philadelphia Union has sold approximately
Martin Stadium. The athletic department is currently at 50%, but is 9,000 season tickets for its inaugural 2010 season, which is a
optimistic Phase III will begin this year as planned. There is reason base of about one-half of its new 18,500-seat stadium. The club
for optimism as 13 of 18 luxury suites priced at $35,000-$50,000 is confident they will sell out the new venue based on analysis of
annually and all 32 loge boxes priced at $9,000-$15,000 annually current sales and trends, which would be a huge accomplishment
have been pledged. considering only four of 15 MLS teams averaged over 17,000 per
game in 2009.
Premium seating includes:
MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL • 30 corporate suites with seating for 15. The suites are located
Senators hold luxury suite raffle 27 rows from the playing field and are priced at an average of
$50,000 per year.
Like the San Francisco Giants mentioned previously, the Harris-
• Ten “field-level tables” with seating for four priced at approxi-
burg Senators of the Eastern League raffled off premium seats to
mately $10,000 per year.
help the people of Haiti. The team gave away two luxury suites to
• 150 field-side seats priced at $2,000 per seat.
one game during the 2010 season. Fans that made a $10 donation
• 28 “super club” seats (14 behind each bench) with VIP club
to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF supporting UNICEF's relief efforts for
access priced at $7,500 per seat. #
children in Haiti were entered into the drawing. Donations could be
16 S E A T
ALSD Member Highlight
A Conversation with Scott O’Connell
Director of Suite and Premium Seat Sales and Service, Minnesota Twins
The lifetime man of Minnesota and the Twins organization reflects on 26 years in the business, shares a few lessons
learned along the way, and unveils Target Field to the ALSD for the first time.
By Jared Frank
Q: How long have you been Q: What advice do you have for the next generation of premium
involved in the sports and enter- seat sales and service professionals?
tainment industry? A: I guess my advice would be two-fold. One is to become very
A: I started as a telemarketer involved in ALSD, because obviously this is a group of people
back in 1984, which was sort of who have been through the wars and know what it’s like to open a
a banner year for season ticket ballpark and sell inventory. I can tell you I lean very heavily on my
sales. We had just changed counterparts within ALSD to help shape our policies and directions,
ownership from the Griffith and lean very heavily on their expertise. And two, I think it’s very
organization to the Pohland or- important that people in the future don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but
ganization in August of that year, learn from those people who have been doing this for an awful lot
and there was a ramp up in an of years. I came to a number of meetings prior to opening up, and
effort to sell season tickets, es- had a chance to meet a lot of people and find out what the heck I’m
pecially since in 1985 the Twins doing, because up to this point, this was all new for us.
and the Metrodome hosted the
Major League Baseball All-Star Q: Alright Scott, you have the floor. What should we know about
Game. That gave us plenty of Target Field?
incentive, as well as the fans in- A: Oh man, it’s gorgeous. You’re going to find that this ballpark has
Scott O’Connell centive to support the team with a lot of similarities to other ballparks, but in its own way is its own
new ownership and an all-star entity, an urban facility that is modernistic, but really attaches itself
game to boot. That’s how I kind of got my foot in the door, and gosh to downtown Minneapolis and really takes some of that downtown
I guess I’ve been here ever since. synergy and brings it into the ballpark.
Q: Are you a lifetime man of Minnesota? What kept you busy before
joining the Twins organization?
A: Born and raised here on the St. Paul side of the river. I actually
spent a number of years as a broadcaster for local, smaller town
radio stations. I guess my aspiration from an early age was to be a
sport play-by-play, specifically a baseball play-by-play announcer.
That was kind of what I aspired to do in the early go’s, but it never
quite happened that way. I guess maybe for the better.
Q: How did you learn the business as a young professional? Does
anyone or anything specifically stand out as an influence?
A: I would definitely say so. I think the one thing that has changed
drastically over my initial time with the team to where we are at to-
day is back in those days, it was a much smaller organization. When
I started, our sales department from a full-time sales staff standpoint
was only three people, and I think now we’re up to about 28. So the
times have changed in that regard. Certainly when I came on board,
Multi-talented: Radio broadcaster, suite salesman, and
there were some veteran salespeople like Tom Cronin, who was the now construction foreman? Is there anything this guy
son of Joe Cronin- the former American League President, who was can’t do?
a sales rep for the Twins at that time. He kind of took me under his
arm and taught me an awful lot and really helped me get my feet
Turn the page to keep reading Scott’s
on solid ground. Then along the way, a number of different people
throughout the organization really helped me from a sales stand- highlight of Target Field.
point. But certainly Tom was a mentor in the early stages.
18 S E A T
ALSD Member Highlight
Introducing Target Field:
The New Home of the Minnesota Twins
A decade in the making, Target Field gives Twins fans something they have been missing
since 1981: A home to call their own.
By Jared Frank with Scott O’Connell
atience is a virtue for the Minnesota Twins. Caught in the midst in existence, it has been a multiple-purpose facility, serving as the
of an uphill battle to get a new baseball-only facility for the past past or present home to University of Minnesota Golden Gopher
ten years, the Twins saw city after city after city throughout the football, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Twins. It is a facility built
country erect the newest baseball palace with seemingly no prog- for football with terrible sightlines for baseball fans and the small-
ress made on the home front. But perseverance has its rewards. est infield in all of Major League Baseball with only 6,600 seats
And sometimes blessings come in disguise- Target Field being a between the bases in the lower deck. In contrast, the design of
perfect example. “We had the opportunity to go out and tour a lot Target Field gears everything towards watching the game of base-
of the new ballparks to find out what they felt was done right and ball. “[Sightline improvements] are going to be a real change for
also to find out what things not to do, so I think we had the benefit our fans,” says O’Connell. “The other thing that people are really
of being at the tail end,” says Scott O’Connell, Director of Suite going to get excited about is the branding. In the multi-purpose
and Premium Seat Sales and Service for the Twins. So as it turns facility, there were so many multiple brandings going on in the
out, Target Field is as superlative as it is, not because the Twins ballpark. It was confusing.” The concourses of the Metrodome
led or followed the pack, but because they learned from the pack. feature pictures of Dave Winfield side-by-side with Fran Tarken-
To understand any highlight of Target Field, one must first ton side-by-side with old Gopher uniforms and signage. Target
know where the Twins are coming from. For all the years the Field presents the Twins with a chance to brand the facility with
Twins old home, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, has been touches like the 573 Club that pays homage to Harmon Killebrew,
On Target: Scott O’Connell and the Twins
hit the bullseye with the construction of
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with 573 being the number of home runs that Killebrew hit in a
Major League uniform. And further, the five gates in the ballpark
are named after five retired Twins players- Harmon Killebrew,
Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, and of course Kirby Puckett.
Target Field has a capacity of 40,000, including premium
seating for 3,000 in the club level, 54 suites, eight event suites,
and two party suites, or as the Twins call them, Skyline Suites
that face the downtown Minneapolis skyline. The Twins initially
had the space to build 60 annual suites, but once the economy
took a hit, it made sense to scale back to 54 and reconfigure the
last six down the third base side into the two Skyline Suites. In the
core of the infield, suites are a ten-year lease. Beyond the bases,
Target Field at a Glance the option was for the customer to choose from a ten-, seven-, or
four-year lease. Controlling suite inventory is a whole new world
Approximate capacity: 40,000 for the Twins organization. When the Metrodome was being built,
Seating in Upper Level: 13,000 the Twins and its owner Calvin Griffith did not want to move from
Seating in Lower Level: 19,000 old Metropolitan Stadium, so the Vikings committed to the market-
Seating in Club Level: 3,000 ing and servicing of the suites to the Stadium Commission; there-
Number of Suites: 54
fore, “the Vikings controlled the suites lock, stock, and barrel, so
that’s one of the reasons why we were starting from square one,”
360-Degree Open Main Concourse
O’Connell explains. “We knew who the people were in the build-
Main Concourse Width: 40 feet
Upper Concourse Width: 26-44 feet “You have to remember this is a state where
Seating Levels: Event Level
people sit on frozen lakes and a plastic bucket
Main Concourse Level to catch fish, so we’re pretty resilient I think.”
Terrace Level ing; we knew the banks and the law firms and the companies that
owned suites in our building, but all the contractual obligations and
all the servicing of those accounts were done through the Vikings.”
Restrooms: 401 women; 266 men
The Twins initial way of courting suite holders included hand-
Architects: HOK Sport, now Populous; delivering actual stadium chairs to prospective clients with an
Hammel, Green and invitation to visit their marketing center, which was in a 46-floor
Abrahamson Inc. (HGA) skyscraper overlooking the construction site. “That was our initial
way of getting people in the door, but from our standpoint, it really
Builder: M.A. Mortenson Company was an easy scenario to get people excited about the ballpark
based on the fact that where we were coming from was totally
Concessionaire: Delaware North Sportservice inadequate for the comfort of the fans,” says O’Connell. From
this initial provocation to the actual selection of seats, customer
Cost: Approximately $425M service issues have been few in number. Logically, the Twins
prioritize the picking of seats in the new ballpark based on lon-
Owner: Minnesota Ballpark
gevity, so the longer an entity had been a season ticket holder,
the higher in the pecking order they are when picking seats. The
Operator: Minnesota Twins only major obstacle that has presented itself is the fact that the
record keeping of the Griffith organization, which dates back three
stadiums, is not strong. “We really didn’t have any way to differ-
entiate those longstanding accounts. We had basically 70 ac-
First Game: April 2 vs. St. Louis counts that have been with us since 1961 when the team moved
Cardinals (Exhibition) from Washington, so we had to go about prioritizing those, and
of course every one of those 70 accounts thought they were the
Home Opener: April 12 vs. Boston Red Sox first one,” O’Connell details. “What we kept telling people over and
over again is ‘You can’t get a seat worse than what you had.’”
22 S E A T
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home games. To account for less than desirable temperatures,
Target Field does have radiant heat throughout the ballpark and
certainly in the concession stand areas. “In a lot of the overhangs,
you’re going to find radiant heat coming down on the back rows of
the infield and the club levels. That’s going to help keep this ballpark
comfortable, or as much as possible, for our fans,” says O’Connell.
The financing breakdown for Target Field is about two-
thirds from the public, one-third plus overages from the Twins.
The organization’s initial investment in the ballpark of $150 mil-
lion has since increased to $200 million. “That’s our own doing.
We found a number of scenarios where we could enhance the
ballpark experience by putting money into it,” states O’Connell.
“For instance, throughout our concourses, instead of having open
piping like you see in a lot of ballparks, we have drop ceilings.
In our sky roof, or our overlook area that overhangs the upper
Home Run: “The two fat guys” will shake hands during every
deck of the ballpark, we put in soffits to keep it from becoming
Twins round-tripper. birds’ nests and give more of a sleek line look to the ballpark.”
Additional expenditures that were added include the entrance
One of the great benefits the Twins have is moving from a facility of the ballpark, which was going to come about a block short of
where the front row is still 20 feet above the playing field down the main area of downtown Minneapolis. The entrance was ex-
to a facility where the front row is even with the playing field. tended an additional block so fans are able to walk right from the
The most obvious difference between the Metrodome and downtown area into the ballpark. The Twins are also playing the
Target Field is that the latter is an open-air facility. Yes, outdoor nostalgia card by rejuvenating one of the cooler old logos in base-
baseball is back in Minnesota, where average highs in the 50s and
lows in the 30s rule the baseball season bookend months of April
and hopefully October. The Twins did originally attempt to get a re- “I guess the one thing that I would really want
tractable roof ballpark, but by the end of ten years of attempting to
get a new ballpark, the cost of a retractable roof was approximate-
to make sure other teams do is always look at
ly an additional $150-$175 million on top of what the facility initially everything you do with the fan in mind.”
would cost. By taking the retractable roof off the design plans, the
Twins were able to get the correct funding mechanism in place.
“We knew that outdoor baseball was going to be a readjustment ball, which the Twins refer to as “the two fat guys shaking hands”.
for fans. It’s been a long time since they’ve seen outdoor baseball “We have a four-story-high replica of that logo in centerfield that is
on a Major League level. But you have to remember this is a state outlined in neon and LED signage. When our players hit a home
where people sit on frozen lakes and a plastic bucket to catch fish, run, the two guys will actually shake hands,” says O’Connell.
so we’re pretty resilient I think,” O’Connell says. Cold weather in Scott O’Connell and his fellow Twins’ salespersons are now
April in an obvious concern, but in 2010, the Twins only have nine rewarded with the opportunity to sell the crown jewel of downtown
Minneapolis to an entire state of hungry fans. O’Connell is quick to
deflect the credit for the success in building baseball’s next master-
piece, instead passing praise onto his peers in the industry and the
fans of the Minnesota Twins. “I think we did a wonderful job tran-
sitioning from the old ballpark to the new ballpark, but we did so
really because we had the benefit of knowledge from other teams
that had gone through the process, and put that into our own use.
By the time we got around to building this ballpark, we didn’t have
to reinvent the wheel,” reflects O’Connell. “Also what we’ve strived
to do is make sure that the fan becomes a big part of our planning.
Our concourses are wider; seats are wider; leg room is drastically
increased over what the uncomfortable Metrodome was. From our
standpoint, I guess the one thing that I would really want to make
sure other teams do is always look at everything you do with the
1,042: The number of 42” flat panel televisions needed to fill the fan in mind.” That and prepare to exercise any level of patience
same space taken up by the 4th largest scoreboard in Major necessary to complete the task, even if that means ten years. #
24 S E A T
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20TH ANNUAL ALSD CONFERENCE AND TRADESHOW
June 27 – 30, 2010
For the sports industry, 2010 is a “rebound year”. The economy is not thriving, but it is surviving.
Companies are pulling themselves out of a tough recession and starting to reevaluate corporate hospitality
spending. That said, the time is now for teams and venues to adapt to a changed landscape in the
premium seating industry. The 2010 ALSD Conference Program embraces this change by including sessions
that address the future of the industry by way of investigating and evaluating the industry at present,
suggesting strategies for change and introducing solutions for the coming years.
By Amanda Verhoff, Executive Director, Association of Luxury Suite Directors
Schedule of Events
Please note: The schedule of events is a meeting and traveler planner and the conference program will be updated continually.
Sunday, June 27
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Conference Registration Open
8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Exhibitor Set-Up
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. New Attendee Welcome Meeting
4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open; Schedule Monday Meetings; Cocktails in Hall
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Yankee Stadium Tour and Reception
Monday, June 28
7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Conference Registration Open
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Optional Exhibit Hall Appointment Hour
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. League Meetings (continued after lunch)
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. League Lunches
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. League Meetings (continued)
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. All Leagues Best Practices Session
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open; Cocktails in Hall
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open; Dinner and Reception in Exhibit Hall
Tuesday, June 29
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Conference Registration Open
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Disney Institute Seminar “Disney’s Approach to Quality Service”
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Other Sessions
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open; Lunch in Hall
1:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Sessions
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. New Meadowlands Stadium Tour and Reception
Wednesday, June 30
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Sessions
1:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Sessions
6:00 p.m. Tentative/potential venue tour
26 S E A T
Detailed Schedule of Events and Sessions
Sunday, June 27, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Conference Registration Open
8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Board of Directors Meeting
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
New Attendee Welcome Meeting
4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Open; Schedule Monday Meetings;
Cocktails in Hall
Buses Depart for Yankee Stadium
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Tour and Reception at Yankee Stadium
Sponsored by: Legends Hospitality; New York Yankees; Southern
Wine & Spirits; Corona
Monday, June 28, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Optional Exhibit Hall Appointment Hour
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL, F&B, Minor Leagues/Racing/
Soccer, College, IT
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Sponsored Lunches; Specific Leagues TBA
2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
All Leagues Best Practices Session: Roundtable Discussions
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Open; Cocktail Hour
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Open: Dinner Served, Reception
Sponsored by: ALSD, Southern Wine & Spirits, Corona
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Combined General Session: Disney Institute Seminar:
DISNEY’S APPROACH TO QUALITY SERVICE
Disney Institute: Available for Q&A in Exhibit Hall
Fee to attend: $75/person; Attendees and Exhibitors welcome
See page 30 for the full Disney Institute seminar introduction The New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Sales Session: Selling Your Suites
• Small, Medium, Large Markets≠≠
• Best Practices, Case Studies
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Open; Lunch Buffet Served; Disney Institute avail-
able for Q&A
S E A T 27
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 cont. -- Contracting and Selling in the Future: Options
• Per-Event Suites and Unique Selling Strategies
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. • Rental Suites: Service and Sales
The Economy and the Premium Seat Industry • Food and Beverage: Leased Suites, Per-Event/Rental Suites,
Sales Session: Selling in the Current Economy Club Areas, Kitchens
• Renewal Terms: Lengths, Escalators • Non-Game Day Use of Suites
• Special Packages: Flex Plans, Per-Event Plans • New Venue vs. New Venue Complex
• Strategies, Case Studies • International Growth
Customer Service Session: Servicing in the Current Economy • Products That Work
• Staying Close toYour Customer – More important 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
than ever Lunch on your own
F&B Session: F&B in the Current Economy 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
• Per Caps: How to improve? General Session: Research in the Industry: Knowing
• Digital Menu Boards Your Customers
• Loaded Tickets vs. All-Inclusives • Current SIC Codes: Ron Contorno, Heather Lawrence
• Service Charges: How to make money, but not gouge • The Perception of the Elite Premium Corporate Buyer:
the customers Peter Titlebaum
• Innovate Affordably • Luxury Suite Administrators/Coordinators: Who Are They
and What Do They Think: Peter Titlebaum
2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
General Session: Transforming the Suite Model Sales & Service Session: Bridging the Gap --
• Mini-Suites Sales and Service Staffs
• Club Level Modifications • Which venues are bringing sales and service staffs together
• Selling the “Transformed Areas” for mutual benefit and financial success?
Combined Session: Bridging the Gap: The Partnership Between • How can we bridge the gap between the two departments?
F&B Companies and Teams/Venues
• The Suite Experience: A combined “product” of the F&B F&B Session: Role of the F&B Suite Director on Game Day
company and the team/venue?
• How can we create a better partnership between the 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
two groups? Sales Session: Retaining and Regaining
• How can we bridge the gap between the two groups’ • If and when the economy turns around, how do we get
approaches to the Suite Experience? back the former suite holders and other premium seat clients
who left during the financial downturn?
2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. • What are the best practices for retaining the customers who
Combined Session (IT Based): Social Networking have stayed during these times and now want more?
– Future Impact
Presented by: Christine Stoffel Customer Service Session: Amenities & Gifts, Ticket Packaging
and Delivery, Suiteholder Events
5:00 p.m. • Interactive Attendee Share:
Buses Depart for New Meadowlands Stadium • Attendee Roundtable: Moderator asks for participation on:
-- What amenities and gifts work? Which are worth the
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. money/affordable?
Tour and Reception at New Meadowlands Stadium -- What are the best packaging and delivery methods? What
companies have provided branded, unique solutions to
packaging and what teams have a new and innovative way
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 to deliver tickets?
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. -- What is the best and most affordable suiteholder event?
General Session: Suiteholder Focus Group When do these events take place? Who is involved: Service?
Sales Session: Sales Strategies 101 Sales? F&B?
10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The State and the Future of the Industry F&B Session: Potential Cocktail Engineering Session
General Session: The State and Future of Premium Seating
• The State and Future of the Industry: Bill Dorsey 5:00 p.m.
• Premium Seating: Where We Were and Where We are Tentative: Depart for Venue Tour
Headed: Peter Titlebaum
-- Where are we headed as an industry?
-- Understanding the Client: Motivations and Expectations
-- Educating the Client and the Team:
• Teams > Suite Sales > Suite Service > F&B > Suite
• ROI, ROO, Sponsorship
28 S E A T
The following are the proposed league meeting agendas to be 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
presented on Monday, June 28, 2010 to the Food and Bever- Alcohol Policies
age, College and Minor League Divisions. -- Stadium, Suites, Club Seating
League agendas are tentative and subject to change -- Per Caps with Alcohol Sales vs. Per Caps
without Alcohol Sales
FOOD AND BEVERAgE PROgRAM
Monday, June 28, 2010 2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
-- Current Issues
-- Stadium Security
Swap menus, training manuals, game day operation
-- Work-Life Balance
manuals with other venues
2:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
All Leagues Best Practices Session
Setting up an Efficient Kitchen System
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (possibly 12:30 p.m.)
Marriott Marquis Presents!
MINOR LEAgUE PROgRAM
-- Marriott Marquis Chef, F&B Director to present Monday, June 28, 2010
-- Interactive Session: Tasting, Preparing, Packaging, Serving COMBINED SESSION: College, Minor Leagues,
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Lunch The Evolution of the Industry: An Architectural Perspective
-- Smaller Venue vs. Larger Venue Capabilities
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
F&B Options 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
-- Healthy Options Economy
-- Green Options -- How has the economy affected minor league venues?
-- Packaging: What menu items can you package to allow -- What are venues doing to improve attendance?
for a lower price point?
-- Suite Ordering: Who is doing it well? 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 a.m.
Renewing or Prospecting?
2:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. -- Did venues lose customers? If so, what are the new
All Leagues Best Practices Session prospecting strategies?
-- Are customers renewing? If so, what are the best
COLLEgE PROgRAM -- What business categories are purchasing currently?
Monday, June 28, 2010
12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
COMBINED SESSION: College, Minor Leagues,
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
The Evolution of the Industry: An Architectural Perspective
Show and Share: Specialty Programs- Teams to Swap
-- Smaller Venue vs. Larger Venue Capabilities
-- All-Inclusives, Flex Plans, Group Plans, Family Plans
10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
1:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
-- Retaining and Realigning Staff
Customer Service 101
-- Training: Staff, Volunteers, Student Workers
-- Budgets, Suiteholder Events, Amenities, Incentive Plans
11:20 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Executive Suite/Club Game Day Catering
All Leagues Best Practices Session
and Special Event Ideas
-- Suite Directors and Caterers Working Closely
SOCCER AND RACING PROGRAMS COMING SOON!
-- Special Events: Who is successful? What kind
of events work best?
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
S E A T 29
Why Disney Institute Matters To You…
T he world-renowned customer service pros from Disney Institute
are set to share their unmatched secrets to success with ALSD
Conference-goers. This three-hour interactive session at the ALSD
Disney Institute has paved the way for millions of business
professionals and more than half of the Fortune 100 companies to
benchmark and adapt proven best practices that have sustained the
Conference and Tradeshow is sure to be your team’s or company’s success of Disney as an organization for over 85 years. Disney Insti-
catalyst for positive organizational change. This highly effective and tute has influential training experiences and professional develop-
powerful learning experience will allow you personally to partici- ment programs that enlighten learners on how Disney creates its
pate in collaborative and immersive discussions, where key elements business “magic” every day. Learn how to adopt this model during
from the industry are identified and approached with the Disney its presentation at the ALSD Conference.
core competencies in mind.
Disney’s Approach to Quality Service
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (Q&A to follow in Exhibit Hall)
2010 ALSD Conference and Tradeshow
New York City; Marriott Marquis
Available to Attendees and Exhibitors
See the ALSD Conference Sign-up Form to Register Now: $75.00
Contact Amanda Verhoff for Details
Facilitators for Disney’s Approach to Quality Service: Dennis Frare & Tom Thomson
Learn more about Disney’s Approach to Quality Service Standards
Quality Service: While a ‘Common Purpose’ provides an organization with direction,
Disney’s Approach to Quality Service is the result of half a century’s ‘Quality Service Standards’ are the operational priorities, or criteria,
experience in exceeding customer expectations in the face of com- that are utilized by every employee, at every level, to ensure consis-
petition, growth and the public’s ever-changing tastes and attitudes. tent delivery upon the ‘Common Purpose’.
While Disney is not perfect, it has never lost sight of Walt’s goal to
“give the public everything you can give them.” As a result, Disney Service Delivery Systems
has been successfully able to keep pace with progress while remain- Once ‘Quality Service Standards’ have been created, the next step
ing firmly grounded in the traditions and values of The Walt Disney is to focus on the methods for delivering customer service. There
Company. are three primary ‘Delivery Systems’ present during any service
Customer Measurement • Cast: employees, human resources
Measuring customers both demographically and psychographically • Setting: physical and virtual resources
to determine customer service approaches is critical to any organiza- • Process: policies, procedures, tasks and events
Quality Service Integration Matrix
Common Purpose The ‘Quality Service Integration Matrix’ combines the use of the
Once customers’ expectations are understood, a statement of global ‘Quality Service Standards’ and the ‘Delivery Systems’. Its purpose is
‘purpose’ is created that helps an organization determine what ser- to create a strategic plan for creating seamless customer service expe-
vice it intends to deliver to its customers. The ‘Common Purpose’ riences, to act as a diagnostic tool to see how a business is currently
defines the organization’s purpose, aligns that purpose with its cus- performing its customer service and to become a benchmarking tool
tomers’ expectations and communicates that alignment consistently to determine what any outside competitive element is doing.
to its employees.
30 S E A T
2010 ALSD Conference Tour Venue Highlights
This year, ALSD attendees will visit two of the most innovative, impressive venues in history.
One is a nostalgic museum in and of itself and features some of the finest ballpark dining experiences
in history. The other includes unmatched technological advances and green initiatives.
New Yankee Stadium
Tour: Sunday, June 27, 2010 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Signature Wall: The interior design of NYY Steak features a custom- A peek inside one of the 56 suites in Yankee Stadium.
made wall featuring 86 autographs of legendary Yankees players.
The Mecca of Food More on Suites and Clubs
New York City is a hot spot for dining options and Yankee Stadium Yankees suite and club seat owners enjoy the convenience of personal-
follows suit. For foodies that attend events at Yankee Stadium, ized service with premium amenities. Such amenities include access to the
there are options galore. Some of the best dining and concession H&R Block Suite Lounge, Legends Suite Club or Jim Beam Suite Lounge,
options in ballpark history include: depending upon where your seat or suite is located. The lounges include
features such as a full bar, food and beverage, private restrooms and ac-
Beers of the World Moe’s Southwest Grill
cess to a conference center.
Boar’s Head Nathan’s
The Champions Suite is new in 2010. Located just beyond the first
Brother Jimmy’s Noodle Bowl
and third base lines, Champions Suite seating provides field level proximity
Carl’s Steak Otis Spunkmeyer
to experience Yankees baseball. This newly designed concept combines
complimentary in-seat wait service with all-inclusive grab-and-go ballpark
Famiglia Pizza Soy Kitchen
fare and non-alcoholic beverages (alcoholic beverages available for pur-
Garlic Fries Triple Play Grill
chase) in both the Ketel One Lounge and the Third Base Lounge, which
Highlanders Hard Rock Café
are located just behind the Champions Suite seats. Cushioned suite-style
Johnny Rocket’s Tommy Bahama’s Bar
seats with teak arms, private restrooms in the Ketel One Lounge or the
Third Base Lounge, personal concierge service and preferred parking (full
Other Highlights season and 41 game offerings only) are some of the amenities featured.
• Main video scoreboard 59’ high x 101’ wide, 16 MM True HD LED. The Club Suite is a unique offering that combines four luxury suites
• The Yankees have recreated the historic manually operated auxiliary into one expansive shared suite with an indoor lounge and outdoor seating
scoreboards along the walls in left-center and right-center field, in rec- area which overlooks the action on the field. A diverse menu of all-inclusive
ognition of the history and museum-type feel of the stadium. premium food and non-alcoholic beverage service is available. The suite
• A Banquet and Conference Center is available for those holding busi- accommodates 74 guests, with additional standing room tickets available
ness meetings at the stadium; AV capabilities include: video conferenc- for purchase. The private interior space contains an expansive lounge and
ing, liquid crystal display projectors and wireless microphones. The bar area with multiple rows of exterior seating featuring cushioned suite
center is conveniently located on the H&R Block Suite Level. seats with teak arms. A private restroom, preferred parking, access to the
• The Great Hall is a 31,000 square-foot space that serves as a boule- H&R Block Suite Lounge, personal concierge service, and a private en-
vard to retail stores and food and beverage amenities. trance, elevator and concourse are included. State-of-the-art technology in
• The Great Hall contains a 24-foot-by-36-foot 10mm true HD video the suite includes Wi-Fi and Sony HD TVs.
board and a 5-foot-by-383-foot 10mm LED ribbon board.
• In the Great Hall are: The Home Plate Store, the Great Hall Store, the
Hard Rock Café and Tommy Bahama’s Bar.
32 S E A T
Cost: Not available from Yankees
Venue Size: Approximately 1.3 million
Venue Construction: Turner Construction
Capacity: 52,325, including standing
Suites: 56; 64 including party
suites and club suites
Photo courtesy of IO Media
Suite Capacity: 12-22 guests
Party Suite Capacity: 28-60 guests; can be com- DELTA SKY360 SuITE
bined to accommodate • 1,200 cushioned seats with teak arms
400 guests • Guests have access to an exclusive lounge with a floor to ceiling glass
wall, so the game can be viewed from inside
Club Seating Capacity: 4,302; Legends,
• Features a four-sided cocktail bar, espresso station, leather couches
Champions, Delta and Jim
and HD televisions
Beam Suite Clubs • Menu selection is extensive and includes some fare prepared by Food
Clubs: Two membership clubs, Network
other clubs for suite JIM BEAM SuITE
holders • 1,300 cushioned seats with padded backs, located on the Terrace Level
behind home plate
Points of Sale: 444 total; 272 permanent • Licensees have access to the Jim Beam Suite Lounge, a separate
and 172 portable climate-controlled space with extensive food and beverage options
• upscale steakhouse with a menu that features uSDA prime dry-aged
beef, fresh seafood and premium wines
Other Clubs and Lounges
The new Yankee Stadium along with their food service partner Legends
AuDI YANKEES CLuB
Hospitality Management will sponsor the ALSD reception on Sunday, June
• One of two memberships clubs, located on the H&R Block Suite Level
27 at their brand new facility in Bronx, NY.
• Features a full-service cocktail bar and dining lounge, including perfor-
mance-cooking stations and a dessert station
• Members pay on an annual basis, but individual-game tickets are also
available Legends Hospitality
MOHEGAN SuN SPORTS BAR Management
• One of two membership clubs, located in centerfield above Monument at a glance
Park By its very definition, a legend
• It is an air-conditioned, spacious area where guests can watch the exists because of a great story.
games through windows facing the field The Legends Hospitality Man-
• Two cocktail bars are located inside as well as high-definition video agement story began with a simple concept—“It’s all about the fans,”
monitors and today, this concept is at the crux of the company.
• It is a membership club, but individual-game tickets are also available Legends is a company that prides itself on providing fans with
LEGENDS SuITE an exceptional experience each and every time they visit a venue.
• Located in the 19 sections closest to the field The fans are their guests and their number one priority. understand-
• Includes cushioned seats, in-seat wait service, concierge ing this concept means that they listen to fans, understand what they
services, private restrooms, and all-inclusive food and non-alcoholic want and customize their service in a way that meets and exceeds
beverages the fans’ needs.
• Licensees have access to the Legends Suite Club They provide expertise and carefully honed customer service in
LEGENDS SuITE CLuB multiple categories including food and beverage, merchandise, facili-
• An extensive bi-level club located behind home plate ties management, design and consulting, hospitality and live enter-
• Offers premium amenities and all-inclusive food and non-alcoholic bev- tainment. In each of these categories they set themselves apart by
erages, including performance-cooking stations being more than a third party provider. As a partner, they customize
• The Legends Suite Club is available to Legends Suite ticket holders a program that guarantees a level of advanced fan service and high-
TWO LEGEND DuGOuT LOuNGES end hospitality that is among the best in the industry.
• Ketel One Lounge and Left Field Dugout Lounge are two private clubs The Legends mission is to be the authority on fan experience so
• Featuring all-inclusive food and non-alcoholic beverages that they can provide team and stadium owners, athletic directors and
• The Lounges are available to Champions Suite ticket holders venue operators with innovative ways to build business value for their
sports franchises off the playing field. They are dedicated to deliver-
ing a legendary fan experience. Legends is truly all about the fans.
S E A T 33
Architectural History: Introducing the new, $1.6 billion, 82,500 seat Meadowlands Stadium.
New Meadowlands Stadium
Tour: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 6:00pm - 9:00pm
green is golden • Over 2100 HD monitors throughout the stadium
• 20 HD video pylons outside the stadium ranging in size from 20’x40’ to
The New Meadowlands will be one of the greenest venues in sports,
thanks to its partnership with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
• 350,000 square-foot outdoor plaza filled with fan-centric activities
Some of the factors going into the greening process include:
• Brownfields Redevelopment – the stadium will not occupy any undevel-
oped lands or “green fields” More on the Suites and Clubs
• Clean Fuels and Lower Emissions The New Meadowlands suites combine the convenience of personalized
• Construction Recycling Program & Construction Materials Reuse Pro- service with premium amenities such as private access roads to VIP park-
gram – the goal is to have little or no impact on landfills ing, private suiteholder entrances and lobbies, private suite level restrooms,
• “Buy Local” Program and Green Products/Materials – hundreds of mil- multiple flat-screen televisions in each suite, wet bars and refrigerators.
lions of construction materials were bought locally All club seat owners get reserved parking with dedicated access,
• Reduction in water demand by an estimated 11,000,000 gallons private club, guest only entry into stadium, private heated concourses,
• Less energy use by 30%, even though the new stadium is over twice as climate-controlled lounges with seating and flat-panel televisions, upscale
large as the old stadium food and beverage, wider, cushioned seats with cup holders, and the op-
• Fan and Community Initiatives – including recycling programs, trans- portunity to purchase tickets to concerts and other stadium events.
portation programs and PSAs The stadium’s four premium lounges feature 30-115 flat-screen tele-
visions in each club area, on-field patios, martini lounges, fire places and
Other Highlights celebrity chef cooking areas.
• No suites will be behind the end zones
COACHES CLuB: LOWER LEVEL – HOME SIDELINE
• Stadium will utilize the world’s only full color, removable end zone and
• Ability to walk from the seating area to a private, on-field deck just five
midfield markings, allowing both the Jets and Giants to display all team
yards from the home team’s bench
appropriate field/end zone logos and markings during home games
• Access to player and coach interviews and press conferences
• Received approval to bid for the hosting rights to the 2014 Super Bowl
• Opportunity to see players leaving the locker room to take the field
-- The bid was approved despite traditional weather requirements for
• Admittance to the 20,000 square-foot bar and lounge designed by pre-
hosting sites, namely that the stadium’s region has to be a minimum
mier restaurant and hotel architect David Rockwell, who is famous for
of 50 degrees during Super Bowl time or else have an enclosed venue
spaces like Nobu and the W Hotels
• Selected as finalist in uSA Bid to Host FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022
• Private and corporate event bookings are available in this space
• Four massive 30 x 118 foot HD video display boards in each of the sta-
• 48” x 2200’ ribbon board that circles the interior bowl
34 S E A T
Cost: $1.6 billion
Venue Size: 2.1 million square-feet
Venue Construction: Skanska
Capacity: 82,500, capability for 90,000
for non-football major
events, third largest in NFL
Suites: 222; on four separate levels
Suite Capacity: 16-24 seats
Suite Designer: David Rockwell Group
Club Seating Capacity: Over 10,000 seats
Premium Experience: Modern technology and state-of-the-art amenities Clubs: Four; Coaches Club,
await New Meadowland Stadium suite holders.
Great Hall Club, East and
West Mezzanine Clubs
Parking: Over 28,000 spaces
Transportation: Brand new rail line,
dropping passengers in
front of the stadium
GREAT HALL CLuB: LOWER LEVEL – VISITOR SIDELINE
New Meadowlands Stadium along with their food service partner Delaware
• 700 seats are included in this 50-yard line section, located on the west
North Companies will sponsor the ALSD reception on Tuesday, June 29 at
side of the stadium
their brand new facility in East Rutherford, NJ.
• Ability to stand on the field, just yards behind the visitors’ bench
• Location right off the main stadium entrance
• upscale lounge behind the actual seats Delaware North
• Private and corporate event bookings are available in this space Companies
at a glance
EAST AND WEST CLuBS: SECOND/MEzzANINE LEVEL – EAST AND The New York-New Jersey area
WEST SIDELINES is well-known as one of the food
• Located along the mezzanine sidelines on the east and west sides of capitals of the world. That reputation will be enhanced this year with
the stadium the opening of the New Meadowlands Stadium, the region’s pre-emi-
• Both clubs offer the same amenities nent sports and entertainment venue.
• Clubs span over 42,000 square-feet Outstanding cuisine will be a key part of the unforgettable pre-
• Option to purchase VIP parking mium guest experience New Meadowlands Stadium will offer. Global
• Private and corporate event bookings are available in this space food service and hospitality provider Delaware North Companies,
through its Sportservice division, is the New Meadowlands Stadium’s
The New Meadowlands is a two-tenant facility. Because of that, each team food, beverage and retail partner.
has standard amenities specific to their team and suiteholders. To view The New Meadowlands Stadium will join Delaware North’s many
those amenities, visit www.nyg2010.com and www.newjetsstadium.com. other highly regarded premium food and beverage operations, includ-
For more information please go to www.newmeadowlandsstadium.com. ing TD Garden in Boston, Wembley Stadium in London, the Australian
Open in Melbourne and the landmark Ahwahnee Lodge at Yosemite
National Park. The company’s culinary team is guided by Certified
Master Chef Roland Henin.
Sportservice’s executive and sous chefs at New Meadowlands
Stadium will be assisted by Great Performances, the acclaimed New
York caterer with which Delaware North partners to operate the his-
toric grand ballroom of The Plaza in Manhattan.
Sportservice is finalizing menus for the stadium’s suites and
each of the stadium's premium clubs, which include such distinct fea-
tures as a martini lounge and brick pizza oven. Celebrity guest chefs
will be featured in the exclusive Commissioner’s Club, which offers
luxury dining in either a private or communal setting. Chefs will use
state-of-the-art induction cooking in presenting the upscale dining ex-
perience of the Coach’s Club.
Fans of the New York Giants and New York Jets, as well as at-
tendees of concerts and year-round special events, can look forward
Under Construction: The New Meadowlands Stadium suites and clubs to savoring contemporary takes on traditional favorites and the re-
will be ready for ALSD attendees in June. gion’s unique twists on specialties from across the globe.
S E A T 35
In Per-Event Suite Sales
The United Center’s Rental Suite Program is the accredited authority for per-event strategies.
With policies refined over a decade, the home of Chicago’s Bulls and Blackhawks has written the manual
for those teams to follow who are just now dipping their toe into the per-event waters.
By Jared Frank, Editor of SEAT, Association of Luxury Suite Directors
hange is buzzword fodder in today’s
modern lexicon. Change for the sake
of change with no real substance be-
hind the message does little to spur industry
onto its next progression. But change born
out of necessity is well, necessary. The key
to premium seating success for the United
Center in Chicago is controlling positive
change with an admixture of time-tested
lease as well as new age per-event products.
The venue’s per-event suite sales tactic, its
Rental Suite Program, contributes great
success to its overall sales agenda. And hav-
ing been implemented ten seasons ago, the
United Center is, needless to say, ahead of
Not to flog the issue to death, but the
current economy has forced teams and ven-
ues to become more creative and more in-
novative with their premium seating prod-
uct arsenal. As market needs become more
assorted, so must any industry’s menu of
product and service offerings; a cookie cut-
ter approach simply does not work. “You
have to be able to provide people with what
they’re looking for, and the more diverse
you are, the better off you are,” says Curtis
Baddeley, Director of Rental Suites at the
United Center. With a plethora of choices
including long-term leases, fractional plans,
cost-sharing partners, flexible terms, privi-
lege plan programs, season ticket holder
discount programs, Theater Box owner-
ships, Harris Club memberships, and yes,
per-event suite sales, there is an option to
account for the needs of every United Cen-
Inventory available at the United
Center on a per-event basis includes three
80-person Super Suites, two of which can
be turned into four 40-person Super Suites,
and the Bud Light Legends Lounge. Also
offered are 20-person Penthouse Level Not too heavy, not too light: The 80-person Bud Light Legends Lounge is a perfect
suites, one 20-person Club Level suite and example of activating sponsorship through per-event space.
S E A T 37
There must be premium seating options given to the
customer during the sales process instead of shoehorning
purchasers into spaces that do not align with
their business objectives.
two 20-person Harris Club meeting/dining room suites. Pending give their contact information for the opportunity at the end of the
stage configuration, Rental Suites are available for all public ticketed season to win one of three free suites. After the leads are captured
events held at the United Center- Chicago Bulls games, Chicago in its system, the United Center is able to periodically email guests
Blackhawks games, concerts, college basketball games, family ice regarding Bulls and Blackhawks games, or other special events. This
shows and the circus. gives the United Center the ability to touch and remind previous
One idea to explore when developing a per-event strategy is guests of their experience, who in turn tell other friends and business
the feasibility in partnering with a sponsor to build new spaces for associates about the event. “A lot of what we do is word of mouth.
per-event use. The aforementioned Bud Light Legends Lounge was It’s a matter of ‘Hey I was in a suite and it was a great time. Your
built two years ago for Anheuser-Busch. In their agreement with the company should think about doing it’,” says Baddeley. “We try to
United Center, they get to utilize the suite for a significant amount give the people who are in our venue reasons to talk about their
of games and events. And if they do not use it, the United Center experience.”
is allowed to re-rent it as an 80-person suite. “It’s a very popular Creating a memorable experience begins at the very begin-
area. It’s unique; it’s themed; it’s a little more modern and hip. And ning of the Rental Suite process. Having a process that is as easy
it’s in the corner, as opposed to behind the basket,” Baddeley says. as possible for the customer is a top priority for the United Center.
“Anheuser-Busch gets plenty of good mileage out of it, using the In the rental suite world, there are customers who buy suite tickets
space for a lot of internal programs and solidifying partnerships.” with parking included, but have to work with someone else to pur-
chase food and alcohol. To alleviate this headache, the United Cen-
Filling the Seats ter bundles its program into an all-inclusive package. Such packages
No question, Chicago is a great market. It is a market that caters to include tickets, parking, choice of preset menu packages that have
the long-term lease customer and the per-event customer. The Unit- different price points and a four hour open bar with beer, wine, soda
ed Center’s per-event sales and marketing database has over 12,000 and water.
names of past and current suite renters, as well as prospects and suite
guests, so they have developed a solid target profile of companies and The Per-Event Philosophy
individuals to contact for future sales, most of which fall in line with The per-event philosophy can be summarized as a symbiotic relation-
the most popular SIC industries in most markets. And although they ship shared between the United Center and its per-event customers
do not specifically target prospects on a national level, the current for the mutual benefit of both. Providing an affordable opportunity
database does contain hundreds of national companies that have for a company or individual to experience a Rental Suite for an event
rented before when they have been in Chicago on an annual basis is the most effective way to bring in more business for the venue.
for conventions and meetings. Similarly, the buying of suites on a per-event basis is important to a
The United Center’s philosophy is to generate buzz to get company that still needs a unique setting to obtain business, retain
people talking about the product by using its database to blanket the business and solidify relationships.
market with information whether it is brochures and emails or word Unsold long-term lease inventory and the existence of demand
of mouth. With such a large quantity of names, the principal sales for per-event suites are the two most important factors in stimulat-
tool used to provide information to potential customers is a direct ing the development of the United Center’s Rental Suite Program.
mail campaign (a brochure and cover letter) sent to companies in Over of the course of ten years, the selling of suites on a per-event
the Chicago area in early September. “Not everyone on the list gets basis has become vitally important to the continued success of the
a brochure and cover letter, but everyone that has an email address United Center’s premium seating department. “Obviously, taking
does periodically get emails from us, so between email and direct unsold suite inventory and filling it on a nightly basis is the number
mail, that’s how we usually contact people,” Baddeley explains. Some one priority,” Baddeley says. The extent of the priority that per-event
markets that are smaller than Chicago, and only able to do certain sales have within the organization’s overall sales and marketing strat-
things because of the limited industries they are able to target and egy is evidenced by its staffing. One sales person and one service
pull from, might have to employ a more aggressive style of selling person are employed to work on per-event suites, and both the Bulls
in terms of cold calling. But because “you’re cold calling for a spe- and Blackhawks sales representatives provide sales leads to the Unit-
cific product in a high price range”, the per-event sale is a hard call, ed Center premium seating department.
and other teams and venues are better served primarily following the The increased demand for per-event sales that is evident in the
United Center’s blanket approach. United Center locally is applicable globally to the entire premium
Building such a large database takes time. To generate leads, seat industry today. As stated previous, there must be premium seat-
the United Center has been collecting names of people who go into ing options given to the customer during the sales process instead of
their suites on a nightly basis since the Rental Suite Program’s incep- shoehorning purchasers into spaces that do not align with their busi-
tion in 1999. Guests, who may not be actual suite purchasers, are ness objectives. By forcing the metaphorical square peg into the figu-
enticed to participate in the venue’s Sign-up and Win Program and rative round hole, teams lose any hope of renewing or up-selling the
38 S E A T
Super Experience: One of the Super Suites available for per-event use at the United Center.
client at the conclusion of the lease period. “The days of just offering
long-term leases are over. In addition to long-term leases, some cus-
“Obviously, taking unsold suite inventory
tomers want shorter terms, all-inclusive packages and the flexibility and filling it on a nightly basis
to rent a suite only when they need a suite,” states Baddeley.
Further, listening to the customer during the discovery pro-
is the number one priority.”
cess and throughout the entire sales progression as well as paying – Curtis Baddeley
very close attention to the changing states of the economy are two
factors that must be focused on in the future to establish criteria a servicing aspect in those days. We were servicing the suite hold-
to qualify per-event prospects. “Knowing what a customer’s goals ers,” details Baddeley. But teams are cyclical over the years, and they
and objectives are during the sales process is essential,” acknowledges have ups and downs with regards to performance. The bottom line is
Baddeley. Going forward, certain teams and venues will have to when the team’s not winning, premium seating has to change course.
adjust to the adjusted needs and concerns of the customer. Some “We adjusted by offering different amenities and different packages
budgets for entertaining are a fraction of what they used to be. And with regards to premium seating,” Baddeley explains. “If a company
indicators say even when the economy comes back, suite holders are is saying, ‘We can’t afford this anymore’ or ‘This isn’t working for us
likely to stay on a course of fiscally-disciplined behavior. anymore’, we have to be able to have an answer for them and have
As far as pricing goes, it is one of the most important factors other programs that are less expensive, yet still offer some of the same
in determining the success of any per-event program and certainly services that they’re used to.”
the United Center’s Rental Suite Program. To eliminate the possibil- Customers might not spend as much, but they are spend-
ity of cannibalization, per-event customers must pay a premium for ing something. And the goal is to turn the per-event renter into
renting a suite with scaled back amenities for one event so long-term a more consistent premium seating paying customer, whether they
leaseholders see a value in their long-term investment that secures are a long-term leaseholder, cost-sharing partner, Harris Club mem-
the best locations, allows unique branding in their suites and pro- ber, Theater Box owner or more frequent per-event purchaser at the
vides any number of other exclusive rights. “The pricing for both United Center. All these avenues are ways to continue to keep a
products needs to be transparent to let the long-term leaseholder customer rather than lose them entirely. “It’s harder for them to say
know they are receiving a better value,” Baddeley says. no economically if you’re able to offer them a menu of options,” says
Baddeley. “We’ve had a ton of renters over the years that have de-
Overcoming Objections cided ‘You know this is really working for us. We’re definitely getting
It is understood that in most cases, when your team wins, you sell some return on entertaining one or two nights. Maybe we should
more product. Back in the 90s when the Bulls were winning cham- think about partnering with a suite holder and doing it on a little
pionships with Michael Jordan, suites were not a tough sell. “It was more consistent basis’.”
S E A T 39
Indicators say even when the economy comes back,
suite holders are likely to stay on a course of
Too often per-event programs are looked upon as an after-
thought in the industry when they should be something that teams For those ALSD members with more inquisi-
and venues concentrate on. By looking at the United Center’s ten- tive minds, the United Center’s complete suite
year track record of success, one can see per-event sales is not some rental brochure can be downloaded online at
passing trend to counterbalance a downturn economy, but is a solu-
www.unitedcenter.com. This brochure is the
tion which has already grown legs under it and proffers longevity.
same collateral that is sent as part of the direct
The United Center invests heavily in developing an extremely di-
verse premium seating model, which has a positive financial impact mail campaigns, as well as on a daily basis via
on the overall success of the United Center. “The premium seating email to those who inquire about price break-
industry has changed over the last ten years and per-event suites have downs, menus, and all other general informa-
contributed to that change,” says Baddeley. Whatever the impetus, tion needed to make a decision on whether or
economy or otherwise, per-event suites are here to stay. Frankly, they not to rent a suite.
have been around and evidently working for ten years. The time has
come to embrace this proven solution. #
Write to Jared at email@example.com
The United Center Suite Rental Program can accommodate 20, 40, or 80 guests per-event.
40 S E A T
Ticket Management Solutions
for Teams and Their Customers
The management of premium tickets is not a new exercise.
But what was once primitive is now driven by multiple, sophisticated technology options.
Which one is right for your team’s customers?
Edited by Jared Frank
he first programs that provided the opportunity to man- supposed to use the tickets actually bring in the customers
age tickets essentially began with the advent of the Ex- they say they will. People in the corporate world who mis-
cel spreadsheet. So conceptually at least, the solution handle these assets are subject to anything from a slap on
discussed in this article has been around for awhile. Howev- the wrist to termination to even criminal charges being filed
er, technology has needed time to progress to catch up with in some instances. Larger companies can easily have in-
the idea. The first iterations of ticket management solutions vestments of upwards of $25 million in corporate hospitality
that were adopted were very unrefined and were proven to expenditures. As such, ticket usage is tracked carefully and
be unreliable. As a result, once burned, some teams and return on investment is the watchword of the day.
corporations have been slow on the uptake to accept subse- In general, there are several variations on the themes
quent generations of ticket management systems. of the ticket management systems that are available today.
That was then. This is now. There are those products offered primarily to the teams
Today's products available to teams and corporations in themselves so their best customers can track their usage.
ticket management are a quantum leap forward from a de- There are those products offered to the end user directly.
cade ago. Technological capabilities have vastly increased Then there are those which have both capabilities, a hybrid
as software performance has improved, technical knowledge product. Just as buying seats in the 21st century comes with
has become less arcane and more advanced program train- multiple options, so too can managing tickets for those seats.
ing has been offered to ensure more efficient employment of The multiple options have created a bit of confusion among
the solution. And with the high dollar cost of premium tickets teams and their customers. The following Q&A among four
today, proper ticket management for corporations on some of the major ticket management system providers will help
level is a wise decision. The days when tickets are left in the answer some of the questions ALSD members have. The
desk drawer of a person four companies inter-
who has no incentive to viewed are SeatSub,
make certain the tickets eventIQ, TicketOS and
are utilized are dwin- Luxium. There are sev-
dling. Corporations now eral other companies
view these tickets as in the space, but these
"assets" and make sure four companies were
they are used for busi- chosen because they
ness purposes. Some represent the three op-
corporations even hire tions available to teams
secret shoppers to make and corporations.
sure the people who are
Just as buying seats in the 21st century comes with multiple options,
so too can managing tickets for those seats. The multiple options have created
a bit of confusion among teams and their customers.
S E A T 41
SEAT: Describe your value proposition to the teams and to Luxium: For the teams, it drives greater Return on Investment (ROI)
the customers. through better management of suite inventory (including rentals),
better use of fractional
SeatSub: Ticket Management for Dummies (TMFD) delivers val- suites and optimizing
ue to both teams and their season ticket holders by increasing seat SRO sales. It also con-
utilization. When attendance increases, everyone benefits: teams, ducts in-depth report-
concessionaires, sponsors, ing to obtain insights
broadcasters and of course into suite usage and customer data, driving new sales opportunities.
fans. Specifically, teams re- For the customers, it provides suite holders with a web-based tool to
ceive value from TMFD make it easier to invite guests, order food and souvenirs online and
through fewer no shows, generally manage their suite to prove their own ROI.
which increases concession
sales, parking and other in- SEAT: Is there any special technology or training required?
game revenues. In addition, when season ticket holders use more SeatSub: Consistent with all For Dummies offerings, we developed
of their tickets each year, teams are more likely to receive renewals a service which is simple to use and does not require any special
from these fans in future seasons. The value to season ticket holders technology or training.
is the ease with which TMFD turns possibly unused tickets into
marketing opportunities for businesses and enhanced networking eventIQ: No. InviteRight is a web application that works with the
for individuals. ticket holder’s email. Teams get ticket holders started by emailing
them a link or adding a link to their premium seat area on their web-
eventIQ: InviteRight is used by ticket holders to invite guests to site. Administrators are busy; they don’t have time to learn software.
games. It’s hard for a suite director to get a renewal meeting with a Both the team and ticket holder IT departments love InviteRight
ticket holder, and it’s just as hard for ticket holders to get their cus- because no support is required and it ties into existing systems.
tomers to attend a game. It involves numerous phone calls, emails TicketOS: All you need is an internet connection and a browser to
and voicemails tracked get started. Training is provided and the learning curve is minimal.
on spreadsheets, which
can result in double Luxium: Luxium software can be installed at the stadium or remote-
booking of tickets or a ly. Some training is needed for team sales people. Customers need
last minute panic to fill the seat. Ticket delivery is easy. InviteRight about 30 minutes of web-based training.
integrates to Ticketmaster and other online or will call systems that
deliver tickets. InviteRight removes the ticket holder pain when in- SEAT: Can you outline the general costs of your products
viting guests prior to ticket delivery and makes the ticket easy to use or how you would price this out to a team or a customer?
resulting in improved ticket renewals and better game attendance.
As well, administrators are reminded to buy merchandise and food SeatSub: A subscription price of $19.99 per season allows season
for their guests, and guests receive team promotional email offers. ticket holders to find the right people to use their tickets. Imagine
InviteRight also means less work and more guests for teams who the substantial return on such a nominal investment when TMFD
host special events like food and beverage tastings, player meetings, helps connect the season ticket holder with a prospective customer
charity fundraisers, golf tournaments or galas. whose purchase easily exceeds the TMFD subscription price. Teams
have even more pricing flexibility. You can partner with TMFD,
TicketOS: For the teams, think of it this way: Many Fortune 200 for instance, to provide this service to your season ticket holders
companies typically have between 5,000 and 100,000 season and free of charge by collaborating with sponsors and/or other business
sponsorship tickets. TicketOS’ value begins once the season ticket partners.
or sponsorship sale is complete. At that point TicketOS becomes eventIQ: Priced per box (starts at $300 per season) or premium
the custom ticket solution for a company that replaces a manual ticket client ($25 per season). There is no limit to the number of
ticket process that included Excel games or special events that can be managed for the venue. For team
spreadsheets and desk drawers. The events, RSVPs and registrations can be purchased for as low as $99
application is web-based and acces- per event.
sible by anyone within the corpo-
ration. Large corporations provide TicketOS: The TicketOS cost is either a fixed cost or a per ticket fee.
daily HR data feeds that contain No hidden fees or maintenance charges.
employee information via electron- Luxium: The only cost to the team is a fee per suite per month.
ic data exchange. Employees can search company-owned inventory The fee varies, but is less than the cost of single game ticket. Call
and select tickets based on date, number of tickets, seat location, etc. 613.291.2476 for a personalized quote. The suite holders get to use
The company then can create a customized approval process and set as much of the software as they wish for FREE.
up reporting based on their requirements. Paper tickets can easily be
converted to digital format (PDF), and employee purchase plans can
be created to help increase ticket utilization. Lastly, TicketOS part-
ners with dozens of charities to provide corporations the flexibility
to donate tickets to the charity of their choice. The goal is to never
let a ticket go unused.
42 S E A T
The days when tickets are left in the desk drawer are met. It is effectively in between competing products in terms of
functionality and purpose at a low price. InviteRight is NOT a full
of a person who has no incentive to make certain suite/inventory POS system. Teams can view how well tickets are
the tickets are utilized are dwindling. being used, but it does not replace food and beverage systems and
InviteRight is designed to be used before the game, not during the
game. InviteRight is more than suite holder ticket management in
SEAT: Is the system up and running? Do you have any no- comparison to competing products. Teams and their ticket holders
table clients or references that have used the system? can use it to invite guests and track RSVPs for special events, and
it is designed to integrate to team and ticket holder CRM systems.
SeatSub: TMFD works very well. Our clients over the last couple of
years include the Sacramento River Cats, Rochester Redwings and TicketOS: TicketOS in the only ticket management system that of-
Austin Toros. fers digital ticket conversion and a robust employee purchase system.
Digital tickets are very popular and allow corporations the flexibility
eventIQ: Yes. We have processed 1.3 million registrations for about
to email tickets up until game time. Teams love the idea of an em-
23,000 events. Teams, venues and ticket holders themselves love In-
ployee purchase system because companies offering tickets for both
viteRight, including, AEG, the Kansas City Chiefs, Marriott Hotels,
professional and personal use tend to have a higher utilization rate
and ATB Financial.
which translates to a greater chance of renewal business.
TicketOS: TicketOS has 15 customers running the software that
Luxium: Luxium is the only product that does all of the following:
manages over 500,000 tickets annually. Notable clients include Bank
• Provides free tools to suite holders to manage tickets and
of America, Capital One, and Pepsi/Gatorade.
electronic guest invitations.
Luxium: Portland Trail Blazers are going live at this time. • Allows suite holders to order food and souvenirs online.
• Manages all suite inventories.
SEAT: Can the system work for an individual corporation? • Automatically prepares lease and rental contracts.
Can it also work for a team? What is its intended audience? • Automatically manages fractional suites including, 1/2’s,
1/4’s and even 1/8’s.
SeatSub: Because TMFD is an online system, its architecture is flex- • Shows available rental suites at a glance per event.
ible enough to allow businesses as well as professional sports teams • Provides the ability to resell available suites.
to benefit by its use. TMFD is intent on delivering value to all inter- • Operates over a database that allows for full management
ested parties of a live sports event. reporting.
eventIQ: Both. We have individual box and ticket holders that buy • Connects to other systems used by the teams – including
the system and use it for managing all their RSVPs and registra- CRM.
tions and tickets (corporate special events, staff Christmas parties, SEAT: Is there anything else you would like to mention
seminars, golf tournaments, dinners and galas) along with managing that we have left out here?
their season tickets. InviteRight’s customer base is the same as the
SeatSub: TMFD is offering the next ten teams that partner with us
the opportunity to provide this service at no cost to season tickets
TicketOS: The system was designed by corporations for corpora- holders or anyone else, including sponsors, for the upcoming season.
tions (sorry Courtyard). The intended audience is a corporate user Why not try it? It costs you nothing and offers a good likelihood of
that wants to entertain customers or prospects. CFOs tend to love significant upside.
the system because it automates processes that are typically manual
eventIQ: Haven’t I said enough yet?
and gives them a unique control over ticket purchases.
TicketOS: TicketOS can be run as a self-service option or a full-
Luxium: The system is designed for the teams and the teams’ suite
service. Self-service simply means the customer loads and fulfills the
holders. It provides them many options to increase revenues and
tickets. Full-service means the TicketOS trained professionals receive
keep their suites active in the primary market, rather than lose rev-
the tickets from the team, load the ticket inventory and fulfill orders
enues to the secondary markets. ROI for the teams is about 500%
on behalf of the customer so they never have to touch a ticket.
annually or higher.
Luxium: Any team that has not sold ALL of its suite inventory for
ALL events and ALL games should contact Luxium at info@luxium.
SEAT: How does your product differ or distinguish itself
ca to request a personal ROI calculation for your stadium. It could
from the competition?
be the best single investment you will ever make. #
SeatSub: TMFD is focused on increasing attendance at live sporting
events for the benefit of professional teams, season ticket holders and For more information, each ticket management provider can be con-
other interested parties. We work with customers to help them find tacted via the following:
the right people to use their tickets while saving time and money. SeatSub: Franco Cirelli, firstname.lastname@example.org
TMFD has an internationally recognized brand name with a history eventIQ: Dave Bodnarchuk,
of providing an exceptionally high level of customer service. email@example.com
eventIQ: InviteRight is well priced and provides a balance of key TicketOS: John Wallace, firstname.lastname@example.org
functionality and integration to existing team systems while ensur- Luxium: Bruce Lazenby, email@example.com
ing that the team’s brand, image and key renewal and revenue goals
S E A T 43
Becoming a part of the experience.
Being part of the experience is really what watching a game at This addition to the Booth Hall of Fame has transformed a static
Allen Field House is all about. Experiences are what make space into a highly interactive and engaging environment that is a
connections and draw people together. For the Booth Hall of destination spot for fans that visit Booth Hall.
Fame Basketball Experience, the University of Kansas Athletic
Department wanted nothing less. “Dimensional Innovations, together with its technology partner,
provided us with outstanding and fan-friendly AV interactives
Gould Evans brought on Dimensional Innovations to transform the which have helped make the museum come alive in so many ways.
Hall of Fame space into a completely interactive and engaging With these interactives fans can immerse themselves in the
space. DI detailed, engineered, fabricated and installed a reaction Kansas Athletics experience.”
time interactive, vertical jump interactive, wingspan interactive and
on the air interactive. Visitors can connect to KU’s website at touch —Candace Dunback, Curator, Booth Family Hall of Athletics
screen stations or look up famous players and game highlights.
dimin.com P 913.384.3488
Interaction+Experience Design · Branded Environments · Signage+Wayfinding Design · Engineering · Specialty Fabrication · Installation
44 S E A T
F E AT U R E
As a leading provider of special event and venue
insurance, K&K has partnered with the ALSD to offer
a new program to suite owners and renters. This
program provides affordable event liability protection
in a unique new format designed speciﬁcally for
Image courtesy of Allen County
War Memorial Coliseum
18 S E AT
The Infusion of Technology
Across Sports and Entertainment
The Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology (SEAT-IT) and the ALSD continue
to help bring the top technology companies to the realm of sports and entertainment.
Motorola and Insight are back for more in 2010. And they come armed with the latest and
greatest in IT products and solutions.
By Christine Stoffel, Executive Director, Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology
T echnology continues to be the cornerstone of North America’s
sports stadiums and arenas, personified by every new or renovated
building across the continent. Stadium and arena Owners, General
Motorola has been at the forefront of communication in-
ventions and innovations for more than 80 years. They have
Managers and Presidents are looking to their Chief Information Of- achieved extraordinary accomplishments along the way —
ficers, Vice Presidents and IT leadership to provide them with infor- such as making the equipment that carried the first words
mation on the newest innovative technologies that will compel fans from the moon, and leading the cellular communication
and empower the team or venue to deliver dynamic, interactive fan revolution with the development of the world’s first handheld
experiences. Clearly, the fan experience is near the top, if not the cellular phone, the DynaTAC 8000x. More recently, Mo-
number one issue today across sports and entertainment. "Our new torola has staked out a position at the forefront of 4G tele-
stadium will be an entertainment destination, and more than just a communications. Motorola holds a market-leading position
great place to watch a game,” described Jerry Jones, Owner and Gen- in WiMAX deployments around the world. During the 2009
eral Manager of the Dallas Cowboys prior to opening up the new SEAT-ALSD conference, Tom Moore, Director of Motorola
Dallas Cowboys Stadium. One of the many goals for the SEAT-IT Sports & Entertainment, presented Motorola’s technology so-
Consortium is to bring IT leaders and technology vendors together, lutions relating to the sports and entertainment industry. The
in hopes that they can change the business of the sports and enter- presentation demonstrated Motorola’s commitment to creat-
tainment industry by leveraging pioneering technology solutions for ing dynamic solutions to enhance the fan experience.
fans to embrace.
As a global technology solution provider, Insight has joined
Each year, IT Division sponsorship grows, forces with entertainment giants such as ISC, NASCAR, the
which is a key demonstration that the sports and Arizona Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston
Bruins to deliver unique interactive fan experiences. Insight is
entertainment industry is becoming a vital vertical a technology solutions provider serving global and local clients
of business across the technology community. in 170 countries. Today, thousands of clients, including more
than 80 percent of the Global Fortune 500, rely on Insight
to acquire, implement and manage technology solutions to
empower their business. Insight also provides software and li-
The SEAT-IT and ALSD conferences are successful, in part, censing services globally.
due to partnerships with corporate sponsors that understand the Insight has continued to be a proud supporter of the
need to drive the fan experience through technology. Being a spon- SEAT-ALSD IT Division for three years. Insight’s executive
sor is a commitment to our industry. Corporate partners are making leadership team is dedicated to developing a National Prac-
a statement that they believe sports and entertainment to be a valid tice centered on the sports and entertainment industry. As the
industry for their company to invest in year after year. business of sports technology continues to grow vigorously,
Each year, IT Division sponsorship grows, which is a key dem- Insight is committed to providing a menu of powerful solu-
onstration that the sports and entertainment industry is becoming tions to the sports and entertainment community by leverag-
a vital vertical of business across the technology community. Two ing their expert team of resources and product development
of our top-tier sponsors for the IT Division are Motorola, Inc. and specialists.
We appreciate the level of sponsorship these companies have pro-
vided to our SEAT-IT group and their commitment to creating in-
novative technologies for sports and entertainment. The SEAT-IT
organization will again partner with the ALSD in 2010 at the 4th
Annual Conference for SEAT-IT leaders in New York City to bring
together Motorola and Insight, as well as other technology profes-
sionals across sports, entertainment and collegiate organizations.
46 S E A T
The infusion of technology is evident by the socialization of technology solutions
within every business unit in a sports or entertainment venue.
The 4th Annual SEAT-IT Conference in New York City is expected to be the biggest
and best conference for IT leaders to date. The following is the agenda, to be presented
June 27 – 30, 2010, which has been carefully crafted by our dedicated IT Steering Committee
comprised of IT leaders across sports and entertainment:
SESSION ONE: SESSION SIX:
IT Executive Round Table Discussion Executive Coaching/Professional Mentoring
IT professionals across sports and entertainment have the opportu- Presented by Dan Rossetti of Ascention Sports Partners
nity to talk about topics and share ideas with their peers. The session Learn coaching advice to help IT executives hire and retain the best
is moderated by an IT executive from the sports and entertainment talent for IT organizations, tips to build better relationships, and
industry. how to coach and mentor your IT staff to be successful as individuals
and as a team.
Inside the Stadium of the Future SESSION SEVEN:
Moderated by John Avenson, VP of IT for the Minnesota Twins Social Networking: Future Impacts on
Learn about technology innovations and their impact on the sports Sports and Entertainment
and entertainment industry. Hear lessons learned from leading in- Leading social networking executives discuss the evolution of social
dustry IT executives from the newest and most incredible stadiums networking, security, impacts on the industry, measurements of suc-
and arenas across the industry. cess and the future of social networking.
SESSION THREE: SESSION EIGHT:
Digital Media Asset Management in Cloud Computing: Advancing the Economics
Sports and Entertainment of Networking
Panel and audience discussion around the concept of digital media Cloud computing experts discuss Data Center as a Service, Infra-
asset management. Discover the pros, cons, lessons learned and best structure as a Service, Software as a Service, pros and cons of cloud
practices presented by leading companies in this technology space, as computing and proactive data center monitoring.
well as IT executives across sports and entertainment.
SESSION FOUR: Each year, the SEAT-IT program continues to grow.
CRM: Taking It Beyond the Customer The infusion of technology is evident by the social-
Relationship ization of technology solutions within every business
In this session, panelists will talk about leveraging CRM and third
party tools. unit in a sports or entertainment venue. SEAT-IT’s
desire is to educate, inform, network and innovate
together to change the approach by which sports and
The Dynamics of Technology in Sports and
Entertainment…Straight from the League Execs entertainment leverages technology, and to build a
Moderated by Mike Morris, VP of IT for MLB strong IT community of leaders that bring remark-
Mr. Morris will lead a dynamic discussion with CIOs and Executives able experiences to fans and customers across the
from NHL, MLB, ISC, NBA, MLS, NFL and PBR around the fu-
ture impact of technology across sports and entertainment. world. #
Visit Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology online at
48 S E A T
Inside the World of Luxury Suite
Administrators and Coordinators
r. Peter Titlebaum, Associate Professor at the University of
Dayton and Research Director for the ALSD and Dr. Heath-
Why do ALsD professionals need to understand er Lawrence, Assistant Professor at Ohio University, have
teamed up to begin examining this significant and under-researched
luxury suite administrators/coordinators? area. During the fall of 2009, the researchers conducted Phase One
of a multi-phase project related to suite administrators/coordina-
AnsWer: tors. Five teams from each of the five major sports leagues (NBA,
NFL, NHL, MLB and MLS) were surveyed to gain knowledge
understanding suite administrators/coordinators about the luxury suite industry. The sample included teams in all
market sizes. The goal was to gain a better understanding of the per-
impacts the way venues and teams approach their ceptions that luxury suite administrators/coordinators have about
interactions with people filling these important their position. The results indicated that little is known about the
time commitment, role expectations and training associated with
roles. All individuals who work in premium seating the position.
The current recession has made it clear that sport is not as
need to understand the impact of these unsung recession-proof as was previously thought. As a result, corporate
professionals who play a large role in business America has drastically reduced spending on what could be con-
strued as non-essential, even frivolous, business functions. So al-
practices within the luxury suite industry. though suite administrators/coordinators work for the suite client,
they are still important to teams and venues. In fact, they may have
a better understanding of suite usage than anyone else. They also
have the ear of the suite buyer and believe they play a critical role
Before introducing new information about suite in the renewal process. For all of these reasons and more, teams
administrators/coordinators, a definition of the role and venues should take an interest in engaging suite administrators/
coordinators in a more active way.
is needed. Suite administrators/coordinators are as- When asked what suite administrators/coordinators thought
signed by a company/suite owner to coordinate suite was their MOST IMPORTANT role in this position, the top five
activity and disburse ticket inventory. More specific
1. Being able to order food and beverage easily and quickly
responsibilities include: acting as the liaison be- 2. Making sure that tickets are being utilized
tween the team and suite owner, acting as the liaison 3. Tracking the use of the suite for current and prospective clients
between suite users and the suite owner, choosing 4. Making sure hospitality is responsive to their company needs
5. Being involved in the renewal process
the menu and placing the food and beverage order
These responses help paint a clearer picture of how individuals see
and facilitating the event-day catering and other ser- their role as a suite administrator/coordinator.
vice functions. It is valuable to understand both what is important and what
is not important to these professionals as well. The two items that
were considered LEAST IMPORTANT in the role of suite admin-
1. Receiving additional rewards for taking on this role within the
2. Receiving direction from the suite buyer on the role of being the
50 S E A T
suite administrators may have a better understanding of suite usage
than anyone else. they also have the ear of the suite buyer and believe
they play a critical role in the renewal process.
These responses echo recent sentiments across positions and Answer: The goal is to make sure service is excellent, the suite is
industries, where much of the population considers themselves for- clean, and the equipment is working. They also make sure that the
tunate just to be employed. It is evident from the responses to these attendants are taking care of the guests and serve as a liaison with the
questions that suite administrators/coordinators do not have a clear caterer and team representative if there are any problems.
sense of their influence over the initial and ongoing success of the
suite. If they understood that the suite owner needs to fully value Answer: Suite administrators/coordinators manage requests, ticket
their investment, and could do so through better information and allocation and guest invitations to the suite. They also receive tickets
service levels, they might see how they could hold the key to success. and process game switches (when rained out). Some process these
Further, if they felt empowered and better understood how their role requests through e-ticketing technology for efficient ticket ordering
plays such an important part in purchaser satisfaction, overall per- and delivery. In addition to these responsibilities, they handle lost
formance would improve. And with access to relevant information, tickets, access to extra quality tickets, and last minute ticket cancel-
they could implement changes throughout the season. lations, as well as the financially critical role of making sure all seats
Another area under investigation was identifying what adminis- in the suite are filled.
trators/coordinators believe are the important factors for a company
when deciding to purchase or renew a suite. The questions help shed Answer: Managing the suite experience, as well as the ticketing lo-
some light on the decision maker’s thought process. gistics, is a considerable role for what is typically a part-time posi-
The most highly rated reasons by administrators/coordinators tion. Added to this is the challenge of containing costs associated
are a hint to what suite buyers perceive to be the MOST IMPOR- with suite catering. The suite administrators/coordinators must
TANT factors when purchasing/renewing a suite: manage the budget by controlling the overages in food and beverage
1. Customer service provided by the organization and caterer expense for events where they are often not even present.
2. Entertaining existing business clients
Question: Is there education that teams or arenas could
3. Food and beverage costs provide to make life easier for suite administrators/
4. Entertaining new business clients coordinators?
5. Impact the suite has on a company’s ability to keep
and gain business Answer: Suite administrators/coordinators are looking for best
practices examples in areas such as corporate branding and alterna-
The reason this information is important to ALSD members
tive suite uses both in and out of season. They want help in schedul-
is that most of the items on this list are measurable, but not all are
ing client meetings and in gaining information on who owns the
directly tied to commonly used ROI formulas. Much work is still
other suites and how they use them.
needed on tracking this information so a better case can be presented
to the suite buyer on the effective use of the purchase based on their
Answer: It would be helpful to have a listing of all the services that
own unique set of criteria.
can be provided by the venue to create a unique experience at the
The study also explored some general open-ended questions
game, such as visits by former players and coaches. Providing re-
with the hope of using the responses to develop surveys in a later
search on popular food and beverage choices and cost effective or-
phase of the study. A few of the questions are highlighted below
dering (i.e., flexibility in size of orders) would be helpful. Earlier in-
along with responses that sparked the interest of the researchers.
volvement with the caterers during a suite holder pre-season meeting
at the park would also be informative in advanced planning.
Question: What do luxury suite administrators/coordina-
Question: What are the factors that most impact your role
as a suite professional?
Answer: Today’s suite professionals perform a balancing act. They
are trying to make sure everyone has a good time, a comfortable
Answer: Tracking the cost of the suite and having access to high
experience, and a memorable event. They do this while being re-
demand events are important as are ensuring ticket utilization and
sponsive to game-day issues and making sure to utilize the suite in-
return on investment. Having the ability to order extra tickets for
vestment to the maximum.
the suite or facility, receiving the tickets quickly and being able to
52 S E A T
Managing the suite experience, as well as the ticketing logistics,
is a considerable role for what is typically a part-time position.
change requests are important. It is necessary to make sure the ben- • Suite administrators/coordinators are generally appointed
efits that come with having a suite are realized. by the CEO of corporate suite clients as an added duty
to their existing job responsibilities. More often than not,
Answer: Communication is a key, such as easily making catering these employees have no formal training in their role of
order changes when needed or deciding on a standard menu for the suite administrator/coordinator and need education to do
season. The Suite Services Department must be informed and orga- their jobs effectively.
nized so they can answer questions in a timely manner.
This is an area that the ALSD could enhance because previous re-
Answer: Suite planning time is spent internally with management search has shown that those who sell suites believe suite buyers highly
trying to figure out who gets what game and how to get high-level value ROI/ROO information, but do not know how and if the suite
decision makers to the suite. buyers are accurately measuring it. At present, the industry consists
of suite administrators/coordinators who are on the front line, but
After reviewing the responses, a few themes emerged that are have no sense for their own influence over customer satisfaction and
noteworthy. renewal. This could be an opportunity for the team/venue to provide
• Some suite professionals look at the position as a perk, even education to the suite buyer and their administrator/coordinator on
though it is only one of many duties. They are also quick internal measures of ROI/ROO.
to point out that the role is not all fun and games as many If this information is intriguing, plan to learn more on June
may think. 30, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. at the annual ALSD Conference. Join the
researchers at the presentation, “Knowing Your Customers.” Any
• Suite administrators/coordinators are looking for better team/venue interested in participating in future research in the area
ways to conduct business. Email would be a logical solu- of luxury suite ownership, sales, marketing, or suite administrators/
tion for many. The ordering of tickets, even overflow suite coordinators should contact Dr. Peter Titlebaum at Peter.Title-
tickets, could be easily handled through email even utiliz- firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 229-4222. #
ing the suite’s account to facilitate the monetary transfer.
The current method of communication, the fax, is out-
moded, inefficient and time consuming.
Peter Titlebaum, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Sport Manage-
• Suite administrators/coordinators are looking for ways to ment at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.
deal with those who are not satisfied with their game selec-
tion and would like a larger variety from which to choose. Heather Lawrence, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Sports Ad-
Without a system of ticket prioritization, an environment ministration at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
is created that elicits aggression from those who do not re-
ceive premium game tickets. It is left up to the suite ad-
ministrators/coordinators to allocate the request for tickets
that should have been handled systematically rather than
suite administrators must manage the budget by controlling
the overages in food and beverage expense for events where
they are often not even present.
54 S E A T
Interactive suite views
Online venue presentations
S E AT 11
The winter doldrums are in effect for much of the country. But whether our brethren
in the Mid-Atlantic and their “unseasonal” 30+ inches of snow believe it or not,
the magic eraser of spring is percolating. So while we stock up on groceries and hunker down
next to our fireplaces, know that there is so much to look forward to.
Opening Day is six weeks away. And like the pitchers and catchers who reported to
spring training last week, in the spring of 2010,
the ALSD will be green and growing.
In the Next Issue of SEAT: PLUS:
Conference Breakout Session Announcements
State of the Food & Beverage Industry
Keynote Speaker Highlights
Arrival of Major League Soccer in Philadelphia
Marketing Your Venue in the Second Generation
Orlando Magic’s Service Standard Upgrades
Also Coming This Spring:
A New Logo
A New Website
A New Media Platform
A Renewed ALSD
Connect with the ALSD on Linkedin: Follow the ALSD on Twitter:
Jared Frank: @SEAT_Editor
www.linkedin.com/pub/pat-mccaffrey/9/27b/54b Become an ALSD Fan on Facebook:
56 S E A T
Perlick is proud to be the FIRST company
certiﬁed by the ALSD.
S E AT 19
Too Much Open Suite Inventory?
Find Your Suite Spot
We Bring You Suite Customers
No Cost to Teams • No Risk to Teams
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Your National Per Event Sales Force
For team participation, call:
Association of Luxury Suite Directors
513 674 0555 x106 An ALSD Benefit Program