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The changes in ticket sales today.

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  1. 1. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 1 Free Powerpoint Templates Always Be Closing By Bill King Presented By: Chris McCarthy Danielle Schechter Michael Souliere
  2. 2. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 2 Intro: Overview of Article • The famous words from the 1992 classic “Glengarry Glen Ross” hold true today as the pressure builds to increase tickets sales in professional sports. • Here’s how teams are schooling their sales staffs and giving them the tools to close the deal.
  3. 3. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 3 Meet the Sales Professional • Chad Estis – Vice president of sales and marketing for the Dallas Cowboys • How did he get his start in the business? – Sales Representative for the Cleveland Cavaliers • Promising career? – $18,000 in wages, plus 3% commission
  4. 4. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 4 How do you get in the business? • Start at the Bottom! – Hundreds to Thousands of stories similar to Estis’ story • Department heads, vice presidents, and presidents of teams • Best way to Start! – Ticket Sales Department
  5. 5. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 5 Ticket Sales are the Lifeblood of Most Sport Franchises • Importance of Ticket Sales: – Make up more than half of a franchise’s local revenue • Make up to 80% for some teams – Ripple Effect: • Higher attendance = More concession revenue • Fill the house = Bigger sponsorship deals – Ticket Sales under-appreciated in the past?
  6. 6. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 6 Meet the Sales Professional • Bernie Mullin – Principal at The Aspire Group consulting firm • Former CEO of the Atlanta Hawks/Thrashers • Former senior vice president of team marketing at the NBA – Mullin’s view on ticket sales: • At least $3 in ticket sales for every $1 in sponsorships • Teams in the past were investing more into sponsorships • Where were the ticket sales people? – Cubicles in the bowels of the stadium – The back of the ticket office
  7. 7. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 7 Why are Ticket Sales Important Now? • Technology: – Allows teams to be more efficient in finding ticket buyers – And getting those who buy to buy even more! • Economy: – Reduced attendance in most stadiums – Made teams pay more attention than they did when the economy was flourishing
  8. 8. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 8 Changes in Ticket Sales • Back-house operation to being just as critical as sponsorship at the team level – What has changed? • The way teams sell • The way people perceive the sales managers • The compensation and role within the organizations • The revenue has increased dramatically • And how teams go about obtaining that revenue – “It used to be a few guys in the cubes in the back of the office area. And it’s just not that way any more,” Estis said.
  9. 9. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 9 Meet the Sales Professional • Vic Gregovits – Senior vice president of sales & marketing for the Cleveland Indians • How did he get his start in the business? – Indoor soccer – Account executive with the Cleveland Cavaliers (1987) • Color coding index cards – To describe the interest level of his prospects • Times have changed… Uncharted waters – Hard for Gregovits to rely back on his experiences in the past
  10. 10. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 10 Pricing and Relationships • Selling tickets in the current economy: – Though tempting, taking a hatchet to prices is almost always a mistake. – While cutting prices frequently is a bad idea, giving more for the price is a good one. – The sort of relationship building that long has been valued in the sponsorship world is possible, and now essential, in the ticket world.
  11. 11. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 11 Meet the Sales Professional • Bill Sutton – Consultant and university professor – Former NBA executive • “There is no entertainment dollar anymore, just dollars. You’re no longer just trying to convince them to spend it with you. You have to convince them to spend it at all. The way you do that today, you will hear again and again and again, is to produce value, and then make sure you’re putting that value in the hands of a staff that is trained to sell it,” Sutton said.
  12. 12. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 12 Example of Ticket Changes • The Indians last year had their attendance drop by 5,000 per game (18.5%) – Ticket revenue decreased by 20% • Who to blame? – Bad team play – Poor Economy • What to do now?
  13. 13. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 13 Changes Needed to be Made • The Indians gave their ticket sales staff more weapons – Variable Ticket Pricing • During April & May, discounted tickets by as much as half • Team eliminated online service fees for fans who bought the “value” games on the first day they went on sale. • Also received free parking for any of five dates – Expanded their menu of partial plans • Adding a Pepsi-sponsored 12-pack to a list that included 40-, 20- and six-game plans. – Upped incentives to season ticket holders who renewed early • Adding $1 to $5 in concessions or merchandise per game to every ticket • Those who re-upped early also received a 16-seat suite for one game
  14. 14. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 14 Gregovits’ New Sales Strategy • Adding perks • Adding variable pricing – Recognizes that all games are not created equal • When the fans open their wallets, they expect more than just a ticket!
  15. 15. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 15 Lower Ticket Prices? • Teams are feeling pressure to re-examine price – If attendance drops by 20% each year, the quickest way to fix that may be through heavy discounting right? • WRONG!!! – The additional fans rarely make up for the drop in average price – In-season price cuts typically upset season-ticket holders who have been undercut – Teams that cut prices find it’s difficult to regain that ground
  16. 16. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 16 Mullin’s Pricing Strategy • So long as prices are set reasonably to start with, teams should implement a cost-of-living increase every year. • Prices in a stadium or arena should be set based on their relationship to what he calls “oceanfront” property – courtside for basketball, the 50-yard-line for football, down low in the infield for baseball – which should be re-evaluated and increased as aggressively as possible each year. – Don’t push the panic button!
  17. 17. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 17 Mullin as CEO of the Hawks/Thrashers • In 2004, the Atlanta Hawks were selling floor seats along the baseline for $150 – Which was about $300 short of the league average • Mullin immediately bumped it to $250 – Planned to increase to $350 and then $450 the next two years • Make sure prices increase on the seats that are in the highest demand • Implement cost-of-living increases of about 2.5% in most markets – “I don’t think you can make bold pricing moves in the current economy because it’s so much under the microscope. But I do believe you can still put on cost-of-living price increases,” Mullin said.
  18. 18. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 18 Meet the Sales Professional • Derrick Hall – The president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks – Started with the franchise about 4 years ago • Had to make changes in the Sales Department
  19. 19. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 19 Personal Touch • “We weren’t selling tickets, we were answering phones. We needed to get more aggressive and be more proactive,” said Hall. • Hall dramatically increased resources – Expanding a sales staff of 15 into a sales and service department of 50 – Brought in three new managers • Implemented the typical NBA model – With a service representative assigned to each season-ticket account • Constant interaction – E-mails & Phone Calls: – Is everything ok? – How are your seats? – Can I do anything else for you? – Can we help you with road trips?
  20. 20. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 20 Personal Touch • Use the phone as a starting point to find information about the prospect • To close, they’re making sales calls and inviting targets in for tours • Hall estimated that the close rate on the phone is down about 40% • “People aren’t going to make purchases over the phone anymore. They’re not going to commit. We’ve got to get them here, and then we have success,” said Hall. • Did Hall’s sales tactics work?
  21. 21. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 21 Personal Touch • Season-ticket sales were up 20% – 2,000 new full-season tickets sold – Revenue increased by 27% • The Diamondbacks are on the right track!
  22. 22. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 22 Personal Touch • In 2005-06, the Washington Capitals in the NHL ranked 3rd from the bottom in average attendance (13,905) • A year later the Caps hired Jim Van Stone – NHL and NBA veteran as vice president of ticket sales • Van Stone expanded the staff from 25 to 43 – Including an inside sales staff of 15 with its own director – Funneled individuals into specialties • Including groups and account services – Improved training and made rewarding and retaining experienced account executives a priority
  23. 23. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 23 Personal Touch • In his first season, the Caps increased average attendance by 1,500 • Then last season, they started winning and filling the house • They’ve been sold out ever since! • Building their season-ticket base to 12,000 – And placing fans on a waiting list for the 1st time in team history • The Caps turned the corner not only because they began winning, but because they were positioned to take advantage of it.
  24. 24. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 24 Words of Wisdom • “Ticket sales is a grind-it-out business. No matter if you’re in a stadium like the one I’m in or working for a team at the bottom of one of the three leagues, the tactics and the success factors are the same. • You have to have a focused, dedicated, skilled, well-trained, highly professional sales team approaching the market in a strategic way, working out of a database that has been well thought out, representing your organization in a very professional way and building relationships, and making sales that if you didn’t do all those things right would not be made.” – Chad Estis, vice president of sales and marketing for the Dallas Cowboys
  25. 25. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 25 Key Lessons • Ticket Sales are the Lifeblood of sport franchises – Prospecting is the Lifeblood of selling • Continuous supply of new customers • Systematic process of locating potential customers • Careful planning • Sales technology – Advances in information technology has increased the speed we acquire and process information • Importance of developing a Relationship Strategy – Salespeople establish, build, and maintain relationships is a major key to success in personal selling – Partnering emphasizes building a strong relationship during every aspect of the sale – Partnerships can be strengthened when salespeople use value-added relationship strategies
  26. 26. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 26 Key Lessons • Sales Departments are more important in today’s industry – Sales Staffs are increasing • Do NOT lower prices, add value! • Add value through the sales staff – Personal relationships • Add options to create individualized product solutions
  27. 27. Free Powerpoint Templates Page 27 Works Cited King, Bill. "Always Be Closing." Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal (2010): 1-5. Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. Street & Smith's Sports Group, 15 Mar. 2010. Web. 26 Oct. 2010. <>.