Connect with us

Fan Experience

Inside The Huddle: Selling A New Team With Ted Glick

The Senior Director of Ticket Sales & Service with Sacramento Republic FC gives insight into being a part of a rapidly growing organization.

Front Office Sports

Published

on

In the buildup to Front Office Sports’ Ticketing Huddle at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 10, we’re introducing you to the huddle leaders who will be lending their expertise to the conversation.

Today, meet Ted Glick: Senior Director of Ticket Sales & Service with Sacramento Republic FC. Glick will be one of the leaders of the huddle “Breaking Through: Inside the Process of Selling a New Team.”

A graduate of Boston College, Glick knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in sports like his father, who worked in Minor League Baseball for many years.

READ MORE: Inside The Huddle: Selling A New Team with Nick Forro

“I grew up inside the ballpark,” Glick says. “I knew the mascots and concessions workers and dreamed of following in his footsteps to run a franchise on the business side of professional sports.”

The potential of a new stadium and Major League Soccer franchise lured Glick to the West Coast — and the current USL ownership group has made a strong case to join the top flight of U.S. soccer in the months ahead. Selling this team and everything behind their story has been a unique challenge that Glick has welcomed.

“We’re telling the best story in sports, and it’s unfolding before our very eyes,” he says. “The opportunity to elevate this team to Major League Soccer, build a new stadium and double the size of downtown Sacramento really is a shot in the arm for me every day heading into the office. We feel a duty to the people in this city to get this thing over the goal line and deliver.”

Glick’s past sales experience includes stops with the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and several other pro teams. Glick’s proudest accomplishments in sports have come when he sees former teammates and employees of his sales teams excel in the industry.

“To see people that I’ve worked with or have worked for me going on and doing great things at other teams and properties gives me a ton of joy and fulfillment,” he says. “I’m really passionate about building the next stars of sports business and when I see people chasing and achieving their dreams, it makes the long nights and short weekends worth it.”

All of his previous professional experiences have taught Glick to appreciate the relationships with coworkers and mentors that he has had. His advice to young ticketing reps is to seek those out as well as quality selling challenges.

READ MORE: Inside The Huddle: Membership Programs with Aaron Lampkin

“Chase opportunities to work for great people, not logos,” he says “Go where the challenge is great and expectations are high. When you’re graduating, you need to go somewhere that you’re going to get punched in the face and learn how to sell. Sports business is so much about pedigree, who you learned from and the shop that you learned in. And I think it’s incredibly important to put yourself in a situation that’s going to foster growth.”

Meet Ted and hear more of his thoughts on the current ticketing space at the Front Office Sports Ticketing Huddle at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, CA on May 10. For tickets and additional info, click here.

Fan Experience

How the Nationals Off-Field Programming Drives New Fans to the Ballpark

With events like “Bourbon and Baseball” and “Bubbles and Baseball,” the Washington Nationals turn to experiential pregame programming to help attract fans.

Avatar

Published

on

Washington Nationals Bourbon
Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals are pouring plenty of whiskey to attract fans to Nationals Park.

Last week, the Nationals hosted “Bourbon and Baseball,” just one of several drinks-related pregame events to bring fans, new and old, to the ballpark. It was the second “Bourbon and Baseball” event, with the first coming last September. There will be two more similar events this season, “Scotch and Baseball” on July 22 and “Bubbles and Baseball” on September 28.

“It’s about looking at baseball in a different way,” says Jonathan Stahl, Washington Nationals vice president of ballpark operations and guest experience. “We have fans that come to the ballpark for the baseball atmosphere, but it’s not always the number one focus for their friends. It’s really about getting people with different interests out to the ballpark to try something new.”

Tickets included 12 tasting pours of whiskey prior to the game and baseline reserved seat. A special focus was placed on bringing in whiskies scarcely found at bars and restaurants. The event’s approximately 400 tickets sold out at $85 each.

The events are held within the Nationals Park conference center or weather permitting, outside.

“We really want to make sure it’s about the experience and they’re not waiting in lines for a long time,” Stahl says.

In April, USA Today reported overall MLB attendance in March-April was flat, with 12 teams welcoming fewer fans than a similar period last year. Despite the low attendance figures, MLB set record revenues in 2018, according to Forbes. The cause of that 4% drop in MLB attendance in 2018 is hard to pinpoint, but clubs like the Nationals are doing their best to keep fans interested during a lengthy slate of 81 home games.

READ MORE: Crawford Bock Brings Beer and Baseball Together for Astros

“We want to try to create experiences that bring our fans and new fans back to the ballpark over and over again,” Stahl says. “We also want to make sure the experience of the events are as great as the baseball game.”

The “Bourbon and Baseball” event was born out of a Nationals’ event last June, “Rosé All Gameday,” which turned out to be a learning experience for the franchise. This event was held in the stadium during a game, which Stahl said took away from the viewing experience a little too much.

The evolution and specialization of the food and beverage industry the past decade has left plenty of opportunities for integration within sports, especially when it comes to concessions. Stahl pointed toward the offerings at Nationals Park that allows fans from nearby Virginia and Maryland to try some well-reviewed D.C. restaurants at the game.

“You look at the beverage industry as a whole and how much it’s evolved the past decade, there’s just so many great local offerings,” Stahl says. “On the food front, we’ve been partnering with local restaurants since the ballpark opened and it’s allowed us to elevate the quality of food we have and allow fans to try the hot and trendy restaurants that might be inconvenient to them in everyday life.”

MLB has even capitalized on the growing love of local food with its MLB FoodFest, bringing together foods from all 30 teams in Los Angeles, New York and London.

Other teams across the country are heading toward the food world as well. The Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies hold Taco Truck Throwdown, which last year attracted more than 20,000 people over the two-day event, according to Team President Derek Franks. The Grizzlies started the event nine years ago and it has grown ever since. Currently, Taco Truck Throwdown starts the last day of a homestand, as they play as the Fresno Tacos, and it becomes a stand-alone event the second day.

“Taco Truck Throwdown is the biggest success for us sitting around talking about how to get people interested in coming to the ballpark and show in some cases, it’s creating an event where baseball is in the background,” Franks says. “A lot of our smaller successes are just mini versions of it.

“You watch people’s habits change and now people want interesting food, drinks and music. We’ve really had to tailor our promotions around those to make fun events.”

Minor League teams tend to be leaders in special events to help draw fans without the star power of MLB names.

“We’ve had a head start on having to get creative,” Franks says. “We’re starting to see Major League teams do more of what we’ve had to do all these years to keep fans interested because it’s a much different world.”

READ MORE: Minnesota United Keeps Concessions in The Neighborhood at Allianz Field

Beyond beverages, the Nationals are hosting events like this weekend’s Marvel Super Hero Day, which will feature Thor’s Short Rib Hammer, a bone-in 2.5-pound short rib, Hulk Nachos, an Iron Man-wich, and a Captain Zimmerman bobblehead giveaway.

Staying the food realm and building on their Washington, D.C., home, the Nationals host an annual Taste of the World event, where embassy chefs are invited to cook up cuisine from their home country for a pre-game tasting by fans. The team also launched an augmented reality scavenger hunt with player integration and redeemable offers with the goal of getting fans to experience new parts of the stadium.

“Those are family-friendly environments and it’s a really fun thing,” Stahl said. “Add those all up and we’re just trying to find unique ways to reach out.”

Whether it’s sipping some pregame bourbon or noshing on a superhero-themed hunk of meat during the action, teams are working to keep fans in the stands. At the very least, the Nationals will pour a whiskey for them.

Continue Reading

Fan Experience

Dodgers Continue Community Connection with Mexican Heritage Night

The Los Angeles Dodgers sold more than 20,000 Mexican Heritage Night tickets in the team’s latest effort to foster authentic community connections.

Avatar

Published

on

Dodgers Mexican Heritage Night

Photo Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers promotional team came prepared for this for this season’s Mexican Heritage Night — or so they thought. They created 15,000 special Dodgers jerseys adorned with the colors of the Mexican flag for giveaways, a number they presumed would be more than enough to service each fan who wanted one to snag one. Turns out, they were light,  as more than 20,000 ticket packages were sold for the night.

The giveaway jersey has green and red sleeves with the word “Dodgers” in green script, and was borne out of Dodgers employees spotting plenty of Mexico jerseys during the World Baseball Classic. So they married Mexico’s colors with the Dodgers brand. Rather than cut off the sales or leave fans empty-handed, the team issued vouchers and will ship out extras by July 31.

The success of this season’s Mexican Heritage Night has been years in the making and part of an “authentic community connection” the team has developed, said Erik Braverman, Dodgers senior vice president of marketing, broadcasting and communications.

READ MORE: Dodgers Foundation Hopes to Bolster RBI Program Through Coaching Investment

The “record-breaking” ticket package sales are in part known because Braverman said the Dodgers regularly offer their full-stadium promotions at 40,000 while other teams cap theirs around 20,000. Still, the 20,000 number was a shock to the Dodgers front office.

“I think it surprised all of us internally,” Braverman said. “We said, ‘Let’s throttle this and continue to promote it and see how wildly popular it gets.’ It was a pleasant surprise.”

Braverman said Dodger Stadium’s location and “what is widely recognized as the largest Mexican fanbase in baseball” both play into why the night was such a roaring success. But he believes a much bigger key is it’s not just a one-night play for a segment of the team’s fanbase. Other, more regular events include Viva Los Dodgers and Dia De Los Dodgers, the later of which includes a bobblehead that regularly runs out quickly.

“We recognize who our fans are,” Braverman said. “Did we take a night to celebrate? Absolutely. But it’s a year-round commitment to the community.”

Along with the giveaway, there was plenty of pre- and in-game celebration. Prior to the game, comedian and LA native Gabriel Iglesias threw out the first pitch, while Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez performed. During the game, Dodger great and current broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela was honored during the fourth inning legends video before being shown live from the broadcast booth.

“The reaction and the volume in the stadium reacting to that was pretty great,” Braverman said.

The current Dodgers team also features two key players with Mexican roots in pitcher Julio Urias and outfielder Alex Verdugo, which Braverman said helped make the night even more special.

The jersey, like the rest of the night’s activations, were a collaborative effort among the Dodgers’ marketing, community relations and in-game programming teams. Braverman said a part of the success in their promotional schedule is the diversity within the internal team, which helps make the games memorable and positive.

Later this month, the Dodgers will host the team’s annual LGBT Night and next month the team will host the 10th annual Filipino Night, with a similar jersey highlighted with the Filipino flag colors. Braverman expects record numbers that night as well.

READ MORE: How the Atlanta Hawks Are Growing a Winning Fanbase Through Love

“The formula comes back to the success we have on any special event or marketing initiative,” he said. “It’s because the Dodgers’ authentic commitment to the community. It’s a year-round effort, not just one night.”

For each of their events celebrating segments of their fanbase, Braverman said he hopes they stretch beyond that segment.

“What we’re finding is, as I walked around it’s not just Mexican fans, it’s fans of all different nationalities that wanted to be a part of it,” he said. “That’s what we’re hoping to foster.”

Continue Reading

Fan Experience

Tokyo Olympics Braced for Complex Ticketing Operation

Each of the last two summer Olympic Games have weathered a major ticketing scandal. Can Tokyo succeed where London and Rio failed?

Aaron Bauer

Published

on

Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The first phase in one of the world’s most extensive sports ticketing operations is now underway

May 9 is the first day for anyone living in Japan to sign up for the lottery to get tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Up for grabs is the first crack at the approximately 7.8 million 2020 Olympics tickets being made available to the public. But domestic ticketing is just the initial step in the massive operation to lure sports fans from across the globe to the Games.

The second, beginning on June 15, is international sales. While there is no lottery, something far more important will be on the line: The chance for Tokyo 2020 to break the cycle of major ticketing scandals occurring before the Olympics begin.

READ MORE: I Thought This Was a Good Deal”: AAF Vendors Speak Out

The IOC handles international sales via an Authorized Ticket Reseller (ATR) program. It’s an incredibly lucrative operation: In addition to the tickets themselves, ATRs are also able to market multi-day hospitality and travel packages that combine ticket sales with hotel and flight packages plus other unique experiences.

Currently, there are 31 approved ATRs listed on the Tokyo 2020 website. To become an ATR, a company must first win approval from different National Olympic Committees before submitting themselves to Tokyo 2020. Once Tokyo 2020 has approved the ATR, the company can begin rolling out hospitality and ticketing plans according to the organizing committee’s timeline.

Companies that traditionally win contracts from NOCs are established companies with experience in the sports hospitality sector. Once approved, ATRs then have free reign to work to create unique hospitality and travel packages that cater to the countries they have exclusive rights to sell in. Neither Tokyo 2020 nor the IOC has any hand in creating these packages or how they are offered to the general public.

The lack of standardization allows packages to retain their competitiveness in the consumer market, but it has also exposed the Olympics to multiple high-profile scandals during the London and Rio Olympics.

In 2012, the IOC investigated claims that up to 54 countries and resellers were floating Olympics tickets on the black market for up to 10 times face value right before the London Games.

Four years later, Brazilian authorities confiscated hundreds of tickets that had originally been allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland allegedly being sold on the black market. The raid eventually led to the arrest of an Irish IOC Member named Patrick Hickey, who was charged with ticketing touting and forming a cartel together with the owner of THG Sports, Marcus Evans and THG executive Kevin Mallon. THG was also named in connection with the London 2012 investigations, and was not an ATR for Rio 2016.

“There are some messages between Evans and Hickey that mentions [Mallon], and that he would collect the tickets in Brazil to sell for THG,” Aloysio Falcao, a Rio Civil Police Investigator told Around the Rings after Hickey was arrested.

It was those correspondences upon which Rio de Janeiro prosecutors built their case, which remains mired in the Brazilian legal system almost three years later.     

Hickey stepped down from his post as president of the OCI, which last year renamed itself the Olympic Federation of Ireland. Following the Rio 2016 scandal, the OFI severed all ties with THG Sports, which also is currently not an approved ATR for Tokyo 2020. Finnish company Elämys Group was appointed for the 2018 Winter Olympics and won a contract to be an ATR for Tokyo 2020.

“[Tokyo 2020] rules give very clear instructions of do’s and don’t do’s. We will follow these rules from A to Z,” Jussi Viskari, CEO of Elämys Group told Front Office Sports. “The cooperation and communication with the National Olympic Committee has been very open and clear regarding the ticketing program. I think that one reason why OFI chose Elämys was our transparent and credible track record.”

Viskari said that “[Tokyo 2020 tickets] are just one small part of a broader service” in its hospitality and travel packages. The goal is to “reach the all Irish sports fans and invite them to join us in Tokyo.”

Both scandals were embarrassments for the IOC that dominated headlines during the Olympics. Both also underscored that the IOC largely delegates responsibility for ticketing to host city organizers, and its National Olympic Committees around the world.

“The monitoring is directly handled by Tokyo 2020 and each Organizing Committee has its own tools to monitor the activities of each ATR,” an IOC Spokesperson confirmed to Front Office Sports. “However, the IOC supports such monitoring by providing information from past Games to allow each [Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games] to adapt their monitoring accordingly.”

For its part, Japan is taking a number of measures to curtail any chance of a scandal before it starts. It passed a law banning the online resale of marked-up tickets for high-profile events like the Olympics. The law also extends to ticket brokers who purchase tickets for the express purpose of resale.

Tokyo 2020 also told Front Office Sports it would be communicating the rules against resale both online and the physical tickets distributed for the Games in an effort to combat illegal sales online. Organizers will also be working with ATRs and local police in monitoring resale activity while “[requesting] the cooperation of existing reselling platform providers, asking them not to list Tokyo 2020 tickets and to monitor reselling activities.”As an added security measure, the names of purchasers of Olympic tickets will be printed on physical tickets and verified at venues. That means the resale of tickets can only happen through Tokyo 2020’s official platform.

READ MORE: Wilson Leverages FIBA Deal to Expand 3×3 Presence

Tokyo’s status as a global, cosmopolitan city is expected  to be a big draw for foreign tourists and Olympic fans. ATRs have been aware of the high demand for Tokyo 2020 tickets, so much so that some began selling hospitality packages before the approved start date. ATRs were allowed to begin promotion of packages in March but must abide by Tokyo 2020 rules or risk losing reseller status.

“ATRs can launch their ticket sales in respective territories only after all sales components are approved by Tokyo 2020,” the Tokyo 2020 spokesperson added. “ATRs have to comply with the rules and regulations of the Tokyo 2020’s ticketing program. If violations are discovered, we will take strict action as needed in cooperation with the IOC.”

While the Olympic ticketing system is designed to maximize the number of spectators from across the world to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo ultimately is at the mercy of ATRs following the rules in place and avoiding the temptation to float tickets on the black market to succeed where London and Rio failed. Implementing domestic ticket touting laws and robust monitoring efforts should plug as many gaps as possible, but the big question remains: will these summer Olympics be subject to a third straight ticketing scandal, or finally halt the trend?

Continue Reading

Trending