Corporate Ticket Conference Bridges Buyer/Seller Divide

Logo from the Coporate Ticket Impact Conference

(from Venues Today, April 17, 2013) The Corporate Ticketing Impact Conference was held at MetLife Stadium on April 16. This first-of-its-kind conference brought together a group of corporate ticket buyers and premium sales representatives and was geared toward developing communication and brokering better deals. Bill Dorsey, Founder and Chairman of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors, was the organizer behind this conference and said, “We didn’t want to do your typical conference.” Because of this statement, the conference was only one day long and did not have any PowerPoint presentations.

More importantly than the “star-studded lineup” of sports executives, there were executives from banks, law firms, insurance companies, and other major corporate brands who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually buying tickets to entertain corporate clients. This conference provided the opportunity for the corporate buyers to voice their needs. The real problem that the buyers brought up was the “deal structure system that put the business needs of the teams over that of the clients.”

ESPN Business Reporter, Darren Rovell, said, “The key to a healthy corporate buyer and team seller relationship starts with the buyer demanding more, and the team offering more.” One suggestion that Rovell had to add value to a deal is to “tie in appearances with high profile athletes and require contractual stipulations that lay out the number of fan meet-and-greets expected each year, and build in opportunities for creative packaging.”

The demographics of buyers are changing therefore it is something that needs to be remembered when trying to sell season tickets. Stadiums are addressing the shift to younger buyers by expanding menus, adding more experiential packages where fans can interact with players and coaches, and better networks for cell phone use.

“At the end of the day, we will only survive if we have motivated people on our team who are trained and have the attitude ‘I’m here to serve,’” said Tom Wilson with the Detroit Red Wings, “it’s no longer about controlling the customer. It’s about converting them into believers of our product and making sure they’re happy with the deal.”