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Embracing Change

Monday, February 2, 2015   (0 Comments)

Venues Today (12/14) Vol. 13, No. 12, P. 56 Boudevin, Jessica

A key topic of panelists at the recent Sport, Entertainment & Venues Tomorrow conference was the need to accept change in the ticketing industry, with particular emphasis on outsourcing and the ways digital technologies are boosting communications with audiences. For example, outsourcing has made significant progress in ticketing for college athletics. Aspire Group's Bernie Mullin describes college athletics revenue streams as under siege, with both ticket sales and student attendance waning. "There are three choices...do it yourself, outsource, or do nothing," he says. Aspire has averaged about 442 more paid tickets per Division I football game in 2013 than in 2012; the NCAA was down about 68 paid admissions per game, while those who took no action lost 440 tickets per paid game. Professional teams will probably keep building in-house staff, but it is difficult to recruit the best talent and have sufficient compensation to hire the best salespeople at the college level, according to University South Carolina's Eric Nicholls. Meanwhile, the social media boom has spurred increasing interest and investment in paid advertising from Nicholls and others, and Live Nation's Kim Shriver says there is an advantage to this model. "The fun thing about Facebook and Twitter is that you can grind down and target your audience tightly or spread it out—you can even geotarget," she notes. Moreover, social media ads can be a relatively small outlay that yields a lot of market reach, says IRG Sports & Entertainment's Jason Rittenberry.

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