Friday, July 22, 2011

The Ticket Master

I discovered early on in my minor league baseball internship that I SUCK at sports marketing. What once had been super fun and awesome (promotions at WVU games where I handed out t-shirts), quickly turned into a nightmare. I couldn't sell an outfield fence sign for $5000 and tell someone with a straight face it was a worthwhile investment if my life depended on it. And since that was how I made commission, it kinda did.

During this self-discovery, however, I found something I WAS good at: tickets.

I know, it gave you a little bit of a thrill reading that word, didn't it? Tickets. Tickets. Tickets. You're welcome.

Chilling in my office (read...closet) circa 2007....have you ever seen anything sexier????

After careful self-analysis, I've determined my (former) athletic ticketing success to be attributed to the following:

  • I like money. A lot. And I'm pretty good at making sure that the money owed to us, the organization, is accounted for. Case in point, my student workers at James Madison were slightly afraid to come to me if the money counted didn't equal out to the number of tickets sold. They learned quickly not to have that happen. Cause I'd make them pay the difference of the money missing. Just kidding....I only did that once.
    Sorry Woolie....not worth 10,000
  • I like the tangible value that you actually get from a ticket. You know what doesn't have a tangible value? Sponsoring the mascot of a Single-A baseball club. For $10,000.

  • It appeals to the authoritarian and the egotist in me. As the ticket seller/operator, I was pretty much the gatekeeper to the event. Well, until someone complained to the boss that I didn't let them get in for free or a quarter or whatever price they felt they SHOULD be paying instead of what the actual price is.  Bunch of whiners.

  • I like the actual ticket design process. Although, I tend to be a little bit of a control freak in my design visions. When the men's season basketball tickets I designed for JMU turned out to look more like boobs then the texture of a basketball, I was a miffed. And by miffed, I mean I stormed around the office shouting for a few hours.

  • You get some cool gifts. I once got a gift card to the Outback from people I saw on a regular basis at Will Call. Wow, I really miss those.

  • Tickets kept me from slaving in the concession stands. While everyone else had to pull fry/cleanup/supervisory duty during late innings, I was chillaxing back in the front office counting money in air conditioned and grease-free conditions.

  • Most of all, I loved the people I got to know. From being at a small minor league ball club to working in Will Call for two University athletic programs, I learned more back stories and front stories and family histories of people from all different backgrounds. Not to get all Miss America on you, but it really was worth being the first face people saw coming to a game.
While my days now are spent outside the confines of a ticket booth, I still fondly look back at the time I spent in cobwebby chambers with no heat or air. I even get a little misty- eyed remembering how I guarded the gate  (literally) at JMU football games ( because apparently a 5'9" girl is going to stop big, burly former football players from entering without proper id or credentials).

Yes, my friends, I was once the Master of my ticket domain. And it was awesome.

Images provided by (top to bottom) Leah Bogdan and Hagerstown Suns.


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