Why Aren’t Teams Hiring Ticket Brokers?
Yesterday, I had a fascinating lunch debate session in Davis, Calfornia with Fair Ticket Solutions / authenTICKET’s Alan Gelfand about the secondary market. Gelfand was stopping by, on his way to chat up verification systems with teams, and gave me his thoughts on the secondary. Gelfand has been more than just some crazy Canadian with a few ideas on establishing a “check-in” authentication system for tickets, he’s also a pretty effective hustler. I respect that.
I’ve seen him at a lot of events. Gelfand was in Las Vegas last year during the World Ticket Conference (NATB’s event) & Ticket Summit (Ticket Network’s event). It was not lost on either of us that ticket brokers had two conferences, at the same time, in the same city, literally down the street from each other in competing casinos. That’s a stark indication of how fiercely independent ticket brokers are and can be. And that’s why I was skeptical of Gelfand’s position on the secondary market.
Over Gelfand’s Iced Tea and my Arnold Palmer (not a John Daly, I swear), we both went back and forth on the secondary market.
Gelfand’s argument: the secondary market needs regulation to ensure that people don’t get screwed by counterfeiting.
My argument: If a person can buy a product at a dynamic “demand price” on the primary and yet still turn it around, selling it for 3-times its value, then that person is a genius. Only in sports sales do franchise executives refer to that type of person in detestable terms.
And there-in lies my question, that no one asks, but I’ll ask here: If ticket brokers are able to do what franchise executives cannot with a ticket product, why aren’t franchises hiring ticket brokers to move their tickets?
This goes beyond selling each ticket for a higher price. Ticket brokers don’t have an army of inside sales staffs to call each customer and develop a relationship. The majority of the sales are transacted on a digital scale, and with a cunning precision.
And sports franchises as well as their executives are continually beat out at getting this data and push digital sales, let alone understand how to utilize it.
Somehow, ticket brokers can afford $2,500 to pay for Google advertising each, beating out the New Orleans Saints who refuse or neglect to pay anything for the same advertising online, a franchise worth half a billion, then don’t the ticket brokers kinda win out by default? If there are people innovating with your product, and reselling it for higher, shouldn’t you be aiming to hire them? Apparently, not in sports sales.
Why exactly aren’t those brokers being paid big bucks to come over to the franchise and sell? Especially if it means working smarter, not harder, in order to move tickets.
There should be a bidding war for brokers as franchise team members. Yet, teams will continually hire more inside sales, group and season ticket reps. All to avoid allowing brokers a seat at the table.
It’s like its 2007, and franchises are treated social media experts like scourges of the earth, rather than saviors. When the business model starts moving past the industry’s current practices, it is time for a reset. It is time for the industry, as a whole, to recognize what they are doing wrong, and correct it.
If brokers have done something that current franchise executives cannot, why exactly are people fighting them? Hire them away from their companies, give them jobs within the franchise, and have them sell for you. They apparently know the sports sales game better than their franchise counterparts when it comes to online. So why not access that?
This seems lost on me. Maybe ticket brokers don’t understand the sports sales culture. Maybe they haven’t sat for hours, making rebuttals to some poor sap who answers the phone on a Tuesday night. But that might possibly be a good thing. Because ticket brokers certainly understand online, a sales traffic agent that sports sales as a whole cannot seem to grasp. Most of them have a skeletal sales team, yet can generate thousands of leads, along with hundreds of sales.
That’s why I’ve enjoyed my meetings with Gelfand. Even if he disagrees with me on some fronts, he’s on board with the idea that the way revenue is created by sports franchises has to change. Especially in how ticket sales and delivery occurs. I’m still wondering if franchise executive are reading this and thinking, or if they are thinking about the next 10 ways to build a larger inside sales staff. Having 10,000 more phone calls won’t show the results.