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Volume 24 No. 240
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Hawks, Royals Leaders In Cutting Ticket Brokers To Control Single-Game Sales

The Royals and Hawks are two big-league teams that have cut the number of ticket brokers they do business with in order to get greater control over single-game ticket sales on the secondary market. During a discussion of yield management at the AXS Ticketing Symposium, Royals VP/Marketing & Business Development Mike Bucek said the team had consolidated its broker business over a three-year period, eliminating all but two of the 227 season ticket holder accounts that were essentially brokers. “We decided that (number) was just too much,” Bucek said. After the dust settled, DTI Management and Tickets for Less signed on as the official Royals’ ticket brokers. There is a partnership between the two firms as part of the consolidation. “It’s really helped us, giving us a lot of data and a lot more insight into an area that was behind the black curtain before,” Bucek said. “It made us smarter.” The Hawks, meanwhile, have a deal with Eventellect, a Houston-based inventory management firm. “We started (dropping) a (high) percentage of accounts that we suspected were re-sellers,” Hawks Senior VP/Ticket Sales & Service Kyle Brunson said. It was important to find one partner the Hawks could trust that would help them efficiently resolve the issue. “We lean on those guys on a game-by-game basis,” Brunson said. “It’s a real luxury having another set of eyes ... providing data to us.”

LOCAL FOCUS, NATIONAL KNOWLEDGE: In K.C., playing in MLB’s third-smallest market and one of its smallest venues, the Royals and their secondary partners have developed a profitable business with strong customer service and few complaints from fans buying from those two outlets. On its own, Tickets for Less, a local firm, understands the Royals are a regional draw. “It’s one entity that seems to take very good care of people,” Bucek said. DTI, by comparison, is a national company that gives the team a broader perspective on secondary ticket trends. The Hawks gained enough trust in Eventellect to share their plans for the team’s $200M renovation of Philips Arena, a rebuild that expands the traditional club seat and suite model to a mix of seven new premium seat products. “We have a real opportunity to bring them in early in the process,” Brunson said.

HOW THINGS WORK: In general, teams want greater transparency from their brokers. They want to learn more about the secondary market and the value of their assets, said Greg Nortman, Chief Strategy Officer of Dynasty Sports & Entertainment, a big league ticket broker. “They’re looking for me to show them exactly how these things ‘age,’ when they sell, where they sell and educate them as it goes along,” Nortman said. “We know best how these markets are performing. They want to make sure they’re getting it right in the market.” Said Bucek: “To a certain degree, their level of distribution was more sophisticated than ours and we need to understand it a little better. They can point things out that make us look better.”