John Walker, president and CEO, Tickets.com
What I Like …
John Walker, Tickets.com
■ An influential person in my career: Rick Welts, Golden State Warriors president and chief operating officer.
■ An out-of-the-box idea: Professional athletes in team sports being paid based on actual performance (like on the pro golf or tennis tours).
■ A timeless idea: Holding the door open for another, and saying “yes, sir” and “yes, ma’am.”
■ A business deal: Jerry Jones buying the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for $150 million.
■ A sports event: Stamford Bridge (home of Chelsea FC), Heinz Field on a Monday night, the 16th green at the WM Phoenix Open on a Saturday, and AT&T Park on a sunny day.
■ A sports facility: The Masters, the Super Bowl.
■ A strategy: Working smarter, not just working harder.
Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC.
■ A brand: Budweiser.
■ A trend: Sports teams and venues wanting more control of all things ticketing — customized user experiences, brand extension and controlling fees. One size no longer fits all.
■ An innovation: Handheld devices that do EVERYTHING.
■ A pro league or team business initiative:
■ A story that bears watching: MLB’s digital ticketing initiative.
■ An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: Bottled water.
■ A fantasy job: To play on the PGA Tour.
What I Like About …
■ My job: I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in sports and live entertainment. I learn something new every day.
■ Sports: Every event has the potential to become a “classic.”
■ Sports business: Unlike in other industries, wins and losses can change the sales proposition from day to day and from season to season.
■ Sports technology: The myriad of opportunities that are introduced with truly integrated technologies — ticketing, dynamic pricing, loyalty, access control, stored value, mobile, etc.
■ Competing: It’s the ultimate measuring stick.
■ The future of sports business: More focus on enhancing the in-venue experience (starting when you purchase tickets), and jersey sponsorships in pro and college sports.
■ Sports fans: They’ll tell you what they think with conviction.
What I’d Like To …
■ Change: The outcome of the Suns-Spurs playoff series in 2007.
■ See less of in sports: Off-the-field issues that dominate the media.
■ See different: A college football playoff involving eight schools — seven bowl sites over three weekends (quarterfinals, semifinals and finals) — leading to one national champion in college football and unprecedented demand for all seven games..
What I Don’t Like …
■ In general: Weight gain, flight cancellations and $12 beers.
■ Pet peeve: Emails and phone calls that don’t get returned.
■ About sports fans: Foul language when you take your kids to a game.
What I Like …
■ That would surprise those who know me: Sushi.
■ Above all else: My wife and daughters.
■ Heroes: Anyone who has served to protect our country — like my father.
■ Teams: West Virginia Mountaineers, Pittsburgh Steelers.
■ City: New York City and San Francisco.
■ Memento: I have damn near every ticket stub for every event I’ve attended (or worked) since the late ’70s.
■ Music: Right now I’m listening to the Black Crowes, U2, Coldplay, Dave Matthews and the new Van Halen album.
■ Magazines: Golf Magazine, SportsBusiness Journal.
■ Websites: www.mlb.com, www.tickets.com.
■ Gadgets: BlackBerry.
■ Chores: I have 9-month-old twin daughters — so diapers.
■ Hobbies: Golf, travel and home improvement projects.
■ TV: “SportsCenter,” “Shark Tank” and “Swamp People.”
■ Concerts: Stevie Ray Vaughan at Station Square Amphitheater in Pittsburgh, Eric Clapton with Derek Trucks in Phoenix, U2 anywhere (5 times), AC/DC at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh (1980).
■ Food: A great steak, baked potato and an expensive cabernet.
■ Drink: Cold beer in a frosty glass.
■ Vacation spots: Bora Bora, Maui — and anywhere I can play golf for two consecutive days.
■ Quote: Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right. — Henry Ford.