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Volume 20 No. 42
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Plugged In: Mark Lamping

Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping offers insight on the greatest area for innovation in sports and the NFL’s blackout policy. As the person behind the development of MetLife Stadium, Lamping also chimes in on the challenges facing New York City in hosting Super Bowl XLVIII.

Understanding your customer. That’s probably the hardest part given that our customers have so many ways to connect to us now that we never had to worry about in the past. Originally, you knew who your season-ticket holders were and those were the people that you marketed to. Now, it’s conceivable that we could have a customer who is retweeting tweets, going to our website, likes us on Facebook, communicating with his/her social network about things that are new with our franchise, but because they haven’t bought a ticket, we have no idea who they are. So we really need to figure out how we can identify our customers — and do it before they make that purchase decision to allow us to focus our sales efforts.

On technology challenges in-venue:
You can’t tweet, you can’t text. All I want to be able to do when I go to a game is be able to do what I can do at Starbucks. I feel like I go to so many of these stadiums and I can’t do that.

How much time do you, personally, spend focused on ticket sales: 45 percent.

On the NFL’s blackout policy: I love the NFL blackout policy because it really becomes a rallying cry internally. Where it breaks down for me is when it becomes external. You’re sort of selling from a negative position. “Everybody rally behind us because we want to make the game available so you can see it on Sunday.” Sometimes you have to do that, there’s no question. But that’s not a sustainable ticket-selling strategy.

On MetLife Stadium hosting Super Bowl XLVIII: If weather doesn’t get in the way of the competition, which is always going to be very important, I think it has the opportunity to be as spectacular a Super Bowl as has ever been held. I think it will set the all-time television viewing record. The biggest challenge will be whether you can really take over the town. There’s not a lot of things that can really take over New York and that’s probably the one thing that perhaps will be lacking with that Super Bowl.