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Volume 21 No. 1
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Forty Under 40

Ray Elias has been at the forefront of turning StubHub into the No. 1 ticket resale firm in sports. The company’s chief marketing officer, he has been with StubHub since 2004, about four years after the business was founded in the Bay Area. He was promoted to CMO in 2009 after holding that title on an interim basis on two occasions, in 2005 and 2008.

During his time at the company, Elias has played a key role for StubHub in its signing of secondary ticketing deals with Major League Baseball and AEG. StubHub renewed its original deal with MLB in December for an additional five years. The AEG deal extends to naming rights for Home Depot Center, where StubHub takes over as title sponsor of the two-team MLS facility in June. The naming-rights element is tied to StubHub’s previous deal with AEG to become the official ticket reseller for Staples Center and several other venues.

Elias was principally involved in negotiating both deals alongside Danielle Maged, StubHub’s global head of partnerships and business development, and StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis.

“We’re busy integrating into Staples Center and working very closely with the [MLS] Galaxy and the [NHL] Kings,” Elias said.

During Elias’ tenure, StubHub has signed deals with 35 NCAA schools to sell tickets on the secondary market in conjunction with Paciolan, the primary ticketing provider for those institutions. Elias is also working to further develop StubHub’s mobile ticketing program. Twenty-five percent of StubHub traffic now comes via mobile, and the company wants to continue to draw in fans who might initially search for tickets on their smartphones but then are inclined to complete their transactions on a computer. StubHub’s goal is to provide a seamless process by providing consumers with the confidence to buy event tickets on their mobile devices.

“Today I would say our mobile experience is OK,” Elias said. “There is a lot more work we are doing to bring the two experiences together.”

Such elements are natural for Elias, given his background of e-commerce and Internet operations dating back to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. But global expansion is also high on his list for expanding StubHub’s business. In addition to having signed deals with three EPL teams, the eBay-owned company has direct access to the O2 arenas in London and Berlin, two facilities run by AEG whose primary business is tied to concerts and special events.

“We’re going to keep up with our Nordstrom-like customer service and focus on the fan,” Elias said. “We believe if we keep doing that, then it’s a winning formula.”

— Don Muret

Age: 39
 Title: Chief marketing officer
EDUCATION: B.A., economics, University of Texas
FAMILY: Wife, Karina; son, Jagger (3 1/2)
CAREER: E-commerce, marketing and Internet startups, including (a weather forecasting site for surfers/action sports enthusiasts), and Esurance

BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Focus on employee and customer satisfaction first.
WORST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Consistency is better than accuracy.

PERSONALITY, IN A TWEET: #Somewhere shy of the most interesting man in the world
REACTION TO FORTY UNDER 40 SELECTION: Wow … honored! I guess I am a one-and-done.
STRESS RELEASE: Running fast
PET PEEVE: People who lack self-awareness
GUILTY PLEASURE: Bourbon and tortilla chips, not necessarily together
FANTASY JOB: Playing soccer in the EPL