Power Players: John Collins
Chief Executive Officer
On Location Experiences
Collins is a longtime industry executive who, while with the NHL from 2008-15 as chief operating officer, was a key figure in that league’s sharp rise in visibility and business activity, including the development of the Winter Classic and Stadium Series. In his current role, Collins has led a premium hospitality business covering some of the biggest events in all of sports, including the Super Bowl and NCAA Men’s Final Four. Collins over the past three years has led a steady expansion for the New York-based On Location, including last year’s acquisition of travel and ticketing company PrimeSport.
Tickets to success
COLLINS: The change that has been underway is to evolve ticketing from a point of basic entry to become a system of exclusive access and experience optionality. Over the next five years the most important aspect of ticketing will be how fans are able to leverage event access with their desired experience, whether that’s an NFL fan looking for access to Super Bowl weekend, a student group following their university team to the Final Four, or a music fan connecting with their favorite artist on tour or traveling to a music festival.
What market segment does the sports industry need to do a better job with in ticketing and why?
COLLINS: Data analytics across the rights holder ecosystem and secondary markets is fragmented and isolated. The customer experience can be elevated significantly by addressing some aggregation of user-accepted data.
What can sports learn from ticketing in other forms of live entertainment?
COLLINS: Musicians have long understood fan engagement and activation. Even in the face of large-scale events, there are moments of access and intimacy that are second to none for fans seeking that experience. Using the ticket as a platform to create increased moments of this kind of fan access and experience around events will significantly add to the draw of the live event.
What do you see as ticketing’s role in live entertainment’s battle versus the couch?
COLLINS: It’s all about the experience. When fans discover that they can engage through an integrated platform that meets or exceeds all their experiential needs fans engage at deeper levels. If the system is fragmented, today’s buyers aren’t interested. Otherwise, there is too much attrition to other ways to watch the event itself.