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Volume 26 No. 28
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SBJ All-Access: Focusing On The Consumer (And Skating)

Day 1 of the 2019 AXS Sports Facilities & Franchises and Ticketing Symposium saw a focus on the consumer -- how to make things easier, how to better personalize experiences and how to offer a wider range of choices at a venue before, during and following an event. “It’s customer demand, and what do the fans want out of this asset,” said Dodgers Business Enterprise President Tucker Kain during a panel discussion at the Sheraton Grand in downtown L.A. There was also a good discussion on corporate culture with Ilitch Holdings' Chris Granger. Meanwhile, hear AXS CEO Bryan Perez talk about the importance his company places on this event.

KEEPING THINGS GOING

  • Today, the facilities/franchises portion of the conference begins, starting with a panel discussion on what the team of the future will look like. This morning will also see Hawks Owner Tony Ressler take the stage with his son, Oliver (an exec with Courtside Ventures), to talk about team ownership. Tonight, it’s over to the new Banc of California Stadium for an MLS match, as LAFC hosts the Dynamo. If you're attending the conference, be sure to check out conferences.sbjsbd.com for full speaker bios and an agenda for the event. Also get updates from our Twitter feed (@SBJSBD) and follow along using the hashtag sbjsff.

 

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

  • ZMC Operating Advisor Danielle Maged, who has had stints with StubHub and NBA, was moderating a panel on Day 1 and offered up an anecdote from a recent experience. She called this year’s Jets home opener at MetLife Stadium the “most miserable consumer experience” with digital tickets. The NFL is using Ticketmaster’s new SafeTix tech, which is meant to cut down on fraudulent ticket sharing by using a rotating barcode. Maged said she “didn't get a ticket locator,” and her kids and husband were “going back and forth between different places” around the stadium to make it through different access points. Maged: “I'm an industry person and I'm like, what the hell is going on here?”

  • StubHub’s Akshay Khanna, also on the panel, said: “There's been teething pains with the NFL integration, as is natural with any major technological process. ... We as a company have really strived to be patient with the technological progress that has taken place.”

 

TAKING IN STAPLES CENTER

Lee Zeidman (l) talked with Abe Madkour about improvements for "Staples Center 2.0"
  • Staples Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and after seeing a Ducks-Kings preseason game on Monday night, last night brought a private tour of the venue for conference attendees, as well as a talk with venue President Lee Zeidman about what’s next for the building:

    • Expect to see nine “iconic” changes to be made to the venue over the next four years, according to Zeidman. “I’m not talking about paint and carpet and new furniture,” he said. “We’re going to make a massive transformation of this building as it relates to our premium experiences.” Zeidman did not unveil any specific structural plans for “Staples Center 2.0,” but noted with all the venue competition in the market, the venue won’t shut down during the summer. “We’ll lose traction,” he said.

    • One piece of tech Zeidman was excited about is Mixhalo, a real-time audio platform that lets customers in the venue plug into various feeds, whether it be the PA system, TV, celebrity announcer or radio broadcast. Check out more details in tomorrow’s issue of SBD. Zeidman also talked about new app tech from LAVA, a real-time customer marketing platform that has done work with the NBA Kings, Lions and LAFC.

  • Attendees were treated to a variety of great food and beverage at the San Manuel Club via concessionaire Levy Restaurants. The menu for the night included signature cocktails, a carving station with brisket, giardinara, stone ground mustard and BBQ sauce, as well as a sushi bar and caprese station. Guests also got the opportunity to grab some skates and take laps around the Kings’ home ice. Thankfully, there were no reported injuries this morning. Among those braving the ice last night were Venuetize Customer Success Manager DC Ramsey, Qcue CEO Barry Kahn and Stubworld CEO Levi Blachman.
    Levy Restaurants put out some signature spreads in the San Manuel Club
  • Another treat at Staples was dessert and drinks in the Chairman’s Lounge on the lower level. Some guests even were able to have cigars in a small room in the space designed specifically for Jack Nicholson and other celebs who still have a penchant for smoking. Among the attendees hitting up the Chairman’s Lounge were Jaguars Manager of Premium Sales Kevin Klammer, Six Degrees Analytics Founder & CEO Tom Grabowski, Google Pay Head of Business Development, Ticketing & In Stadium Experiences Bon Mercado and CLEAR VP/Business Development Adam Landsman.
Guests were treated to dessert, drinks and cigars at the Chairman's Lounge inside Staples Center

 

SEEN & HEARD

  • NBA Senior VP/Team Marketing & Business Operations Matt Goodman was in the lunch buffet line playfully giving grief to new Devils President Jake Reynolds. Despite Reynolds recently being promoted from a role with the 76ers, he was still carrying a backpack with a big 76ers logo on it. “Time for a new backpack. Time for a new backpack,” Goodman said. Reynolds replied: “Hey, it’s all about the corporate brands!” (the Devils and 76ers are both owned by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment).

  • Former MSG President Joe Cohen -- an SBJ Champion in 2016 -- told an interesting “what if” story. Cohen was responsible for installing the first Ticketron terminal on a college campus when he helped arrange for one in the late 1960s at Penn. He was later offered a job by the fledgling company, but ultimately chose to go with MSG -- and the rest is history. “You could see Ticketron was going places, but I think MSG worked out OK,” he said with a laugh. Cohen currently is consulting with Brielle.

 

OUT & ABOUT

  • Eventellect execs, led by co-Founder Patrick Ryan, hosted a dinner last night at Tao in Hollywood. Guests included Jake Reynolds, Devils VP/Sales Brian Norman, 76ers VP/Sales Ben Cobleigh, Colts Director of Sales Jim Van Dam, NBA Kings VP/Ticket Sales & Services Justin Petkus and Dodgers VP/Strategy Royce Cohen.