By Shaun May
by masses of red-clad fans, my anticipation builds as I ride the Metro
escalator edging ever so closer to the light above ground, and more
importantly, toward the brand new home stadium of the Washington Nationals,”
blogs marketing executive Sarah Cooke as she prepares to attend a
professional baseball game in the Nation’s Capital. “Finally in sight, only
a hundred or so yards in front of me looms my destination — a towering
landscape of blue and red seats surrounded by banks of glowing lights. A
surge of excitement runs through me as I push forward with my band of
girlfriends approaching the stadium gates where the emerald expanse of a
Major League playing field fills my field of vision along with several
thousand other fans.”
For the Love of the Game
Since Nationals Park opened last April, Sarah and her friends have
frequented the newest gem on Washington’s sports landscape at least once a
month. Whether the Nationals win or lose, the group enjoys a spectacular
night of sports, food-and-drink and entertainment. For Sarah and others, a
trip to a ballpark, live theatre, a concert or a performing arts event often
serves as an outlet that combines a social event with friends and her
passion for the game.
Sarah is the social planner for her group of friends. “I’m
usually the one who buys all the tickets for my friends, but that sometimes
can create major problems,” Sarah said. “Since my girlfriends all live in
different places, we meet before the game to give out the tickets. I’ll have
them drop by my office or they will try to swing by my house and sometimes,
with our busy schedules, I have to mail the tickets to them. It’s kind of a
pain but we do it for the love of the game! We do it because we love being
there – the fresh air, being part of the crowd, watching the game, screaming
for our favorite player.
“I used to invite different friends to each game,” said
Sarah. “But it’s so challenging to buy all of the tickets and then find out
who could actually go. A lot of people say they can come, but it’s always
the last minute things that keep them from
showing up. Now, I have a circle of eight loyal girlfriends, so we just
stick together. I know so many people though, that some times it’s a shame
to not bring others, but
it’s just so difficult to put it all together.”
A New Event Innovation
What if Sarah could easily contact her friends to see who could attend a
game? What if she could pass tickets to her friends so easily that all they
had to do was show up at the venue? How many more people do you think Sarah
would bring? How many more people would become as passionate as Sarah and
her friends? How many more people would frequent Nationals Park?
Thanks to the folks at Event Innovation the web-based
software has been created, Sarah no longer needs to make several phone calls
to all her friends to find out who can attend. She won’t have to meet up
with Alex, Emily and Shannon at their homes to distribute tickets prior to
the game. In fact, with a few simple clicks on her web browser, she can send
invitations to games, sort out who can attend and then instantly transfer
the individual tickets. For a social planner like Sarah, a new online Social
Ticketing Network called Ovation™ provides a wealth of exciting
features and capabilities.
“I’ve been exploring the site and couldn’t be more
excited!” Sarah said. “The features of Ovation are way beyond what I
expected. My friends use Facebook and LinkedIn to connect and stay in touch,
and I can’t believe that even better tools now exist for people that go to
live events together.” Thanks to Ovation, managing events is easier than
ever for Sarah and all her networked friends. New Request for Attendance
technology allows members to invite one another to events via email and
phone text messages. Once Sarah scans the responses to see who can go, she
can simply drag and drop their pictures onto a seating chart, placing them
exactly where she wants them to sit, before transferring the tickets.
Best of all Sarah and her friends can use their
individual Ovation Membership Cards to access the venue. That means that the
instant a ticket is transferred from one account to another, it becomes
immediately available on the other member’s card for instant access.
Furthermore, the Ovation Membership Card can be used to make purchases for
concessions and merchandise throughout the venue.
A Solution for Venues
Sarah and her friends are perfect examples of traditional fans of live
events that enjoy a trip to a ballpark, a concert or a performing arts
event. But when 25,000 people show up for an event, what does the venue
really know about them? Can the venue identify Sarah and her friends to
provide them with enhanced benefits? What does the venue know about each
person’s personal buying habits or concession and souvenir preferences?
In the case of Sarah Cooke, for example, the Washington
Nationals may well know that she purchased the tickets, but they have no
idea who Alex, Emily and Shannon even are. Nor do they realize that Alex’s
top food preference is Ben’s Chili Bowl, that Emily always buys a different
baseball hat or that Shannon is always buying the beers for the group.
Currently, these answers may seem difficult or
impossible for a venue to obtain through traditional sources of customer
information. Imagine if a venue could identify Sarah and her friends and
provide them with extra benefits for bringing 25 new people to the game or
even communicate with Sarah and all the friends in her network about an
A solution for venues is already well underway. By
integrating with Ovation, InForum™ provides the venue with specific
information about the attendance and purchasing patterns of its customers.
The combined technology can help venues learn about and build relationships
with customers to a level never before possible.
When InForum and Ovation are fully realized, Sarah can
purchase her tickets through the Nationals web site and transfer them
electronically to her friends. Everyone arrives at the park with their
Ovation Membership Cards in hand. Alex visits Ben’s Chili Bowl, Emily snags
a new cap and Shannon buys the beer, using their Ovation Membership Cards.
With each swipe of the card, Nationals Park managers gain greater
intelligence about their customers.
Event Innovation Inc., the company that brings you
Ovation and InForum, sums it up simply: Connect. Communicate. Experience.
Shaun May is with
Brotman Winters Fried Communications and may be contacted at email@example.com.
Information for this story was provided by Frank Ganis, vice president of
business development for Event Innovation. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.