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Florida Atlantic Receives Large Gift for New Stadium, Utilizes Virtual Venue

Florida Atlantic University received its largest gift to date for its new on-campus stadium.  The school plans to name the stadium’s scoreboard with permanent signage after the donor who made the major contribution.  The new stadium is set to open October 15 when the team hosts Western Kentucky.  The $70million project will be able to hold 30,000 spectators and features 6,000 premium seats.  This past week FAU released a projected economic impact study which estimates that the school will be able to generate $1.8 million on game days.

The stadium is part of a larger on campus project known as Innovation Village.  The overall plan also includes residence halls, shopping, and dining establishments.  Innovation Village is instrumental in the school’s strategy to create a stronger on-campus experience which at the centerpiece of the plan is the new open-air facility.

Another neat aspect of the project is that the FAU athletic department has utilized the interactive stadium software, Virtual Venue, provided by IOMEDIA.  This “Virtual Venue” allows fans the ability to navigate the stadium and get price and donation information for any seat in the facility.  Additionally the website enables fans to get a sense of what it would be like to sit in the seats they are looking at with a “seat view” feature.  People who visit this site are also able to chat with an online ticket representative and can see further benefits for choosing different seating areas.

FAU is one of a growing number of schools to use IOMEDIA’s Virtual Venue.  The list includes Penn State, UCLA, and the University of Washington.  We have previously looked at how Ballena Technologies has helped athletic departments with their ticketing and reseating initiatives.  Both of these companies’ services enhance the seat selection process for development offices, donors, and fans.  As 3D virtual venue technology continues to evolve at the college level it will be interesting to see what new features will be incorporated that will add further value.

Drew Ossakow

Using Technology to View and Purchase Season Tickets

July 7, 2010 Uncategorized No Comments

This past January, Athletics Development Frontier did a post on the University of Indiana and their use of Ballena Technologies in seating and promoting ticket sales.  Since then, other universities have begun looking to similar technologies for their reseating iniatives.  In most cases, athletic departments are simply using such technologies to allow fans and supporters the opportunity to view potential seat locations.  However, rarely have university athletic departments actually allowed purchases to occur online after viewing seat locations.

Recently, the University of California launched a program where their supporters can see the view from potential seats, and then purchase those seats, all online.  Typically, this model is similar to one seen throughout many different professional sports franchises.   In fact, this is the first time that season tickets can be purchased online for University of California football games.

Through the use of technology, athletic departments are getting more and more creative about how they market season tickets.  Yet, ideas on creating a streamlined process for viewing and purchasing tickets are still being designed.  Look for the capabilities of online seat viewing and purchasing to become more efficient as university supporters become more familiar and accepting of the process.

Michael Speight

Selling the New Cowboys Stadium

Recently, the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration held its 38th Annual Sports Administration Symposium.  One of the featured speakers, Chad Estis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dallas Cowboys New Stadium, was kind enough to share his experiences in selling tickets, suites, and other gameday packages.  Specifically, Estis addressed the way he and his whole staff  were able to go after the entire Dallas market in an efficient and calculated process.

Throughout the whole process of going after new clients, the Cowboys used a CRM system.  Although basic in its applications, the Cowboys were diligent in the use of the system.  Every potential season ticket holder was entered in the system, ensuring complete understanding of where each potential client was in the purchasing process.  Also, Estis emphasized the ability to “manage-up” with CRM data, helping him describe to upper management where his team was with consumers.

Additionally, Estis explained the significant boost in consumer awareness the Cowboys were able to receive through their partnership with Channel1media.  Through Channel1media, Cowboy fans were allowed to get a complete view of their seat before purchase.  From there, Estis and his team were empowered with the selling of something tangible that the consumer had actually seen and experienced (virtually).

Most offices have a donor tracking software, but accurate management by the entire staff will make the operation that much more efficient.  There are also companies such as Ballena Technologies that can build virtual models of stadium for premium seating opportunities.  Overall, some of the same practices that helped the Cowboys go after the Dallas market can be applied to collegiate athletics development.  Whether it be keeping track of the stewardship process of donors through a CRM system, or using interactive web applications to help validate seat license purchases.

Michael Speight

Reseating program aids schools, excites donors

Click on the picture for Seton Hall's interactive seating diagram

The University of Indiana has recently joined the growing number of schools who have chosen to utilize Ballena Technologies for their donor reseating and ticket sales processes. The Ballena program, which works with the university’s existing ticketing system, allows its users to access virtual seat previews, compare seat prices, and pick their seats all from the comforts of their own home. During an otherwise time-consuming reseating process, the university can now rely on this technology to distribute seats among their donors based on priority points in a real-time  and simple computer based program.

Of course, Indiana is not the only university taking advantage of this technology. Seton Hall is using Ballena for their seating diagrams that show ticket prices and donation requirements for their entire basketball arena. This gives Seton Hall fans the opportunity to calculate their own totals for basketball tickets without having to contact members of the athletics department.

ADF has posted previously on basketball reseating methods with suggestions for a hands-on and  on-site selection process along with others which are primarily priority point driven. The correct way to handle a donor reseating effort will depend largely on the university, but a department looking for online interactivity should follow the examples set by Indiana and Seton Hall.

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Rob Norris

Michigan State Implements Seat Adjustment for Men’s Basketball

Michigan State Spartans
Image via Wikipedia

Michigan State University, looking to capitalize on the success of their men’s basketball program, implemented a seat adjustment for the 2009-2010 season. The Spartans finished as the national runner-up in the 2008-2009 season and added a fifth Final Four appearance in the past 11 years. The Spartan Fund – the fund raising arm for Michigan State Athletics – is leveraging this perennial success as well as increased engagement from both current and new donors.

Michigan State has not administered a seat adjustment since 1995, while a large number of top programs across the country reseat on a consistent basis. Under the new seat adjustment, season ticket holders earn priority seating through the new “Spartan Points” system, which reflects the donor’s overall investment in MSU Athletics. Spartan Points rankings were used to schedule each donor’s seat selection time using the popular Seat Relocation Management System (SRMS) by Ballena Technologies.

Seat relocations allow universities to maintain a more market-driven approach to seating. Permitting donors to stay in the same seats each year without increasing their giving level does not allow the athletic department to secure the highest potential value for each seat. Reseating ensures donor turnover and allows for donors who are willing to pay the maximum value a chance to secure their preferred seats. Clearly, this is a revenue-maximizing initiative, while programs such as Spartan Points also make certain donors are still being rewarded for their loyalty to their program. Although no immediate figures are available, Michigan State has positioned itself for long-term increases in giving to the Athletic Department.

By Matt Kirinovic

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