Leadership / 01.26.23
INTIX 2023: Highlights From Day 2
We can’t say enough about the energy at the 44th Annual INTIX Conference and Exhibition in Seattle. It is electric and infinite, which feels fitting as we gather together in a city that values renewable resources.
Day two kicked off with an INTIX Town Hall on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in live entertainment. “Collect and Connect — Using NFTs to Drive Fan Engagement” took us on a journey of this emerging and rapidly changing technology. Esteemed panelists from Ticketmaster, the National Football League and Dapper Labs shared their expertise and experiences.
Moderator Anthony Esposito, SVP of Ticket Operations for the Atlanta Braves, began by admitting he too was there to learn.
Rusty Watkins, Senior Director of NFT Account Management and Marketing for Ticketmaster, is both an expert and a collector. Watkins began amassing NFTs five years ago, in January 2018, when he was playing fantasy baseball. He felt incredibly engaged himself and believed that digital collectibles offered an amazing fan engagement opportunity. Fast forward to today, and Watkins estimates he owns approximately 500 NFTs. He also plays a big part in Ticketmaster Collectibles, which provides one-of-a-kind digital keepsakes that fans can store and treasure digitally. The NFTs also offer the opportunity to unlock additional benefits.
Daniel Devece, Senior Director of Emerging Products at the National Football League (NFL), got involved with NFTs when NBA Top Shot started taking off. It was launched during COVID-19 as fans were clamoring for a connection to their favorite players, teams and live events.
“My team asked me to spend about 5% of my time figuring out what an NFT was, and that turned into 150% of my time in a matter of two weeks,” Devece said. “We started building an emerging products group that focused on new technologies with fan-facing applications. We identify what those technologies are and then find partners to do it, so we built a portfolio of about four partners, specifically in the NFT space. Ticketmaster and Dapper Labs are two of those four [partners] where we focused on building the digital collectible world within the NFL.com universe and connecting with our fans a little bit closer using the technology.”
Dapper Labs, where Brittany O'Hagan is VP of Sports Partnerships, created its own blockchain called Flow. It is where all the NFTs with its partners, including Ticketmaster and the NFL, live and thrive.
NFL All Day is where fans go to buy, sell and play for officially licensed NFL video collectibles. For example, Hot Route packs are on sale now (January 2023). In addition to securing rare highlight collectibles from the NFL's top stars, there is a chance to win Super Bowl tickets with every pack a fan buys. Hot Route NFT packs and similar products can create the same type of anticipation with “pack ripping” as there was back in the day, ripping open a package of baseball, hockey or Pokémon cards.
This is also an example of the additional benefits that can be unlocked via an NFT, but many more possibilities exist to reward fandom.
“We can tell who owns what types of [NFL] moments,” Devece said. “Perhaps they own a one-on-one and they own Patrick Mahomes’ first NFL moment. If they have a one-of-many, if they have a base moment, that is accessible and gets you into the ecosystem. We can reward those fans in different ways because they are such fans of Patrick Mahomes. One might get another moment of Patrick Mahomes when he makes a big play this upcoming weekend. Or the fan who has Patrick Mahomes’ first moment might get a private meet and greet with him. I think those kinds of experiences help us deepen fan engagement.”
“Music is a really interesting space right now. I think the next wave of artists is really engrossed in the Web3 space, which means owning a little bit more of your music and being able to sell that to fans rather than to an intermediary,” Watkins said. “If a Harry Styles came and said, ‘Hey, we'd love to do digital collectibles’ … we could do it within a few days and get something out for those fans. So being able to offer that is really important on the art side, and then I think there's a loyalty program there too.”
Watkins continued, “I have seen the real use case … where I've gone to a concert because I own [an NFT],” he said, adding that he has also gone to parties because of an NFT. “We are starting to see restaurants that are saying, ‘Hey, in order to book reservations, you have to own our NFT.’ Now that's a little exclusive, but then you start to see how going to an NFL game [could offer] a loyalty component, getting a virtual commemorative ticket and then maybe a sponsor offers a discount. Looking down the road, you start to see the use cases … that is when I think it's going to truly hit.”
Beyond sponsorships and loyalty plays, NFTs offer many opportunities to engage fans and deepen relationships. You could attach an artist’s set list or game plays to a digital ticket to represent what happened at the event. A sports organization could add or subtract game footage as the season progresses to tell the team’s story. Or think concert posters, playbills or anything else that falls into the collecting mentality.
Down the road, NFTs will likely extend more toward personalization. There is also the opportunity to commemorate tenure as a season ticket holder, recognize perfect attendance and more.
From the Exhibition Hall
From the Town Hall, we went back to the Exhibition Hall and met with Kian Janamian, CEO and Founder of Planaday. This is Planaday’s first convention as a company, and we send a big INTIX welcome to the entire team. We are happy to have you join our community!
“Planaday integrates guest-facing box office and concierge systems into one consolidated platform and provides a single hub that can power, sell and distribute tickets to box office and concierge environments,” Janamian said. “We want to get our name out there and meet the players that are in our space who we can potentially partner with [to] enhance our solution and also bring value to theirs.”
You can find Janamian and his Planaday colleagues at booth 512 in the Exhibition Hall.
Alvarado Manufacturing helps venues streamline ingress, encourages better engagement between staff and fans, and helps monetize a venue’s front entrance. This is achieved through the company’s admission control software and intelligent entry hardware, which is installed in over 200 locations around the world. Clients include NBA and MLB teams, stadiums in Australia and New Zealand, dozens of universities, and the leading regional theme park operator in North America.
We asked Jacqueline Purcell, Sales Manager for Sports Entertainment at Alvarado, what she would most like to share with INTIX attendees. “[We have] the ability to upgrade your event space at a lower cost than what you think and to reallocate resources that you may not be thinking about,” she said.
Purcell continued, “We are here to help you and answer any questions you may have. I love talking to venues. I worked in ticket operations for over 10 years before joining Alvarado, so I love listening to pain points and seeing if I can help.”
Purcell and her Alvarado colleagues are located at a kiosk in the Exhibition Hall foyer.
Brian McGovern, Partner at iMedia, is most looking forward to making connections and meeting people at the INTIX conference. The iMedia team has been an integral part of the Tessitura community for the past 15 years, assisting brands in establishing long-term connections with their customers, increasing donations and enhancing ticket sales.
“We are a full-service digital agency specializing in branding and creating websites for performing arts venues as well as any ticketing venue,” McGovern said. “Our application called SeatMe allows patrons to seat their tickets in a virtual reality setting, so you can actually use the mouse to look around the theater and see what it looks like to sit in your seat before you actually get there.”
McGovern and his team are also located at a kiosk in the Exhibition Hall foyer.
Did You Say Bacon?
There was bacon again at INTIX today! This time it was maple bacon donuts, combining sweet, savory and salty sensations for an indulgently satisfying taste experience. There is really only one word to describe them — YUM!
A group of ticketing leaders took part in a “Leadership Self-Assessments” workshop as part of the Uplevel Leadership Lab, which is new to INTIX for 2023.
Corinne Ferris, Leadership and Development Coach with Proactive Coaching, was on hand guiding ticketing people managers to learn more about themselves and their leadership style.
In an informal “raise your hands” survey, it was revealed that managers today communicate less by email with their employees and rarely by phone. Many leaders hold in-person and one-on-one meetings, while some hold virtual meetings.
The role that ticketing managers play in meetings was also discussed. Ferris encouraged attendees to look at whether they are in charge at meetings, talking the most or the least, taking notes or keeping time.
“We often go into a meeting as leaders and we are either there because we were invited to be there or we created the meeting,” Ferris said, emphasizing that it is important to be able to identify your purpose and role. Ferris further recommended looking at whether it makes sense to be in charge or to let others lead while being an observer. “Those responses are not good or bad. They are about being curious, about how you lead in those different environments, in meetings, during conflict, in clarity and in building your team.”
INTIX recognized its 2023 Awards honorees at the annual awards lunch on Wednesday, celebrating the professionals who have displayed exceptional ticketing expertise, regardless of their position, location or organization.
Learn more about the INTIX Spirit Award recipient, the True Tickets Young Ticketing Professional, Outstanding Ticket Office, Outstanding Ticketing Professional, two IMPACT Award honorees chosen by our INTIX Board Chair, and the Patricia G. Spira Lifetime Achievement Award in our feature story.
Welcoming and Inclusive
This photo was taken just outside the INTIX Exhibition Hall foyer. While it is technically a sign with words, as a photo, it gives true meaning to the saying that a picture can be worth 1,000 words.
Women in Ticketing
Those present from the ever-expanding Women in Ticketing community gathered today to take a group photo. The smiles of being together in person were absolutely heartwarming!
This photo has become an annual conference tradition. It is one that Jennifer Staats Moore, who founded the group together with Maureen Andersen, Karen Sullivan and Debra Kay Duncan, says will continue in 2024. While we have included a sneak peek below, watch for the official photos to be released in the Women in Ticketing Facebook group.
INTIX Happy Hour
After the Women in Ticketing photo was taken, everyone headed happily to the INTIX Happy Hour, sponsored by our new friends from Planaday. Today would not have been complete without this opportunity to meet with our pals, colleagues and industry peers over drinks. Thank you, Planaday, for your partnership.
INTIX Late Night Social
After enjoying a night off and perhaps out on the town, conference attendees returned to mingle, imbibe and revel in the pleasure of each other’s company. Thank you to our friends at AudienceView for sponsoring the evening’s INTIX Late Night Social.
There is more to come! On Thursday, we have a special roundtable that goes behind the scenes with ticketing the Garth Brooks tour, additional workshop sessions and more time with our fantastic vendor partners in the Exhibition Hall. And, in an extraordinary closing general session, attendees will experience new wearable technology that allows you to feel a performance through your skin.
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Tags: Leadership , INTIX 2023