Leadership / 11.09.22
Margo Malone: A Giant in San Francisco’s Ticketing Office
“For me, the day-to-day grind never gets old because although it’s filled with the same types of tasks — inbound and outbound calls, emails, text messages — there’s always the unexpected. One day you’re in the midst of early season ticket renewals, and the next you’re rolling out a presale opportunity for the Lady Gaga concert. I truly thrive on controlled chaos!”
So says Margo Allen Malone, Senior Manager of Season Ticket Memberships and Special Projects for the San Francisco Giants. She’s been feeding off the chaos of live events for three decades now. Indeed, Malone began her career in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the early 1990s when she was hired as the Team Archivist for the then-expansion Florida Marlins. At that time, she was able to combine her passion for communications, specifically taking documentary photography and writing, with an exciting job in professional sports. With the support of various allies, her role expanded to media relations, and she eventually served as the Marlins’ Manager of Baseball Information & Publicity.
That was before moving back to her home state of California in 1998 and joining the Giants’ Front Office and its newly formed Client Relations team. The group was dedicated to servicing season ticket member accounts with the opening of the Giants’ new ballpark. Upon reflection, she says, “As a part of the box office, my primary goal was to provide exemplary customer service and generate a steady and robust revenue stream through ticket sales. In addition to a successful inaugural season in 2000, during my tenure, Oracle Park has hosted four World Series, an All-Star Game, concerts, college football, monster truck races, Top Golf, America’s Cup, Opera in the Park and more. For every event, my department is involved at some level as our ticket members participate in presale opportunities.”
As a result of her tenure, she is a proud recipient of a MLB Lifetime Pass gold card. So, thriving on chaos has paid off? Malone chuckled, saying, “I also derive great satisfaction from troubleshooting ticketing issues. During the season, especially on game days, at least 50% of my time is spent providing technical support to season ticket members. A personal goal of mine is to ensure that every one of my clients is comfortable with navigating the MLB Ballpark app and can manage their tickets electronically. The time spent patiently walking a fan through the process pays off in the long run.”
Malone’s current job title as Senior Manager of Season Ticket Membership and Special Projects tasks her with hitting annual revenue goals associated with ticket renewals and single/group ticket sales. Her duties and responsibilities include managing ticket inventory; educating fans on the use of ticket technology; planning and hosting exclusive client events, while always providing “Gold Glove service,” in her words. In addition, Malone is the Giants’ liaison with the franchise’s outreach to the military community. She is charged with facilitating the ticket donation program.
After all this time, does she still follow any specific guidance of mentors from earlier in her career? Malone was eager to answer: “Early in my career, one of the Marlins coaches, the late Vada Pinson, advised me, ‘Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.’ Of course, this quote can be attributed to Satchel Paige, the great Negro Leagues player. At that time, [I was] working in media relations and feeling isolated as the only woman and African American in the clubhouse. I questioned whether I was truly worthy of being in that role despite my success. From that pep talk two decades ago, I learned the importance of staying the course and not comparing myself to others. Bet on yourself, believe in your abilities, and success will follow in unexpected ways.”
Success has certainly followed Margo Malone. So much so that she is now in position to give counsel to young women reading this who are just starting out in the ticketing and live event business. Her best advice? “Network! Seek out mentors within your organization, find allies, and join professional organizations. Make it your responsibility to find ways to open doors for yourself. You may have to pay your own membership dues if your workplace doesn’t have a budget to include everyone. That’s fine. Think of this as an investment in your own future.”
Along the way, she adds, you will gain a wealth of stories and anecdotes that will delight at cocktail parties and other social gatherings for years to come. She says, “Although most venues have transitioned to mobile ticketing, I’ll never forget the years of printing season tickets in-house for fans who renewed late. With days to go before Opening Day, our eight-person Client Relations team would field phone calls while simultaneously sending tickets to print to the closest BOCA. The sound of the printers churning away was music to our ears. And at least once a day, you’d hear that dreaded noise indicating that the printer was out of paper stock, sadly in the middle of a job. There would be a few seconds’ silence, a loud groan, and then laughter as the group realized who would have the dreaded task of feeding the BOCA. I can still visualize the near collisions as my colleagues and I took turns sprinting to the printer to retrieve tickets, spot check for any missing ones, and prep packages for FedEx. All the while, we were responding to calls and emails. We were a well-oiled machine, and those times of ‘pulling on the same rope’ brought us closer.”
More good times are ahead, Malone believes. I had the benefit of interviewing her here near the end of a calendar year. Is Malone generally optimistic, pessimistic or mixed about 2023 with regards to Major League Baseball, the Giants and live events in general, and why? “I’m already excited about the prospects for 2023,” she says. “The Giants will be playing two regular season games in Mexico City and will play in New York City against the Yankees for Opening Day! Judging by attendance numbers at the World Series games, live events are back 100% and the outlook is great for those in ticketing.”
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