Leadership / 06.09.21
What Are Ticketing and Live Event Pros Looking Forward to Buying a Ticket To?
With restrictions lifting, the second half of 2021 could see a ticketing frenzy across the spectrum of live events and entertainment. Ticketing and event professionals are certainly gearing up for the return of fans, patrons, supporters and spectators. But INTIX members are people and many cases they are superfans, too. For all of the excitement they generate by putting on in-person events, we wondered what events in the second half of 2021 they are most looking forward to buying tickets for and attending.
The responses were wonderfully varied, as you’d might expect:
For the Family
The pandemic did a number on families with children who had been accustomed to attending games, concerts and other forms of entertainment. Events that appeal to parents and their kids are likely to be some of the hottest tickets.
Anthony Esposito, INTIX Past Chair and Vice President of Ticket Operations for the Atlanta Braves, says, “My family loves the holiday season, so I am looking forward to going to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta in early December to watch the ‘Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.’ My 5-year-old constantly asks me to play the movie at home, and she calls it the ‘Gwinch movie.’ So, she will be ecstatic when I tell her we are going to that. And although you asked specifically about the second half of 2021, I am really looking forward to buying tickets for the indoor [Atlanta Camping & RV Show] on Jan. 27-30. I love walking the floor and exploring new RV spaces with my girls.”
Daughters are also top of mind in the households of Wendi Lebow, Chief Venue Officer at Goldstar, and Ryan Meyer, Director of Ticketing Services of Gold Technology at PGA TOUR. “I am looking forward to taking my daughter back to the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Toyota Symphonies for the Youth,” Lebow says. “We both miss going downtown, getting coffee with friends before the show, being in the concert hall, conducting with the conductor [because you can do that at symphonies for the youth] and walking around the garden after the show. When we talk together about things we miss doing because of the pandemic, this is top of our list. They have not announced the season yet. We are hoping this series will come back by the end of the year.”
Not to be outdone, Meyer says, “I am excited to buy tickets for our family to attend the Army-Navy [football] game in December. My daughter will be a freshman (Plebe) at the Naval Academy!”
Nick Begley, AudienceView Senior Marketing Manager, says, “Although I can’t wait to return to Citi Field to watch my beloved Mets in person with my baseball-obsessed family, I’m really looking forward to a date night at City Winery Hudson Valley’s ‘Concerts in the Vineyard’ series.”
For the Milestones
Then, there are those upcoming events that offer a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that our interviewees want to be a part of. If you asked Lauren Kennedy Brady, Producing Artistic Director for Theatre Raleigh, our main question a couple of weeks ago, she might have had a different answer. But now?
“I cannot wait to buy a ticket to a Duke basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium,” she says. “With Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski] retiring at the end of next season, it’s going to be electrifying. Being in that intimate, small stadium [and] seeing an awesome basketball team is such a treat anyway. But added that we couldn’t go to any games this past year due to COVID-19 and that it will be his last season … oh yeah, I am there! Not what you thought a theatre gal would say, huh?”
Amy Graca, Vice President of National Ticketing for Caesars Entertainment, was equally excited about her big, upcoming plans. “I’m planning on attending BottleRock Napa Valley over Labor Day weekend,” she says. “First, I just love Napa — the wine, the food, the scenery and everything the wine country has to offer. Then add on top Foo Fighters, and I’m in! I haven’t been to BottleRock before, but I love the festival vibe, and what better way to get out of town than to drink wine and see the Foo Fighters, Guns N’ Roses and so many more?”
For Risë Walter, Chief Marketing Officer for the San Diego Opera, she will finally see her dream show, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre troupe. “I had tickets to see this amazing company in March 2020,” she says. “This was one of the first performances to be canceled due to the pandemic. It was going to be my first time seeing them live, and I cannot wait to see those extraordinary dancers move through space in ways I cannot even fathom a body moving.”
For the Specific Artists
But, of course, everyone has their favorite singer or recording artist they’ve been denied seeing live for over a year now. And so many of them are returning to the tour circuit. Kellie Leeman, Senior Director of Ticket Sales & Service for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, says, “I am looking forward to buying a ticket to see Jimmy Buffet in July at Ruoff Music Center. I’ve missed the energy that comes from being at a live music concert, and I’m looking forward to enjoying live music again.”
Christina “Chrissy” Allen, Senior Manager of Box Office at Senators Sports & Entertainment in Ottawa, Canada, already has made her purchase, too. “I have tickets to see Alanis Morissette at the Hollywood Bowl in L.A. in October,” she says. “My friend lives in L.A., so I’m heading down there for a long overdue visit, and then we’re going to the Hollywood Bowl for a girls night to see Alanis. I just need the U.S.-Canada border to open up, and I’ll be good to go.”
INTIX President and CEO Maureen Andersen also already has her tickets for ‘Company’ with Patti LuPone on Broadway, “because I love her, and it’s one of my favorite Sondheim musicals. And, locally, I will never miss the chance to see Kristin Chenoweth, so I’ll be buying from the McCallum Theatre here in Palm Desert. I’d buy Patti LuPone there, too, but I’ll be in Orlando at INTIX 2022.”
For … Just Being Back in a Seat With People Again!
For other folks interviewed for this piece, they’re just looking forward to being back in any seat at any live event again. One example is Robert Bennett, Director of Ticket Operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, who says, “I’m looking forward to going to a concert and feeling the vibe of the music and the energy of the fans enjoying the music.”
Perhaps Carolyn Uroz summed it up best. Executive Assistant to the Senior VP of the San Francisco Giants, she is also President of the Bay Area Professional Ticketing Association (BAPTA). “It has been a challenging past year and a half to say the least,” she says. “What I am really looking forward to is getting together in person with all of my BAPTA members and going to any event TOGETHER!”
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