And THIS Is What We Are Selling In Sports and Entertainment


The World Series this year brought baseball back. Two teams that hadn’t won it all in forever, (darn…mine didn’t win it!), excitement, time away from the day to day problems,  the main topic of conversation at everyone’s watercooler, and enabled families to snuggle together in front of the tv to watch.

While walking the family dog, Buster, I passed this house whose dad deserves Dad of the Year. The boys didn’t understand the strike zone they saw on tv. They thought it was easier than it was. So dad helped them realize the precision pitchers have. He stopped parking his car in his garage, bought plywood to save the garage, and created a pitching zone for his zones. Night after night, with the weather in the chilly low 40’s, the kids are out there pulling dad with them to ‘practice their pitching.’ These are memories these kids will have forever.

THIS is what we sell. You can come up with smooth scripts, nagging comments, a buy now or you won’t get this offer anymore, but in the end, we sell memories. We sell experiences. We sell family moments. I bet if I still worked for our baseball team here, I could have gone up to dad and asked who he attended his first sporting event with. And I bet he would’ve told me his dad (generally the most answered), his uncle/grandfather or his family. And then he would tell me about his experience. And then I would ask him why he wouldn’t want to create that same memory with his sons. And that is how we sell.

Whether you are in sports or entertainment, we are selling an emotional bond. How can we bring that bond to light?

  • Relate your story. Share it with them. Listen to theirs. This doesn’t matter if it’s business or individual. Think back to who YOU attended your first game with and your memories. Suggest ways to recreate it. Follow the stats together, make sure you have a hot dog/popcorn/ice cream together just as the memory, come early to watch warmups…whatever is special and was memorable to them, suggest it. If music or theater, what memories do they have of their first concert or first show? Music is the universal language…we can immerse ourselves as we close our eyes and feel another place, another time as we listen. Plays let us forget the whole outside world and for a while we are brought into someone else’s life.
  • “The experience.” We say it…what does it mean? What would mean something to your potential season ticket holder? Learning how to bring in new business with your opportunity? How? How would they measure it? What would mean something to your group? An onfield/court experience? Meeting the President? If a women’s group, a meetup with some of the players wives/husbands to talk about life while spouse is on the road. Just think about what would enhance the game. Unfortunately, we are in a time when the game itself is the selling point for fewer people than we think. It’s what they will experience…not necessarily the giveaway or the on court/field ‘stuff’, but rather what will enable them to carry a memory away. In music and entertainment, it can be a pre-event wine and cheese mixer to a post show meetup with the cast or, in music world, you leave and just aren’t ready to be done with the show. I’ve had post show events in another room with music still going, items to sell, and drinks and light food available to keep the spirit moving and let them wind down. That was a winner!
  • Know what matters to them. The more you get to know your client, be it group leader or season holder, the more you know what matters to them. Surprising them with a unique opportunity or gift goes much farther than the traditional seat visit and calls to ask ‘how they like their experience.’ Surprises say “I care”. I used to put a wrapped fresh red rose or a Thank You mylar balloon with a thank you note in every suite I rented. A simple surprise to say “I care.” Remembering something that is important to them says “Wow…I’m not just a purchase to them.” Knowing they are bringing someone who has a birthday and bringing a little gift or highlighting during the event says “I care and I listen. You are valuable to me.” But you can’t do that unless you build the strong relationship. Take time with your clients. Sales should never ever ever be a one and done.

People buy emotionally. We justify our purchase logically later. Our involvement in the memories, the experiences, and the moment is what attracts us to start with. Help bring those thoughts to the surface. Share the moment. Create the vision. Care. You will then have a client who purchases with anticipation, rather than ‘a deal.’ That anticipation is the emotion that keeps them coming back.

Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating

Empowering YOUR staff to go from good to great! Contact me at: or 440-655-9436

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