I spoke to a league official from Iowa last week, and the call really disturbed me. They played in one of Iowa’s larger cities that had a new large arena. And the cost was outrageous! That and the 80% (yes) service charge on the ticket price was a killer……I won’t tell you the name of the ticket company as I used to work there…….So the members of the league were forced to each kick up extra money to make up the deficit.
Last year I wrote about checking up on a larger arena if you were ready to make the jump. This is about finding the right size (and not just for cost) and the most economical.
Most of you know every venue and rink in your area you can play in. Hopefully you have checked out venue finder at brownpapertickets.com (the most amazing ticketing company ever, and I have worked or consulted for a half dozen….more on that in a future post), but I am going to let you in on a 50-year-old secret.
In the same years that we were skating at the largest arenas (Madison Square Garden, Boston Garden, Montreal Forum, Oracle Arena in Oakland, and every major venue you could name), we booked dates at colleges (from Notre Dame to University of New Hampshire to Southern Illinois University and more), and at dozens of high schools throughout the country. High schools? you would be amazed.
The perfect sized gym was 3,000 and over. And are you aware that there are 18 gyms in the US that are 7000 seats and up? And the largest is in Newcastle, Indiana with a capacity of 9225 – more on them later.
And how to you get into these venues? We could always find a PTA or booster or support organization who wanted extra funds to maintain the facility. We paid as little as $500 and split or gave them the concessions (and if it was not free, the parking).
Now these places are perfect: great lighting, sound, bowl seating allowing the fans to focus on the action. They are concerned about the floors, obviously, but of course you cover them. And you are restricted to about 94 by 52 feet in most gyms (check it out) but you can do that, we could with the banked track.
We sold out the Newcastle gym several times, netting almost as much money as we did selling out Madison Square Garden! How? Costs at Madison Square Garden were $25,000 rental plus about $19,000 in “reimbursables”, ie staffing, box office, police, track set up and tear down, and on and on. And our promotion costs (about $300) were a lot less than we spent (about $10,000) in New York.
So get on it now! You probably can use your own ticketing also, and Brown Paper tickets can do that (and of course I work for them). Unbelievable 99 cent charge to customer plus 3 1/2 % charge which covers credit cards. Luckily, BPT handles more Roller Derby than all other services together! And that was before I joined them. Bob Noxious has been doing such a great job as a “doer” for Brown Paper Tickets for Roller Derby. He is a great source and not just for ticketing: www.community.brownpapertickets.com/doers/derby.html?
And now they are also a paperless ticketing company(have to change the name!). The tickets can be sent to your mobile phone (and you can send tickets to others) and when you show up at the game, BPT provides an app or scanners if needed and it is read,and they go right in. And the bar code cannot be used for another entry. And it reads reserved seats also. The cost to you for this and all services from BPT: NADA, NOTHING. Even I can’t believe it.
And 5% of the service fee is donated to one of dozens of charities the buyer chooses…..this is such a green company and not just for profit that it is amazing. If the other ticket companies were like this, you wouldn’t hear customers being so dissatisfied.(some venues with $100 tickets have a $30 service charge – maybe they would sell more tickets at $100.99) No set up fee; you set it up yourself for any type of event – and great client service 24 hours a day. please check out http://www.brownpapertickets.com and see the free services from promotion on they provide, including listing on all of their sites.
Now, I hope you all are aware of how many hundreds of venues I have “rented”. Almost all will negotiate. If you are playing in an arena already, they need you as much as you need them. If it is a slow season or middle of the week, their overhead continues nevertheless. So make them a lower offer (remember, they get the concessions and the parking income).
Check carefully the amount of ushers, police, etc they are requiring; these are often based on a crowd of total capacity, and obviously they want work for their employees, which is not your problem. And do they have advertising boards inside or outside and run ads of upcoming events? Make sure you are listed and they post your event in advance of your date.
There is so much more that I know. Please use me as a resource. Brown Paper Tickets encourages its “doers” to do that.
And you can imagine the thrill I had when the boosters brought Roller Derby into Niles Township High School in Skokie, Illinois, from which I had graduated 20 years before, and gave me a mounted football letter for my playing days!