You can’t be successful without tickets….

No, I don’t mean from Ann Calvello’s expression.

At Northwestern I majored in business, so of course I had to learn basic accounting.  In the summer of 1957 we were living in Los Angeles, and I was working for the Roller Derby Skate Company (what do you mean you didn’t know about this company?  they are still one of the largest in America).  Leo’s brother Oscar was operating a “unit” that was going to play in the baseball park in San Diego, and since that was part of my sales territory, I was asked if I would like to work in the box office.

Yes, I know this is a year before I actually joined Roller Derby as a manager, so I don’t really count this time.

Image by djshaw from

At the time there was an extensive amount of discount tickets used through supermarkets in the area, and they had to be redeemed at the event at the ticket booth, and there was an amazing statistic of over 97% of all tickets sold at the box office (there was no other way then; before computerized ticketing)were sold at a discount.  It was obvious that the ticket sellers were getting discount tickets, bringing them to work, and claiming that virtually all tickets were discounted, and keeping the 50 cents per for themselves.

I immediately set up a system to put someone I trusted in a separate location who would issue a discount slip with their initials to the customer who would then go and buy their tickets……for some reason, discounted tickets dropped to about 35% of all sales.

Event promoters think that if they get 1000 people and they paid $15 they have maximized attendance.  From almost the beginning of when I started in Derby of my intent was to maximize sales for any given game.  And since distribution systems were so inefficient, and the public does not like to have to go to a lot of trouble to get tickets, they will just give up and do something else.  Thus, as I explained in another post, when Ticketron came into the marketplace, I saw that computerized ticketing was a way to make buying easier, and our attendance jumped an average of 15% with no additional promotion.

So I won’t re-bore you with my exploits in computerized ticketing (read Ticketmasters, from Amazon – and you will will see why distribution and service charges are where they are, and my particular contributions to the distribution system), but obviously I have kept abreast (ok, no tickets pun intended) with developments and especially what could be done with the relatively small user.

My friend and former compatriot at Ticketmaster, James Goodman, contacted me and asked if I would take a look at a paperless system, the ideal approach to ticketing.  I did, and have now become a consultant with Scott Thorpe at

This system seems to solve all the problems and eliminate the need for many people to sell tickets and for long lines.  You simple take any mobile phone, access the event app, buy any amount you want;  pass your credit card in front of your phone, and voila, that is the transaction – and your credit card is not captured for the future.  When you get to the event, your phone is read and you are sent to your seating area.

No paper, no will call,  no fuss, no muss.  And if there are long lines, the so-called ticket takers can just move through them and scan your phone.  And people who are approaching the event who haven’t bought their tickets, can do so as they near the entry or from their car… need to go to a ticket window.  Of course you still  can print from your computer if you don’t have a phone.

And the service charge is ridiculously low, and if the league or event has another game they are announcing that night, fans can just pull out their phones and buy then.

Don’t believe me?  Go to and run a demo.  No set up fees or nothing.  The Commissioner loves these easy solutions.

A lot of interest from this post…..go to Jerry Seltzer or Gerald Seltzer home page on facebook and there are three different short videos demonstrating how simple and effective mogotix is.  Would the Commissioner lie to you, even for money?

10 years and Denver this weekend!

In January modern Roller Derby will mark its 10th year anniversary.

It started as an extravaganza in Austin at TXRD and somehow organically became 1105 leagues in 38 countries today.

And the end of the 10th year will be marked by several huge events:  the WFTDA Championships this weekend in Denver (be there, I will be), the first World Cup in Toronto in December with at least 13 national teams from various countries; the Derby Dolls championship, OSDA, and much more.

I have such feelings for all the teams in the finals:  Portland is where I was born; Chicago is where I grew up, the home of Roller Derby, and my first view of modern Roller Derby in 2005.  I have met and am in touch with players and friends on all the final teams.  And my choice……don’t skip to the end, because you will be cheating.

The Commissioner will see as much Derby this weekend as I can.  I love the arena, just the perfect size for the event.  about 7000 seats, all comfortable, with a running light board and a huge Jumbotron scoreboard and video.  And Chuck Morris, who is AEG-Live chief of the area and of this building, is a great old friend of mine.

So when I am not watching Derby, I will be giving out prizes:  I will be handing out badges (not exactly) and lanyards at our booth at 1-1, each one numbered and signed by me.  When you come by the booth either to see the unbelievable uniforms of Doug Martin or to try out Mogotix, the ticket system on a mobile phone that requires no additional system, has no paper ticket or will call, or learning about which will be launching soon with very different apparel and other items (“bringing tradition to modern Derby”).

And we will be giving away some tee shirts, Roller Derby to Rollerjam books, “Derby” videos, Judi Flowers footwear and luggage tags, sample jerseys, headbands, etc.  If you are at the games, and are wearing the lanyard, check booth 1-1 in the early and late afternoon each day to see if you are a winner of the dozens of prizes.

I will be selling Lori Milkeris bracelets (see “I like women” posting on this site) for fund raising for her upcoming surgery.  Also, $5 of every sale of “Roller Derby to Rollerjam Book” will be donated to Lori……Make certain we see a lot of purple bracelets at 1st Bank Center.  And you can leave a check with me for Lori or just go to Lori Aid 2011 to donate through paypal.

In late afternoon each day we will be giving away 1 free (!)  service for any upcoming game….this can handle all of your ticket sales including walkup (people can buy on their phone as they walk to the entrance!), any advance game sale (announce your next game and it will be on sale to the people in the audience) with no fees to the winners.  Completely green, no paper, no will calls except on the phone.  Be one of the three winners.  You will only be charged the credit card fees on ticket sales that you now pay.

And Doug Martin has what I think are the best uniforms, including names and numbers and ways to help teams raise money for them…He also is showing some retro Roller Derby designs.

All right, I haven’t seen all the teams play in person, although I have seen them on DNN or  I think Gotham will come in with their strongest squad to date, but to me you have to go with the past champions.  I think it is between Oly and RMRG with Oly coming out the winner.  I am such a fan of all the teams, that I would be happy with great competition, great skating and blocking, and -I hope- no slow play.

Please everyone come up and say hello and if you see me I would appreciate a hug at least.

This year at the WFTDA Championships.

I am very excited about going back to Denver soon for the tournament November 11 through 13.

A year and a half ago an old friend from the ticketing days contacted me and since he is now the grand poobah in Denver with AEG (one of the two largest promoters of talent and building operators), he had taken over the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, halfway between Denver and Boulder and had made a promotional arrangement with the Roller Dolls. He invited me to their game and I flew into town.

I hadn’t been back since 1974 when Hal and I started our ticketing company and promoter Barry Fey as our first client. And Chuck Morris operated a club called “Ebbets Field”. I think you can guess where he was from originally. Chuck actually was our first client.

Well a lot has gone on since then, and today Chuck has a lot on his plate, from Bon Jovi to Justin Bieber, and much of what goes on in the Rocky Mountain state.

When I arrived, he had me booked on TV, radio and newspaper, and I gladly talked about Roller Derby, modern Derby, and why it is such a great up and coming sport. I met with the league, and at that time didn’t know anyone (pre-facebook), but soon realized I have a huge family. I also was able to go to the training center for the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls and was greeted just as warmly.

At the game the next night (the B team skated against Ogden, and Candis Rose had me autograph her panties – a new experience for me) – and the Denver team played Texas.

The building where this year’s Championship is being held is breathtaking; it seems as though it was built for Roller Derby. It has 7000 comfortable seats, great lighting and sound, all the electronic running lights, a huge jumbotron, and more. I know many of you will watch on, but if you are near Denver, please join me and the thousands of others to see the 12 teams, the best out of the 1093 in the 36 countries that have leagues. There will be continuous action over three days. I met with so many women and men last year in Chicago who were at the Championships just to watch, learn and cheer.

I actually will be working in a booth (not all the time) with Doug Martin of who provides uniforms for so many other sports and brings the professionalism to our game that I believe it needs. Also, (I wear a number of hats), I will show you how just with your cell phone (and everyone else’s) you can now provide completely paperless ticketing for your event; and I will be introducing the “Seltzer” line of products, with the design talents of Judi Flowers, Judy Alexander, and rock and roll patriarch Jeff Axelrod (among other things, he was responsible for the Grateful Dead skull logo).

I am going to have fun, party hearty, but mainly watch some of the greatest athletes in the world put forth all of their efforts to attain glory. Actually you might say they have already as they made it to the finals.

The only time you will see me leave the arena (when I am not working) is if anyone chooses to do the slow and stop play. But as Commissioner, that is my prerogative.

Mainly, though, I will just enjoy what I believe is rapidly becoming the most exciting sport ever. And I will be cheering for all those who have come before.

Thank you all for not only keep the game alive, but for making it “totally awesome”.

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