Tennessee and San Jose State Choose In-House, Privatized Ticketing Solution While Temple Renews Partnership
IMG College Ticket Solutions, a division of IMG Worldwide, has added two additional schools to its roster of collegiate partners seeking private, in-house assistance with athletics ticket sales.
Through multi-year agreements with University of Tennessee and San Jose State, IMG College Ticket Solutions will manage the schools’ athletics ticket sales with a full-time, professional sales staff located within the schools’ athletic departments.
Additionally, current IMG College Ticket Solutions partner Temple University, which has achieved significant increases with football season ticket and group sales, has signed a two-year extension. In early May, Duke University inked a multi-year partnership to maximize ticket revenues with the growing IMG College division, bringing the ticketing partner roster to four schools since the division was formed in January 2011.
While more Americans purchase tickets to college athletics events than any other sport – each year more than 100 million fans attend events and top college football programs routinely exceed the leading NFL teams’ average event attendance – the overall ticket marketplace is increasingly competitive. IMG College Ticket Solutions, which is led by Matt DiFebo, Vice President of IMG College, offers schools complete ticket sales and customized revenue solutions ranging from consulting to comprehensive outsourcing.
“In four months, schools from all corners of the U.S. have committed to our ‘in-house, privatized’ solution,” said DiFebo, who is known as the originator of collegiate athletics outsourced ticketing, and sold his pioneering DiFebo Company to IMG College to become part of its newly created Business Ventures Division. “It’s ‘in-house’ because we operate within and as official representatives of the athletics department, and it’s ‘privatized’ because the staff is recruited, managed and compensated by IMG College.”
University of Tennessee
Among major schools, the University of Tennessee traditionally ranks in the top five in attendance for football and men’s and women’s basketball. Tennessee is partnering with IMG College primarily to expand season ticket sales, mini-plans and group sales for individual games at three premier venues: Neyland Stadium, one of the nation’s largest football stadiums; Thompson-Boling arena, at one time the largest U.S. facility ever built for basketball; and newly renovated Lindsey Nelson stadium for baseball.
“Taking a more aggressive and professional approach to selling tickets is long overdue in college sports,” said Chris Fuller, Sr. Associate Director of Athletics. “Tennessee has loyal, generational fans, but like all Americans, they have less discretionary time and income. Unlike professional sports, a university may be asking fans to invest in multiple sports. Achieving a greater reach in our ticket sales efforts through creative, commission-driven outside experts is a great step for not only Tennessee but college sports in general.”
IMG College, through its 2007 acquisition of Host Communications Company, has a 22-year partnership with Tennessee in media and sponsorship marketing. A.J. Arem, who worked alongside Matt DiFebo at the University of Central Florida in the pioneering effort, will serve as General Manager of the Tennessee program.
San Jose State University
In the highly competitive Bay Area market, San Jose State University is the first west coast school to partner with IMG College Ticket Solutions, primarily targeting the school’s large student and alumni base – 95,000 alumni living in San Jose and 175,000 alumni in the Bay Area. Matt Harper will serve as General Manager for the school’s ticketing partnership.
“The IMG College partnership we will soon implement is the next phase for San Jose State University athletics to increase its ticket sales in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball and maximize our department’s revenue potential,” said Tom Bowen, San Jose State University director of athletics. “The upside to this partnership is enormous. The proven track record of IMG’s Matt DiFebo, an industry leader in collegiate athletics ticket sales, our existing relationship with him, and IMG’s expertise form the basis to upgrade our marketing and increase our visibility and home game attendance. In my professional opinion, this is the right way to go about dramatically increasing our ticket sales as our overall athletics program gets better and better.”
“These announcements indicate schools of all sizes and fan bases recognize the value in having a specific ticketing sales force to complement the marketing and development efforts of the athletics department,” said Mark Dyer, Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer for IMG College. “While college sports have never been bigger or more successful, today's sports entertainment market is also more competitive than ever. Our fan-centric model is designed to assist colleges in competing more effectively.”