University of South Carolina Case Study

Objective

The Gamecock’s first home football game for the 2013 season was set for August 29th against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.  The partnership between IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions and the University of South Carolina began July 9, 2013.  With a little over 30 days until the first home football game, the number one priority of IMG Learfield management was to launch a sales force at South Carolina that would hit the ground running.  This sales force would have to be an extremely talented and qualified group of individuals capable of ramping up ticket sales in a short amount of time.

Solution

IMG Learfield’s management team accessed their Most Valuable Practices (MVP) national recruiting database of candidates to hire the most qualified account executives for the University of South Carolina.  The MVP national recruiting database has three main functions that allowed IMG Learfield to identify quality individuals with ease.

National Recruiting Network:

·         Proactive, year round recruiting efforts through phone conversations and face to face meetings.

·         Extensive professional and collegiate network allows IMG Learfield to build strong relationships with Director’s, Manager’s and Professors alike, who actively recommend talented candidates.

·         National Recruiting Network provides the opportunity to hire and place strong General Managers and Account Executives for the best geographic property fit in a timely fashion.

As the staff began to take shape, training was immediately initiated.  IMG Learfield’s managers frequented the office site at South Carolina to deliver the company’s MVP training program.  The MVP training focused on selling season tickets, group packages, selling at events, generating leads, retention of customers, gaining referrals and business to business marketing.  Training was specific to South Carolina and sellers quickly became well versed in the product and policies of the athletic department.  The urgency of establishing a sales office at South Carolina was understood by all parties; making hiring procedures a smooth process.  Not only did IMG Learfield get the right people on the bus, but they also equipped the team with the necessary tools to increase ticket sales at a fast pace.

Result

A staff was in place and operational at South Carolina by mid July.  Within just a few weeks of IMG Learfield signing South Carolina as a partner, a General Manager and four Account Executives were hired to serve as the ticket sales engine for South Carolina Athletics.

In addition to efficiently and effectively staffing South Carolina, the IMG Learfield team made an immediate and significant impact in attendance numbers and sales figures.  The talented staff did their due diligence in making outbound calls to potential buyers and their training allowed them to proactively up sell and cross-sell across sports.  Below are areas South Carolina has seen success due to the initiatives of IMG Learfield.

·         Football – Sold out all seven home games for the first time since the stadium expanded to a capacity of 80,250.

·         Football – Total attendance per game increased by 2,400 tickets from 2012 to 2013.

·         Football – More than 81% increase in group tickets sold.

·         Men’s Basketball – Increased season ticket sales by more than 1,000 tickets (as of 12-6-13).

·         Women’s Basketball – 93% increase in revenue.  More than 1,800 new season tickets sold.

IMG Learfield was able to integrate a fully operational sales staff into South Carolina Athletics and deliver immediate revenue results within a limited time-frame.