Saturday September 23, 2023
The Best Employers in Sports Survey is Now Open!

Impacting the Experience of the Sports Fan, the Journey of Mike Evenson

Front Office Sports Today

How Rupert Murdoch Changed Sports Media Forever

As he steps down as chair of Fox and News Corp., we discuss his monumental and ongoing impact.
Listen Now
September 22, 2023 | Podcast
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

By: Adam White, @FOSAdam

Mike Evenson, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for AudienceView

Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Mike Evenson, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for AudienceView. A consummate professional of 16 years, Mike has enjoyed recent success in multiple positions at AudienceView. Heralded by his coworkers as a, “…very sharp guy who understands the big picture, but also does great job managing the granular aspects of a project.” Mike has made lasting impacts in the industry throughout his tenure. He was gracious enough to offer up his time and insight about the future of ticketing technologies, AudienceView’s and the University of Minnesota’s Golden Ticket initiative and his advice for students looking to succeed in the sports business industry.

You graduated from Wisconsin 16 years ago, what has your journey been like since then? Did you envision being where you are today?

I didn’t expect to be where I am today, but I am thrilled with the way my career has progressed.

I started at a small school in Minnesota where I went to play tennis. I studied sports management, but eventually ended up transferring to Wisconsin because the school was just too small. Wisconsin did not offer sports management, so I majored in political science because it was an interest of mine. I made my way through school without a firm plan as to how I could break into the business of sports. I was fortunate to get an internship in the ticket office at Wisconsin after college. That is where I got my start in college athletics.

For the first couple of years in my position, I was fortunate because our athletic teams were doing so well. I was able to learn a lot — not only about ticket sales and the college athletics scene, but what it takes to stand out and what you have to do to earn your keep.

What should students expect when going into their first position?

You should expect to go in and work to add value to the organization, school, company or team you are working for. It is important that you give every task a little bit extra. That way, when you advance in your career, you can leave that job in better shape for the next person and you will have better skills than when you arrived.

You were one of the minds behind the Golden Ticket Initiative. How did that come to fruition and why do you think it was so successful?

To develop the University of Minnesota’s Golden Ticket, we looked at the fan from a third-party perspective. We recognized that not every event goer is created equal and neither are their experiences.

Our goal was to create more ways to attend an event and match that with the personalities of different sports fans. The motivation behind the Golden Ticket was to connect with fans who believe they are a good luck charm for their team. It also connects with expert fans — those who really know their teams — and asks them to put their money where their mouth is. We were really leveraging the psychology of the sports fan.

Ultimately, we wanted to attract fans to games that have had historically low attendance. It was a fun, different and interactive way to appeal to them while driving excitement for the program and increasing overall fan engagement.

For those of us who do not know what ticketing e-commerce is, can you explain what it is, why it helps, what you think the future of it will be and where opportunities for students may lie?

People have been paying to go to events forever, but there has been a real evolution in event ticketing over the years. It changed approximately 15 years ago because of the Internet. In the past, fans would line up at the physical outlet to get the best seats. The pre-event experience was in person and much more social. Now, ticket buyers are isolated from each other, making the purchase from their computer or mobile device. This has really changed the pre-event experience, but it presents real opportunities.

For a lot of people, the event begins at the initial point of purchase. Organizations can leverage this emotion through until game day and beyond. To do so, they need to be in the right place at the right time in terms of marketing, social outreach and more. The right system can help you do this and ultimately improve the overall fan experience, increase revenue and make everything more efficient.

To make this happen, and to achieve the benefits of true e-commerce, organizations need to bring ticketing together into a single system with all their other transactions. For many, the experience is still fragmented — fans buy a ticket in one place, then buy a hat or a jersey somewhere else, and then make a donation in yet another place. It can be a completely segmented experience in which most of the data does not end up in the same database.

With all transactions in the same e-commerce database, you can have a different and more complete picture of each fan. It allows schools and teams to build that “Super Target” experience. Not only can fans buy a ticket from your website, but they can buy a t-shirt, parking, an overnight package, or choose to make a donation as well. Creating that single shopping cart experience is critical as is the move to a single e-commerce system — incorporating ticketing, all other sales transactions, donations, email marketing, social outreach and more.

As a student, spend time observing and question what your team is doing. Always ask yourself, “As a fan, what do I want and deserve?” Recognizing how to add value for fans will add value for your career and the organizations that you ultimately join.

What are your three things a student must do to succeed in sports business?

Treat your time like currency and invest in your career.

Everyone has to put in a lot of time to be successful in this industry. Hours that you invest early on will return to you ten-fold later on in your career.

Network as much as possible.

Find a way to be in the room with people who can give you advice, refer you to industry influencers, educate you and share their knowledge. Capitalize on those moments when they present themselves and be sure to stay in touch.

Make sure you love the business side.

Everyone gets into sports because they love sports. Make sure you take your love for sports and marry it with a love for the business side of our industry. When you do this, make sure you try things and challenge the boundaries that exist today. Innovation is an important differentiator, both for individuals and organizations.

Finish this for me….”I love working in sports because…”

I am able to positively impact the experience of the sports fan. I love being able to leverage technology to help create epic experiences. Not only am I helping brands and organizations increase their revenue, I get to help make fans excited about attending the games.

Parting wisdom?

If you can find ways to create a better fan experience, you are going to add value to your organization.

Make sure you stay in touch with the people you meet. Even dropping a short note to say hello or making a quick call once in a while will keep your connections warm. You never know when you may want to reach out.

We would like to thank Mike for his time and insight and we wish him the best in his future endeavors!

You can connect with him on LinkedIn here or follow him on Twitter here!

Want to learn more about the Golden Ticket Initiative? Check out these two links!

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Tickets for Colorado’s upcoming road game against Oregon are more expensive than 14 of 16 Week 3 NFL matchups.

Deion Sanders' Impact Makes Tickets Pricier Than NFL Games

Colorado-Oregon tickets are pricier than most Week 3 NFL matchups.
The average resale price for Liberty-Mystics at Barclays Center is $100, a 28% jump over all WNBA regular season games.

Liberty-Mystics Is Best-Selling Playoff Series of WNBA’s First Round

The average resale price for Mystics-Liberty at Barclays Center is $100.
National TV ratings for Liberty games surged 58% this season over last year.

Star Power Drives Liberty Ratings, Ticket and Merchandise Sales

Liberty e-commerce sales doubled while ticket sales surged 100%.
Colorado’s home opener resale tickets are more expensive than any upcoming Week 1 NFL matchup.

Colorado Has Sold $430,000 In Tickets Since TCU Upset

Colorado's home-opener is more expensive than all NFL Week 1 games.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How Rupert Murdoch Changed Sports Media Forever


Featured Today

Deion Sanders with The Rock on ESPN's "College GameDay."

Deion Sanders Generated $45M In Earned Media For Colorado

From Sept.1-22, Sanders generated $45.7M for the public university.
September 23, 2023

Up Next For College Football Playoffs: More Change, Money, And ... Streaming?

Many changes are coming to the CFP when it expands to 12 teams.
September 22, 2023

Warriors Stake Reportedly Up For Sale at $7B Valuation

A 10% stake in the franchise could cost $700 million.
September 22, 2023

Jaguars Threaten Move Without $1B From Jacksonville Taxpayers

The Jagaurs are hoping to renovate TIAA Bank Field for $2 billion.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Chicago Cubs
New York
Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, Inc.
USA - Multiple Locations

MLS’ Chris Schlosser on Pioneering the Digital-First Sports League with AI

Chris Schlosser discusses MLS's growth and digital transformation.
April 25, 2023

Oakland A’s Could Share Stadium with Triple-A Team

The Oakland A's could be searching for a place to play.
Titans stadium.
April 19, 2023

Titans' Historic New $2.1B Stadium One Step Closer to Reality

About $1.26B in public money would go toward the new stadium.
May 20, 2022

Crypto Crash Impact on Sports Sponsorships

Prior to the last two weeks, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, exchanges, and a host…
March 11, 2022

The Evolution of Consumer Wearables

The wearables market has seen incredible amounts of growth since the onset of the pandemic. Trends like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring have helped spur adoption and inspired new consumer products that allow for the tracking and collection of biometric data.
February 11, 2022

The Role of Live Sports in Streaming

The streaming wars have intensified as the field is as competitive as ever. One way to retain customers? The answer might be live sports.
February 4, 2022

Super Bowl Ad Market Examined

The Super Bowl is now only one week away and the stakes…
February 3, 2022

Making Headlines

NFL: The Giants hired Laura Young as director of coaching operations. Young…