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Creativity Central

As I sat down to write this, I discovered that I really couldn't recall my first NSF experience. At first I thought I was just having a senior moment and couldn't remember, but thankfully it came to me. I don't remember my first experience, because often we remember a first experience as being uncomfortable because it's new and we don't know anyone, The NSF was nothing like that. I was surprised by how many people I knew and how they went out of their way to introduce me to other new attendees as well as other people they thought I would enjoy meeting.

Thank You NSF

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 08:30 — Darrin Gross

Wow, 20 years old…NSF you don’t look a day over 15!

It seems like just yesterday I was boarding a flight from Sacramento to Cleveland for my very first NSF in 2001. I was working for the Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League and I could not wait to join this community of forward-thinking and drinking (that’s for you Parni!) sports marketers. I knew people who had attended; I had heard names like Ron Seaver and Andy Dolich, and desperately wanted to attend the gathering and become part of this fraternity.

Not Your Typical Gathering

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 11:05 — Roy Yarbrough

My first exposure to the NSF was in Pittsburgh some 13 years ago. It did not take me very long to realize that the meeting was not your typical gathering of sports professionals. The personal interaction and interest of the attendees has been beyond any professionalism I had experience in another sports conference. This spirit of caring and wiliness to help continues to this day. This exchanging of ideas and problem solving is the core of the success of NSF. For me the ability to network on behalf of my students for internship sites has been a great boost to my Sport Management program.

My first experience at the National Sports Forum was in Phoenix in 2009.

When asked to write this post, I dug out my agenda (yes, I have saved my books from every year—they are a great resource) to look at the types of sessions that were held back then.

The Last Gasp Score

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 10:22 — Steve DeLay

When you think there’s no hope to make the sale, you’re wrong.
Try this gambit to get the score.

My partner in The Ultimate Toolkit, Jon Spoelstra, turned this strategy into an art form. If he ever wanted to tally up how much commission he made from lost sales that he turned back into sales using this technique, it would probably be a small fortune.

When the Ice Bucket Challenge swept the nation this summer, a smaller story was burgeoning as well. Lauren Hill, a basketball player from Lawrenceburg, has been battling an inoperable brain condition called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) for almost a year, and doctors told her that she wouldn’t live beyond December 2014. Lauren had finished her senior of high school and was eagerly waiting for her freshman year of college.


Thu, 11/20/2014 - 11:43 — Steve DeLay

This 5-word sentence can kill you if you let it.

“Let me think about it.”

Doesn't sound too painful, does it? It might sound reasonable, but that’s the killer sentence a prospect can say toward the end of a sales call.

Young ticket salespeople love to hear that sentence. After all, if the prospect is thinking about buying, then there is at least a decent chance for a sale. Heck, thinking about it is almost a sale. It’s not a sale, of course, but it’s not a rejection! Hooray!

Since 1997, I have attended the National Association of College Marketing Administrators (NACMA) annual convention. This is a quality meeting of the minds as marketing agents from colleges across the country come together to discuss best practices and common challenges on campuses and in communities. Without fail, every June, there is a roundtable conversation or breakout session that revolves around “Student Attendance.”

Did they read it?

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 14:10 — Steve DeLay


I'm a bit old school when it comes to sales.

Let me preface this post by saying, I am not a writer. When I do write, I start rambling and the subject matter is sporadic. That being said, I’d like to share my thoughts and opinions on holding on to traditions and identity in sports. Growing up a fan of Notre Dame Football and Chicago Cubs Baseball, you do not break traditions (the losing thing for the Cubs is a tradition I wouldn’t mind seeing broken). However, even those organizations are breaking old strides and creating new ones.


Thu, 11/06/2014 - 10:11 — Steve DeLay


Two terrific reminders of the spirit of sports this week. One in a major sport that was highly covered by the media and one that may have snuck by most fans.

When you get frazzled thinking about turnstile counts, gate receipts, that sponsorship deal that didn't close exactly when you wanted it to or that To-Do list that's three pages long, think of what sports really means.



Thu, 10/30/2014 - 08:57 — Steve DeLay


Remember that kid when you were in grade school who was always picked last for the kickball team? Sometimes he just sat in the corner forlornly waiting to be picked. Sometimes he jumped up and down shouting "Pick me, pick me" until someone got tired of the noise and chose him or he was the last one left.

I was asked to join an industry dinner a week ago with 15 guests. We all arrived around the same time and were seated at different tables to meet and network with each other.

Learning from Defeat

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 09:49 — Katie Nessling

If your sales and marketing plan isn't working quite right, adjust, test, try again by marketing on the fly.

Thomas Edison was asked by a reporter once if he considered himself a failure for erring more than 10,000 times when he was trying to invent the light bulb. His response, "Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp."

Branding By Association

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 08:48 — Trip Durham

Recently, 2D Consulting made the purchase of two mice for the office computers. One was made by Logitech and the other by Microsoft.


Thu, 10/16/2014 - 09:09 — Steve DeLay

Are the Florida Panthers this year's Milwaukee Bucks? Not if they get some sellouts.

"Panthers Draw Record Low Crowd"

"Panthers Home Opener Smallest Ever"


After just two home games, the vultures are already circling the Florida Panthers. @EmptySeatPics is rubbing his hands gleefully at the prospect of 39 more games of empty seats in Florida that he can tweet out.

If I were the owner of the Florida Panthers, I would be doing two things right now.

Devon Still had his life flipped upside down this June when Leah, his 4 year-old daughter, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer. His mind had moved from making the Cincinnati Bengals 53-man roster to taking care of his daughter… and then the expected happened- Still was cut during a round of roster-cuts. What happened next, was the unexpected: the Bengals kept him on the practice squad so that Still could keep his health insurance to help pay for her treatments.


Thu, 10/09/2014 - 09:19 — Steve DeLay

Get your prospect's attention early and keep it.

I spent a day last week with the Reno Aces talking ticket sales strategy and tactics. The Aces are an Ultimate Toolkit customer and enthusiastically charging in to the 2015 selling season.

In their offices, they had a stunning panoramic picture of their ballpark. It must have been 20 feet long. The picture doesn't do justice to how big it is.


Thu, 10/02/2014 - 09:45 — Steve DeLay

Don't let 'the budget' stop you

How many times have you heard, "It's not in the budget" when you're making a sales call? A few? twenty times? 100 times? More than you can count I'm sure.

When you hear that objection, do you just fold up your notebook and walk out? I certainly hope not. You hopefully have a clear, specific response to that objection to move your prospect toward buying your tickets. A response you've rehearsed numerous times.

Why Not Enough Supply Matters

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 08:50 — Brad Wurthman

Supply vs Demand
Scarcity is the foundation of economic theories. In the end, people in society want what they perceive to be valuable and will pay premium prices for items that are difficult to find. This simple concept sums up all of the different theories surrounding economics on both a micro and macro level.


Thu, 09/25/2014 - 15:38 — Steve DeLay

Direct mail is making a comeback, but only if the prospect opens your letter

Sure, we were all dazzled by email marketing when it became in vogue over the last 15-20 years. It was free, you could send out thousands at once. Direct mail cost money. Email was free.

Except, spammers destroyed the ability to really benefit from email marketing. Sure, you can still be successful with email marketing. There are three keys:

  1. Your list - It has to be accurate.


Thu, 09/18/2014 - 09:13 — Steve DeLay

You can't solve an objection unless you really know what it is

Ever get in an argument with your significant other?

We guys usually lose the argument. It's primarily because we're trying to win it, or change the mind of our significant other. Nobody likes to be told they are wrong. My experience is even if I did win the argument and proved they were wrong, I usually ended up losing.

The reason we usually lose the argument is because we didn't really understand why our significant other was unhappy in the first place. We never really clarified the objection.

J.J. Watt was a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison when he decided to enter the NFL Draft with a year of eligibility remaining. During his last few months at Wisconsin, he spent time with athletic department officials to try and set up a personal foundation so he could give back to kids from his hometown in Wisconsin. He felt it was his civic duty to help kids in the community have the same opportunities that were afforded to him.

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