Troy Kirby is a prodigious sports business podcaster and a sports business lifer working on the ticketing side of the business at UC Davis. Troy has released over 350 podcast interviews since launching the Tao of Sports podcast in 2012 and he was one of the reasons I started podcasting. Troy stopped by the Sports Geek office on a recent trip to Melbourne for a great discussion around podcasting but also Troy’s sports business career in ticket sales.
On this podcast you’ll learn from Troy Kirby about:
- How Troy paid for his own way into ticket sales and how it paid off
- How the Octomom got Troy started in podcasting
- The importance of always learning in sports market
- Why ticketing relationship is like a marriage
- What should have the AFL & Collingwood done to fix crowds on Sunday night
- Why ESPN and FIFA are upset with Vine
- How will Snappy TV acquisition change sports rights online?
Resources from the episode
- Follow Troy Kirby @SportsTao on Twitter and connect with him on Linkedin
- Listen to Tao of Sports (iTunes)or read his articles on Ticketing Today
- “Why I proposed to a conference attendee” great analogy for ticketing by Troy
- Stay tuned for a return chat with myself on Tao of Sports podcast.
- Listen to previous chat with Charlotte
BobcatsHornets CRM guru Chris Zeppenfeld on selling tickets
- Snappy TV joining the Flock (aka Twitter)
- Maria Sharapova feels the online wrath of Indian cricket fans
- Who is the OctoMom? Here is a link to Troy’s interview
- Background on Troy’s comments on AFL crowd numbers on Sunday night footy with Eddie McGuire, listen to previous podcast on AFL Variable Pricing
- Follow @SEATConference on Twitter and Instagram and like SEAT on Facebook
- Listen to my chat with Neil Horowitz on Digital and Social Media in Sports podcast
- Listen to podcast in out SEAT 2014 Sponsor Series
- Sound of the game was from my recent visit to see Barcelona FC in action with Neymar Jr and Messi in action.
- Connect with all guests of the podcast and check out the podcast archive
- Thanks for iTunes reviews in Australian iTunes and USA iTunes.
- Have you signed up for weekly Sports Geek News?
Is Vine a TV sports rights issue?
Ask Wimbledon if Vine is a problem…
This Vine went viral, wouldn’t they prefer views on their digital platforms?
Get well Neymar Jr
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Sean Callanan: Welcome to episode 53 of the Sports Geek podcast. In this week’s podcast I catch up with Troy Kirby from the Tower of Sports podcast to chat about sports business, ticketing, and of course podcasting. Also, why is Vine in the crosshairs of ESPN and FIFA?
DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Greek podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. Now here’s your host, who loves working with teams around the world, who needs sleep, Sean Callanan.
Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek, and you are listening to the Sports Geek podcast. You are either doing that on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher, or even doing it at Sports Greek HQ.co. Thanks again for joining me. Today’s show I catch up with a good mate of mine, Troy Kirby from the Tower of Sports podcast. He was recently in Australia and was lucky enough to stop by for lunch and drop into the Sports Greek office. We did dueling podcasts.
I was in his podcast and he was on my podcast, so you will get double Sports Geek Sports Tower goodness this week in your ears. Also, later in the show, I chat with Al Crombie on ABC Grandstand about Vine and how it’s in the crosshairs of ESPN and FIFA over digital rights and people stealing content, and where that topic might take the industry. Also, other things, getting ready for SEAT not far away now. I leave next week. Well done to Christine. Over 750 attendees. I’ll talk a little more about Seat later, but here’s my chat with Troy Kirby from the Tower of Sports.
Here we are at Sports Geek HQ doing a podcast with one of the key podcast luminaries in this space. I’m going to bring out luminaries. Troy Kirby. Welcome to Australia.
Troy: Well, first of all, thank you very much, and I do want to say that I have never met so many very friendly people, as in one space and time, as in Melbourne.
Sean Callanan: Melbourne.
[speakers pronounce 'Melbourne' variously]
Okay. But I have to tell you that I went downtown and if I were in an American city I had asked, “Hey, where do I get back to the Melbourne cricket grounds?” They would not have told me. Those types of things. Everybody was very nice. Sure your movies cost $21, which shock me, but I can wait to see Transformers.
But other than that, it has been great.
Sean: I’m going to the movies tonight.
Sean: And I’m going to pay $21 twice.
Troy: To see Transformers?
Sean: Probably not. I know that’s already going to be bad, and I’m not ready to give Michael Bay that kind of money.
Troy: Oh. I feel that I have already had my soul ripped out from him three times. He might as well take it another.
Sean: Pretty much. So here you are in the Sports Geek office or cave with all of the jerseys and everything. I guess we have had a chat on your podcast. I wanted to return the favor. First of all, I want to get a bit of background on what is your sports business story? What do you do now? What is your current role, and sort of how have you gotten there, and then we will get into the podcasting stuff.
Troy: First of all, I do want to say that I have been meaning to come on your podcast. I seem really good at having people come on mine and then never returning the favor, so I do want to apologize. I kept saying, “I’ll do it, yeah, whatever,” and then it never happened.
Sean: No. I would much rather do it in person. So, yeah.
Troy: Okay. Well, but anyway, what I will say is the impetus of sports business in general for me was, I’ve worked in 10 years for college or for a minor league soccer team, various stuff. But until about 2012 I really didn’t understand what I could do with it beyond just working as an employee. I was selling tickets, I was doing other things. I mean, I can get into that in a second, but what I do have to say is the person that you have to thank for me putting out the podcast originally is the Octomom.
Sean: The Octomom?
Troy: The Octomom, because I was toying around with a podcast that my friend had. He did one called the Nothing Cast. I was a little part of it. So we had a chance to interview the Octomom.
Sean: Is this still on the internet? Can we get links to this?
Troy: I might have a copy of it somewhere. I think he took it down.
Sean: Ah, okay.
Troy: It was interesting and it was classy, whatever. But I think at one point he said, “I really love your work.” But the point is that it was weird because I was thinking, “I could be interviewing and talking to people within my industry and really getting all this stuff.”
I mean, I have nothing against the Octomom, but I was going, “If she’s willing to come on I think I can get my fiends to come on.” I had just moved down to California from eastern Washington University. So I was thinking of new stuff to do. I had more than enough time in certain areas and I thought, “Why not do this?”
I had Matt Harper, who is one of my best friends in the world, who is leaving his job and going up to move to Oregon.
Troy: So he was coming through and I said, “Let’s just tape one. Let’s see what happens.” So I taped one, put it on the internet, because, of course, I’m an idiot.
Troy: How dare you do that? Kevin Miller at the University of West Virginia reached out and said, “I really enjoyed that. I hope you do more.” It really caught me at the right time.
Troy: I’ll talk to him. Sure. Fine. I don’t know the difference. There were a few other people and it just kept catching on. I only did one a week, and then of course I was crazy so I did two a week, then three a week…
Sean: Yeah, putting us other podcasts to shame.
Troy: You know what really caught me was that first 2013 going to spring training. Because I had never been to spring training in Arizona and I walk through, and it was, like, I never had to pay for a ticket, which is of course the antithesis of my own thing.
Troy: But because I knew all the people there and they all wanted to be on the podcast andI was doing six a day. Somebody literally goes, “Hey, do this one. Hey, do this person. I need to make a call. You need to talk to this person.”
Okay, fine. And I had a blast for, like, a week. I was, like, “Wow, this is really cool.”
And more opportunities come from that. What I would say is, anybody who is out there who is listening to these types of things who are going, “Yeah, that’s great. You did 350 of them, but I can’t do that,” you know what? Yeah you can. It has never been done, you know?
I always feel fortunate. I think there are way too many people that like to complain about their lot in life. I shouldn’t even be walking right now. I broke my neck when I was six years old. Paralyze from the neck down. I was told I wasn’t going to walk again. I did. The point was you get up and you walk, but that is, I guess, where I would call the difference. Too many people are willing to live in that mediocrity.
What you do…
Troy: …I’m sure that there is enough time that you could sit on your laptop and look at Youtube videos.
Sean: Or there are days that I do.
Troy: But you know what I’m talking about.
Sean: Yeah, I do. Yeah.
Troy: Instead of doing that you do your own stuff. The amount of people that are willing to convince you not to do your own stuff are tantamount, because they say, “Well, there’s no money in it. There’s no whatever.” You’ve got to hustle at all times.
Troy: So this has been a great prover to me to hustle. I wouldn’t be in Melbourne today, or ‘Melbourne’, if it weren’t for the podcast. I wouldn’t be in various places. I have traveled the state of Florida twice, Arizona, doing podcasts, doing other things. Wouldn’t have had those opportunities.
Sean: So one thing I did want to talk to you about is, I guess, the whole… Your area of expertise. So before you were a podcaster you were in ticket sales and sales strategies. As I have spoken with several guys on the podcast before like Chris Zeppenfeld from the Bobcats. Or, I’m sorry, the Hornets now. About ticket selling and how it’s different, how it’s a completely different philosophy in the US to Australia.
Do you want to give us a little bit of background of one that… Ticket sales strategy moreso than the podcasting stuff?
Troy: Here’s what I’ll say. I just talked to the Melbourne store. ‘Melbourne’. They were very nice, but a lot of times they were trying to figure out what I was saying. I was, like, “Look, I’ll walk you though the process.” As I’ll do here.
You’re talking about those life long commitments, those memberships, and that’s a huge part of it.
Troy: That’s a marriage, but you can’t ask somebody the first time they meet you to marry you. But you also want to make sure that it’s more than a one off. It can’t just be a single date. So you’ve got to keep working towards the next date and doing those things. That’s what ticket sales can be.
The problem is, is that we have so many people that involve it as either a rip and tear or they don’t understand that tickets are the greatest ROI of any product you have ever had.
Sean: So take us through some of those terms for people who are listening that aren’t in it.
Troy: Okay. Rip and tear means that somebody just shows up, you rip it. You’re not developing a relationship with them. Sean, if you come to my event I want to develop a relationship with you to where you go, “Wow, that’s a person I want to know. If I have a problem, I’m going to help. He’s going to facilitate a lot of the things that I need.”
Here’s where I started to learn more about ticket sales. I had worked for one organization, Spokane Shadow. We did professional soccer and they did pretty well at ticket sales, but I only understood it from the point of calling people and going, “Hey, do you want to buy tickets,” etcetera. It wasn’t really understood. Then what happened is I worked at Seattle University and it was their GA.
Troy: That’s a graduate assistant. I had gone there, an our basketball team was horrible. We had 17 people the last game of the season when I first started. Literally, parents didn’t even show up. So I get there and we’re sitting down and the guy that is supposed to call all of these people is the events guy and he goes, “I’m not answering the phones.”
I don’t know how you get to choose out or opt out of things, but apparently you do.
Troy: I said, “Well, I’ll call him.”
They said, “Well, that’s $200 to pay for a phone.”
I said, “You know what? I will give you the $200 if I don’t actually sell it.”
They said, “We’ve only had one season ticket every year.”
Out of the entire building I was, like, “Wow, one season ticket.” This is horrible. But what ended up happening was they put my money where my mouth was. I went forward and I sold $3200 that first year. But that was because I also sought out information. I realized I did not know it all. Rob Cornilis, who is game face.
Sean: Okay. Yep.
Troy: I don’t know if you’re familiar with him. If you look on some of my old podcasts I did an interview with him, but he was really helpful in the fact that he did sales training, but he also didn’t treat us like the slimy sales people, wolf of wall street. That, to me, is something that I would like to preface. There are some people that may go, “Oh, come on. This is that slimy, ‘I want to sell you aluminum siding’. “
Sean: Yeah. The whole salesman, the used car salesman.
Troy: Yes. As I was telling some other people, that’s not what you’re here for. You don’t want to sell them on the maximum thing every time. What I want to do is find out exactly what you’re using it for, because what don’t want is for you to pull out that drawer of tickets at the end of the year and go, “What exactly did I invest in?” It’s the same with Apple. It’s the same with Harley Davidson. It’s the same with all those great brands that you talk about.
At the end of the day they want you to be happy with their product. I liken it to, you know, Apple has the option for you to have the big mega laptop, the huge one, but if you’re traveling a lot and your needs are that you need a Mac Air that goes in that little small space so you can type during every single plane trip, it’s not going to help them long term, and that long term vision is something we lack sometimes in sports. But, honestly, that’s what we should we selling them on. We should be selling them on the right product because otherwise they come back to us and go, “I’m never buying from you again and I’m telling 10 other people.”
Sean: Yeah, and that’s critical. I think one of the things with sports, and in Australia it is very much focused on membership, on the membership side of things. When I was chatting with Shane Harmon from Westpac Stadium he really fires on that membership is an emotional decision, which really fits along the lines of your marriage analogy. You want to start that relationship.
That’s what you’re selling, the relationship. You’re not selling the ticket itself or the 12 tickets because it’s a season ticket pack. It’s, you’re trying to build on that relationship, and that is something that sort of takes away that used car salesman sort of aspect to it.
Troy: Well, and that’s the thing. When you hear season ticket and you see the San Diego Padres or the Phoenix Sun’s have said, “Well, we’re doing memberships.”
No you’re not. You’re rebranding the name season ticket You’re trying, and I’m not saying that that’s necessarily bad, and I have interviewed some of them. They are great guys. Great women too. I mean, they are trying various things. I don’t say that there’s anything thinking outside of the box that’s a bad thing, but at the same time it’s a legacy buy. It’s an emotional buy.
The only criticisms I have ever had of memberships is that sometimes they go all or nothing, and when they do re-up every year they should have something different. If I’m a 29 year member and you’re a seven year or first year you should not be getting the same stuff. We should be having that argument.
I know you are a Collingwood guy. That’s your big thing. If you are there for 40 years we should be making sure that you understand how important that is as a person that has been a shareholder in that, and really a legacy for the long term. Longer than anybody else.
I’m not saying everybody doesn’t do that. I’m just saying that those are the things that I would look at and say, “They can be improved.” The one problem I’ve got, and I’ve mentioned that… This was something Mark at the Seattle Seahawks mentioned and a few other people when we were talking is this whole seven years behind nonsense that they have been feeding Australian sport or international… “Well, you’re seven years behind the pros.”
Really? You know what’s funny is 350 episodes I have interviewed quite a few people, and I have to tell you, there are some people in the US that are far behind you guys.
Sean: Yeah. I mean, I don’t subscribe to that theory. I like to say that Melbourne is the sporting capital in the world in the fact that we have a ridiculous amount of teams and we really are, for a population a bit over three and a half million, to have ten football teams in the grand slam, tennis in the Grand Prix… I think we’ve got our version of the Kentucky Derby. So it’s a really great place to play a trade from a ticket selling and sponsorship point of view. So you do have to get really inventive.
I think where the different lies potentially from an Australian US market point of view is potentially in sophistication around the data an the theorem side of things. Also, I guess, experimental budget around marketing and game day type of things. So, from a US point of view, they might have a little bit more spend in that space to go, “We’re going to try this,” whereas there’s not as much experimentation type budget, whereas they sort of want to follow the lead of someone else. So that’s where some of that mentality, to a certain degree, comes from.
But as far as how they go about using social, or how they engage fans or getting people to walk up and turn up to games and crowd numbers and those kinds of things, it can be right alongside, and in some cases in front of.
Troy: And that’s one thing that I would like to say. First of all, I don’t just use internal information or it just has to be specific to sports. I’m a big person as far as history and looking at other things. Thomas Freedman has a saying. It’s called cursed by oil. This is the problem that the United States sporting scene has a lot of times. Cursed by oil talks about the middle east, and it says, the problem is they don’t innovate because of the fact they don’t have to. They’re always going to get that abundance, and until 2008 we always had people that bought suites, we always had people that bought tickets. They were buying on credit. But we didn’t care.
But the problem is we weren’t like the Japanese, and the Japanese are not cursed by oil because they have no natural resources. So they have to innovate consistently, and the problem is in 2008 everybody freaked out, especially in the United States and especially with the universities and colleges. Athletic departments internationally are not the same as they are for the United States, but a lot of them have been able to cover budgets. A lot of them have been able to hit huge sales numbers without having to actually earn it, and now we’re in the space to where we actually have to earn it.
So some of our problems that we talk about with sports business are that we’ve told each other that we are the perfect, we are the epitome… So there is no problem with what we do. Now we’re finding out that’s not only not necessarily true, but we’re not even living up to the numbers and standards we used to because of the fact we forgot to learn. That is where, I think, this is all changing. I think the international sports scene has the opinion and the option of actually moving ahead of the United States.
It’s great to have a virtual cash machine, but not when the suite sales are starting to crush. The suite sales are starting to drop like flies, as they have been in the last four years. I would challenge anybody to actually look at suite sales over the last four years for United States. They are called aging dinosaur for a reason. There’s a reason. Nobody is buying into them. They haven’t fit the needs, and if you look at the suites that are overseas, they are filled because they understand those needs and they understand what it takes to actually get people to buy in.
Sean: Well, I mean, that’s the thing. As much as there’s, I guess, concern and everything that you said, there’s also tremendous opportunity for the people putting in the hard work and putting in that extra effort to not, oh, we’ve got a great team, people will keep showing up.
So using the new technology that’s available around theorems and understand your fan and understanding what offer that fan with get… Not the, “Thank you for coming onboard, please marry me.” Take him along that escalator. Give him that one game offer, that three game offer, that kind of thing, and using things like we’re starting to do with the Facebook advertising and all the demographics. That’s now giving sports marketers the opportunity to say, “We now know what or fans are like. What know what else they like. We can hit them up with a specific offer.”
For as much as people are complaining about Facebook, there’s all this data that it’s providing. So for me it’s a huge opportunity for sports to do it right and to help lead sponsors and patterns in that direction as well. They are in that same space, so how do we reach our customer and those kind of things that sports offers out of the box.
Troy: And here’s what I’ll use as and sample. I know your audience is a little more international, but I would use Nascar and Formula One as perfect examples, where people don’t follow necessarily the sport itself. But they follow that person. Your membership is like an affiliate brand to that Collingwood or Hawthorn, whatever, to where you can actually say, “I can drive them to this specific sponsor, and if you don’t sponsor me they aren’t going to buy your product.” That’s who loyal they are.
I think that’s where the membership model actually supersedes a lot of the season ticket transactional, because a lot of times with the season ticket… Yeah, great, I bought a season ticket. I may have gone to all the games. I may not have. But I don’t feel the loyalty in the same way.
Troy: I’ll give you an example more on the college side. When Settle University, in ’57, ’58, we played for the national title of college basketball back when they were the big powerhouse against Kentucky. So we played them back in 2008. So we had extra exhibition tickets. Now we thought, “Exhibition. Nobody is going to come beyond a few people.”
So we went outside and I was part of it. We handed them to Kentucky people.
First of all, they didn’t know they were going to be able to come, because even with 20,000 seats they didn’t have the ability. But I have to tell you, I had people with tears in their eyes because they had never even been in the facility. They had always wanted to be. But the point was it was such an emotional core.
These things teach you something. I mean, you have life lessons your entire go around. You can either accept them or you can not. The problem is, in sports business, we like to plug our ears and say, “We know it all.” I guarantee you that right now there is somebody who is an executive who is listening to this going, “Well, I know it all. I know what you’re going to say. I know all of this stuff.” That is the person that is going to be failing in a year, because they don’t understand this world changes.
There is so much about Twitter and Facebook and everything else that you have taught me that I thought, “Okay, I kind of figured it out.” That’s why I’ve gone from, like, 100 followers to about 2200, because it’s really that understanding that you don’t know it all and that you have to continue to understand that everything is going to change as you go along, and that’s where the membership model has the ability to really develop those things as a traditional… But they can’t also be there and kind of just rest not heir laurels too, because that’s a huge component that has actually cost them – by thinking that people are just going to automatically re-up.
Sean: Yeah. It’s not a holy grail.
Troy: Not at all.
Sean: There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle. I think that’s where it’s weaving them altogether. It’s funny, you’re talking about loyalty and just it seems to be the hot buzz thing of everyone setting up loyalty programs around what you’re doing as far as what you’re doing on social and then what are you doing with your ticket span an turning up to games and spending on merchandise. But something as simple as years of service, that’s a very easy loyalty model to roll out and reward those fans just to begin with, and not to be chasing that, oh, he’s the new thing that’s going to be the real deal when it’s going to be a little bit of that. It’s going to be a little bit of the rewards stuff. It’s going to be a little bit of the delight and surprise your fans with certain things.
Then there’s going to be the underestimated. What still gets underestimated is great customer service or over-serving and those kind of things. It’s a whole picture, and yeah, you’re right. We are now at a time, and it’s not just the podcasts that we’re producing, where you can get access to all of that info to follow how did they do it well in the World Cup, or what are they doing over in London that’s different for the EPL and all those kinds of things.
Five years ago that wasn’t available. You would only be getting it via SBJ, sports business journal, or a few resources where it has now opened up, and you can be having that conversation or seeing what people are doing in the UK or in Europe or in Australia. Again, I think Shane made a really good point that New Zealand is seen as sort of a bit of a place where you watch from trains, because things happen their sooner and that’s where big brands keep an eye on what’s happening.
So what they’re seeing with the world of sports and crowds and who they’re moving is something that you want to pay attention to, because it will happen in Australia and it will happen in the US, and you’ve got access to all of that stuff.
So it’s just a matter of finding the right people that you need to follow to be able to filter that bit of information. But it’s all out there, and if you do have that… “We’re good. Our team is good.” The old winning is a strategy kind of mentality, which some teams still have, you really want to make sure that you are pulling at every resource you can.
Troy: Well, here’s the first thing I will say. Hope is not a strategy.
Troy: So if you’re hoping you’re not going to win, let me just say this to you. The LA Lakers. The Manchester United. Most of them went through horrible years. Where are those dedicated fans over the last 20 years when they’ve been winning championships? Where were those fans this last year? They dropped out, because once you’ve sold them only on a proposition of winning that’s all they expect. When they don’t get it you’re suggesting the worst thing possible.
So selling to the ultimate fan, you have to realize, A, the ultimate fan is already there, and B, if you’re not settling on some of the casual fan… The casual fan will actually become your ultimate fan in ways that the ultimate fan will not, because the casual fan sometimes will not care about your standings. They care about a good time.
Sean: Yeah, and that’s what we’ve seen here in Australia with the big bash league. That has effectively been relaunched. It’s cricket. It’s rather than… We have cricket in various forms. We have it in five day format. We have it in one day format, maybe the length of a baseball game, and now there’s this 20/20, which is a nice three hour consumable.
It has never been pitched as a game of cricket. It is being pitched as and entertainment option. More and more sports need to be pitched in that way. You aren’t competing against other sports. You are competing against TV, Netflix, the movies.
Troy: The $21 movie.
Sean: The $21 movies. That’s what you’re competing against. In cricket’s terms, in the middle of the summer, you’re competing against the beach and those kinds of things. So it has to be an entertaining option.
So more and more sports will be, and they are, whether it’s NBA doing a specific theme night with Star Wars or dress-ups or whatever, there’s another reason you’re going. It might be to bring along those kids to become your next fans and those kinds of things because not everyone is going to have the motivation to go, “I’m super in love with this sport,” or, “I’m super in love with this team, but I want to go for the experience of taking my family to a game and having a great day out.”
So, really, you’re selling a completely different sell to what the standards spot would be, which would be, you know, from Barcelona, come and see them play because you love football. Say, “No, I want to go because I want to go and experience a game and see what it provides.”
That’s the difference, I think. There’s a lot of change happening in that space as well.
Troy: And the interesting thing about that is you bring up that every competition… I went to the one on Sunday night. Was it the Collingwood..?
Sean: Collingwood Carlton on Sunday night at the MCG.
Troy: Sunday night footie, right?
Troy: I had never been to a football game. It was interesting. I found it funny that somebody made the reference that it’s more exciting than the NFL and that they don’t understand it because there are too many rules. I said, “Well, that’s kind of a cultural thing.”
So I can respect that sports are different and I can respect those types of things. What I cannot handle and I cannot respect is that, when you have someday that gets on the next day, and I happen to be watching because I was up at four in the morning because I could not get to sleep…
Sean: Time zones.
Troy: The time zones. The person got up there and blamed the league when it’s his club.
This is not the 1970s and your event is not Gandhi’s funeral. Gandhi’s funeral, by the way, is the largest walk up crowd ever. It was two million people. So unless it’s those types of things… Apparently they knew from December that this thing was going to happen. So if you knew was December… This is kind of, like, when did they know, why did they know.
Sean: So, for the listeners, Troy is talking about Eddie McGuire, who is the president of the Collingwood football club and a Polish media performer. So he’s a TV and radio star.
Troy: He’s a Polish media performer who should have been embarrassed. I’m sorry.
Sean: Yeah. He was effectively defending, I guess… I’m not going to defend Eddie, but he was effectively just pretty much putting his stake in the stand to say, “We don’t want to have these terrible time slots again.” A bit of a power play.
The fact that 40,000 turned up when they have averaged 6000 – 70000, it was a combination of bad time slot and those kind of things. But yeah, they could have done more to get more people there, and it was a bit of deflecting of the blame I would have thought that Eddie was playing there.
Troy: But you don’t control the weather. What if, all of a sudden, the premiere had died that weekend? What if, all of a sudden, a freak snow storm? What if everything had happened? What if all of a sudden an earthquake had happened? You can’t control the outside things around you, so intend you need to focus on, how do we make sure that this game… I guarantee you that the Superbowl, even though it was played in New York and it was played in snow and it was the first open air thing, I guarantee you none of the NFL guys stood around and said, “That will be sold out.”
They had to sell every single ticket, and that’s the point. When the buck stops with you the bucks stops with here, that’s where you have to go. In his case, I’m not saying he’s a horrible person or whatever. What I’m saying, though, is he has to refocus.
The problem is too many people go on the ultimate fan and they think everybody is going to show up. Pretend that nobody shows up. Tell me how you would fix that if nobody shows up and you are eight months out, six months out, and that’s all I’m asking. I know I’m picking on him, but he was the only one that…
Sean: No, I completely understand. Yeah.
Troy: And I don’t know him from Adam. Probably a very nice guy. I don’t know. But my point is, is that I saw that and I was, like, “You know…” First of all, the worst thing you can do is blame the fans. So I’m going to blame the victim. I’m going to blame the person that could have come out, and then they’re going to be told… Okay, so if I come out and there isn’t enough of us, then I get blamed? Or I don’t come out because my kid is in school the next day. I get blamed?
I mean, to me, it’s the antithesis of what you should do. Now that sounds like something out of the 1970s playbook, but we’re not in there anymore unless I check my calendar again. So I guess those are my kind of criticisms, and I don’t want to be too harsh. I get it that it’s a sensitive subject. But it’s something that really kind of bugs me. That’s where people go, “Well, you’re seven years behind.” You’re not.
Sean: So don’t complain.
Sean: Look at the solution and not complain. I completely agree.
To wrap up this chat, one, where can people find you and all of your stuff and podcast? This is the plugging part of the interview. So your Twitter handle?
Sean: And where can they find your podcast?
Troy: Sportstower.com. They can find it on iTunes. They can find it on Spreaker. They can find it on TuneIn. All of them. Stitcher. I’ve made sure they are on all of them because I always get somebody that emails and says, “Hey, you’re not on this platform.”
I say, “Okay.”
Sean: Are you on the Windows phone store?
Sean: Did you have a real hard time getting it on there?
Troy: No, because I use a company called Libsyn that actually makes the app thing for me and puts all of that…
Sean: So you’ve gone down that route of Libsyn with the apps. So people can download the app as well.
Troy: I’m a very big supporter of what Rob does because I am not a tech guy, which is kind of funny because I’m in the world of tech. But I just want to be able to put it up, and I will pay the $30 a month so I don’t have to think about it.
Troy: But yeah, but he got it figured out for me. What’s funny is I’ve had other people that have reached out to me and said, “I had such a problem with iTunes and this, that and the other,” and I said, “Well, if you talk to Rob…” Look, if there are other things out there, he’s not paying me any money to do it. I’m paying him. But it really does… If it makes it easier for you I would anther farm that out. That’s an Americanism maybe. I don’t know.
Sean: I mean, my podcasts are on Libsyn as well. But yeah. iTunes is where most people find you and that’s where a lot of the downloads are. I think there’s probably, you know, for looking at the podcasting scene, if someone can sort of break that how to download a podcast… I mean, I’m sure you’re still answering that question.
“How do I download it? What do I do it with?”
Troy: That’s a huge one.
Sean: I mean, it has helped that now iTunes has the podcast app and people can start understanding that. But Android is another space. Like, if somebody is on Android, how do I get it? Oh, well, I’ll tell people I use PocketCast. I love PocketCast. That’s where I send people.
Troy: Yeah. What I would stress, though, and Libsyn doesn’t do this, but a lot of those companies out there do… Be careful that they’re not throttling. Because if they’re throttling what they’re doing is stopping you. If you get a certain amount of listeners then they stop allowing you to have so many things. It’s kind of like really bad wifi. You don’t want it.
So just make sure that you’re being protected.
Sean: Yeah. All the big podcasts are in Libsyn because it is a pay your fee per month, and if it’s popular…
Troy: I don’t want to think about it, yeah.
Sean: …It’s popular, so there will be links to everything Troy related. Twitter. LinkedIn. His podcast. All of his websites. He’s pretty much everywhere. If you’ve missed him you’re doing it wrong.
Troy: Yeah. Ticketingtoday.com as well, which I don’t even run. They asked me to be a part of it and somebody said, “Well, you obviously own that.” I go, “No, but I just publish a lot.”
Sean: You do do a lot of articles on that, so there will be a few links in the show notes. Thank you very much for being on the show and hopefully we will catch up with you stateside sometime.
Troy: I want to say thank you very much, not only for today, because we had lunch and everything, but just your friendship. I really do appreciate the fact. You have taught me a lot. I hope that I can return the favor in some way. But I just really want to say that it has been really nice to meet somebody of your caliber who has not only donated the time, but just been there. That’s a good thing. So what I would stress is anybody that’s looking to… When they talk about that networking stuff, don’t just give a stupid card. Just be a card. It helps so much more.
Sean: All right. We’re going to go to break so Troy and I can hug. Cheers.
DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek news at SportsGeekHQ.com/signupnow.
Sean: Thanks again to Troy Kirby from the Tower of Sports. All the links to all things Troy will be in the show notes. That will be SportsGeekHQ.com/53. Check out his work on ticketing today and definitely give his podcast a listen to.
This week on ABC Grandstand with Al Crombie I caught up with him to chat about Vine and where it sits, and why it’s currently catching a lot of heat from FIFA and ESPN.
Al Crombie: Hey. Sean Callanan joins us in the studio, our resident sports geek from SportsGeekHQ.com. Good morning, Sean.
Sean Callanan: Good morning, Al. How are you doing?
Al Crombie: Well, better than you, because you’ve got to actually turn round to see the screen.
You’ve got to look at my mug, whereas I’m kind of watching this beautiful game.
Sean Callanan: I’m 100% committed to this radio program, Al, and I can see the show on the reflection over there. So maybe 85%.
Al Crombie: Wonderful. Five minutes to go. Columbia are pressing pretty hard. The Brazilians are starting to look a little nervous, looking a little bit cagey, but we will keep our eye, one eye, on this one. But of course you’re here to talk social media and…
Sean: All things digital.
Al Crombie: …All things digital.
Sean: Everything that is happening in the world. One of the things that is actually happening around the World Cup, and it’s around the sports rights issue around TV rights and sort of where social media is playing in that space.
So I’ve spoken about a few of the different programs are coming up, and one of them that’s causing a bit of stir is Vine. So Vine is an app that was acquired by Twitter and then launched by Twitter. It’s a six second video clip. So you can take a six second video clip and put it out there. You vine it, effectively, by putting it out there and people can watch it, and watch it on a loop.
Sports rights, especially in the World Cup, are going, “Well, hang on. We’ve gone and paid a stack of cash for the TV rights. There are these people stealing our content, effectively, and sharing it.”
Now, if it’s you or I they’re not that fussed about it. If we were to show our fervor and stuff, or it’s even better from an organized point of view if you’re taking a Vine from the stadium or that kind of thing to show the event. But it’s when there are several media outlets that don’t have the rights and stuff like that. We spoke about it with Francis around the Olympics. Olympics, super clamped down. You can’t take an audio clip or a tiny video clip. They just have a raft of lawyers ready to pounce on anybody.
But it’s sort of becoming looser in this space. At the moment it’s ESPN and FIFA that are chasing down a few media outlets saying, “Hey, stop vining all of the top goals.” People wake up and they want to see the goals, and it’s a really easy consumable form. So it’s really eating into their both TV and their digital rights. There’s a bit of backwards and forwards with the rights holders and Twitter, copyrights violations and stuff like that.
But it is a growing, I guess, area of concern. A growing area of legality. I guess the best example, just in the last week with Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon, everybody would have seen that between the legs shot…
Al Crombie: Yeah. Sensational.
Sean: And they probably saw it via a Vine. Again, it was a random person that took it off their TV, but then all of the media outlets picked it up under – you would know, under fair use for news, which is sort of a gray area where sports programs are allowed to use content to say, “We’re reporting on the news.” That’s where the argument lies.
Now, that Vine has had 3.6 million views. So Wimbledon would be complaining that, “Well, you should be going to our site to watch that clip,or we’ve already monetized it and we’ve put it up on or YouTube channel because we’re the ones with the rights.”
But people have already gone, “Oh, well, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it on this Vine. I don’t need to see it.”
Al Crombie: Well that’s it then, isn’t it? A lot of people would be sitting at home thinking, “Six seconds? Gee, what’s the big deal?” But if we think about something like Nick Kyrgios shot or, say, Cahill goal, those kind of ones, that’s the stuff that people want to see. They’re not too worried about the other highlights. They want to see the absolute moment.
Sean: And the thing is, that also drags in the causal fan and the non-avid fan that’s not watching it. So that’s what all these teams that we work with, or leagues, or that kind of thing, want to promote and drive people back to their sites and show the full experience of the game. If all of these premium snippets just end up out on the web, weather they be via Vine… I mean, the other area that is of concern, and I guess there is contentious rights issues, is with GIFs.
You know, animated GIFs. Animated GIFs is where you can take some vision, for instance, and make it into a picture that just has stills effectively in it, but it effectively ends up looking like a movie.
So there are even rights issues talking about, “Oh, hang on. There was that big dunk in the NBA and now it’s on Tumblr and it has gone completely viral, but because it’s not video we can’t classify it. We can’t go after it.” But when you’re looking at it and watching it, it looks like video. It shows the presentation of it. I can take Cahill’s goal, make a GIF of it and put it up on Twitter, and it will play and be exactly like video.
So that’s the point of contention at the minute, and I think probably future rights discussions and those kinds things will probably tie those loose ends. It’s a developing space.
Al Crombie: Is there any way to actually track or monitor how much… Say, three million people watching this Vine and not going to official website, how much that will cost? Because it all comes back to rights and dollars.
Al Crombie: I mean, can they put a ballpark figure on how much this costs them, and hence why they’re getting so upset?
Sean: Lawyers can put money and dollar figures on a bunch of things.
Al Crombie: Yes.
Sean: Yeah. That’s the main thing. There have been a few media outlets in the US that have had their Vine accounts sort of shut down because they kept sort of breaching the copyright policy. So they have to re-up, build those audiences up, but I think that’s where it will come down to. Someone will say, “Hang on. You are siphoning off our audience, siphoning off the rights that we paid.”
So it will be a matter of saying, “We paid $100 million,” or whatever the money is for these rights, and then if you’re saying your rights, move on… Now, YouTube has technology to detect if you upload game footage or certain things and they can go, “Oh, hang on. We know the right holder,” and automatically take down, or the rights holder has the option to allow that idea to stay there, but with their advertising.
So there are some of the football teams that do a lot of work through YouTube. So Real Madrid is one of them. They would allow someone to remix Ronaldo’s goal celebration or whatever and not say take it down. They will just say that we own the rights to that video, to that content. We will claim that content..
So the technology to say, “Is it allowed,” is there. It just needs to be adapted for these new networks, and then potentially that might be a solution where they say, “We will let it happen, but there will be a pre and post rule, maybe on these kind of videos.”
Al Crombie: Sean Callanan is with us from SportsGeekHQ.com. Sean, sports starts have embraced social media. Their Twitter accounts, Facebook, obviously to build their profile, to keep in touch with their fans.
Sean: Yeah, or to give the illusion of keeping in touch with their fans in some instances. It can backfire on you. Maria Sharapova has had an instance this week where it has backfired pretty heavily.
Al Crombie: Oh, yeah. So if you haven’t been following, Maria Sharapova, obviously a big tennis star, massive amount of fans, was asked at Wimbledon this week because Sachin Tendulkar was in town, was at the game… I think he was in one of the corporate boxes. She was asked if she knew who Sachin Tendulkar was, and she said that she didn’t. And what a crime that is.
Sean: Oh, big mistake.
Al Crombie: That effectively annoyed millions upon millions of cricket fans in India who decided to provide her with an educationalist via her Facebook page, via her Twitter. For a short while her Wikipedia page was updated to say she does not know who Sachin Tendulkar is. So it just shows you, I guess, the fervor an fandom around Sachin Tendulkar in India.
Nothing wrong. You can’t expect Maria Sharapova to be across everybody in cricket, but yeah, people can be offended at the smallest thing. I get the power of the crowd. But yeah, the amount of the…
Sean: Just that direct link. They can click to her.
Al Crombie: I’m pretty sure she definitely knows, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see an Instagram photo of her and Sachin Tendulkar in the near future to appease her new legion of Indian fans.
DJ Joel: Check out which teams work with Sports Geek at sportsgeekhq.com/clients.
Sean: So where do you think Vine will land in the space of sports digital rights? Really interesting to see that Twitter recently acquired Snappy TV, which is used by a few leagues around the world, the NFL, the NBA… The AFL are using it here to enable them to put in live clips directly into the stream. So that may be a way for Twitter to appease these rights holders, but I definitely think they are going to have to move along with some technology similar to what the Youtube have to be able to protect the digital rights of the people who buy the rights.
If they don’t, obviously those rights may diminish if everyone just can simply watch the biggest highlight on a Vine.
That clock is telling me to wrap up this episode, get to, and let you get on with your day. This has been episode 53. You can find the show notes at sportsgeekhq.com/53. All the links to Troy Kirby and all the other things that I mentioned on this podcast will be in that episode. Getting to the pointy end of the World Cup, so my sounds of the game and social media post of the week has got a Barcelona flavor, I should say, with Messi in action for Argentina. I was lucky enough to see him and Rinaldo in Barcelona. That’s where these sounds of the game comes from, and social media post of the week goes out to Neymar Jr wishing Neymar Jr a best recovery, as we all do.
DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to sportsgeekhq.com/itunes. Find all Sports Geek podcasts at sportsgeekhq.com/sgp. Need help with your content? Book in for a content brainstorming session with Sports Geek now. Go to sportsgeekhq.com/work. Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek podcast.