USM Sports Management collaborates with Pelicans for ticket sales

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) — During the fall 2021 semester, students in the University of Southern Mississippi’s sports management program got a taste of the real world.

The group collaborated with the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association in a sports marketing course that allowed undergraduate students to participate in the sports sales process.

Chris Croft, assistant professor of sports management, and Jesse Nantz, premium sales account manager for the New Orleans Pelicans, hosted the experiential learning opportunity.

“Since selling tickets is one of the best ways to get into the sports industry, we thought it would be beneficial for our students to get hands-on experience selling game tickets” , Croft said.

Nantz orchestrated three training sessions during the semester which included:

  • Sales process, including promotions
  • Role-playing and cross-selling
  • Close the deal and complete the challenges.

“We were thrilled to have full fans back at the Pelicans games this season and to work with Professor Croft’s sports marketing class again,” Nantz said. “This was the second time the Pelicans had been able to work with Southern Miss students and both parties were eager and able to learn and build on the latest experience.

“Students again encountered many obstacles in selling Pelicans tickets, including injuries to key players and ever-changing COVID-19 protocols, among others. However, it was a great opportunity for students to learn how to overcome challenges and gain real-world sales experience. Students participated in all of our virtual learning sessions, and Professor Croft was again accommodating and a pleasure to work with. »

The initial session included presentations on the Pelicans franchise, including recent events with a new head coach, player updates, sales process with group tickets, including promotions and COVID restrictions -19 from the city.

The students presented their list of targeted buyers to sell Pels tickets during this session.

The next session focused on role play situations and cross-selling. Students were able to take on seller and buyer roles to better connect to the sales process and learned how to expand their sales reach through their contacts.

The final session included closing the sale deal and addressing challenges related to the team’s slow start, injuries to top players and the fluid situation with local COVID-19 guidelines.

“It was definitely a tough project for students with COVID-19 protocols in the city of New Orleans, on top of the hurricane combined with the team’s slow start and player injuries,” Croft said. . “But these hurdles gave our students a good understanding of the heightened challenges of sports marketing and sales that are beyond the control of ticket office staff.

“The class was able to help the Pelicans raise nearly $7,000 in financial revenue through (his) efforts. We are so grateful to the New Orleans Pelicans and Jesse Nantz for allowing our class to be included in this project for the second time, and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the future.

To learn more about the Sports Management Graduate Program at USM, call 601.266.6057 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/graduate-programs/sport-management.php#Sport% 20Management%20MS

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