Winston Salem, N.C. – Following a season in which IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions (IMGLTS) served seven universities posting some of the largest average football attendance increases, three additional universities have announced partnerships with the leader in privatized ticket sales for intercollegiate athletics.
University of New Mexico, University of Southern Mississippi, and Virginia Tech are the latest schools to join forces with IMGLTS. Now with 29 school partners, IMGTS sells more tickets to university athletic events than any other outbound ticket sales company.
In 2013, the ticket business generated $62 million in total revenues to schools. Of this total, $6.2 million were related to donations.
“Only IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions represents schools in the Top 25 for football attendance. We are gratified to partner with three more highly respected major universities to provide customized solutions to increase ticket sales, revenue and customer service,” said Matt DiFebo, VP and Managing Director of IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions.
The IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions operation at New Mexico will be led onsite by Joe Gehling, who had managed ticketing business development for MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates. Gehling’s team will focus on ticket sales for the football, women’s basketball, baseball, soccer, softball, and volleyball programs.
“Ticketing revenue is a key component of our revenue stream,” said Paul Krebs, Vice President for Athletics. “IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions expertise with outbound ticket sales will increase our ability to provide more resources and improve customer service.”
“New Mexico has a large, energetic and supportive fan base,” DiFebo said. “We will put outreach programs into place to replicate the success the school is having in men’s basketball across other sports. We’re especially excited about the very attractive upcoming home football schedule, including Arizona State, Boise State and UTEP.”
The school’s recent success with its “Lobo Club,” which reached an all time high in donors, demonstrates the potential for growing the program, according to DiFebo. “We’ll enhance outreach to current fans and new ones to join the Lobo family,” he said.
New Mexico is represented in multimedia rights by Learfield, while IMG College through CLC is the school’s trademark licensing partner.
The Southern Miss operation will be managed on site by Brendan Jones, who moves from a senior account executive position at North Carolina State, one of the most successful IMGLTS properties, which last season sold out its season ticket inventory for the first time since 2008.
Jones’ team will emphasize increasing attendance across the university’s football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and softball programs.
“Southern Miss has a great history in football and recent successes in men’s basketball and baseball. We’ll work to build on strong fan affinity for Golden Eagles sports to reach new fans, and get current fans more involved in the entire athletics program,” DiFebo said. “Under the new leadership of Athletics Director Bill McGillis, great days are ahead for the entire department.”
IMG College represents Southern Miss in multimedia rights as well as in seating.
The Virginia Tech operation is managed on site by general manager Rob Minter, who was previously director of ticket sales for the Canton Charge, the NBA Development League team. Minter’s team will focus on increasing football premium ticket sales and building the local fan base for men’s and women’s basketball in the ACC, one of the top basketball conferences.
“There’s already new energy around the basketball program with Buzz Williams as new head coach, coming from Marquette,” DiFebo said. “We’re familiar with what works in the ACC through partnerships with Boston College, Duke, NC State, and Pittsburgh. It’s a very exciting time to begin serving Virginia Tech.”
“Ticket sales are a very important part of the athletics department’s revenue stream,” said Tim East, Virginia Tech’s associate AD for external affairs. “We believe this partnership with IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions will allow us to increase ticket sales for football, as well as men’s and women’s basketball, which will help us grow revenue.
“IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions will be an extension of our ticket office, similarly as IMG College is to our sports marketing department with regard to corporate sales,” East added. “This partnership will allow our ticket office to focus on customer service, while IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions, along with our marketing office, concentrates on sales. As other schools within the ACC and SEC have done, this is an opportunity to bring in a specialized trained sales group with a proven track record to generate a significant volume of new sales for the athletics department.”
Virginia Tech’s multimedia rights are handled by IMG College, while IMG also serves the school in licensing though The Collegiate Licensing Company and IMG College Seating.
ABOUT IMG LEARFIELD TICKET SOLUTIONS
Initially launched in January, 2011 as IMG College Ticket Solutions, and strengthened by a merger in April 2012, IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions provides schools a professional sales force to increase ticket sales. Either working from within the athletic department or from the national sales center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this privatized tickets solution is designed to increase attendance and revenues generated from athletic events as well as choice and convenience when fans purchase tickets.
IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions, which is led by VP and Managing Director Matt DiFebo, offers schools complete ticket sales and customized revenue solutions ranging from consulting to comprehensive outsourcing. Current partners include: Air Force, University of Akron, University of Arkansas, Auburn University, University of Colorado, Boston College, Duke University, University of Florida, Georgia State University, North Carolina State University, University of Oklahoma, Penn State University, University of Richmond, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Northern Iowa University, University of Pittsburgh, University of South Carolina, University of South Florida, Southern Illinois University, Temple University, University of Tennessee, University of Texas-San Antonio, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Tulsa, Utah State University, and University of Wyoming.