MLS have announced they will open a National Sales Training Center at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota in July of this year.
Bryant Pfeiffer is the MLS Team Liaison Sr. Director Club Services and has worked with MLS for three years. MLS has 3 liaisons who go from team to team sharing best practices, marketing ideas that are successful and ticket sales promotions. They also help to reduce teams costs by pooling their purchasing power between teams. Pfeiffer, who is originally from Minnesota and previously worked for the TimberWolves for 14 years, came up with the concept and will be overseeing the program.
This is the first ticket sales academy owned and operated by a professional sports league in the United States. MLS National Sales Center will recruit and train ticket sales representatives and feature a 45-day curriculum consisting of classroom instruction and hands-on field work to prepare individuals for ticket sales positions with MLS clubs.
According to Sports Business Journal:
The program will offer six to seven, 45-day courses annually on ticket sales and teach approximately 10 trainees a course. The league is expected to announce the initiative today.
Trainees won’t have to pay for the 45-day course. Instead, they will receive a yet-to-be-determined stipend that could cover the cost of their trip to Minnesota and other expenses during the program. They also will be offered free housing in the residence hall at the National Sports Center.
“It’s an excellent idea because there’s a tremendous shortage of people who know how to sell these days,” said Chris Hutson, co-CEO of Turnstyles Ticketing, a full-service ticketing company based in New Jersey. “The glitz and glory has gone to selling a $10 million sponsorship and away from selling a 10-game ticket package.”
85 percent of MLS’s ticket sales force has less than three years of sales experience. Research done by the league has shown that MLS ticket sales representatives with more then three years experience generate five times the ticket revenue of first year hires.
MLS National Sales Center will be located in the NSC Schwans Center. The NSC has the facilities to host the program and they reap the benefit of having these trainees learn their new trade and practice it by making calls and selling NSC Minnesota Stars tickets to fans. In the process, the NSC Stars staff get to take advantage of MLS’s 15 years of experience in ticket sales.
“Ticket sales are the lifeblood of any professional sports team, and this new initiative will provide our clubs with a deeper and more talented pool of ticket sales professionals,” said MLS President Mark Abbott. “We believe the combination of classroom instruction and real-life sales experience will prepare these young men and women with the skills necessary to make an immediate impact when they join an MLS club.”
“MLS has a young sales force and too few entry-level employees are receiving the adequate sales training needed to be difference makers,” said Paul Mott, head of club services for MLS. “This program will become a ‘best practices’ laboratory, from which we can distribute interesting video, templates and tips in the area of sales culture, training, motivation and team building as a supplemental benefit to clubs in addition to access to trained and motivated salespeople.”
A national search is being conducted to hire a director for the MLS National Sales Center. This individual will be responsible for recruiting, hiring and teaching the trainees while also managing their sales campaigns. Once the director has been hired, details regarding how interested candidates can apply to the program will be made available.
Pfeiffer and the soon-to-be-hired director of the MLS Sales Center will work closely with the League’s clubs to develop the program, including regular guest speakers from the 19 teams.