By Luke Turgeon
Before the first whistle ever blows, the Indianapolis Colts front office staff is hard at work preparing for the upcoming football season. From ensuring that tickets are sold to managing the travel details of the professional football team, the staff at the Indianapolis Colts’ practice facility and headquarters keeps the team functioning smoothly. I sat down with Greg Hylton, the Vice President of Premium Seating and Ticket Sales for the Indianapolis Colts, to get a better look at how the Colts function every season.
The greater the arena, the greater the pressure becomes. Mr. Hylton learned this fact through his transition from the minor league team, the Indianapolis Ice, to a much bigger organization with the Indianapolis Colts. He explained the differences between a smaller team and a larger major league team. “With the Ice, I was involved in ticket sales, but I also performed other small jobs to help out. Now, being with the Colts, I am much more concentrated in ticket sales and have one primary area of work. By working for the Colts, I am under a much larger microscope and a different playing field.”
He also explained the differences between ticket sales in minor leagues and major leagues. “In the NFL, a major part of selling tickets depends on the quality of the team. This doesn’t matter as much in the minor leagues, and fans will generally show up regardless of the teams’ performance. With the Colts, we don’t discount tickets, but in the minor leagues, tickets are generally discounted to attract more fans.”
Although the Colts struggled this offseason with the news of Jim Irsay’s drug-related arrest, they continued their success as a high performing organization and transitioned smoothly to the start of the regular season. Irsay has since apologized for his actions and is performing restitution following his court hearing. Hylton elaborated on the importance of keeping a good reputation as a Colts employee. “The standards that we set on this field carry over to the way our front office operates. As a youth soccer travel coach, there are times when I might get angry at another coach, but keeping a professional image at all times is very important.”
Working for the Indianapolis Colts has many benefits and upsides, according to Mr. Hylton. “The Colts have great ownership who allow you to perform your job without sticking their noses in your operations.” This trust and communication between employer and employee form a very productive and positive environment at the Colts headquarters. “We also receive fantastic benefits as a part of working for the Colts, and we are provided with many resources to effectively do our jobs.”
Ticketing is a critical part of how the Colts operate as an NFL entity. Reaching a broad fan base is important to extending the impact and scope of the team, and in continuing the team’s popularity throughout Indiana. “We had to do much more work regionally to interest new customers and did a lot of work expanding our marketing and sales efforts during the economic decline of the past few years,” says Mr. Hylton.
The majority of decisions affecting what the public sees fall upon the shoulders of management members such as Hylton and Grigson, with Hylton influencing ticket pricing and Grigson making decisions that ultimately determine which players are on the final roster. Mr. Hylton added, “We were able to maintain our ticket prices and found that many fans actually adjusted their personal budgets to afford a Colt’s game.”
The Indianapolis Colts are a complex and high-performing organization that requires the services of many professionals to maintain constant success. With game-changing decisions made every day, front office executives influence the quality of game day preparation.
Image Source: http://forums.colts.com/gallery/image/13-horseshoe-wide/