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Detroit Lions unite sales functions under newly promoted vice president

The Detroit Lions say they have streamlined the way their business operations handle clients.

In recent weeks, the team has aligned its corporate sales and its ticketing units into one-stop shopping for anyone doing business with the Lions. Previously, if a company wanted to buy premium seating, such as suites, and also wanted to do advertising sponsorships, they were handled by different departments. Now, clients are served all at once, the team said.

Overseeing the new business strategy is Todd Lambert, who the team said Tuesday has been promoted to vice president of corporate development and ticketing. He functionally fills the vacancy created when Vice President of Corporate Sponsorships Bill Hawker, hired by the team in 2016, left the Lions on Sept. 11 for what Sports Business Daily in August said was retirement.

Lambert, 49, reports to Kelly Kozole, the team’s senior vice president of business development.

Lambert’s work has included implementation of the team’s decision to go to all-digital ticketing in 2015, and this year’s switch back to Ticketmaster from Flash Seats, for single-game ticket sales. Flash Seats is owned by Los Angeles-based AXS.

He also was instrumental in premium sales for the $2 million MGM Grand Tunnel Club that debuted with much fanfare in 2015, and the subsequent club and premium seating spaces that opened as part of the team’s $100 million renovation in 2017.

Lambert’s role is a key one for the Lions because premium seating, season and single-game tickets, and corporate advertising account for a major share of every NFL team’s local revenue.

“Todd Lambert has been instrumental in elevating our ticketing and premium sales teams along with the development of our business analytics, ticketing technology and operations efforts,” Lions team President Rod Wood said in a statement. “Under his leadership, we’ve experienced considerable growth in key revenue generating categories, including a league-leading year-over-year attendance growth rate for the 2017 season. This integration of our business development teams will optimize our market approach and consolidate our sales processes to create more efficient corporate relationships with broader and more holistic partnerships.”

The Lions drew 513,100 fans during the 2017 season, the best attendance since the team moved to 64,500-seat Ford Field in 2002.

Lambert also will expand the team’s research and analytics efforts to increase revenue from ticketing and advertising sales, the team said in a statement.

“We’re going to work hard to continue engaging partners whose mission, values and objectives align with our organization,” Lambert said in a statement. “To do that effectively, our entire sales team needs to have a deeper understanding of what our clients measure, our fan base, and the value that relationship brings to a corporate partnership.”

The Lions hired him in 2014 to oversee ticketing. He has also worked in sales for the Detroit Pistons (1997-2002), Tampa Bay Lightning (2004-07), and St. Louis Blues (2007-13).

A native of Rochester N.Y., Lambert graduated from Niagara University with a degree in business administration, the team said.

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