Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Why a 2500-seat theater dropped Ticketmaster, hired TicketLeap

Mount Laurel boss explains why Ziggy Marley tickets are available through an upstart Philly ticket-sales service

Why a 2500-seat theater dropped Ticketmaster, hired TicketLeap

Last summer, O'Neill Properties, Brian O'Neill's King of Prussia-based development company, took over management of the shuttered 2,500-seat Mount Laurel Performing Arts Center up at Bushkill in the Poconos.

The new management sold out four shows last summer -- Kiss, ZZ Top, Larry the Cable Guy, and a twin bill of the Beach Boys and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This summer they've scheduled Little Feat, Ziggy Marley, Three Dog Night, the Temptations, Lyle Lovett, Johnny and Edgar Winter, and others you've heard of if you're my age.

Last year the group used Ticketmaster to sell seats. "But this year we recommended TicketLeap," of Philadelphia, to operator Mount Productions, said Dan Mita, project manager for O'Neill. Brian O'Neill himself suggested the switch (and no, he's not an investor.) 

Why? "Ticketmaster's markup is 3 to 4 percent of the ticket price," in some cases; "TicketLeap fixes it at a flat rate," $2 or $4, for tickets ranging R$30 up to $100, Mita told me. "It's cheaper for us, easier for the consumer."

Plus, TicketLeap "does a lot of things from the branding and marketability point of view," Mita said. "You can buy your tickets on our Web site, as opposed to having to flip over to LiveNation or TicketMaster. And it's an easy and enjoyable experience for our consumer." Mount Laurel beta-tested a new TicketLeap service, which gives a map and photos of the venue on the theater's own Web site, so you can see the seats you're buying.

"The industry has been dominated for such a long time by these larger ticket services. There are some advantages to using them," such as heavy traffic, Mita told me. "But TicketLeap gives us the ability to track sales, to use social media, and to see what sites are generating traffic between our Website and Facebook and Twitter. It's huge for us. It shows us where we can channel our marketing dollars more effectively.

"I do 90 percent of my tracking on TicketLeap, with my iPad. I can see what shows are attracting what kind sof consumers from which Web sites. So I know when it's time to increase my marketing on Facebook, or radio." 

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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