A Tale of Two Events: How the Professional Bull Riders and SMI/NASCAR Safely Returned to Live

As the nation slowly reopens, teams, artists and promoters are experimenting with innovative new ways to keep fans safe while enjoying the excitement of live entertainment. Two visionary clients, with two distinct approaches, balanced honoring state and local safety ordinances with the thrill of an in-person crowd. Read on for the stories of Speedway Motorsports Incorporated’s (SMI) NASCAR All Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee and the Professional Bull Rider’s (PBR) First PREMIER Bank Invitational at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in South Dakota.

Customizable Seat Map Configuration & Inventory Management

 

As with any event, the first important decision that each organization needed to make was the type of seating that would be offered. There were four distinct socially distanced seating scenarios for each act to consider: in addition to General Admission and Reserved Seating builds, each brand also had the ability to enforce socially distanced seating through new Seat Group features that could be applied to the entire venue or a subset of seats. Here’s what they did:

The SMI Approach
Built on Account Manager, SMI’s purchase flow allowed fans to reserve the number of seats their party required upfront. Upon reservation, the event team at Bristol Motor Speedway leveraged Archtics to assign each request a seating group, ensuring socially distanced precautions were maintained for every member of the crowd in the 160K capacity venue. Ticket transfer was enabled to keep ticket management in the hands of the fan, but to maintain the integrity of each socially distanced grouping,  resale were not enabled.

The PBR Approach
Like SMI, PBR also chose to enforce social distancing measures throughout the entire venue via seating group pods. Leveraging both Host and Archtics, the teams at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center and PBR worked closely with their Ticketmaster representatives to create the seat classes, qualifiers, cosell rules and purchase flows required to maintain pod integrity throughout the purchase process. For an illustration of how this was reflected on the Event Detail Page (EDP) for fans, watch a quick demo. Ticket transfer and resale was not enabled.

Things to Think About: In a reduced capacity environment, it’s important to start with a strategy that keeps fans safe while maximizing revenue. Powered by built-in algorithms in our Social Distance Seating toolset that account for venue capacity, seat pitch and more, your Ticketmaster representative can advise on seat map scenarios that meet local social distancing requirements that keep fans safe and grow your business. No matter what seating configuration you select, you can leverage Virtual Venue or the Interactive Seat Map to give fans peace of mind through clear visualizations of distance regulations and block sizes throughout the purchase process. To learn more on how to set up your socially distanced event, reach out to your Ticketmaster representative.

 

Managing the Entry & Box Office Resolution Experience

While the safety precautions enforced and the size of the crowd entering each event’s venue differed, rethinking the fan entry experience was a top concern for SMI and PBR. Here’s how they got fans in safely:

The SMI Approach
Upon entry, fans were directed to their designated seating group by masked event staff and were required to wear face masks in all venue common spaces. Using TM1 Sales for iPad, the box office provided a contactless resolution experience for fans through digital payment and ticket redelivery features. Concession purchases were also handled digitally to limit unnecessary instances of physical contact between event staff and fans.

The Professional Bull Riders’ Approach
Fans were prompted to observe six feet’s worth of distance upon venue entry through helpful decals adhered to the floor of each gate, ensuring proper social distancing protocols were observed. With the help of TM1 Entry, venue operations staff were able to monitor fan ingress data and device scan rates in real-time, helping the team understand how many fans were in-venue and adjust staffing at certain entrances to avoid overcrowding through expedited customer service. Like SMI, the box office team turned to TM1 Sales for iPads to enable a contactless resolution experience for fans.

Things to Think About: It’s important to deploy solutions that keep both fans and staff safe onsite. If your venue is anticipating large crowds, you can reduce overcrowding at the gates through Managed Entry tools that assign entry times and specific gates. When combined with continuous scanning solutions through our Nexus partner program, , fans can even self-scan into your event at gates and suites, further minimizing instances of physical interaction between staff and event attendees. Last but not least, you’ll want to enable a contactless resolution platform for your box office with TM1 Sales for iPads. With TM1 Sales, your staff can deliver tickets digitally via SMS or email as well as process contactless payments with Google Pay, Apply Pay or Samsung Pay.

 

Getting Started With Socially Distanced Seating

These two approaches to a safe reopening are just a part of a potential roadmap to planning for your venue reopening or resuming a tour or sports season. No matter what social-distancing scenarios may be required in your region, your Ticketmaster representative is armed with the fan insights, tech-forward solutions and expertise you’ll need to bring your fans safely back to live.