Ticket rush for IAAF Diamond League in Oslo
Three weeks before the Diamond League Oslo Bislett Games, the ticket sales are way ahead of last year’s numbers.
“Right now I’m looking for vacant seats that we can put on sale. There is a huge demand for tickets, and we want as many people as possible to be able to join the party of the Oslo Bislett Games,” says head of marketing Anne Mette Undlien in BislettAlliansen.
Mrs Undlien is responsible for the ticket sales at Oslo Bislett Games, and therefore also in charge of the seating map. At the Bislett Stadium there are 15,600 seats, but for a elite track and field athletic competition such as the Oslo Bislett Games – which goes live on TV in 163 countries – the TV production occupies a huge amount of the seat capacity.
“Officially we have 14,500 seats for sale, but of course we want to release each extra seat that the TV production do not require. That is why I’m studying the seat maps right now,” she explains.
Modern ticketing system, retro marketing
The ticket sales for this years Oslo Bislett Games opened in September last year, and the organiser got an immediate response in the market.
“We are lucky to have a new generation of world class Norwegian athletes. Combined with a highly user friendly ticketing system and a successful marketing campaign, this has led to fantastic sales,” Mrs Undlien explains.
For the marketing campaign, the organiser has chosen to go retro.
“Bislett has experienced decades of historical moments. There has been 69 world records set at the stadium since 1966, and now we are in the midst of a new golden age in Norway. Last time Norway had athletes with a similar quality was back in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and for this year’s Oslo Bislett Games we have turned back the time to these great years. This marketing campaign has been really successful,” says the head of marketing.
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Five minutes of training
She is also very happy with the service TicketCo has provided for this year’s event.
“It is great to be able to control everything ourselves, and it is vital for us to have a user friendly and simple solution. We recruited a ticketing manager a few weeks back, and it only took her five minutes of training before she was able to manage a ticketing platform that was brand new for her. That proves the simplicity,” Mrs Undlien states.
Benefits for both organiser and partners
Besides the tickets, which have been passed over to ticket buyers at high speed prior to this year’s event, the event sponsors are of great importance for Oslo Bislett Games and the organiser BislettAlliansen.
“For our sponsors we are really looking forward to distributing digital tickets. These are much easier to pass forward to our partners than physical tickets, and both parties will experience huge benefits this year due to our QR-code changeover,” she adds.
The green shift
When it comes to sponsorships, Oslo Bislett Games have experienced a huge change the last few years. Exxon Mobil was its main sponsor for many years, and according to Mrs Undlien they left a huge gap in both the budgets and the seat map when they decided to end the sponsorship in 2016. At that time there where no Norwegian blockbuster athletes to rely on, and Usain Bolt (who was the main attraction at Bislett for many years) had recently retired.
“This forced us to think differently. We had to analyse what was unique for Oslo Bislett Games, and build on that,” Mrs Undlien says.
“We are located in the middle of a big city, with no parking facilities whatsoever. This is a great stepping stone for a green profile, and we have gone all in on those terms. We are sorting all our waste, and we have solar power panels on top of all the roofs. This way we produce more power than we spend, which says a lot since we have more than 1,000 athletes training and showering at the stadium each day, 360 days a year,” she adds.
All sponsorships sold out
The green U-turn has paid off, and BislettAlliansen and Oslo Bislett Games have now new, solid sponsorships at place. None of these would have been relevant without the green shift the organiser made in 2017.
“Today we are sold out when it comes to sponsorships, and our partners are all matching our new green profile,” Mrs Undlien states.
Steep Diamond League terms
Being a IAAF Diamond League organiser is highly comparable to being a festival organiser. You work full-time to prepare an event which takes place on one specific date, and on that day everything must be right. There are no room for mistakes, and you are particularly vulnerable when it comes to the the artist booking (or the athlete booking, as it is for a sports event organiser).
“We are being measured by IAAF Diamond League on a lot of criteria. The athlete reception at the airport. The hotel check-in. Transportation back and forth. Training facilities. Everything is thoroughly monitored, and everything has to be executed perfectly,” the head of marketing states.
“Besides this, it is of vital importance for us that we have packed stands. To achieve this we are dependent on great sales tools, which we now have through TicketCo. Diamond League will soon be downscaled from 14 to 12 yearly events, and then some of the organisers inevitably will be left out. We don’t want to speculate on who this will be, but one thing is certain. It will not be the Oslo Bislett Games,” she finishes.