There was a lot of industry news this past week you may have missed. Here are some headlines that caught our eyes.
Hey, Stars, Be Nice to the Stagehands. You Might Need a Loan.
—The New York Times
“The stagehands of Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees bring some of New York City’s most glittering stage effects to life, from the auditoriums of Lincoln Center to the theaters of Broadway. But their work comes at a steep price, even at venues where they do little more than load in orchestras and set up music stands.”
Super Bowl Security Takes Shape
—ESPN New York
“…the NFL will begin construction of a double chain link and jersey barricade fence nearly 4 miles long. Ultimately, it will encircle MetLife Stadium and a 300-foot buffer in all directions, as well as the Izod Center and the power station that feeds them both, and the fence will serve as the security perimeter for the nation’s biggest game, the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.”
6 Fundamentals That Can Make You a Better Manager in 2014
“…when it comes to operational effectiveness, chances are that will be determined by how well you execute fundamentals day in and day out.”
Sochi Watch: Everything You Need to Know about Russia’s Massive Olympic Security Operation
“Just five weeks before the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi, two bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd have highlighted security concerns in the volatile region, and drawn attention to the massive security apparatus emerging around the Olympic games.”
Saving the Lost Art of Conversation
“‘I am going to be a little boring,’ Sherry Turkle announces as we sit down to tea in the living room of her sprawling Boston townhouse. ‘And you’re going to be a little boring, too.'”
(Image: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times)
There were only two regular season TV blackouts in the NFL this season. That’s a great stat and one the league and stadiums should be proud of. None of that matters, though, now that the playoffs are starting and the threat of blackouts for 75 percent of the games are a possibility.
If you live in Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Indianapolis, the chance for you to cheer on your team from your sofa may not happen. As of this writing, both Green Bay and Indianapolis have about 5,500 tickets left to sale, while Cincinnati has around 8,000 tickets.
And Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio doesn’t like the idea of you missing a game.
“Sports fans make significant financial investments in their home teams through local, county, and other taxes and should not be denied access to a local game because they cannot afford tickets,” he wrote in a letter to Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. “The current blackout policy does not serve taxpayers, sports fans, or networks.”
The NFL feels differently.
“We are on pace for a historic low number of blackouts since the policy was implemented 40 years ago,” Brian McCarthy, a vice president at the NFL, told CNN. “While affecting very few games the past decade, the blackout rule is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets and keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds.”
Brown’s and McCarthy’s comments raise some good questions, and we would love to know how you feel about TV blackouts. Of course we support venue managers and their goal of creating a great live experience. But are TV blackouts still helping to meet that goal? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Update: Indianapolis has until 4:30 p.m. today to sell 3,000 tickets, and Cincinnati has until 4 p.m. to sell 3,500 tickets. Green Bay also has until 4 p.m. today to sell 3,000 tickets.
Many U.S. cities are growing faster than their suburbs for the first time in decades. Of the new downtown dwellers, many are empty nesters—freed of the need to factor in school districts, looking to downsize homes and yards. They are gravitating to dense urban cores looking to take advantage of ease of walkability and spend in trendy restaurants, boutique shops, entertainment venues, theaters, and museums.
In a recent Wall Street Journal story, some of the fastest growing U.S. cities include New Orleans, Atlanta, Denver, and Washington, D.C. According to recently released Census data, in 27 of the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas, city centers grew faster than suburbs between July 2010 and July 2011. By contrast, from 2000 to 2010 only five metro areas saw their cores grow faster than the surrounding suburbs.
Between 2000 and 2010, more than one million baby boomers moved out of areas 40 to 80 miles from city centers, and a similar number moved to within five miles of city centers, according to an analysis of 50 large cities by the online real estate brokerage Redfin.
“Ensuring a positive experience on the way to your venue is as important as the experience they get inside.”
What does this mean for venues located in city cores? The performing arts centers, arenas, and entertainment venues that for years have been isolated islands surrounded by a sea of corporate headquarters, high-rise office buildings, and industrial manufacturing? These venues should begin to see an increase in demand for weeknight performances and perhaps enjoy an overall increase in attendance, especially if your venue can begin to book baby boomer (ages 50 to 70) appealing performances and shows.
There’s a really good piece by Sarah Beauchamp in the latest issue of Convene magazine featuring IAVM member Peggy Daidakis, who is the executive director of the Baltimore Convention Center. Daidakis, who was awarded the 2013 IAVM Lifetime Achievement Award, speaks about how she became the first U.S. woman to manage a national convention center.
One of my favorite parts of the story concerns customer experience, something that venue managers are constantly striving to make better.
“Because I came from the customer-service side, and not the nuts-and-bolts side, my focus was on a customer’s experience,” Daidakis said. “I was trained by Mayor [Donald] Schaefer to say, ‘Don’t give me the problem, give me the solution,’ and that’s what I kept telling my staff. You can complain all you want, but that’s not going to get us to a successful event service or help us become a premier destination. We want people to have a good experience when they get here, so that was what I was focusing on, and apparently that was something that was a little different. My focus was building a team that had a can-do attitude.”
Please visit Convene‘s site to read the rest of the story and to learn more about one of our members.
There are two styles of decision-making: intuitive and analytical. Bjørn T. Bakken, a researcher BI Norwegian Business School, wanted know which one was best in a crisis situation. Turns out, you need both.
“In a real crisis, you simply don’t have time to wait for sufficient information to build up a picture and analyse the situation,” Bakken said. “You need to make the initial decisions quickly, based on your experience-based intuition. As you receive more information, you can analyse your way to adjustments and more decisions. Those who make the best decisions in a crisis practice a flexible decision style that switches between intuition and analysis.”
Bakken had study participants sit in front of a simulator, where they had to make different types of crisis (e.g., natural disasters, accidents, and terrorist attacks) decisions. The decisions had to be made under time pressure and with a variety of resources, such as vehicles. More than 800 participants took part in the simulation.
Based on his study, he identified six pieces of advice for leaders and staff for crisis situation decisions.
“The organization needs to show that it values the work of each emergency response staff member and the experience he or she is accumulating,” he said.
“Staff must be encouraged to make decisions based on their experience combined with analysis. If you are short of time, you need to trust your intuition. If you have time to combine intuition with analysis, then do so.
“Most of us can develop an intuitive decision style by practicing (i.e., by gaining experience).
“Crisis handling exercises should be organized so that they encourage and require quick, intuitive decisions based on experience, rather than just testing people’s ability to analyse and comply with established guidelines.
“Organizations need good leadership, not more control, in order to develop the staff’s ability to make good decisions in a crisis.
“It must be understood and accepted that during a crisis staff may make decisions that later on prove to be wrong,” he continued. “Leaders have a responsibility to develop a learning culture in the organization.”
You can learn more about decision making during crisis situations at our upcoming Academy for Venue Safety & Security conference, Feb. 23-27, 2014, in Dallas.
(Image via Flickr: vaXzine/Creative Commons)