Ticketing is an art. It needs organization; a delicate touch to pull off without major hitches; a whole lot of sweat; and superstar to manage it all. This year brought four such superstars to the attention of our readers who have selected them as 2019 VenuesNow Ticketing Star winners.

The winners of our 2019 Ticketing Star Awards of the year are a diverse group. Three are from The U.S. and one is from Canada. Spectra is represented, as is Massachusetts, Burning Man and the Bucks.

Together, these four rough and ready box office champs are a prime example of how the well-oiled ticketing side of the venue industry only works with real innovators steering the wheel.

We will be honoring this year's outstanding ticketing professionals during the INTIX convention in Texas, January 29-31, 2019. 

The 2019 VenuesNow Ticketing Stars winners are:

Christina Allen
Box Office Manager, Ottawa Senators Hockey Club & Canadian Tire Centre

Christina oversaw the transition to Ticketmaster in summer 2016 and spearheaded the host conversion, working tirelessly through the summer and fall to ensure we were positioned well to support the new platform.  The Canadian Tire Centre Box Office, through her submission and under her leadership, was recognized as the INTIX Box Office of the Year in 2016, and she was nominated for the INTIX Ticketing Professional of the Year award in 2018.
She goes out of her way to advance her professional development, having applied for and been the recipient of the Intix grant so she could attend Intix in FY17 when budgets were tight and we didn’t have the funds to send her.  She also places a high importance on the development of her team, encouraging her assistant manager to do the same, leading to her selection as the successful candidate for the grant this fiscal year.
She has for the last five years been on committees at INTIX and now co-chairs the Professional Development and Grant Committee and the Education Committee. She has been selected to present her submission “Ticketing ‘EH!”  at this year’s conference.
She and two others, noting a lack of networking opportunities in the Ottawa area for ticketing professionals, launched and is a driving force behind Ottawa-Gatineau Regional Ticketing Group, which meets quarterly to share stories, opportunities and best practices.
Identifying a gap within our organization, she has implemented and chairs two cross-functional team meetings, the first a monthly roundup to review past event successes and challenges and to discuss coming events, and the second to rally managers across all departments to create awareness of interdepartmental challenges, increase the level of communication and discuss how they can help one another achieve their objectives.

Jonathan Lack
Senior Director of Ticketing
Milwaukee Bucks

Fiserv Forum, which opened Aug. 26, is on the forefront of innovations in the ticketing industry due in part to its Fortress technology and digitized ticket office. Overseen by Jonathan, Fiserv Forum is the only NBA arena to be fully integrated with Fortress and Ticketmaster Presence for Access Control, Loyalty and Loaded Value. With this relationship, Fiserv Forum is fully prepared to handle the current changes in digital ticketing, but also be ready for future changes that are coming with mobile ticketing.
With 41 Falcon Pods, fans can scan their own tickets themselves, making for quick and efficient entry into the building. In many instances, Fiserv Forum has been able to scan in over a thousand guests in a five-minute period.
He oversaw the development of Fiserv Forum’s cutting-edge ticket office. Fiserv Forum is the only venue in the United States to use dual screens in its ticket office as a means of serving its customers. The second screen faces the customer and displays customized seating information, stage layout and 360-degree “views from the seat” using IOMedia technology. All the information shown to a customer is digital and can be updated in real time from the back office, giving the most current information on all shows to the ticket office staff at the front counter. Using Archtics as point-of-sale has also opened up a wealth of digital ticketing options for Fiserv Forum’s customers.
He has 12 years of experience in the ticket industry and leads a team of eight full-time and 24 part-time employees at Fiserv Forum. Before joining the Milwaukee Bucks in 2017, he worked at The O2 Arena in London and The Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center.

Alex Renfrew
Director of Ticketing, Marketing and Sales for Spectra, Tsongas Center, Lowell, Mass., and Northeast and Southeast Box Office Regional for Spectra

Alex has been with Spectra for over 10 years. After taking on a leadership role, he discovered that reporting procedures within his region were not standardized and could benefit from strategic improvements. He built customized dashboards to aggregate and measure venue-specific data analytics for Tsongas Center and created a hub of real-time data to improve efficiencies.
One of his most impactful dashboards was used to help the Tsongas Center tenant, the UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s ice hockey team, track upcoming ticket renewals. He tracked the progress of the renewals alongside benchmark numbers for the venue, providing the team with critical facts and figures for year over year growth.
He has designed efficiencies to guide strategic business decisions and streamline the reporting processes not only for the Tsongas Center but also for the entire Spectra Northeast and Southeast box office regions. “Alex is a thought leader who helps propel Spectra forward with his innovative ideas. His team admires his knack for thinking outside of the box, but also trusts him as their dedicated leader. He’s the first to give a helping hand to new Spectra accounts,” says Jacque Holowaty, Spectra’s Vice President of Client Experience and Ticketing. “Alex continually helps grow our Box Office and Sales Department to be the best it can be.”

Rebecca Throne
Ticketing Department Manager and Box Office Operations Manager
Burning Man, San Francisco

Rebecca has managed Burning Man ticketing since 2007, through two vendor changes, the first time the event sold out in 2011 and every sellout since, as well as Burning Man’s infamous ticket lottery of 2012, all this while ensuring that the dominant income stream for Burning Man remains uninterrupted, and never losing sight of her focus on volunteerism and working to support the needs and wants of the Burning Man community at large.
She always says that selling tickets is the easy part, building community through ticket sales is the hard bit. Year after year she innovates new programs and sale structures to support this goal. This includes Burning Man's Secure Ticket Exchange Program, the Low Income Ticket Program that supports 4,000 low-income participants in purchasing reduced-price tickets to the event, and the creation of our Directed Group Sale programs, which ensure that art project groups, theme camps, and volunteer teams have enough core members to produce their projects at the Burning Man event.
She also designed our modular 18-window box office, composed of three 20-foot shipping containers, which enables our crew of volunteers to man the 24-hour box office at Burning Man for 14 days straight. Rebecca has managed this crew for over 10 years in some of the harshest box office conditions on earth — through blinding dust storms, off-grid network outages and satellite uplink failures, rain closures, hail, 100-plus degree days and bone-chilling nights. Her focus on both acknowledging the crew’s achievements and supporting their work has enabled Burning Man to have a 90 percent year-over-year retention of box office.