Corporate suite holders face tough decisions in handing out Springsteen tickets
While New Jersey businesses with regular suites at the Prudential Center, in Newark, usually don't have any difficulty deciding who gets tickets to concerts and sporting events, they agree that Bruce Springsteen, who will perform a sold-out show at the Rock on May 2, is on a different level.
"There's no other ticket that has had a higher demand. And we have tickets for the Yankees, Mets, Giants, and Jets," said Patrick Dunican, chairman and managing director of Gibbons P.C. "When Bon Jovi came to open the Prudential Center (in 2007), we had no problem with tickets, because (they) had numerous shows. Bruce is doing one show, so we've treated that different than anything else."
According to Dunican, Gibbons employs a marketing manager whose position entails sending e-mail blasts about upcoming shows, searching through the company's database of more than 3,000 people who attend events — including its 100 partners and 130 lawyers — and deciding who gets tickets.
"We have a pretty good feel for those events that top clients are interested in attending," Dunican said. "There's a heavy metal show this summer, and truthfully, other than one lawyer here who I know would be interested in going, I have no idea which in-house counsel will be interested in attending that show."
For family-oriented events, like Ringling Brothers and Disney on Ice shows, Dunican said the greatest demand comes from junior partners with young families who often opt to bring along in-house counsel or clients who also have young children.
"You'll see someone with twin 4-year-old girls going to an event with a junior partner with a 4-year-old and 5-year-old," Dunican said. "Taylor Swift had high demand, but you can't believe the demand for Hannah Montana."
Suite holders who pay for their luxury box for a year get 16 seats to all events on the calendar. Once those seats are filled, the companies have the opportunity to buy eight additional standing-room-only passes, which Dunican said is a "no-brainer with Bruce Springsteen."
While Dunican noted there usually are enough tickets to satisfy demand, for the Springsteen show, Gibbons required a request from a senior partner and detailed identification of the client. The company then held a lottery based upon the seniority of the partner and the business development opportunity from the client, so the tickets would act as a "reward for those clients who do the most for us," Dunican said.
Public Service Enterprise Group used a similar reward model to dole out its Springsteen box seats, but instead of buying eight extra standing-room-only tickets, the company purchased an additional suite, and donated one to Choose New Jersey to thank eight companies that have moved or expanded to the state, a spokesman said.
"There's usually a priority that we go through, from business opportunities, to employee recognition, and then to improving relationships with key stakeholders," PSEG spokesman Paul Rosengren said. "For Bruce Springsteen, two of the tickets we auctioned off at a fundraiser for our employee crisis fund."
Those tickets sold for $650, and the leftover tickets were awarded for employee recognition, Rosengren said.
"It's like when we had four tickets to this year's Super Bowl. We decided to give them to employees with more than 50 years of experience at the company," Rosengren said. "There were more than we had tickets for, so we narrowed it down to best attendance record."
According to Rosengren, PSEG held a separate fundraising auction for box seats to the New Jersey Devils playoff games, which continue this week against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Dunican said there has been some increased interest for Devils-Flyers playoff tickets from Gibbons' 30-lawyer Philadelphia office, but he noted if the Devils and New York Rangers advance in the series, demand for those tickets is "going to be almost to the level of Bruce tickets."