We continue our featured TicketSummit 2007 company profile series with Executive Marketing Services.
By Alfred Branch, Jr.
There have been dips along the way, namely after the Enron and MCI scandals and post-September 11, but the market for premium sporting event packages is thriving, according to Lewis Blanchard, president and CEO of Augusta, GA-based Executive Marketing Services.
The company provides premium packages to corporate clients; a discerning group that Blanchard said appreciates the company’s dedication to details.
“Ninety percent of our clients want everything taken care of from the minute they get off the plane to when they leave,” Blanchard said. “We don’t just sell them tickets to these events. If that’s what they want we refer them to two or three brokers where they can get the best deals.” . . .
As one can imagine from the company’s location, its signature event is The Masters golf tournament, one of golf’s four major tournaments and one steeped in tradition and grandeur. EMS sets itself apart from other package providers by hosting a hospitality facility directly across the street from the entrance to the storied Augusta National course.
During the weeklong event – practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday, the par-three contest on Wednesday and the tournament Thursday through Sunday – EMS caters to the needs of, and cycles through, at least 1,000 fans per day through the hospitality building and surrounding events, Blanchard said. The company uses its own drivers for each client, often giving them instructions to get the clients anything they need from a new golf bag to particular meals in the private housing the company provides.
Business is doing so well, that EMS has seen an increase in the number of Canadian clients who fly down for a day of the event and fly back that same night, he added.
“There’s nothing in Augusta that we can’t make happen for you,” Blanchard said. “We pay very close attention to the details, which our corporate clients like. We don’t deal with individual customers, only corporate clients, which allows us to concentrate on their needs.”
Packages range from a couple of thousand dollars to more than $10,000 per person, depending on the number of rounds and the level of hospitality required.
EMS doesn’t stop at The Masters, however. Its second-most requested packages are for the Super Bowl, which differs from The Masters not only because of the rotating location, but also because depending on the teams involved corporate clients can’t readily commit. Also, EMS books hotel rooms for the Super Bowl but private housing for The Masters. The company also books packages for the NCAA basketball Final Four weekend, the Ryder Cup golf match and the Kentucky Derby, among other events.
Blanchard said occasionally he’ll get a corporate client that balks at the cost of some of their packages, but he tells them that such hesitation is shortsighted. “The biggest thing we hear is that if a company doesn’t take a package because of the cost, they can’t make it up. The cost is minimal when compared to the $3 million account they might lose because they didn’t take the plunge. If they’re not doing it, someone else will take that same client and likely land their business.”