By Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Technology will continue to play an ever-increasing and pivotal role in 2008 in the presentation and selling of events from data collection to marketing to innovative ticket delivery, according to executives of Comcast-Spectacor, the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm that owns and operates sports teams, venues and a full-service ticket selling company. The executives issued their predictions this week in prepared statements where they looked into their collective crystal ball and forecasted the upcoming year as it relates to some of the businesses in which the company operates.

New Era Tickets President Fred Maglione hopes that more concert promoters, event presenters and sports team marketers will realize that the data they’re able to obtain through the company’s ticketing technology will be the most valuable asset they can own, and that “more of them are going to commit their organizations to the concept so that in the future, they will never sell an anonymous ticket,” he said in a statement.

John Page, Global Spectrum COO, predicts more interaction between fans using their cell phones to send and receive text messages and the company’s venues and scoreboards. Several competing companies are rolling out mobile ticketing options, which appear to be catching on. “With the potential to capture data from these texters, we can further develop marketing relationships with our customers and increase our database, ultimately selling more tickets,” Page said in a statement.

TFL and ATBS for ticketing professionals

Frank J. Russo, Jr., Global Spectrum senior vice president of Business Development sees technology becoming so invasive in the daily lives of people throughout the world that “the trend for 2008 is that more venues will take charge of their customer data base and begin communicating directly with their customers, not only for tickets, but for ‘loaded’ tickets that could include parking, food and beverage, merchandise, and other amenities.”

Comcast-Spectacor President and Global Spectrum Chairman Peter Luukko takes it a step further stressing that it’s only a matter of time when everything will be done on a cell phone or PDA. “It’s only a matter of time before we sync the ring tones, the free musical downloads, the streaming video and the ticket purchase to the in-event experience. With technology advancing, I see facility operators working closely with record labels and concert promoters to extend the concert experience with a free download or an offer to buy CDs after the customer attends a concert.”

Company Chairman Ed Snider concurs: “There will be continuous efforts by owners and operators of teams and facilities to sync all aspects of purchasing the ticket to an event, experiencing the event live and interacting with this customer long after the event concludes,” he said. “I see this process becoming simplified through new and innovative technology.”

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