Jeanene Valentine, head of ticketing for new Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami, gave us the benefits of her wisdom after she opened yet another soccer stadium in the US at TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2020.

The veteran of the North American ticketing scene described the chance circumstances by which she became involved in the sector, and – with eight venue openings under her belt – shared her detailed advice for those in the process of developing a strategy for a new arena. Attendees can watch the session back here.

That said, she has some assistance in driving demand ahead of Inter Miami’s MLS debut: “We don’t need a marketing strategy – we’re David Beckham’s team!” she joked.

Inter Miami launched its inaugural season earlier this year with two away games before MLS suspended its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club continued the season in the closed-door MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando on July 8, before resuming games at its temporary facility, Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Valentine explained how she felt as Inter Miami were a mere 24 hours out from unveiling the new stadium before going into lockdown in March. As fans were locked out from the stadium for its debut season, the club used its mobile app to engage with fans and became the first to stream all of its games live so fans could at least “enjoy the season from afar”.

The club was later able to welcome fans back for its last two games of the season and welcomed 27,000 fans for the first time since it kicked off.

Following the successful season, Valentine looks ahead and shares her excitement about working towards her ninth stadium opening with Miami Freedom Park, Inter Miami’s permanent home, which will include a 58-acre public park, a 25,000-seat stadium, tech hub, hotel, shops and restaurants.

Fans should keep their eyes focused on the sky for the stadium’s opening day next year as Valentine joked: “Maybe I’ll just parachute out and land in the centre circle. I’ve got to make sure that we have excitement and that the fans want to come back.”

Looking at the broader market, in terms of choosing a ticketing partner, Valentine said that SeatGeek offers clubs a “magical” digital ticketing experience that is customer-friendly. She commended the SeatGeek app and labelled their game day as “flawless,” but pointed to Ticketmaster for something more robust.

She said: “If you want something more robust, if there are a lot of things you want to be doing and you need that flexibility then you have Ticketmaster too. It just depends on what you want to get out of your ticketing system, whether it’s fan facing, customer friendly and does what you need it to do, or if you’re really going to dive into data management and really make some data driven decisions, then you’re going to want something more robust.”

Save the date: TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2021 takes place between 21-23 June, 2021…

Images: Inter Miami  MANICA (renders)