Off-Season Events and Behind the Scenes of the Frisco RoughRiders
Off-Season Events and Behind the Scenes of the Frisco RoughRiders
President and GM of the Frisco RoughRiders, Andy Milovich, has been on the sports ride of a lifetime. From South Bend, Indiana to Frisco, Texas, he has stories to tell (including why a move to Frisco was a no-brainer for him and his family).
In this episode of the Frisco Podcast, Andy gives us a look at some of the many events that happen at the ballpark in the offseason, as well as a behind the scenes of the RoughRiders’ effort to personalize your experience every time you visit.
And BONUS — enjoy a look ahead at the 2020 season!
[00:47] From Indiana to Frisco, Texas
[02:49] Setting records last season
[03:45] Off-season events at Dr. Pepper Ballpark
[07:40] Rangers Camp
[08:45] The Future of Dirk’s Heroes Celebrity Softball Game
[10:38] Movie Night at the Ballpark & Season Ticket Holder Events
[11:55] Booze and Beers Festival
[12:40] Winter Wonderland Event with Toys for Tots
[18:14] The Biggest Attendance Day’s in RoughRiders History
[18:38] The Closing of Rangers Ballpark and what the Building mean to the Sport
[21:00] Looking ahead to the RoughRiders 2020 season
[24:00] Using data to personalize your ballpark experience
LINKS & RESOURCES:
- Frisco RoughRiders Website
- Frisco RoughRiders on Lifestyle Frisco
- Frisco RoughRiders on Facebook
- Frisco RoughRiders on Twitter
- Frisco RoughRiders on Instagram
- Hustle & Pro Sports Podcast
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco on:
Scott Ellis: Welcome to the Frisco podcast. I’m your host, Scott Ellis. And today I am joined by somebody you know from hustle and pro Kelley walkers in the, in the studio with me today. Hey Kelly.
Kelly Walker: Hi.
SE: And our guest is Andy Milovich, the GM and President of the Frisco roughriders. Thank you for joining us today.
Andy Milovich: Thank you for having me.
Scott Ellis: It’s great to have you here. I want to let everybody know before we get going that before we started recording we kind of kicked this off by finding out that we’re both Indiana boys and big IU basketball fans. So if any of you out there are big IU basketball fans, please connect with us one way or another on social media. We need more of you around.
Andy Milovich: Absolutely.
Scott Ellis: So how did you make your way from Indiana to Frisco, Texas?
Andy Milovich: Well, it was a long winding road through some, a lot of small towns and I guess, uh, like a lot of kids growing up. I had a dream of playing major league baseball and um, I was fortunate to have had an opportunity to play in college. Started. I, you finished at Valparaiso university and from there the, the opportunity to play professionally clearly wasn’t going to happen. Um, and so for me, the, the front office route was the way I wanted to go. And, um, the player development side is appealing is that was back in the early nineties. If you hadn’t had a career playing professionally, there really wasn’t much of a transition to get into the baseball operations side of it. So the front office and the minor league baseball side of it was a perfect fit and you know, had a chance to go to the minor league baseball winter meetings. And in Atlanta in 93, I had done three internships prior to that, hooked on with the team in Madison, Wisconsin, running food and beverage, uh, in a really, really challenging situation.
A lot of fun but not a lot of success. And, um, I learned quite a bit after a year with that organization, I hooked up with, um, my former GM in South bend. He had put me in touch with the guys that were opening a new ballpark in Erie where they needed some staff and I joined them and spent 18 years with Palisades baseball open three different ballparks in Erie, then as the GM in Mahoning Valley in 1999 in Northeast Ohio and then in Charleston, West Virginia in Oh-five. And at the end of the 2012 season, again at the winter meetings, um, I was approached by Chuck Greenberg about an opportunity in Myrtle beach and, um, close friend of mine, best man in my wedding I had worked with for 15 years, had been considering that job, wasn’t a great fit from a timing standpoint with his family. And um, he put Chuck in touch with me and um, moved down to Myrtle beach, spent six years there before the opportunity here to, to move over with Chuck presented itself and we’ve been here since last July, so we’re really excited and having a lot of fun and learning the community and making ourselves at home.
Scott Ellis: Well very good. We’re very excited and happy to have you here in Frisco. And I understand that we have a, maybe set some records this year at the dr pepper ballpark.
Andy Milovich: Yeah, we had a great year. Um, you know, like every year we had some ups and downs, some challenges. It was my first full season here. And so learning the operation, learning the community, learning what worked and what didn’t. Um, you know, it’s always a pretty involved process. But, um, we hit our stride and, and felt really good about things. I think we had our second biggest attendance ever next to Dude Perfect night last year. And, uh, we had our biggest final weekend the team has ever had. So we feel really good about what we’ve been able to do in the last year. Uh, feel great about our role in the community and the strides that we’ve made and we’re looking forward to bigger and better things, uh, in the years to come.
Scott Ellis: Well, the Roughriders have become, I think of them as an institution and Frisco been here for a long time. A lot of good things that are happening with, not just with the team itself, but around the team and the ballpark. Um, since we’re at the end of a baseball season, I thought it might be fun to get into some of the other things that are happening in the ballpark that will still get people coming out and getting people together and having fun and doing community oriented activities.
Andy Milovich: Yeah, there’s all kinds of things that take place and people are always surprised when we tell them that October is actually our busiest month of the year earth of all park. We have something going on seemingly every day from uh, the traditional events. We have our big casino night with sponsors and season ticket holders. Um, the red river rivalry game where we have the, the Oklahoma and Texas celebrities come out and play in a softball game against each other. There’s a lot of fun, uh, similar to the Dirk’s Heroes event that we, that we have every year in the summer. Um, but with, uh, Texas and Oklahoma flair to it, um, McConaughey is actually a much better hitter and athlete than probably a lot of people would think, know a lot of those big football players. They’re not capable of hitting the ball though it’s fun to watch them try to swing it.
It is funny to watch them kind of out athletes professional athletes. But um, it, it does happen. And then we have our, our fall festival this year we’ve got a, uh, a blues, uh, booze and uh, Blues festival angle to it where we’re going to be doing some things, uh, with our friends from Franconia around that, uh, is a, is a beer festival event that ties into our fall festival. And, and even the Rangers have jumped on board this year. They moved their fall instructional leagues, created a prospect’s camp. We’re playing games against Texas tech, a couple of games, uh, Dallas Baptist and different schools in the area where the H the, the Rangers, top prospects from around the system are getting a chance to play here at home and work out at our facility every day. So between the corporate events, the public events, the private events and the range of stuff we have going on, it’s a really, really busy month at the ballpark.
Kelly Walker: So I can vouch for what you said about October being busier than you would think. Um, this month of October, there are, there’s a time when then my family will be there two or three nights in a row. And of course it’s not watching Roughriders baseball, but it’s for the things like you mentioned the casino night as season ticket holders, we get to that and it’s awesome. It’s so much fun to play money and, and get to be out on the field. And um,
Andy Milovich: is that only for season ticket holders or can anybody attend the casino night event? Yeah, it’s [inaudible] season ticket and then, and then some sponsors as well. So, um, you know, for us it’s a chance just to say thank you and have a lot of fun. It’s casino games on the infield. Uh, a great buffet that chef created, uh, creates us, um, music and, and you’re playing with funny money but to buy prizes and when things, so it’s just a lot of fun in a way to say thanks. Kind of kick off the next year.
Kelly Walker: It is. And to meet other, you know, fans and friends and we’ve made friends there over the years. And then I’m super excited about that. You guys are bringing the Rangers camp. I mean it’s been called a few things over the years, caravan and a couple of different things and um, but to bring my red Raiders in for that is exciting because we’re a bunch of friends and I get to go watch that and um, to watch, uh, Josh the number one prospect play. So hopefully, I mean, I don’t know, I mean the first chance to really get a glimpse of him for a lot of people. So to see him here is really exciting. And um, it’s good to know that we have a fellow, uh, Red Raider. My, my daughter has already decided even though she’s 10, she’s going to play basketball, either Baylor or Texas tech. So she’s all in effect.
Scott Ellis: Now, speaking of the, the whole IU connection, I mean, you guys had a Bobby Knight there for a little while as well. Yeah. he was no longer at IU, yeah, that was a kind of a sore spot. I think for some IU fans, but it was a glad to see him land somewhere for a little while. Anyway.
Andy Milovich: Yeah, that was an interesting time as an IU fan. And, uh, the winter meetings happen to be in Dallas, I think the first year after he came here and I ended up, uh, somehow boarding a plane, uh, in, in flying from here to Lubbock and we call it the Louisiana tech Texas tech game.
Went into the Bob Knight pregame shoot around, got a chance to meet him, sat in the first row behind a bench. So, um, the one time I actually met coach up close and personally was not as a Hoosier, but as a, as a red Raider. So ah, interesting.
Kelly Walker: Yeah, he turned our program around and look at us now.
Scott Ellis: He did indeed. So are the, is the Rangers’ camp event, is that something that, that people can come and attend and watch as well?
Andy Milovich: Yeah, it is. Um, so we’ve got a couple of different games that are public and open to everybody. All the details are at ridersbaseball.com with the exact date start times and ticket availability. Um, but it’s, uh, it’s great. They’ve got 60 guys in their, in their camp and um, it’s kind of a spring training like atmosphere. So, uh, you might play seven innings, you might play nine, you might get four outs in an inning just to let a pitcher kind of work through a situation or get the, get the number of pitches they want in and so forth. So it’ll be a, it’ll be a fun kind of atmosphere and a chance to really get to see a lot of these guys up close and personal.
Kelly Walker: Okay. And similar to that. Yes. Anybody can go. You buy, it’s, they’re really affordable tickets, but other things that happen throughout the year that sometimes people don’t realize and they need to watch out for. Um, one of our favorites. You mentioned the Dirk game, so the Dirk’s Heroes, um, celebrity game, but I think that’s usually a June timeframe. Yes. Yeah. But then
Scott Ellis: Kelly, real quick, is he going to keep doing that now that he’s retired?
Andy Milovich: So we haven’t heard anything official yet. There is some speculation that he may want to continue with that. Um, and there’s rampant speculation about who might take the Baton if he doesn’t and decided to retire. So.
Kelly Walker: Well, I mean, I’m just saying with Jason Terry here now, it wouldn’t be a bad handoff if he wanted to hand that off to, to him. But I’m also, and not sure if this will come back, but it’s been here for a few years. When the Cowboys do a home run Derby, um, that’s a fun event and some years it’s free. Some years it’s five bucks to get in and it’s really cool to take your family and you sit in the baseball bleachers, but you’re watching the Cowboys hit and, and their families out there. And it’s a fun time cause we try to hit. Right. Right. And Jason Garrett is actually one of the better betters.
Andy Milovich: It’s, it’s amazing to watch those guys talking about, you know, professional athletes and what they’re good at and what they aren’t like. I feel like basketball players, baseball players, and most athletes who kind of step on to any field and at least look the part. But when you just watch some of those off fences and defensive lineman’s try to catch a baseball coming at him with a glove. It’s scary. Um, and then watching some of them swing, I think they asked, uh, Cooper last year when he got out of the cage after he and 12 swings maybe swung and missed at eight of them, filed three off and hit one in play. Uh, when the last time he hit was. And he said, today’s the first time I’ve ever hit. Oh wow. So some of them will blow you away with what they can do. And others you’re like, wait a minute, this doesn’t add up.
Kelly Walker: And it’s fun. Cause like when Dak goes up to hit the first time, maybe he doesn’t hit as good as he wanted. You can tell he’s like, I will do better next time around. And he does and he hits good. So it’s fun. That’s one of the other fun events that people need to watch out for because it sneaks up. Do you usually like in may or so and, um, it’s easy to access and go do so watch out for that one.
Scott Ellis: Okay. I understand there’s a, a, this sounds kind of cool to me. A movie night at the ballpark as well.
Andy Milovich: Yes. We have a handful of movie nights. Traditionally they’re not public events. You get into some licensing licensing issues with the movies and the production company. Okay. Um, but we do have a lot of movie nights that take place with our different corporate partners. We do a season ticket holder movie night, and some of our major sponsors, we’ll do different events at the ballpark.
Kelly Walker: Um, that’s why you need to be a season ticket holder. You get to go to all these events.
Andy Milovich: Yeah. There’s batting practices taking place this week for season ticket holders. There’s, there’s movie nights. Um, one of my favorite events we do with a corporate partner is, uh, Dr. Pepper does a kickball karaoke. So their employees have to sing a song before they get a chance to kick. Um, interesting. Which is entertaining. Um, but yeah, that’s the great thing about minor league baseball is really the sky’s the limit when you’ve got a ballpark like we do with the led everywhere, a lazy river, the lights in the field, you can do all kinds of crazy fun events that are part of a game that are standalone events and it’s really a lot of fun.
Kelly Walker: Another standalone event that everyone can come enjoy. There’s always Easter egg hunt for the little kiddos, um, around Easter time. And like you mentioned the fall festival with this cool new name, the bruise and booth [inaudible] beers and booze. Yeah, those booze and beers. But that’s fun. Anybody can, um, you know, there’s everything from obviously adult things happening, adult beverages, but also kids getting their face painted and all kinds of activities for kids. You can spend the whole afternoon,
Scott Ellis: Is that festival coming up soon, I would assume.
Andy Milovich: Yeah. End of the month. Uh, that takes place. And there’s costume contest for kids and there’s just, it’s a, it’s a four hour window, I think with all kinds of stuff going on. Pumpkin patches, um, you name it, it’s out there and it’s all free to the public.
Scott Ellis: Oh, we’ve got a, we’ve got a a long, uh, posts that we update every year of fall festivals and pumpkin patches and things like that. So it’s, it’s already in there. If not, it wasn’t [inaudible] we’ll make sure it is so and there.
Andy Milovich: And then fast forward after that you’ve got the winter Wonderland.Yeah. And the winter Wonderland is fantastic cause that’s a toys for tots partnership. I think last year on a cold, rainy, miserable night, we did a over 12,000 toys, more than a hundred bikes and several thousand dollars. We raised in one night, um, with the toys for tots event at the ballpark. So hopefully this’ll be our third year with that event. Hopefully it’ll be the first time the weather actually cooperates cause we can do a lot more stuff other than just people stopping by to drop off. When is that event? Uh, that is in December. So I want to say it’s the first week of December. Okay. And are there other activities happening around that as well? Like what are some of the other features of that event? Well, there were a lot of things that were supposed to happen and last year was my first time experiencing it and none of those activities happened because it was sleeting and raining.
Kelly Walker: I have been when all of the activities have happened and it was fine, whether I mean called but you know, good. Um, hot chocolate weather. So my kids like to get hot chocolate and sip on that the whole time we’re in there. Um, you can do a horse drawn carriage ride around the M like exterior perimeter of the ballpark and the field has Christmas lights on it. I don’t think you’d go on the field at that time, but it’s really pretty, it’s a good picture to have in the background with the lights on the field. I’m pretty sure there’s a real reindeer there too.
Andy Milovich: I think we had reindeer, I think Santa has been there and taking pictures. I think there’s cookies and crafting and
Kelly Walker: plenty going on for, for family entertainment in December. There.
Scott Ellis: : Sounds like fun. You guys do keep that park busy.
Andy Milovich: Yeah, it’s, it’s really, um, become, uh, a community center really. And, um, you know, when you think about what’s happened here in Frisco, and I’ve heard the mayor speak a number of times about this being the greatest place to raise a young athlete and now the safest place to raise a young athlete. Um, that’s really what drove us to, to Frisco is as a parent of two kids. My wife was a college basketball player, I was a college baseball player. We have two young athletes and we looked at the quality of schools, the quality of life, the, the sports that, the proximity to the DFW metroplex and everything. It has the offer on the big league level. And, and really just said, if, if we don’t move here, somebody should take these kids away from us.
Like we would be irresponsible parents if we don’t do this. And, uh, we missed the beach, don’t get me wrong. But, uh, the move has been fantastic. But as we talked to different sponsors and people in the community, and I think about kind of how this division started in the late nineties it started with that TIF district at the ballpark and that was the first dive into sports. And you look at what’s happened through FC Dallas and the stars and the S and the Cowboys and the legends and the PGA and everything that’s going on in this community. It’s really remarkable to think that it started with minor league baseball and that vision, that commitment and to see it manifest itself and unfold this way is really an incredible thing and a lot of fun to be a part of.
Kelly Walker: And I think you guys have a unique perspective in that as a minor league team with your, your ranger team down the road just a little bit, you know right down the road to where your players can bounce back and forth for more than a normal market would be able to do that. So as a fan perspective, that’s really cool that you can see players back and forth and mostly get promoted. And stay there for several years and you know, half your ranger squad are Roughriders.
Andy Milovich: Yeah, it’s, it’s really a neat thing and it doesn’t happen a lot, but when it does, it’s, it’s so special for the fans that are growing up in the community and coming to that ballpark. And you know, that game has such a, an incredible connection from one generation to the next. And I know that’s how I got into it. My dad was coaching baseball when he was 18, four years before I was even born and he coached into his sixties. And so, you know, for me, I grew up on Cubs baseball and our, our team in Myrtle beach is a Cubs affiliates. So to be there and be a part of it and feel connected to that big league team that you grew up with was really, really special. And, um, you know, to get a world series ring as a part of it was a crazy dream come true.
You know, I wasn’t the starting shortstop like I envisioned as a kid, but, uh, you know, um, you were there in spirit for sure. Um, I at least stood behind Glazer Torres while he was feeling ground balls before they traded for Chapman and won a championship. But, um, you know, that part of it, to see these guys on their way to the big leagues and then see them realize that dream up close and personal is really cool. And then because of that proximity, you get to see so many of these guys when they, uh, have a rehab assignment where they come back down and they get a chance to still stay in their own beds, stay with their families, but, but come back to Frisco where it can all started form as a really cool thing as well.
Kelly Walker: It is, we enjoy that. It’s fun to go see, you know, Goosmann and I don’t know dull. I know a lot of people come through every year, people rehab through and it’s kind of a fun, you probably get a nice pop of attendance on some of those nights to a random Tuesday night when somebody’s pitching, rehabbing through, huh?
Andy Milovich: Yeah. It’s, it’s weird. So because we’re in the metroplex, um, you do get a bump, but it has to be a really big name to get a bump. Um, you know, if you have a, a utility infielder coming down, maybe that means an extra 30 or 40 autograph seekers come out, but it takes a, Yu Darvish, Josh Hamilton to really move the needle. Whereas in a, if you’re in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, any big your gets that community excited and they come out.
Kelly Walker: Right. Yeah. Some of the bigger, I remember for stuff like that was Yu coming through, I mean, everybody would come out for those starts when he was, especially when he was new, when he was first pitching in Texas at all, he came through Frisco for, I feel like he came to Frisco before he actually hit Arlington to pitch. And, um, that was exciting.
Andy Milovich: Yeah, I looked, um, I’m a big numbers and data guy, so I, I combined five years worth of game log data. When I got here, I was just looking at our, our biggest days in the team’s history and categorized them and, uh, dude, perfect is number one. Sure. Uh, and then, uh, like the next five or six dates are a couple of you Darvish, uh, a Josh Hamilton and a, uh, a, um, Cole Hamels appearances. So those, those big time, big name rehabs, especially pitchers because you get to see them more than just Fort bat seems to make a really big difference.
Kelly Walker: Can I ask you one question you mentioned earlier about openings and ballparks? Yes. I had to say goodbye to, well the baseball part of saying goodbye to the ballpark. Um, in Arlington. Um, I get to go back one more time for Billy Joel, few weeks. So you get to go down on the field one last time. But, um, so what are your thoughts? Have you been following the farewell tour of all the players and, and well wishes that everybody’s been given the ballpark these last few months?
Andy Milovich: Yeah, I mean, I’ve, I’ve followed it a little bit. Obviously it’s been, it’s been a crazy time. The, the, the baseball season is crazy time for us as well, but, um, to me that kind of speaks of, to the power of sports. Right. Um, you know, we talked to him being born in Bloomington, delivered by an AAU team doctor growing up in South bend. I feel like I have a real appreciation for what sports can mean to a community and how it transcends socioeconomic boundaries and brings people together and can and when used correctly can lift communities. And when you think about growing up at a, at a stadium or at a ballpark, like global life park, it’s such a special place and there’s such fond memories that go beyond the baseball. It’s the connection that you have to your family or your friends or who you enjoyed that game with.
It anytime you lose a building that meant that much to you, it’s a really tough thing to get your head around. And I was a Brown season ticket holder, uh, it municipal stadium. So when I went back and I got my tickets at the new place, it just didn’t feel right. Um, municipal was dirty, it was grungy. The bathrooms were discussing, there was trouble and fights and stuff all over. Like it was crazy, but it had so much character and so many memories. And it meant so much to that community. And then they brought back this new sterile kind of really ultra clean place with really, really bad football. And all of a sudden it just took a long time to even feel like you were at home. So it is, it is a challenge. But you know, if you look at Sunday’s game as an example, what was the temperature 96 degrees and people were frying out there.
And uh, so I get it. Um, progress isn’t always fun, but it is necessary at times. And I think at the end of the day, hopefully this will give them the opportunity to, to, to really drive more attendance to, to create a better environment for the team and ultimately drive the revenues it takes to be successful. It makes a lot of sense.
Scott Ellis: So on that note, uh, is there anything you can, uh, you can tell us at this point about what’s coming up for the Roughriders maybe next season? Some things to look forward to?
Andy Milovich: Well, we’re, we’re right now we’re, we just got back from El Paso and we spent a week down there. At the minor league baseball innovators summit. And, um, you know, we went back, uh, to El Paso where this seminar originally started 40 years ago. And there’s a young man named Jim Paul at the time who had created this promotional seminar with, uh, 12 people that all got together to share ideas.
And it turned into this thing that up until I think 98′ or 99′ was known as the El Paso promotional seminars, and it was just minor league baseball people getting together to share ideas and brainstorm and help everybody get better. And so with the 40th anniversary with Jim Paul getting up there into his seventies, felt like we need to take it back to its roots, reconnect with him, and share ideas in El Paso and see their new ballpark. And, um, so we just spent a week down there and got a chance to spend a few hours with Jim and really reconnect with what kind of has made this such a special industry beyond the baseball. And, um, we had, I think, seven people from our staff down there. And we’re, we’re meeting next Tuesday, or no, I’m sorry. Uh, this Tuesday tomorrow to debrief and kind of talk through all of our promotions, everything that we’re doing.
And I think probably our biggest goal next year is to have more fun than anybody in minor league baseball. I love it. Uh, that was our goal in, in Myrtle beach and not just from a fan’s perspective but from a staff perspective. Cause when, when we’re having a great time and everybody’s feeding off that energy and that creativity, it leads to great promotions, leads to great things in the ballpark. And um, you know, I’m just really excited to kind of get back to, now that we’ve torn apart ticket packages and re-evaluated concessions and, and kind of really tore down the, uh, the engine to the block and rebuild some things to get back to what we do best and that’s having fun and playing baseball and putting on a great show for the community.
Kelly Walker: I was going to say, I bet at the innovators, um, meetings, they’re all waiting to hear what you guys are saying. The Roughriders lead the league in different, you know, innovative ideas and what you guys do to the ballpark. So they were probably all waiting to hear your new brainstorming ideas.
Andy Milovich: Yeah. They were, and you know, it’s interesting. Um, we, we’re pretty forward thinking in terms of embracing data on the business side of things and, um, we’ve had a great partnership for the last year with UNT, so it’s great that we’re over here on the campus. And, um, part of what we’ve done has been really focusing on where our, where our attendance comes from, what industry verticals. It’s driven from where we’re success and not in different verticals so that we can get better at it. Kind of managing our ticket sales staff. We have over 20 people on our ticket sales staff, which is a big staff to kind of get your head around it and determine who’s performing and who isn’t. So, um, a lot of what we’ve talked about the last few years at this innovator summit has been how do you embrace data and how has this helped teams get better?
So we were really heavily involved in those discussions. We partnered with UNT on some different projects on that front. We also are the only team in minor league baseball. It has a full time business intelligence analyst. Um, who’s a data guy who had spent years at Yahoo, is a coder in India before moving to the U S and, um, he’s been with me for a few years. So we’re, um, we were heavily involved in kind of the future and where we’re going. But at the end of the day, to me, what data really represents, if you break it down, is how you can better understand your fans and what emotionally drives their decisions and draws them to your team. And once you can use data that way, it allows us to better connect with you in a way that’s relevant and personal and emotionally connecting. And, um, that’s what it’s all about for me.
You know, I have an eight and 10 year old girl, so we’re going to sporting events all the time. But my social calendar is largely dictated by what their interests are. And so everybody’s a different life stages. The community’s exploding. There’s that, they’re building everywhere. You look. So for us it’s about how do we build a promotional schedule and build a marketing campaign that’s relevant to people individually. Because at the end of the day, that’s really the only thing that matters is how you personally want to be treated. And then us trying to create that game day experience that meets your expectations. And that’s different for everybody. And so I think that’s, that’s the sweet spot, the intersection of data and emotional connections.
Scott Ellis: It’s interesting to hear you talk about that because as a digital media company, it’s something that we’re very focused on as well. Um, it’s much easier to measure those things in a digital environment than it is in a bricks and mortar online environment like you guys have. And I know that that crosses over into digital to some extent, but, um, you’ve got a physical base to start looking at in terms of attendance and ticket sales and things like that. So, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s good to hear that you guys are taking that approach and really trying to personalize that experience for the community.
Kelly Walker: And what a challenge. I mean you have, like you said, you want everybody to have the game day experience that they want. That’s from toddlers to 90 year olds that are out there watching baseball. So that’s a tough thing to achieve.
Andy Milovich: There’s no question. Um, and if you’re going to tailor that individual experience, you know, it takes time. It takes additional resources staffing wise, money-wise, you name it. But I think the, the first big step is, is shifting to this a membership experience specialist team that we have now to make sure that our, our, our primary core audience, our season ticket base is taken care of. And it’s interesting. Um, there’s a gentleman, um, Brian Burns who used to be on the steering committee for the national sports forum, uh, w which I’m on. And um, he’s the, the top business intelligence guy for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Um, he has since moved up in the ranks and there’s somebody else that’s heading up that effort. Has his brother Michael Burns actually, and his wife Jenna, both worked with the Roughriders at one point and now run the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
And, um, he had, he had suggested when, when I first met him and attended a presentation breakout that he had held at the sports forum. He had talked about their, their membership experience team or whatever the name of it was. And, um, he said every interaction with a customer, they’re tasked with learning three new bits of information about them, which sounds pretty creepy. Uh, but it’s all about trying to figure out how do you tailor that experience. So you know, whether you’re a motorcycle enthusiast or a boating enthusiasts or your kids, um, are into the mascot, their goal is to learn as much about you as they can so that when opportunities for the boat show or the, the indoor motorcycle, whatever they call that show, um, where they’re jumping around with lights and cannon blasts and do flips on, yeah, it’s one of those crazy shows.
A nitro circus comes to town, um, that they know who’s a great candidate and who would have an interest in one show versus another. And, and he said, you know what, what really hit home for me was he made the comment that, um, they have a gentleman who owns the four seats between the bench and the scores table and he spends like $480,000 a year on these four season tickets. And they’re personal tickets. It’s not a company’s name. And just out of curiosity, he said, this is such a major investment. How do you justify this? I could see from a business standpoint, but for you personally. And he said, well listen, I’ve done very, very well in my life. I’ve made a lot of money and I obviously can do just about anything I want to do. But when I brought my four year old daughter out here and it was her birthday, the mascot came over along with the dance team, presented her with the birthday present and a cake and sang happy birthday to her on the court.
I didn’t make a call, I didn’t ask. I wouldn’t do those things he said, but the fact that you guys cared enough to do that, I can’t put a price on that. And so that’s, that’s kind of the trick, right, is how do you figure out what’s important to different people and then how do you deliver that experience without making it feel like you’re intrusive. And, and in Oklahoma City’s case, and hopefully in ours, it’ll be through this membership experience team that will take care of your ticket exchanges, anything you might personally need with your account while getting to know you better and delivering a higher level of service.
Kelly Walker: It’s, it’s happening. I see it. Um, uh, over the years we’ve had a couple of different reps. our original one now runs the sales department. So, um, but they know that we’re friends, I’m friends with all of them. They know our kids, we know when their kids are, you know, coming and born and they know what the sports we’re attending and all of our interests and what we’re up to. So your staff is doing a good job of it.
Andy Milovich: Yeah, we’re, we’re fortunate. We have some really good people and, and they’re committed and Ross and David have been here for a long time and done a great job. And now we’ve got a full time dedicated, you know, service team that’s going to take care of all of our season ticket holders. Whether you’re a first year and just getting into a rookie on-boarding program or you’ve been here eight or 10 years to know your way around the ballpark, uh, you know, like you do and it’s uh, for us it’s all about how do you make this a seamless, enjoyable family night out at the ballpark. Because at the end of the day, you know, our fans are just like us. We’re all starved for time. We don’t have enough hours in a day. We have a million things going on. And when you do have that chance to spend two or three hours with the people you care about, you want a seamless, fun experience that, that, that creates the memories in that downtime that you’re looking for.
Scott Ellis: Absolutely. I think that’s a great place to end it off. But Andy, thank you so much for joining us today. That’s a great look at all this stuff happening at the ballpark. A good look at kind of how you guys are thinking about things behind the scenes and why it is such a special experience and why I’m going to go back and say that the the Frisco riders are Frisco Roughriders already a Frisco institution, and thank you guys for all you doing.
Andy Milovich: Thank you.
Scott Ellis: Yeah, keep up the good work. Kelly, thanks for joining us as well.
Kelly Walker: Thanks for having me and thanks to all of you for listening into the Briscoe podcast. Please be sure to go out and subscribe to us on iTunes, Google play, Spotify, Stitcher. Pretty much any place that you’re listening to a podcast, you’re going to find the Frisco podcast, and while you’re at it, go look up Kelly’s hustle and pro as well and make sure you subscribe to her podcast too. Thanks to all of you for tuning in. We’ll talk to you next time.