phil clarkson

Ticket supremo prepares for summer shows

by Kate Smith

Box office expecting a busy summer.

The events expert at the helm of the Stadium of Light’s ticketing operations is braced for a hectic few weeks ahead of three huge concerts on Wearside this summer.

Phil Clarkson – who has more than 25 years of experience in box office management – is preparing his skilled ticket office team for the task ahead, with the complex operation behind organising, selling, distributing and exchanging more than a hundred thousand pre-purchased orders and vouchers into tickets for excited concert goers now at an advanced stage.

Final production plans including the positioning of spotlights, mixing desks and delay towers – all of which can influence music lovers’ viewing pleasure – are nearing completion for all three shows,

With the seating master plan almost in place to enable vouchers and orders to be turned into precious tickets, Phil – who began his career orchestrating the ticketing of huge music events at Gateshead International Stadium and then Newcastle Arena - is preparing for a busy month ahead.

“Managing and producing so many tickets is a major task in itself,” he comments. “Although everybody is purchasing these products in October and November they need to know where they’re sitting even though they don’t have an actual ticket in their hand.

“Because we don’t have tickets to give out when they go on sale, personal callers still want something in their hand so the club prints a voucher for them to redeem when the tickets are available.

“Trying to fit this process in amongst football challenges is also quite a task. For example we don’t want to have our season card renewal deadline day on the same day as we’re going to start voucher redemption for Rihanna.

“The tickets themselves are hugely complex area too,” he continues. “Once a seating manifest is agreed, you have to have the band and promoter agreement that the ticket layout is correct. Once that’s signed off, then the entire stock has to be printed with a number of security features to avoid counterfeits and forgeries.

“The tickets should be delivered to the stadium in the coming days and from that point, all the many allocations will be transformed into actual tickets rather than just paper and the fulfillment process can begin.”

Phil continued: “It’s still a tough economic environment at the moment and football clubs and other venues are sensitive to finances so they are all in the mix bidding for these types of events. We’ve secured Rihanna, Bon Jovi and North East Live this year against major competition from other venues.

“Also, I think particularly for Sunderland, it’s putting us further on the map and the concerts have brought a whole new dimension to the profile of the club and the city.

Tickets purchased in-person at the Stadium of Light for the three up-coming shows are set to be available for collection in the near future, with the exact date to be confirmed shortly on the official concert website