‘Venue operators need to think out-of-the-box’



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Arich Berghammer at Coliseum US 2023 Image: Coliseum GSVA

Arich Berghammer is a man who thinks out-of-the-box, is ready to experiment with new ideas and is not scared of failures because he believes that failures are the pillars of success. He feels that even if an idea “fails miserably it is okay”.

Holding a top rung position in ASM Global, US, it is his push-comes-to-shove stance that has led to the leading venue management company reaping rich rewards under his tutelage.

Arich Berghammer is presently holding the position of SVP Revenue and Growth, Stadiums and Arena, ASM Global, US. Prior to his present stint, he held the position of Executive Vice-President, Live Nation, and was a key Member of the company.

In an almost freewheeling conversation with ‘Coliseum’, Arich Berghammer, SVP Revenue and Growth, Stadiums and Arena, ASM Global, US, makes it clear that the venue owners/operators should not flaunt what they boast and others do not – they should do away with the haves-have-nots attitude. Rather, their goal should be to serve the people and “strictly follow the five letters, two words – ‘I Care’.” And, of course, experiment with new ideas which might not bring in the desired results in the beginning but will help them to rake in the revenue in the long term and also aid in the growth of the venue. Mincing-no-words he said that he was “probably the most hated person in the company as I took few tough decisions” which finally paid off.
 

ASM Global

As the world’s leading venue management company and producer of live event experiences, Los Angeles (US)-based ASM Global is the pre-eminent management and content partner with over 400 venues worldwide. Operating and investing in the world’s most important stadiums, arenas, convention centers, and theaters requires unmatched dedication and the most profound expertise.

Arich Berghammer has been with the ASM Global for more than three years now. Prior to that he was with the Live Nation, the American multinational entertainment company, for 13 years, and has learnt quite a few valuable lessons while with Live Nation.

Informed Arich Berghammer, “My role at ASM Global is to work with our venues and ensure that we optimize our revenue in every aspect. So, I speak venue and I also speak corporate. The ASM Global has 350 venues, 27 stadia, 116 arenas, 90 theaters, and 98 convention centers.”
 

Room 2 Run

He further informed that the ASM Global has a program called Room 2 Run and “I took this idea during my time at Live Nation where I learnt that even the small little things count a lot and should not be overlooked as this helps to keep the cash registers jingling in the long run. It teaches you discipline.”

Berghammer added that he came up with this Nightly Show Report and “I am sure for this I am the most hated guy in ASM. We got nightly show report for every venue and in 24 hours we get that out to us. Basically, we take all the metrics of the venue, every aspect that there could be and put it in a document. We took into account key indicators like – the Gross Rent Contribution Margin, Food and Beverage Per Cap, Parking Per Cap, Ticketing Per Cap, Facility Fees in that of an income.”

The top gun said that he had to take few hard decisions and “when I asked the guys at ASM Global for a list of all the per caps I was met with a dead stare. It took me two-and-a-half months to get a sheet with our entire venue per caps and it did not look good. So, we spent a lot of time creating some back-of-the-house systems that allowed us to pull that information together with everybody. We track the above metrics every two weeks and then they come out on a monthly basis and we call this a Room 2 Run.”

The above program has paid off and has led to the meteoric growth of the venues run by the ASM Global.
 

Challenges and Obstacles

Berghammer asserts that data is key and “we faced a lot of challenges as we did not have any data when we started this whole thing called Room 2 Run. Nobody was happy as these guys have been running arenas and stadia for 30 years and I came in and wanted to change the world. Of course, I did not thrust decisions down their throats but arrived at decisions only through discussions. The biggest challenge was that I came from Live Nation to ASM Global. We were two separate companies that spoke two completely different languages, two completely different cultures. And I decided that the ASM Global has to come up with its own culture. We created systems, reporting that takes time, specific skill sets. It took about a year for us to make this part of our daily repertoire. And it paid off. Some of the per caps growth over the years have been just dynamic. And we started this in the year 2021 and in 2023 it is like way crazy. The lesson learnt is that people just need to change their mindsets and accept new ideas.”
 

Parking Glory

Berghammer and his team also introduced stuffs like Express Parking, Express Access and Express Exit “as people hate standing in the parking lot waiting for their turn to park their vehicle and the people are ready to pay money to access the parking lot faster and it is a fun experience too. With the introduction of these facilities our Parking Per Cap has been massive”.
 

Nightly Show Report

He averred that the Nightly Show Report has been “very beneficial. It goes out to all of the venues within our portfolio. Why do we do that? By sharing that nightly show report people get to see what’s coming up and getting a look at the minutiae.”
 

Novel Concepts

Berghammer pointed out that “COVID taught us that technology was incredibly important and people also learnt to use their cellphones way more than they ever did before. We started to use Zippin, Amazon Go and introducing them in our arenas made a world of difference.”

He further pointed out fans go back home “thrilled to bits” after attending a show at the spectacular 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium in Nevada (US) – “It is because the venue experiments with new ideas. We have to be open to the idea of introducing new concepts to keep the fans in good humor. We might fail. The venue operators are scared that they might get into trouble. We might fail miserably but in the process it will prove to be a learning experience for us and finally we will taste success. What we are doing at the Allegiant Stadium we can replicate the same bold ideas also in the venues in Pittsburgh or Chicago or in Cincinnati. There is no reason why we can’t do it.”
 

Sum-up

Arich Berghammer wrapped up with his pearls of wisdom, “The people should always be valued. We need to champion the people, congratulate them and incentivize the people. The venue owners should serve the people and make them happy which will result in a better fan experience. It is these little things that go on to make a huge difference. One thing that we do is we serve guests and we serve their ego. And for the venues’ profits to soar we have to provide an exhilarating experience to the fans. Because, at the end of the day, it’s not about the money, but it is all about the money.”

Continue to follow Coliseum for latest updates on venues business news. Coliseum is dedicated towards building the best global community of sports and entertainment venue executives and professionals creating better and more profitable venues.

Become a member of the only Global Sports Venue Alliance and connect with stadiums, arenas and experts from around the world. Apply for membership at coliseum-online.com/alliance and make use of the 365Coliseum Business.




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