BERKELEY, Calif. (June 8, 2012) – In developing and implementing its Sales, Marketing and Service department, Cal Athletics reached out to one of the industry leaders in ticketing and customer service – the San Diego Padres – for consultation, training and staff recruitment to ensure that the new Golden Bear unit met the standards necessary for long-term success.
“After meeting with the Padres front office staff and touring their sales and service department, we knew we would be partnering with one of the best in the business” Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said. “Their reputation for providing first-class customer service to their fans was very important to us.”
Prior to Golden Bears’ December Holiday Bowl game in San Diego, Cal Athletics connected with the Padres, who have ranked first in both the 2011 and 2012 Major League Baseball Ticket Agent Studies conducted by Intellishop in conjunction with the Sports Business Journal. Members of the Cal staff, including Barbour and Chief Operating Officer Solly Fulp, used the opportunity of the bowl week to meet directly with the Padres to observe its Ticket Sales and Service operations.
“Partnering with a world-class university like Cal to create a premier ticket, sales and service department in college athletics was a unique opportunity for us,” said Brent Stehlik, Senior Vice President of Business Operations for the San Diego Padres. “The leadership and vision of Sandy Barbour and Solly Fulp made this project possible, and we were honored to be their preferred partner.”
Cal soon brought the Padres on board to help build the model for the new sales and service team in Berkeley. The effort, led by Jarrod Dillon, the Padres’ Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service, included national recruitment and screening for the leader of Cal’s unit. The position of associate athletic director was filled by Ashwin Puri, who joined the Bears in February with more than 10 years experience at the NBA and NFL levels.
“What led me to pursue this position was the prestige of working for the No. 1 public university in the world and an opportunity to be a leader in the college space, combined with Sandy Barbour and Solly Fulp’s vision and desire to be the best,” Puri said. “It was the perfect situation.”
Once the full staff for Sales, Marketing and Service was on board, Cal utilized its partnership with the Padres to train the innovative group on customer service and sales strategies.
One of the outcomes of the venture is the launch of the Gold Standard, Cal’s initiative aimed at providing high levels of customer service to ticket holders and donors in every interaction with the department, whether in person, on the phone or online.