Part 2: Ticket Life After Derby Life

imagesToday, we have another guest post from Jerry Seltzer, often referred to as “The Commissioner” of Roller Derby. His father, Leo Seltzer, invented the sport in 1935 and Jerry has followed in his footsteps since 1957, going from Roller Derby promoter (SF Bay Bombers) to television syndicator, to co-founder of BASS tickets, to Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Ticketmaster and now, finally, to Brown Paper Tickets, where he is serving a role as an Outreach and Sales Representative. We are honored to have a living legend as part of our team and Jerry has a ton of great stories on Derby history and the history of the modern ticketing industry as we know it today.

Last week, he shared stories about the early days of ticketing and Roller Derby and today, he brings us the second part in his fascinating story. It’s amazing to read how much the ticketing industry has changed over the years, especially from someone who experienced it first hand. So, without further ado, I give you Jerry Seltzer, the Roller Derby Jesus!

Hal Silen and I faced a difficult situation in the winter of 1973.

Not many people know that the International Roller Derby League was really a small family business that operated on a large scope and required continuous funding. We counted on our winter tour to create the revenue for the next season.

And in the fall of 1972 through winter of 1973, the worst happened. Because of the political crisis in the Middle East, fuel supplies were cut off to the U.S. resulting in  huge shortages. Unlike the price crises we have seen recently with gasoline and fuel, gas just wasn’t available at the pumps. Long lines formed each morning and many states went to alternate days that you could get fuel, depending on if your license plates were odd or even. And people stayed home to keep warm and not drive. Many arenas cancelled our dates as they weren’t able to keep their facilities heated. We probably lost over 50% of our schedule, and most dates were sold out in advance.

We fought to keep going and scheduled a larger and longer tour in 1973, counting on the revenue from the Shea Stadium date to bring us almost even; but instead of bringing in the additional $150,000 anticipated (a lot of money in 1973), we just broke even. We were forced to shut down the league in December of that year; ironically our final game was a sell-out at Madison Square Garden.
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Part 1: Hard Tickets? What You Talking About!

imagesToday, we have a guest post from Jerry Seltzer, often referred to as “The Commissioner” of Roller Derby. His father, Leo Seltzer, invented the sport in 1935 and Jerry has followed in his footsteps since 1957, going from Roller Derby promoter (SF Bay Bombers) to television syndicator, to co-founder of BASS tickets, to Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Ticketmaster and now, finally, to Brown Paper Tickets, where he is serving a role as an Outreach and Sales Representative. We are honored to have a living legend as part of our team and Jerry has a ton of great stories on Derby history and the history of the modern ticketing industry as we know it today.

Today’s post is the first in what, we hope, will be an ongoing series. So, without further ado, I give you Jerry Seltzer, the Roller Derby Jesus!

I first handled box office for Roller Derby in San Diego in 1957. They were having games every night at Jack Murphy Stadium, and we ordered 20 sets of tickets from Globe Ticket Company, which included all 3000 reserved seats; the remaining General Admission tickets were sold off of rolls, different colors each night.

We would have to “rack” the tickets in wood holders, by section and row, which took an endless amount of time, put on sale a week of games at a time. Tickets had to be counted out and given to cashiers for each night. Customers would have to go from cashier to cashier to get the section they wanted, and then we checked them in, did a box office statement after counting the unsold tickets (“deadwood”) and putting them in a box to save for any IRS or city tax audits.

In 1959 when I started operating Roller Derby in the San Francisco Bay Area, we established some outlets at various private box offices around the area, and paid them commission for each ticket they sold. Again, customers who wanted a specific section had to chase around to find it. And we had to pick up unsold tickets the day before the event so we could have all tickets on hand for the cashiers, losing sales in outlying areas.


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A New Way to Say “Thank You” to Veterans Today!

Brown Paper Tickets is proud to announce a partnership with Veteran Tickets Foundation, (also known as “Vet Tix”) to provide a new, easy way for producers and their ticket-buyers to donate tickets to U.S. veterans. This partnership is expected to double the number of tickets being donated to active military, veterans and their families in its first year. It will also enable Vet Tix to begin donations of tickets to U.S. military personnel stationed around the globe.

“The number of tickets donated will easily be as high as 500,000 per year,” said William S. Jordan, Founder and President of Brown Paper Tickets. “Many artists, bands, sports teams, venues and anyone who organizes an event are attracted to Brown Paper Tickets because of our business ethos of giving back; we make a donation to charity with every ticket sold. The same motivations that bring millions to our site may inspire them to join us in saying ‘thank you’ to those who have served our country in the U.S. military.”

“Veteran Tickets Foundation is delighted that Brown Paper Tickets has offered to partner with us by creating a portal for event producers and ticket buyers to make donations to our foundation,” said CEO and Founder of Vet Tix Michael Focareto. ” We’d like to thank Brown Paper Tickets for believing in our mission of giving something to those who have given so much.”
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Brown Paper Tickets in Europe

You can ticket your event with us where ever you are in Europe. Here are some of our top upcoming events in the Euro zone.

Saturday, March 17 Slamrock n’ Roll Uni SportHalle, Kaiserlautern, Germany Join the Roller Girls of the Apocalypse for their first home bout of the 2012 season!!! Watch as the girls of RGA take on Barockcity Rollergirls from Ludwigsburg, Germany.

Thursday March 17 Market Table Weekends Plum Lyon, Lyon, France One of the many cookery events held by Plum Lyon. This week involves a walking tour of Lyon’s biggest outdoor market, with over 400 vendors and producers offering their wares. You will choose your fresh produce, meats or fish, herbs, and cheeses and return to Plum Lyon to cook up a full meal based on that day’s offerings. The menu for this meal will be set according to what is currently in season and available at the market.

Friday, March 30 The European Independent Film Festival Paris, France, Since 2006 ÉCU has been Europe’s premier arena for independent filmmakers to screen their films to international audiences, to network with industry professionals and exchange ideas with other indie filmmakers. All taking place in an environment that fosters creativity and immense amounts of fun.

Tuesday, July 03 to July 08 Nowhere 2012 Caston De Monegros, Aragon, Spain An arts-based event in the middle of the harsh Spanish desert. Nowhere is inspired by the Burning Man Festival and is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

Saturday, July 07 Stromboli – Shake Öster Övsjö, Sweden Top Country Music and dancing night held in Sweden.

Friday, June 01 A Real Taste of Rome Tour Piazza Testaccio, Rome, Italy One of the many dates offered by Eating Italy Food Tours for this 4-hour guided walking tour. You’ll learn about fascinating aspects of Rome’s history, visit the sites of famous cultural events, and discover many of the city’s oldest traditions. All of this while sampling delicious food tastings from some of the Rome’s most loved local trattorias, markets, gourmet stores, bakeries, and ice cream shops. Learn how these foods are prepared and why they have become essential parts of the Roman Kitchen. Meet the colorful and authentic local characters whose families have been making these Roman food treasures for generations and hear their wonderful stories. This is an insider’s view of Rome that few tourists get to experience. After the tour, explore Rome armed with a new sense of confidence and, as well as your take-away guide to many of our favorite restaurants and other foodie destinations in Rome.

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Rollin’ Into 2012! January’s Featured Derby Events

Roller Derby had a great year in 2011. The derby community had its first international competition at the Derby World Cup last month and the sport continues to grow and expand. You see more men’s leagues and banked track derby than you did this time last year and derby leagues are popping up in every corner of the country and now, the world. No doubt, we’ll see more great things for derby in 2012 and Brown Paper Tickets hopes to be there every step of the way. Derby has helped us grow into the international company that we are today and we’re proud to be the preferred ticketing service for the derby community as it grows into an international sport.

Today, I’m highlighting derby events that are happening in the month of January so you all can get out there and support your local derby league and get 2012 rollin’ right. We got season openers, derby workshops, derby camps, derby for charity, inaugural bouts and more. Check it out:
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Alternative Sports Doer Bob Noxious On Roller Derby’s Meteoric Rise

The Brown Paper Tickets office is still buzzing about the Roller Derby World Cup that was held in Toronto earlier this month. One can’t understate the significance it had to the derby community. The event was the first international gathering of derby teams and supporters and it’s been amazing to watch the sport grow from scrappy, DIY beginnings to international notoriety.

Our Alternative Sports Doer Bob Noxious has been with the derby revival pretty much since the beginning. I talked to him recently about the Derby World Cup, his history with the sport and how derby’s growth has mirrored Brown Paper Ticket’s growth. He had lots of interesting things to say. I thought I’d share those with all you derby fans out there.

Ladies and gentlemen, Bob Noxious!


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Thousands of Derby Enthusiasts Take Over Vegas – RollerCon 2011

RollerCon 2011 starts this Wednesday, July 27 which means thousands of roller girls and guys from around the country are headed to the Riviera in Las Vegas for five days of networking, bouts, challenges, derby weddings, scrimmages, scavenger hunts, karaoke, dancing and, I’d imagine, a fair amount of partying. BPT staffers Connor, Sten, Colleen, Renee, Michael, Katrina and Sarah are down there representing and we’re ticketing the whole shebang! We love derby, derby loves us and we’re so proud to see how far it has come over the last decade.
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BPT Mixtape #13 – Michelle’s the Baddest of the Bad

Our resident roller-girl Michelle is one tough cookie and she’s put together a playlist of tunes that get her pumped up to hit the track and kick some butt with the Tilted Thunder Railbirds. She’s got a great sampling of killer punk rock, metal and raw rock n’ roll and I figured this would be a great soundtrack for you all to get ready for the work week. While you might not be risking a dislocated shoulder or a black eye, sometimes we all can feel a little beat up from our daily lives.

Here’s what Michelle has to say: “This is the playlist I put on my MP3 player before a bout. Gets me amped up and ready to tear it up out on the track. Enjoy!

So, whether you’re a fellow roller-girl or just need a little adrenaline-shot to get you ready to face the nine to five, this is the mix for you.
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Bob Noxious’ Hair Reports from Derby-Land!

Josh Gates opens his show, “Destination Truth” by saying: “In my travels, I’ve experienced some unexplainable things, and I’ve done some things I can’t quite explain.” So, I’m going to us that as the perfect opening for this blog post and an overall description of my derby career.

A rich and anecdotal history revolves around today’s topic… my hair. Specifically, the lack of it. I’m my own hair stylist! I know, it’s hard to tell. Early on, I was renown for flamboyant (a fancy word for “stupid”) hair cuts that changed with every bout. I’ll admit, I got tired of the effort and my kids were tired of hiding from Daddy. So, it’s on a rare occasion that I do anything unusual to my hair these days. This is the set up for a recent rare occasion. With my hair being the focal point of this post, I think a little “history of the hair” is in order. This isn’t even close to the sampler platter of the “Atrocities to Bob’s Head” menu.

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A Brief History of Roller Derby

Brown Paper Tickets loves roller derby! Derby coach and announcer Bob Noxious, our derby liaison told the Chicago Tribune: “A lot of us involved in derby find a certain level of acceptance inside this subculture.” Brown Paper Tickets is an integral part of the derby community, ticketing hundreds of derby events around the country every year. We even have a roller girl working in our Client Services call center. We call her Michelle but her derby name is Sunny Wytha Chansapain 100% – she rolls with the Tilted Thunder Rail Birds, the only banked track league in the Pacific Northwest.
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