Today, 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, in the second part of his fascinating story, he talked about the birth of BASS Tickets and Ticketmaster and essentially the creation of the ticket industry as we know it today. Today, he brings us the third 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 all first hand.
So, without further ado, I give you Jerry Seltzer, the Roller Derby Jesus!
Hal Silen and I were fully immersed in the ticketing industry. Hal, a lawyer, and I a promoter/entrpreneur with a ticketing background worked out well – it must have because we are still great friends over a half-century later (although I am not that old!) and he kept me out of as much trouble as he could.
We were able to do things that the ticketing industry hadn’t thought of before: selling advance movie tickets (“Jaws,” “Star Wars” series, etc) in the 70’s, ticketing the King Tut exhibit and other museum shows, night clubs and more; we literally invented those things.
Right from the start, we realized our community obligations: becoming a major sponsor of the AIDS Walk, with over 100 employees volunteering on their own and supporting local organizations throughout the Bay Area. We even set up a gun exchange for tickets donated by the Symphony, Bill Graham Presents, The 49ers, A’s Warriors, Giants, Raiders, colleges, etc. Four different exchanges in Bay Area cities took almost 1000 weapons off the streets. So many households were just anxious to get rid of them.