September 14, 2012
Game Starters: Chris Peludat, marketing and ticketing
Chris Peludat, assistant
athletics director for marketing and ticketing, stands inside Ross-Ade Stadium.
(Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
Before the team takes the field and the referee calls for kickoff, Purdue staff members play their part in making football games successful. Each Friday before a home game, a staff member who is integral to game day will be featured in Purdue Today's Game Starters series. This week’s Game Starter is Chris Peludat, assistant athletics director for marketing and ticketing.
If there's a football-related event happening on campus -- whether it's a pep rally at Purdue Memorial Union or the family-oriented Boilermaker Crossing -- it's a good bet Chris Peludat helped organize it.
As assistant athletics director for marketing and ticketing, Peludat has the job of mapping out the University's game-related events, tweaking its ticket pricing structure and building enthusiasm for the team. It's a job that keeps Peludat on his toes -- and, as he watches fans stream into the stadium, makes him proud to be a Boilermaker.
You joined Purdue in August 2011. What made you interested in working for the University?
I spent 11 years at the Air Force Academy as the associate athletics director for ticket sales and operations, and it was a job I loved, but there were a lot of things about Purdue that really appealed to me. For one, tradition runs very deep here, and to me that was a big plus. The passion and longevity of the fan base, the pride of the athletes and Purdue's focus on academics as well as athletics is impressive. Just working for a Big Ten university was appealing, as was the West Lafayette area in general because it's family-friendly. That was especially important to me because I have two young children.
What are your job responsibilities?
I oversee ticket sales and game day promotions. That means we set ticket pricing, help groups that have bought tickets in bulk and make sure player tickets are handled properly.
We also work with many different areas to put together timelines for game day and all the University events planned in relation to it. For example, we map out all the pep rallies, and we plan things such as Boilermaker Crossing, which originally was called StreetFest. It's a fun, family-oriented tailgate and play area that starts three hours prior to the game's starting time and ends 30 minutes before kickoff. This year, we've moved Boilermaker Crossing to a new home between Mackey Arena and Holloway Gym.
How have you changed ticket pricing?
This year, we've restructured pricing to fit more people's needs. Before, there were only two tiers of ticket pricing throughout the whole season -- prices for Big Ten games, and prices for nonconference games. Now, we're offering a wider variety of prices for both types of games. For example, you can now get Big Ten-game tickets for as little as $25 apiece. We also now offer more alternatives to season tickets, such as a discount on buying tickets for three games. In our season ticket packages, we've lowered some prices -- for example, the price for season tickets in the south end zone has dropped from $147 to $98.
Response to this new pricing structure has been very positive. We've seen significant increases in the number of season tickets sold in some areas where we've lowered prices, including the south end zone. Some people also have upgraded their season tickets. In the end, one of our biggest goals is to increase ticket sales and get more people in the stadium.
How are you trying to attract more students, staff and faculty to games?
We're trying a lot of new things this year to attract students. For one, we're doing pep rallies on Friday evenings at the Union. Those rallies include free food and themed T-shirts, which we hope will get students excited about the football action the next day. We're also starting to do more giveaways at home games, and we're trying to allow students to interact more with the players themselves. For example, we're holding a bowling event on Sept. 19 where students can actually bowl with the players.
Some of those things we had previously planned to do, but many of them came out of a Council for Manager Development group project that wrapped up this spring. The CMD group surveyed students -- they asked them what could be done to make attending games more appealing, so we hope that by following the group's recommendations we'll be successful.
In addition, we're trying to work through key college and departmental contacts to attract more faculty and staff to games. A lot of faculty and staff don't know they can get a discount on tickets, so we want to increase awareness about that. We're continuing to formulate a plan for how to reach out best; next year, outreach might include a direct mailer or something similar. The bottom line is that there are about 12,000 people who work on campus, but only 1,000 of those have season tickets. We want to increase those numbers.
What is game day like for you?
For me it's a great, because I get to come to games and see people enjoying themselves, whether it's families, hometown fans or people who have traveled to see their Boilermakers. It's one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Making sure people have a good time is why we do what we do.
Writer: Amanda Hamon, 49-61325, firstname.lastname@example.org