Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

Head of Ticketing, Memberships and Hospitality at Southampton FC

Matthew Silvester is the Head of Ticketing, Memberships, and Hospitality at Southampton Football Club. With his wealth of experience in the industry, he brings a unique perspective to his role. In this interview, he discusses his journey in the football industry, his involvement in stadium moves at Arsenal and West Ham, and his current responsibilities at Southampton FC.

Starting in the Football Industry

Growing up, Silvester had a passion for football and knew he wanted to work in the industry. While studying Business Management at Coventry University, he actively pursued opportunities to combine his love for sport and business. Despite initial skepticism from his tutor, who believed such opportunities were limited, Silvester took matters into his own hands. He sent letters to numerous football clubs and sporting organizations, ultimately landing an interview with Arsenal. This interview led to a role in the club’s ticketing department, where he was involved in the appointment scheduling for supporters during the Emirates Stadium Project.

Stadium Moves and Project Highlights

Silvester’s career has been marked by his involvement in stadium moves, both at Arsenal and West Ham United. At Arsenal, he witnessed the excitement and growth of the supporter base during the transition to the Emirates Stadium. Silvester had the opportunity to interact with supporters, guiding them through the stadium and witnessing their reactions as they stepped foot into the new facility. The move from the cramped surroundings of Highbury to the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium was a significant milestone for the club.

His experience at West Ham involved overseeing the sales team during the transition to the London Stadium. While the move presented challenges, such as supporters finding themselves in the wrong areas, Silvester and his team worked tirelessly to improve the situation. Despite initial negativity, the new stadium’s increased capacity provided an opportunity for more supporters to experience the thrill of live football.

Career Progression and Moving to Southampton FC

Silvester’s career took another leap when he joined Southampton FC. Although he had a promising future at West Ham, the opportunity to implement new ideas and drive innovation at Southampton enticed him. The club’s willingness to give him more responsibility, coupled with their ambition, made it an attractive move. Silvester now oversees not only ticketing but also memberships and hospitality. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, he is eager to explore new initiatives and improve the overall fan experience at the club.

The Role of Ticketing, Memberships, and Hospitality

Silvester believes that the ticketing department plays a crucial role as a bridge between the fans and the club. Alongside the supporter engagement teams, they are the primary point of contact for supporters. The department handles all aspects of ticketing, from sales to venue setup and access control. Silvester is also focused on enhancing the hospitality experience and encouraging more supporters to take advantage of these offerings. By bridging the gap between general admission and hospitality tickets, he aims to upgrade fans’ matchday experiences.

Skills for Success in a Football Sales Role

Success in a football sales role, according to Silvester, comes down to listening and understanding your audience. Football fans are passionate and emotional, and it’s essential to engage with them on a personal level. Silvester emphasizes the importance of customer service, making time to listen, and having meaningful conversations with supporters. Rather than employing a hard-selling approach, understanding the right moments to make an offer is key. Collaboration with the marketing team is also crucial, ensuring products are effectively promoted to fans.

Pursuing a Career in the Football Industry

For individuals aspiring to work in the football industry, Silvester suggests getting a foot in the door by working matchdays. This experience provides valuable insights into supporter engagement and the operations of a football club. Starting in the ticketing department, as many senior positions have done, can lead to career progression within the club. Silvester mentions examples of individuals who began in ticketing and eventually took on key roles in the clubs they worked for.

Career Highlights and Future Goals

Silvester reminisces about the final game he worked at West Ham, a victory against Manchester United. Taking a moment to appreciate the vibrant atmosphere and the impact he had on those fans’ experiences was a significant highlight for him. At Southampton, implementing the new ticketing system amidst the pandemic stands out as a career highlight. Despite the challenges, Silvester and his team successfully launched the system during season ticket sales, marking a significant achievement.

Looking ahead, Silvester is excited about the future and eager to embrace the challenges that come with his role. While he doesn’t have a specific long-term goal in mind, he hopes to continue learning and making a positive impact. Working abroad, specifically in the MLS, and being involved in franchise building projects, is something that appeals to him. However, for now, he is focused on developing his role at Southampton FC and delivering an exceptional fan experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What role does Matthew Silvester play at Southampton FC?
A: Matthew Silvester is the Head of Ticketing, Memberships, and Hospitality at Southampton FC. He oversees various aspects of ticketing operations, membership programs, and the hospitality experience at the club.

Q: How did Matthew Silvester start working in the football industry?
A: Silvester began his career in the football industry by securing a placement at Arsenal during the Emirates Stadium Project. He sent letters to multiple football clubs and organizations, ultimately landing an interview that led to his role at Arsenal.

Q: What are the key skills required for a successful football sales role?
A: According to Silvester, successful football sales roles require active listening and understanding of the audience. Building personal connections with supporters and providing exceptional customer service are essential. Collaboration with the marketing team is also crucial for effective promotion of tickets and hospitality offerings.

Q: How can individuals pursue a career in the football industry?
A: Silvester suggests starting by working matchdays at a football club. This experience provides valuable insights into supporter engagement and the operations of a football club. Working in the ticketing department can be a good starting point, as many senior positions within clubs have been filled by individuals who began their careers in ticketing.

Conclusion

Matthew Silvester’s journey in the football industry, combined with his expertise in ticketing, memberships, and hospitality, makes him an invaluable asset to Southampton FC. His experience with stadium moves, customer engagement, and implementing new systems has shaped his approach to his current role. Silvester’s passion for the sport and dedication to enhancing the fan experience make him a valuable member of the Southampton FC team. As he continues to learn and adapt to the changing landscape of the industry, Silvester is poised to make a positive impact on the future of ticketing, memberships, and hospitality at the club.