Spotlight: Matt DiFebo
Consultant tailors ticket sales model to universities’ needs
Published October 26, 2009 : Page 28
In four years at the University of Central Florida, Matt DiFebo
helped the football fan base grow to more than 23,000 season tickets
at its peak in 2007 and generate an additional $4.5 million a year
in ticket revenue and $3 million in fundraising dollars. DiFebo
has now started his own consulting firm, assisting college athletic
departments with his ticket sales model, emphasizing customer service
and personalized attention. Staff writer Theresa Manahan spoke with
New title: Principal and owner of The DiFebo Co.
Previous title: Associate athletic director, University
of Central Florida
First job: Event assistant and golf hand at a hometown
College education: B.S. in recreation (2000), University
of Florida; M.S. in exercise science in sport management (2002),
University of Florida
Grew up: Berwick, Pa.
Executives most admired: David Stern and Jeremy
Brand most admired: Giorgio Armani
Favorite vacation spot: Maui, Hawaii
Last book read: “The Power of Who: You Already
Know Everyone You Need to Know,” by Bob Beaudine
Last movie seen: “The Proposal” (date
night with my wife)
Favorite movie: “Rudy”
Favorite musician/band: U2
Explain your sales model and how it is unique.
The proactive year-round ticket sales model is, in itself, a revolutionary
concept in college athletics. Prior to working at UCF, my core career
experience was in professional sports, thus my ticket sales model
incorporates many of the same sales fundamentals, but in the past
4 1/2 years, I have been able to mold and create a ticket sales
model that addresses the unique conditions presented by the collegiate
Is there something about the model that makes it more attractive
to colleges rather than pro sports?
Our model is especially attractive to colleges because it is designed
to operate efficiently while maximizing revenue for an organization
that does not have the same resources as a professional sports organization.
Can social media be used to generate revenue?
It ties into a good advertising and marketing plan, especially for
the audience that we’re targeting: a lot of young alumni or
Do you believe in dynamic/incremental ticket pricing? Does
your model embrace this?
Certainly in these economic times, I think most universities should
look at this and consider it.
Your company claims to offer innovative technologies not
yet widely adopted. What are they?
We have some strategic alliances that will allow us to introduce
cutting-edge technologies and telephony solutions to our industry.
Technologies like Interactive Voice Response, VoIP and automated
telephone campaigns that can be utilized for renewal campaigns,
acquisition or customer service initiatives.
What will be the biggest challenge for your new company?
Like any startup business, the challenge is to get the word out
to prospective clients.
What is your biggest professional disappointment?
Not being drafted in the first round by the Philadelphia Phillies.
They must have overlooked my baseball prowess.
What is the one element you would like to see changed about
the sports industry?
I would like to see more college athletic departments become self-sustaining
to avoid cutting programs. The best part about intercollegiate athletics
is the well-being of the student athlete.
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