For most of the 18,000 fans attending an Indiana Pacers home game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, it’s a unique experience for one evening. But for Mike Bartsch (’15), it’s another rewarding day at work, turning dreams into memories. Seeing the fans’ excitement, giving them an incredible experience—that’s what working as a corporate ticket sales manager is all about. “For me, to provide people with lasting memories of an exciting experience is very rewarding!” said Bartsch.
Sports had always been Bartsch’s focus, but this M.B.A. and Sports Management grad never expected the Lord to place him as a corporate ticket sales manager for an NBA team. “For as long as I can remember, I have always loved sports—especially basketball,” he said. “But during my high school and college years, I really enjoyed studying marketing and business. This job is the combination of these two passions of mine.”
When he started working with the Pacers last year, he was the first consumer sales executive to have a single sale over $10,000 and the first to reach the annual sales goal of $148,000 in only seven months. Bartsch believes networking and preparation are why he has been so successful.
“Networking was key to my attaining this position with the Pacers,” he said. “I interviewed with several NBA teams prior to landing the job with the Pacers to get a trend of the interview questions that sales managers would ask during the interview process.”
On a daily basis, Bartsch sells ticket packages to local businesses, helping them build relationships with their clients and provide incentives to their employees. He sells 5–10 game ticket packages as well as full- or half-season ticket bundles. Currently, he manages over 80 clients and their accounts for the entire season. He also provides tours of the Pacers’ arena in the Bankers Life Fieldhouse. During his tours, he incorporates little-known facts about the history of Indiana basketball and the rise of the Pacers.
Looking back at his college career, Bartsch can see how the Lord completely prepared him for his current job. “I love using the business skills that I learned at PCC in the area that I have been passionate about my whole life,” said Bartsch. One particular statement from his ethics teacher, Dr. John Cirone, has molded him into the businessman he is today: “We are not business people who just happen to be Christians; we are Christians who just happen to be business people.” For Bartsch, “that embodies the way that I try to approach my career.”
Every day, Bartsch steps foot into one of the largest basketball arenas in the nation to save people money by teaching them about the different ticket options offered to fans. For him, helping his clients is the end goal. He recalled one of his greatest experiences with a client, a time when he upgraded their seats from row 1 in the balcony to row 1 in the lower level. Smiling, he said, “Their feet were literally on the court. I was able to sit with them for the entire second half and get to know them much better. The next day, my client e-mailed and thanked me for the experience and stated that ’it was an event they will never forget.’” Memories like this are why Bartsch enjoys being a sales manager with the Pacers. Considering his daily responsibilities, he said, “I love seeing the pure joy and excitement on my clients’ faces when they get to experience a professional basketball game. Nothing compares.”