From the Court to the Pitch, the Journey of Dan Ruzow

By: Adam White, @FOSAdam

Daniel Ruzow, Manager of Ticket Operations at the NYCFC

Daniel Ruzow, Manager of Ticket Operations at the NYCFC

Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Daniel Ruzow, Manager of Ticket Operations at the New York City Football Club. Dan, a newcomer to NYCFC had spent the previous five years working with the Brooklyn Nets; he held various sales positions and helped the team get through not only a lockout, but an entire venue change. As someone with experience both inside and outside of the sports industry, Dan can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to sell. He was gracious enough to offer up his time and insight into the world of ticket sales, why keeping in touch with people is so key and why if you put the effort in, you will reap the rewards.

You graduated from Ithaca College in ’09 and six years later you find yourself managing the ticket operations for one of the MLS’s newest franchises. What has that journey been like?

It has been interesting to say the least. When I got out of school, the economy was in a tough place and jobs were hard to come by. I started out after college by working for my father just to make some money; I did that for a year. While I was working for him, I started working evenings for YES Network as well. I did that for a few months, and luckily I was able to connect with someone who works for the Nets and I secured an inside sales job there. I was there for nine months before being promoted from entry-level sales to a full-time position.

I was in that position for a little over a year before transitioning to the service side where I then spent almost three years as an Account Manager of VIP Services for the Nets. I ended up where I am today after a former colleague who was the Senior Manager of Ticket Operations for the Nets became the Director of Ticket Operations at NYCFC. I reached out to her once she completed her move to see if any other positions were available; luckily, there was a position open and I was fortunate enough to get it. I have been through a lockout and a move to an entire new facility. It has been quite the ride to say the least.

You have experience both inside and outside the sports industry, including being a licensed real estate agent. How has that outside experience helped you with your work in the sports industry?

When I was interning with the Bridgeport Bluefish, before I left, I reached out and asked the GM at the time what his best advice was for me going forward. He promptly told me, “to sell.” He would later go on to tell me that he “doesn’t care what you can sell whether it is vacuums or tickets, if you can sell, you can sell.” I have really used my outside experience not only from being in real estate but the other positions as well and have used that knowledge to help me make myself better able to serve my customers. All these experiences help mold me into a reputable and trustworthy salesperson and professional.

Walk us through what a typical day in the life of a Ticket Operations Manager is like. What are you responsible for handling day in and day out?

Typically, in the morning, I always start out by checking on the sales made the night before or over the last few days. I’m making sure that those orders are set up correctly and that everything is processing right.

A lot of my day revolves around running reports to help the marketing department as well as the ticket sales department. I’m also always putting together and sending out the group and full season ticketing orders.

There is a lot of making sure everyone has what they need, the help they need and the resources they need to provide the best service possible.

You had a lot of success working with the Nets for almost five years. What made you want to make the transition to your new position with NYCFC? What has that transition been like for you?

It was tough to say goodbye to the people in Brooklyn. I had worked there for about five years and when you really enjoy what you do and whom you work with, it makes it tough to leave. Luckily, I knew my current boss at NYCFC before I made the move over which allowed for a much smoother transition. I really wanted to be a part of a new team and a new group of fans that are just so passionate about the sport.

If you could go back and tell your student self one piece of advice, what would it be and why? What is one important thing students today should know?

One thing I wish I had done better was keeping in touch with people. Now that I am older and have realized how important this is, I try to make it a priority, but I cannot stress enough how important staying in touch with people is. It is the connections that you make that will help you get to the next step.

Make sure you do everything you can whether it is an internship or a job; just make sure to get experience. School is a great time to pick out different aspects of the industry and learn as many things as you can.

You have a lot of experience in ticket sales. Most students end up starting in that part of the industry. What would be your tips for students starting their first ticket sales position? What should they expect?

You can expect an entry-level position where you are in a bit of a time crunch to prove your worth to get promoted or, if the manager is nice, hopefully help you find a position outside the organization. You can expect long hours, minimal pay and lots of work. It is just the nature of the entry-level position in sports.

Some of my tips would be to make sure you are focused and that you get in and get your job done. There are going to be tough times, but many sales managers want to see you put in the effort.

The biggest part is to grind it out. You are going to feel on top of the world one day and then the next week you are going to have people cuss at you or tell you to stop calling. You have to remain level-headed through all of this and you have to grind.

Parting wisdom?

You have to work hard and keep working hard. You can’t ever stop because even though you may get positions with the help of others, you have to do the work that shows you deserve that position.

Put in the effort, put in the work and everything will all pay off.

We would like to thank Dan for his time and insight and we wish him the best in all his future endeavors!

You can follow NYCFC on Twitter here, or connect with him on LinkedIn here!

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