For most fans, attending an event doesn’t feel official until they have their tickets in their hands.
Jason Christofferson, director of ticket operations and luxury seating, makes that happen for fans at Iowa Speedway.
Along with assistant director of ticket operations Taylor Hawk, Christofferson and his small team stay busy throughout the year to ensure that fans make it through the turnstiles and into the seats to see all of the action at the speedway.
“I don’t have much of an offseason. As soon as the season ends, I’m starting again with season tickets,” Christofferson said. “Nothing is ever really offline for our office, but it’s a pretty fun job and we always stay active with what we’re doing. We just hope we can continue to build on our success moving forward.”
Christofferson has been with Iowa Speedway since its inception, having previously worked for the University of Iowa ticket office, and has kept largely the same routine, except for the increased volume in tickets over the past few years. About a month ago, Christofferson and Hawk mailed out the last of the season and pre-ordered tickets for this weekend’s action. Since then, they’ve been dealing with even more requests for the upcoming race.
“When we first start selling season tickets, everyone is trying to buy the best seats available in those first eight to 10 days,” Christofferson said. “When we go on sale with single-race tickets, we get really busy over the phones and online taking care of customers.”
Christofferson isn’t limited to his decidedly pro-Hawkeye office, however. Handling everything from taking ticket orders to organizing passes for camping and overseeing a team of 10 local part-timers on race days, Christofferson covers a lot of ground each season.
“Obviously, race days and race weekends are hectic, too,” Christofferson said. “I’ve got about five different areas I’m needed in besides being in the office, like answering last-minute questions and managing all the gate staff on race days. It’s a big process.”
The question of lost and forgotten tickets has become an easily resolvable one for Christofferson thanks to the barcode system on tickets. If a fan were to lose a ticket, Christofferson can simply check the customer’s barcode and re-print the ticket. Although nearly all tracks have tickets with barcodes, any fan at a track without it will likely have a much different experience.
“In some places that don’t have barcoding, if you lose your ticket you’re pretty much not allowed in the event,” Christofferson said. “Here, we try to go above and beyond to help the customer out. Sometimes people will show up with the original ticket to get in, and we also have to solve that problem. It’s quite common actually.”
Technology and processes in tickets sales have largely remained the same over the years, but Christofferson has his eye on one possibility for the future — ticket-less tickets. Iowa Speedway does offer the option of mobile tickets, which can be scanned on a mobile device and simply forwarded or sold to friends. But going one step further, tickets could become like a credit card that is simply swiped for admission for races.
For all of the old-school ticket collectors, however, there’s no need to worry. Paper tickets will never be a thing of the past.
“The fan wouldn’t have to have their ticket booklet on them, and it would dramatically decrease my printing costs,” joked Christofferson. “Some people do save their ticket booklets and collect them, so I don’t think that will ever be mandatory that people have to use electronic tickets.”
Christofferson has had a unique point of view on the speedway’s growth throughout the years, and he even has had an increased workload because of it. He hasn’t seemed to mind that workload, however, and certainly wouldn’t mind if one more specific race brought even more tickets through his office.
“Everything’s been positive in the last six years,” Chrisofferson said. “Starting with smaller schedules and smaller races, we’re just now getting to the point of our ultimate goal. Adding the Nationwide Series was a huge step forward for our fanbase and it led to a lot more season tickets being sold and more folks coming to Newton and Jasper County.”
Shane Lucas can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 440 or via email at email@example.com.