This Columbus Startup Wants to Reshape High School Sports, Local Festivals and Community Events
How HomeTown Ticketing is helping fans, students, administrators and more
Each fall, athletic directors, principals, volunteers and parents help organize a variety of school and community events, a crucial and influential undertaking that gives kids unique opportunities. But those events are difficult to organize, time-consuming to operate and challenging to secure. And those are the exact type of events that Columbus startup HomeTown Ticketing is here to fix.
“HomeTown Ticketing is a unique platform that provides professional-level digital ticketing services for the high school and community industries,” said President and COO Lorien Luehrs. Think of Ticketmaster or Eventbrite that is scaled to thousands of clients across the country to use for football games, performing arts, fairs and more on an as-needed basis without any required equipment so that people can just buy tickets on their phones instead of requiring cash.”
Luehrs said the HomeTown Ticketing team is all about making their clients’ lives easier. The company is focused on bringing events like high school football games, rehearsals or band performances into the 21st century, a long overdue modernization of the industry.
“Our industry is something that hasn’t changed very much in the last 50 or 100 years,” she said. “You think about buying tickets or a hot dog, handing over your cash and getting cash back and it’s always a lot of handling money and needing a lot of resources. You need a cash box, athletic directors need to go to the bank afterwards but the bank’s closed on Sunday so they have to hold it in their car. There’s a lot of back and forth and planning that creates a need for an automated process.”
HomeTown Ticketing helps these organizations in every step of the process. They make organization easier and more cost effective, reduce time investment, allow for better marketing through online sales, and even provide security by knowing who’s buying tickets to events.
“I love that I’m changing the way that educational-based athletics and activities are funded; that’s why we’re here,” Luehrs said. “We make these processes easier, make them more streamlined for the athletic administrators, performing arts staff, principles, superintendents and everyone else, allowing everyone to spend more time with our young people. The passion we have is for making our clients’ lives easier so that they can spend more time doing what they love. They didn’t get into their business to count cash on a Friday night, or to run a reconciliation report on how many tickets they sold.”
Ultimately, Luehrs sees the biggest benefits for the kids involved. More successful events mean more people in the stands. More people in the stands means more money raised. More money raised means more investment back into programs. That’s the way HomeTown Ticketing can affect an entire organization.
“We want these kids to have the best opportunity to have more people at their events,” she said. “Schools, conferences and state associations really want to provide a championship experience and want Friday nights or auditorium events to feel special. They want kids to be under the lights and on the jumbotron. They want to have your entire community there. But it costs money and requires planning to do that. We’re helping hold these events at the great facilities that we have in Ohio providing those opportunities for the young people.”
Ohio’s love of high school sports, community fairs and other events makes it an ideal place to start HomeTown Ticketing. But the startup is far more than an event-planning organization, and needs the same tech talent and support as others in the industry. That makes their Columbus home a doubly effective place to launch their company, as they make use of the variety of Ohio resources and talent at their disposal.
“Ohio is a fantastic tech community,” Luehrs said. “As a tech company here in Columbus, we really are thrilled with the talent that we have, and we’ve been able to attract some really, really great talent in Columbus, Cleveland and beyond. Ohio really gives you access to the rest of the country and is a great home base. Travel is easy, and we’ve been thrilled with all of the support that we get from the community. The networking that I’ve done with other C-suite entrepreneurs and being able to be a part of a tech incubator has been so great, and everyone supports everyone else. Everybody else wants everyone to win, and we want to offer the same.”
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