Fans of sports in the 1970's will remember Rock'n Rollin Stewart--he of the multicolored wig and the John 3:16 sign who ended up on camera at every sporting event. The man was everywhere, spreading his own gospel, and really helped epitomize what "fanatic" meant when we thought of a fan. He was also part of an era of "Super Fans," from people like Morgana and Busty Heart to Dancing Harry and Dancing Barry. Even the the New York Jets "Fireman Ed," finds his way into every televised Jets game and has made a little cottage industry out of his own fame. That type of "As Seen On TV" fandom has pretty much gone the way of the Buffalo, as reality TV, cell phones and video cameras have made anyone, everywhere, at every event their own version of the crazy fan. Now, perhaps, the goal is to go and enjoy the event, and not be seen...at least on TV with multicolored hair and misspelled signs rooting for Ochocinco anyway.
The goal now, in our "less is more environment," is to enjoy, be a part of the experience, and maybe get in and get out with the buzz of success and not notoriety of fanaticism in the air. Yes, you still see those self-described "Super fans" patrolling the stands and the camera angles, but it's probably the ones, you may notice in places and think he is a long-forgotten classmate or some character actor from a commercial or the guy who looks like your little brother's friend, that are the new "super fan." They find the tickets, get to the events, navigate the internet for deals and roll up the experiences, even in the most challenging of times.
The Pied Piper of the experiential fan of today may just be Rob Tuchman. Whether you wanted to see the Super Bowl or the World Cup, the Kentucky Derby or the Brickyard 500, the World Curling Championships or the Tour de France, you may have come across Rob and his former company TSE Events or his current company Premiere Global Sports. No they are not ticket scalpers. What Tuchman has done, through hustle, connections, networking, sometimes begging and bargaining, is create a market for the fan who wants not just to go to the game or the event, but experience the package, no matter how big or small. In an era where ROI and Customer Service need to be a premium, Rob built a business around working with the right people and following through to deliver just that...a fanatic experience just for the fan. It is experiential marketing at its best...giving the fan the access, the experience and the ability to be in that one place in time that he or she may just have dreamed about previously. It doesn't require losing a limb or eating 50,000 goldfish, or even dealing with scalpers and the risk involved with the unknown. It is about building the right experience with the right partners and delivering for clients, be they individuals or Fortune 500 companies.
Tuchman's world is a great example of what can be done in an entrepreneurial environment of today -- using technology and hustle to build a business on reputation and deliverables, and then using word of mouth, social networking and best practices to make the business thrive. It is about results for the client, not about spamming and creating expectations that fall way short of what can be promised. Yes it is about networking, but networking in the old fashioned way...growing your rolodex, following up on the little things, and making sure that for the long term you clients are happy and that you understand and can deliver on their wants and needs. When dealing in sports and entertainment, that may be sometimes hard to do. Not every game has the right result, and not every fan who wants to can meet Derek Jeter, no matter what the price. The goal is again delivering on the promise, not the vague. If you say you can deliver a package, then deliver that package. if you can't find the best possible package you can. It's the reason why at a young age, Tuchman has become the "go-to" guy for the top quality experience in the sports world, and its the reason why his businesses have grown while many similar ones in challenged times have fallen away. Old fashioned hustle and results in a new digital world.
By the way, yes it is Tuchman himself you may have seen at those events -- not with the colorful wig or the fire hat or his chest painted blue -- well maybe not. One of his other passions is writing, and his book "100 Sporting Events You Must See Live" is a great example of why he knows his business, and serves as a good primer for those looking to trot the globe and experiences the uniqueness and passion of sport, regardless of budget.
The element every fan today craves is access, whether that is to rock stars or sports stars. It used to be you did have to paint up and scream and yell to get that experience. Now all you have to do is call Rob Tuchman. Civility breeds success, as does his old fashioned hustle. Beats wearing colored wigs and ending up on someone's cellphone or facebook page, or worse yet, the wrong side of TMZ.