Selling the product out on the ice may be important, but it’s not the focus of the New York Islanders group sales department. In fact, the driving force behind Josh Rose, the Islanders Director of Group Sales, and his dedicated employees is their passion for the people within our Long Island community. They genuinely care about the community most of them grew up in and know that giving back by supporting a cause and creating an unforgettable family-like experience is where the importance lies.
“Group sales is ticket sales, so it is a business and you have to be business savvy, but on a common level, it’s just about showing people that you care about them and you want them to have a good time here at Nassau Coliseum,” Rose said. “While we are trying to create new Islanders fans, we really work with a lot of non profit organizations and child programs. At the end of the day, it’s all about the kids and the cause. You have to care about people to be good at this job.”
Each game, the group sales department has a theme to help promote the night. In the past, the Islanders have hosted Boy Scouts, who were celebrating 100 years of Scouting, and they opened up the arena to allow them to camp out on the ice at Nassau Coliseum. They’ve also hosted a group of Long Island-based students who wanted to learn about sports marketing from some of the Islanders managerial staff and “Kid’s Day” where Sparky, the Islanders mascot, was joined by his friends from around the National Hockey League for a day of fun and games directed towards small children.
Those are really just a few of the different group events held throughout the hockey season at Nassau Coliseum, but Rose said there is much more to the job than meets the eye and some theme nights touch the hearts of people in the Long Island community a little more than others.
This year, the Islanders have joined once again with the Siller Foundation, a September 11th based charity, in order to raise money for burn victims. All proceeds raised by the Siller Foundation during Firefighter and Burn-Center Appreciation Night on February 26, will benefit the FDNY Burn Center and the Suffolk and Nassau County burn centers.
“Being that we’re a New York franchise, this event touches the hearts of a lot of firefighters in the area,” Rose said. “It’s very important for them to give back to this cause. 9/11 was more than 10 years ago, but to the New York community it seems like it was just yesterday. So it’s definitely a night that we all hold a little closer to our hearts than an average theme night.”
Being that we’re a New York franchise, this event touches the hearts of a lot of firefighters in the area. It’s very important for them to give back to this cause. 9/11 was more than 10 years ago, but to the New York community it seems like it was just yesterday. So it’s definitely a night that we all hold a little closer to our hearts than an average theme night. - Josh Rose
But that night isn’t the only themed event at Nassau Coliseum which raises money for charity. Throughout the season, the Islanders host many nights that help raise money for different types of cancer awareness and heart disease, among other important social issues.
“When there are nonprofits that come out to games, we give them the opportunity to fundraise and make money,” Rose said. “But they also get really good exposure for their organization because we allow them to set up an information table on the concourse, we display their mission statement and logo on the scoreboard and their charity is the beneficiaries of the 50/50 raffle.”
Rose continued, “But it’s also an opportunity for parents to bring out their children. Nonprofits do a lot of golf outings and galas where the setting is not always appropriate for children, but a hockey game provides a great family environment.”
The group sales department also caters to much smaller groups. Parents can throw birthday parties for their children, local hockey teams can come out and play a game on Coliseum ice during an intermission, teachers bring their classes out to sing the National Anthem and sometimes small businesses treat their clients to a special evening as they mix business with entertainment.
But this year, the group sales department was given a new challenge: selling tickets for all events here at Nassau Coliseum.
“We approach selling Coliseum events just like we do Islanders games, with the commitment to providing a first-class experience to anyone who walks through the Coliseum doors,” Rose said. “It’s about pride in what we do.”
It doesn’t matter what the event is that’s taking place, the relationship between a group and their group sales representative is very much a symbiotic relationship. Rose and the men and women in his department really care about all of their groups. As a result, they work to fulfill the different needs of their clients by really focusing on them, paying attention to details and coming through with an experience that the group will hopefully remember for a long time.
“On a game day, some of the guys in the group sales department probably walk a few miles around the arena,” Rose said. “They’re traveling up and down the rows and they move from seat to seat to make sure that their groups are having fun. It’s not like a season ticket where they are fans who come out because they love hockey and just want to come to every game to support their team. Most groups only come to games for an event once or twice a season and we try to make it very special for them by paying attention to detail.”
Rose continued, “The guys stop by the seats and drop off goodie bags for the kids and they’ll make sure that they saw the message that we put on the scoreboard for them. We’re basically just making sure that every group has its own unique experience and that everyone is happy at the end of the night.”
When a group signs up for an event, the group sales department makes sure they say thank them in a big way by deploying the Islanders School Assembly or I.C.E. Tour to their school or event to say thank you. According to Rose, the message is: “We support you just as much as you support us.”
Rose knows that what he does is important. In the middle of a sit down interview, he jumped from his chair and left the room as he said, “I’ll be right back.” When he returned, he sat down at the table with a green file folder. As he opened the cover, he said, “I’ve never shared this with anyone before.”
One by one, Rose took a letter, a card or an e-mail from the folder. As he handed them over one at a time, he smiled and began, “This one is from…”. Each letter was from a customer explaining how thrilled he/she was with his/her group event and how much he/she appreciated everything that Rose had done for them while his/her group was here at Nassau Coliseum.
That’s why Rose enjoys what he does. He oversees an entire department of dedicated employees who are all set out on one common goal: to make sure that every group who walks through the Coliseum box office has an unforgettable experience.
For more information about group ticketing or to plan your own group event, please contact Josh Rose, the Islanders Director of Group Sales, at 516.501.6842.