Senior vice president of ticket sales and service at the Texas Rangers, Paige Farragut grew up dreaming of life as an actress. But a friend recommended she use her people skills and personality to her benefit in sales. “Even my dad told me I would eventually be in sales,” she recalls. “But I swore I would never be in sales for a career.” Eventually, she took the leap; now, twenty-one years later, that risk has turned into a thriving career. It helps, of course, that Farragut has been selling something incredibly special while working for a professional sports organization. “You’re selling memories and growing fans,” she says.
From the Stars to Rangers
After college, Farragut joined the sales team of the Dallas Stars, the NHL team twenty miles from her hometown—Plano, Texas. “I worked in a cubicle and used the Yellow Pages,” she recalls. Beyond the challenge of fitting into a career she wasn’t sure she’d wanted, Farragut was one of the few women working for the team. The jokes that women don’t last long working in the sports world were good-natured, but frequent. However, not long later, Farragut found herself out of the cubicle and in an executive role.
After three years with the Stars, owner Tom Hicks expanded his portfolio by purchasing the Texas Rangers. The Stars had just won the Stanley Cup. And Farragut and the sales team were nearly selling out Reunion Arena every night. The opportunity to sell another sport and take on a new challenge was thrilling to her. Soon after she started, Farragut became the assistant vice president of suite sales, leading a team that sold for both the Stars and the Rangers.
Eventually, the Stars changed ownership, and Farragut chose to stay on with the baseball team. It helped that she had grown passionate about the sport the more involved she became. Her job was even more exciting because so many people love baseball, too. “No matter whom you call or what company you try to reach out to, someone there is a baseball fan. If you can start talking about the first memory they ever had at a ballpark, you end up finding something that works for them and for the team.”
Loyalty & Passion
Rather than angle for the next best job, promotion, or team, Farragut remained determined to do the best job she could. “I knew if I kept working hard and doing what I’m supposed to do, adding value, eventually I would move up through the company,” she explains. “I’ve been extremely happy where I am, having taken the time to get where I wanted to be, and it’s worked out.”
The close-knit feel of the organization inspires loyalty and passion; Farragut says the Rangers are like her second family. “You sometimes spend more time with your coworkers than you actually do at home,” she says. “Knowing the people you work with, asking people how their day is, how their kids are, or what they did for the weekend makes a huge difference in what your day-to-day looks like.”
Farragut’s commitment to relationships is especially strong with her team. She begins every day by walking among the salespeople. She then goes over sales numbers and meets with managers to collaborate on new initiatives. More meetings and conversations follow that.
Although she meets with many people, Farragut has developed key relationships with Justin Foote, manager of CRM and analytics; Katie Morgan, assistant director of ticket operations; and the IT team. “They are amazing partners who help with our analytics efforts and new technology initiatives,” she says. To be able to track and forecast sales accurately, Farragut needs a lot of data. The data also needs to be accessible. The team uses Tableau, which allows for access to data and information on multiple dashboards. These dashboards have information on every game, their budget, promos sorted by buyer type, attendance per game, and more. The data refreshes every fifteen minutes—a long way away from the Yellow Pages in the cubicle.
Random Acts of Recognition
Although this technology is important, Farragut insists that collaboration is the key to the Rangers’ success. “It’s not me sitting in an office, dictating what kind of initiatives we’re going to do,” she says. “Having people know they’re part of our decisions is key, so when they go work with their respective groups inside the sales room, there’s complete buy-in.” That extends to recognizing staff members for achievements and great service for customers. The team rewards salespeople with “Random Acts of Recognition,” handing out gift cards and prizes when leadership receives word that a team member went above and beyond in their customer service.
With the Rangers moving into a new stadium in Arlington in 2020, Farragut will use her vast skill set and collaborative spirit to ensure that their successful run of ticket sales continues. “We’ve interviewed season ticket holders, individual buyers, long-term suites, nightly rentals, past buyers, and group clients so that we can make the best decisions for our clients for the next forty years. That’s also been a collaborative process,” she explains. “The majority of the people we talked to were very excited about the retractable roof—not having to worry about 105-degree days, rain delays, and the threat of weather.”
The Evolving Fan Experience
Beyond new, more advanced stadiums, the baseball world has seen other technological advancements change the way it does business. One that Farragut has been particularly affected by is the move to digital ticketing. “Somebody can buy a season ticket plan today and never get a ticket mailed to them,” she explains. Cell phone use at the games, she adds, changes the way the team has had to approach its new stadium. “A lot of people look down at their phones during games. So we’ve had to extend our nets farther down the line to protect the fans. You have to make sure the ballpark is a place people can be safe,” she says.
Whether it’s learning and perfecting her approach to team building or ensuring that Rangers fans are moved over into the new ballpark smoothly, every aspect of Farragut’s job relates to maintaining positive, productive relationships. Now that she’s a parent, that’s even more important. “A lot changes once you have little people in your life,” she says. “You have to take care of people, kids that depend on you, and you start thinking about work/life balance regarding your sales and service team. They might have children, and you want them to know they can accomplish their career goals and have quality family time. You work together to make sure that they meet their needs both at home and in the office. Our sales managers and team understand that family is first.”