By Matt Huff
Illinois is back in the spotlight— this time for the enormous sums of money its lawmakers are spending on sports tickets.
According to the Illinois State Board of Elections website, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s campaign spent over $700,000 on tickets for Cubs, White Sox, and Bulls games in the past two years. Senate President John Cullerton’s campaign bought over $300,000 on sports tickets during that same period.
Together, the two lawmakers’ campaigns purchased:
- Cubs tickets totaling over $617,000
- White Sox tickets totaling over $244,000
- Bulls tickets totaling over $175,000
After reviewing the figures Susan Garrett, a former state senator and Chairwoman of the Board of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, says she was “shocked.” Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined a lawmaker would spend so much campaign money on sports tickets.
The problem? It’s all perfectly legal:
“The law says you can do it. You can spend as much as you want to spend as long as it is not for personal use,” said Garrett.
For their part, Madigan and Cullerton defend their spending by claiming the tickets are being used for legitimate, allowable reasons, including rewarding volunteers, and giving them as charitable donations.
This isn’t the first time Illinois legislators have found themselves under the microscope for their use of sports tickets. In 2016 when the Cubs were making their historic run toward the World Series, it was revealed that Chicago aldermen were receiving valuable Cubs tickets at face value— multiples lower than what those tickets would have fetched on the secondary market.
Even if Madigan and Cullterton’s ticket purchases fall within the letter of the law, a larger problem remains unresolved: how to prove it? There is no clear record showing exactly who used these tickets and why. Remember, without a real ticket tracking system, sports tickets are like petty cash— and if you leave petty cash laying around, people will eventually use it in ways you didn’t intend.
The turmoil surrounding Illinois lawmakers’ use of tickets mirrors the challenges companies have when it comes to managing their sports tickets. Without a robust tracking system, there’s no way to prove those tickets are being used for legitimate business purposes. There’s also no way to measure the impact those tickets are having on your bottom line.
Smart companies like FedEx, Konica Minolta, KPMG and Nissan use real ticket tracking software designed to manage tickets, ensure that the right people are getting them, and measure the impact those tickets are making in thier organizations. See what they say.
With teams and venues across the country all moving to mobile-only entry, uncertainties about how the new tax law affects companies who entertain clients, and continuing concerns about the economy, companies are under more pressure than ever to find solutions that make ticket management easy & prove the ROI.