Punching His Own Ticket
While Sport and Entertainment Management (SPTE) alumnus Lance Grantham didn’t take the ordinary path to finding industry success, he did find a home decked in garnet and black not just once, but now twice.
After graduating high school in Chipley, Fla., Grantham served the country by way of the United States Army for three years before enrolling at the University of South Carolina.
While at USC, the Sport and Entertainment Management (SPTE) alumnus was heavily influenced by Professor Robin Chandler and Dr. Tom Regan, both of whom he credits for lessons in life and the industry.
“Their guidance really got me on the right track,” Grantham reflected. “It’s hard to get over that hump, but once you do, it becomes okay. They taught me that.”
After graduating in 2001, Grantham landed a job as the guest services assistant manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Pete Times Forum. After departing for Florida and that first position, Grantham connected with one of his classmate’s sister, MaryRuth Briggs (’94), a 2005 College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management Distinguished Alumni Award winner.
Grantham informed Briggs, who at the time was transitioning to work for the New England Patriots as the Director of Ticketing, that he would be thrilled to work for her if the opportunity presented itself. Nearly four months later, the opportunity came knocking, and Grantham, a devoted Dallas Cowboys fan, began a new role as the Assistant Ticket Director for the Patriots.
Fate would later lead Grantham back to Florida and into college athletics after three seasons and two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. He and his wife moved to Jacksonville where Lance worked at the Gator Bowl Association as the ticket manager and also with the ACC Football Championship Game.
During a neutral site game between Alabama and Florida State, Grantham met and befriended University of Alabama Ticket Director, Chris Besanceney.
“While networking is important in the business,” Grantham stated, “cultivating friendships is what really opens opportunities.” That friendship led to one such opportunity for Lance, this time back at his alma mater.
“The position of Director for Ticketing opened up and I had no clue whether I’d have a shot at it,” he revealed. “Both Dr. Regan and Chris Besanceney helped me to get my foot in the door. Dr. Regan recommended me highly and I started in March 2008.”
Years later, Grantham, in charge of anything and everything ticket related in the world of Gamecock athletics, reflects on his good fortune to be in a position he’s worked hard to land. Nearly all of his staff in ticket operations are Carolina graduates as his team gears up for another exciting year of Gamecock athletics.
“We give more than that of a typical 40-hour per week employee with no ties or affiliation to the university,” he stated. “It’s hard to turn off that switch at night when you care about what happens here.”
In addition to the already tight-knit group of employees Grantham works with, he is also excited to see the resume submissions of current students and recent graduates of the SPTE program. These students that are looking to further their experience within the industry have applied to the right place.
Grantham encourages students with similar career aspirations to take the most difficult internship or the hardest, smallest paying job possible in order to pay dues in the business to find out what it really takes to succeed.
“As long as you are willing to learn, all people want to do is show you how it’s done,” he advised. “I took the hard jobs and didn’t get paid much for them. Today, I can say that I am blessed and fortunate enough to be in this position, and it would take a lot to try to pry me away.”