Growing up in Indianapolis, Kyle Kinnett had a passion for sports. His mother, Chris Schrader, had a passion for music. When it came to getting tickets, they left nothing to chance.
“We used to get in line at the Old (L.S.) Ayers at Glendale and we would sleep there all night,” says Schrader. “They had a lottery system for your tickets and we’d run the lottery and sign people up. He got a little taste of it then.”
It didn’t take long for Kinnett to realize there was profit to be made in the ticket business.
“My mother would drive me downtown when I was in sixth grade and I would sell some Pacers tickets and I’d use that money to buy school clothes,” he says. “And then, she was a big Neil Diamond fan. She would always yank me out of school and we’d buy Neil Diamond tickets. I’d buy my allotment, she’d buy her allotment and we’d sell mine to pay for her going to the concert.”
By the time college came around, Kinnett didn’t just know what he wanted to do – he was already doing it.
“When I got to college at Indiana University, I dropped out with one semester left because I knew what I wanted to do. I probably knew a little bit more about what I was going to do than the professor teaching my business communications class. So, I came home and started a business.”
He started out as a ticket broker. With the big sporting events hosted in Indianapolis came big opportunity. Fans wanted more. He saw that. Five years ago, Kinnett started a business, Bullseye Event Group – and they changed the sports hospitality business.
“It’s about the experience. That’s what I tell people all the time,” he says. “We’re not selling game tickets. When we’re selling something to The Masters, the Colts game, or a Super Bowl, we’re selling lifetime experiences. Anybody can just buy a Colts ticket. But what we sell is an experience.”
And Colts fans can experience it for themselves before every home game. The official event and travel partner of the Colts, Bullseye Event Group’s VIP Tailgate at Crane Bay Event Center is like no other tailgate. Catered by Morton’s, it’s all you can eat and drink for three hours prior to the game. All you have to do is show up.
“Somebody is making the food, Morton’s. Somebody is playing the music, the DJ. I’m walking around talking to you,” says media personality and official hostess of the VIP Tailgate Laura Steele. “We have Grins and Giggles and they’ll take pictures for you. It’s just always a good time. I have so much fun when I come here and it feels like a family.”
“This is by far the best tailgate party. If there are weather problems, you’re inside – but you can go outside. Everybody is welcoming. And it opens up in plenty of time for you to get your game on,” says Joe Staysniak of 1070 The Fan. “You can discuss football if you want, you can hear our pregame show and get the ins and outs.”
Joe knows football. He was an offensive lineman for the Colts. But what Staysniak really knows is food.
“Morton’s does such a good job with the food, it’s incredible. So, they’re bringing food around, but then you also stand in line for filets and chili, some of the best chicken fingers you’ve ever had,” he says.
“And then there’s a whole wall of desserts over there. The double chocolate mousse dessert, just take your fork, stand next to it, and just keep feeding yourself. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
And you can’t beat the price.
“You get a ticket to the game and our tailgate for $85. Or, we sell just our tailgate for $75 for people who have tickets to the game,” says Kinnett. “If you were to go to any steakhouse in town and eat, you’re going to spend that per person regardless.”
It’s a smaller, local version of what’s become Bullseye’s signature event.
“We have an event called the Super Bowl Players Tailgate where Guy Fieri is our chef and we have like 25 or 30 active NFL players there and it is the biggest Super Bowl event there is on game day,” he says.
From the streets of Indianapolis to the biggest stage in sports, Chris Schrader has stood by her son every step of the way.
“I went to the Super Bowl party in San Francisco,” she says. “It was amazing. It was on TV. I had tears in my eyes. I’m so proud of him. He’s come a long way.”
At heart, Kinnett says he’s still a fan.
“I’m a huge Colts fan and have just been fortunate enough to have a business associated with it,” he says. “When you do something that you love, it’s not work. It’s a passion. I get to take what I think I want as a fan and sell it and deliver it on the business side.”
Bullseye Event Group is offering a VIP Travel Package to see the Colts play the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London. There are only a few spots left – so if you’re interested, don’t wait!