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CHARLOTTESVILLE-Zee French, the senior director of ticket services with the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association, has been named to the new position of associate athletics director of strategic ticketing at Virginia. Virginia Executive Associate Director of Athletics Jon Oliver announced French’s appointment on Friday (Oct. 29).

French will create and head a new unit at Virginia that focuses on sales and will complement the athletics ticket office led by Corbin Hunt, associate athletics director of ticket sales and operations.

The new strategic ticketing unit will focus on sales and retention of ticket purchasers and will collaborate with the marketing department to create promotions, events and benefits packages to assist in that effort. The unit’s staff will include current University students with a goal of developing individuals who can be placed in full-time jobs throughout the sports industry. The staff will work in all areas of ticket sales, including season tickets, single-game tickets and group sales. An emphasis will also be placed on servicing ticket holders and focusing on the day-to-day needs of the season ticket base.

French has been a member of the Houston Rockets’ ticket operation since September of 2000. He joined the Rockets as season sales executive and worked in that capacity for three years. He managed the relocation of season ticket holders from the Compaq Center to Toyota Center in early 2003 and was promoted to manager of ticket and premium services for the Rockets in late 2003. French became the Rockets’ director of ticket and premium services in 2005 and was promoted to senior director of ticket services in 2010.

From 2003-2010, French managed a 10-person services department that worked to create a menu of benefits and deliver outstanding customer experiences to suite holders, club seat holders and season ticket holders. The department was responsible for the retention, relocation and upgrading of those groups each season.

French is a native of Stanardsville, Va. He was an Echols Scholar at UVa and graduated with a degree in economics in 1998. He served as a manager with the men’s basketball team during his four years as an undergraduate at Virginia.

“Zee possesses a wealth of knowledge regarding the creation of attractive ticket options and presenting them to fans based on his experience working for a NBA franchise,” Oliver said. “We have a significant amount of ticket inventory across a number of our sports and we want to make sure our fans consistently understand what their options are when they choose to attend an athletics event. Zee loves the University of Virginia and we are glad to have him come back home to help build an exciting environment every time we compete.”

Prior to working with the Houston Rockets, French was manager of women’s services and junior golf for the Virginia State Golf Association (VSGA). He also did internships with DC United of Major League Soccer and with the VSGA.

“While the past decade in professional sports has been extremely rewarding, the University of Virginia is truly home for me,” French said. “I am so happy to be returning to Charlottesville to create an outstanding department that will deliver great experiences to all of our Cavalier supporters.”

French’s wife, Andrea, is also a graduate of UVa and they have two daughters. He assumes his responsibilities at Virginia on Nov. 10.

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