Maria Fulay
Senior Director, Ticket Operations
SoFi Stadium YouTube Theater and Hollywood Park

Starting a business amid a pandemic isn’t ideal, but in a music industry that was ready to reopen following over a year of public health restrictions, it was the most opportune time for YouTube Theater, a 6,000-capacity venue that opened in August of that year in the sprawling Hollywood Park complex in Inglewood, California.

The live entertainment business hit the ground running in 2021, and YouTube Theater was ready for the boom thanks to seasoned veterans like Maria Fulay, the venue’s senior director of ticket operations who was hired in May of that year.

“The initial challenges were to make sure the manifest was correct,” Fulay said. “There were a lot of things I had to figure out myself. Everyone had to figure out their own thing. At that time, everyone was overwhelmed. You had to figure it out and use expertise to move forward.” The venue opened in August of 2021.

Fulay boasted more than enough experience for the venue’s ticketing team to push forward, having been at the Hollywood Bowl for over a decade as an usher and in the box office and also helping open Microsoft Theater for AEG in 2007. During that time, she developed a passion for ticketing.

“Either you fall into it or you leave it as a stepping stone,” Fulay said. “I think ticketing is one of those industries that I feel like you have to love it. I just love everything about it, all the chaos and putting the puzzle pieces together. It excites me, even though it’s crazy busy, and it gets me going.”

Crazy busy is accurate when talking about the live music biz, especially at YouTube Theater. Since opening its doors, the venue has been a constant on Pollstar’s Year End charts. It was No. 13 in grosses among the Top 200 Theaters of 2022 and cracked the top 10 the following year by grossing $33.7 million in ticket sales to successful shows from artists such as Peso Pluma, Janelle Monáe, Feid, Gunna and Don Toliver. The three-year-old building held 98 events in 2023, and since opening, it has hosted more than 200 events and 700,000 fans. The team at YouTube Theater anticipates crossing the century mark in show count this year.

“The challenge for us is to keep up with the industry because in ticketing, you are the first point of contact aside from the contract and booking,” Fulay said. “They’re saying, ‘Here’s the show; how fast can you put this up? We want to go on sale right away, and how many shows can you put up?’ 2023 just got everyone hungry for more shows and live events, and I think 2024 is going to be even crazier.”

After a hectic 2023, Fulay is confident she and the team at YouTube Theater will continue to achieve its goals.

“I learned that there was so much more that I can take than I thought,” Fulay said. “A lot was put on the ticketing department with the pressures of these fast-paced events, and it’s not just ticketing. For me, I put on a lot of hats. I’m a big-picture person and try to be cognizant of all the departments in our venue so that I’m the main point of contact to make sure all communication is correctly put out there to our GM, production, marketing and events teams, and centralize that information so that we can properly work together and execute that event seamlessly.

“When you work with a lot of people you love working with, you want everyone to succeed. For me, I take that on as a way to help out my team and the venue team.”

See: Full 2024 Ticketing Star Awards