‘Why We Do This’: Inside the Celtics’ Championship Journey

Mackenzie Henderson '00, senior vice president of ticket sales with the Celtics, on one of the duck boats during Friday's NBA Championship parade in Boston.

Amid the roaring, confetti-soaked two-mile parade route packed with more than a million fans celebrating the Celtics’ 18th NBA championship, Mackenzie Silverio Henderson ’00 was taking it all in on one of the iconic duck boats.

“The energy of the crowd was off the charts. We have the best fans in the world,” Henderson said. “To be able to share this time with all my co-workers and my son is an experience I will never forget!”

With a career spanning more than two decades at the Celtics, Henderson has had the chance to work on the team’s unprecedented ticket sales during two Celtics’ championships, this year and in 2008.

“It has been incredible. I’ve been at the Celtics for 24 years now, and this, right here, is why we do this,” Henderson said. “I’m lucky enough now to say that I’ve been through this twice and each was just as sweet as the other, and they were both certainly worth the wait.”

Navigating a Championship Season

Henderson, as senior vice president of ticket sales, faces responsibilities far beyond just selling tickets. She oversees a dedicated team responsible for season tickets, group tickets, and premium seating sales. And when the Celtics make it to the postseason, the job takes on an entirely different vibe.

“There aren’t a lot of boundaries between work and life at that point. Everything just kind of blurs because of the time sensitive nature of what we do,” Henderson said. “And, though it’s never lost on me just how fun this industry is, there’s a major business that’s running behind the scenes, and we always want to make sure we’re representing the team in the best possible way.”

Henderson, who brought her 6-year-old son to the final game and the parade, said he helped her see the victory through fresh eyes.
Henderson, who brought her 6-year-old son to the final game and the parade, said he helped her see the victory through fresh eyes.

In the final stretch of the season, Henderson’s team focused on maximizing ticket availability and creating unique fan experiences. “We had to be really smart about pricing and packaging to meet the overwhelming demand. It’s about more than just selling seats; it’s about ensuring every fan has a memorable experience,” she said.

High-Stakes Games, High-Profile Guests

During the playoffs, demand for seats spikes and the guests become more well-known. Henderson’s role includes managing VIP experiences, ensuring that celebrities and other high-profile guests have seamless and enjoyable visits to the TD Garden. “It’s about making sure every detail is perfect, from their arrival to their departure,” Henderson explained.

In addition to Dorchester natives and Celtics superfans Donnie and Mark Wahlberg, this season Henderson helped host superstars like Ed Sheeran, Travis Scott, and Russell Wilson and Ciara. “We’re lucky to have great relationships with other sports teams and celebrities. It’s always exciting to see such diverse support for the Celtics,” Henderson said.

During the NBA Finals, Henderson spent Games 3 and 4 in Dallas to ensure the Celtics’ guests were taken care of while on the road. “It was the definition of working hard and playing hard,” she said about the trip to Dallas.

A Babson-Built Career

Henderson attributes much of her success to her Babson education, which emphasized entrepreneurship and practical business skills. “Babson taught me to be adaptable and innovative, skills that have been crucial in my role,” she noted. This adaptability has helped her navigate the cyclical nature of sports demand and prepare for potential downturns.

From a Babson intern to V.P. of ticket sales at the Celtics, Henderson said the post is her dream job
From a Babson intern to senior VP of ticket sales at the Celtics, Henderson called the post her dream job.

This championship season held special meaning for Henderson, particularly because she shared it with her 6-year-old son. “Seeing the game through his eyes reminded me how special it is.

“He actually cried when we won because he was so happy. It was really sweet,” she said.

“In my job we’re so close to the team and we’re there all the time, so when I walk into the Garden, it’s cool, but it doesn’t have the same effect,” Henderson said. “Seeing it through my son’s eyes I remember how special it is.”

Henderson started at the Celtics as an intern before she graduated from Babson, and she still loves it after decades with the franchise.

“Twenty-four years later, I still have my dream job,” Henderson said. “That is not lost on me.”

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