Summer collegiate baseball can either be something that is not made for the paying fan or it can be essentially a minor league with 30 home dates. Mike Lieberman chooses to believe his East Texas Pump Jacks are the latter. Lieberman talks about how the Pump Jacks go about utilizing interns and two full-time staff in order to bring a full minor league experience to the residents of Kilgore, Texas and remain competitive in the Texas Collegiate League. Lieberman discusses why group tickets are key to filling stands with paying customers and his philosophies toward building long-term revenue and fan loyalty while selling out the house. Twitter: @SportsExec13
The world of sports journalism is explored with the help of Bill Bradley, who has made the jump from the sports editorial pages of daily newspapers to the digital world of the NFL.com. Bradley talks about the environment of journalism and employment in the field means working online, as well as his decision to build his online brand both with SacStateSports.com and finally the NFL.com, covering health and safety issues. Bradley discusses his role at NFL.com and how he develops good, informative stories on serious subjects such as player safety. Twitter: @billbradley_sac
Brian Thornton has worked on both athlete and team branding for over 20 years, developing relationship with over 200 active NFL, MLB, and NBA players. His list of clients has included Larry Fitzgerald, Devin Hester, Greg Jennings, Ndamukong Suh, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, Rod Woodson, Jairus Byrd, Richard Seymour, Steven Jackson, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz, Mariano Rivera, Amare Stoudemire, and Dwight Howard. Thornton talks about the personal branding side of the modern athlete, which now extends into the social media ranks to where each athlete is now a media channel for certain endorsement or corporate partnerships. Thornton talks about off-field engagements, time management for an athlete between sponsorships and their seasonal endeavors in their sport, and how to manage strategic partnerships into a cohesive relationship between the player and the brand. Twitter: @BThornton1966
Working in sports means learning how sell and being mobile, Jamie Morningstar has done both during her tenure in the NBA. Morningstar talks about her first jobs in sports, including working for the Seattle Super Sonics and the decision to move with the team to Oklahoma City, as well as her time at Madison Square Garden with the New York Knicks and now with the Milwaukee Bucks. Morningstar expands into selling the experience as well as the relationship between a client and team, in terms of retention, even when team performance is down. Morningstar discusses how she managed to study and pass the bar exam after law school while performing inside sales with the Detroit Pistons, as well as her thoughts on the overall expectations of working in the industry. Twitter: @jmelyn30
Being continually sold out of ticket inventory is that “good problem to have” for any franchise, but Joe Cote explains how it can cause some consternation for his fanbase, especially when the perception of being sold out causes patrons to buy off of the secondary market when there are tickets available on the primary market. Cote talks about how the Timbers have embraced the Portland marketplace, establishing a special relationship through a different branding campaign which didn’t use some of the traditional “call to action” methodology and instead focused on showing the Timbers’ fanbase. Cote discusses how he got into the sports business, as well as how the title of vice president means little when it comes to a difference in his performance prior to earning the title.
The Hops just finished their first Single-A baseball season in Hillsboro, Oregon. Team Vice President and General Manager K.L. Wombacher talks about the decision to move the former Yakima Bears franchise more than 200 miles away, re-branding the team as the Hops. Wombacher talks about the challenges facing the team, as well as how the team’s per caps have exceeded expectations, as well as the Hops’ branding images in terms of merchandising outside of Hillsboro and Oregon. Twitter: @Wombokl
If you are going to point to one pioneer of revenue development, Jon Spoelstra should be at the very top of the list. Spoelstra has been part of over 1,000 sellouts. Author of one of the most notorious books in sports administration history “How To Sell Every Last Seat In The House” which he sells on his website for $800, Spoelstra can get that price based on the valuable information he provides. Considered the godfather of the mini-pack, Spoelstra is now working on a follow-up to that book called “The Ultimate Toolkit to Selling Every Last Seat In The House” with Steve Delay, which promises to be an industry best-seller. Now retired from the day-to-day life of selling tickets, Spoelstra was the genius behind creating sell-outs for the moribund New Jersey Nets in the 1990s as their team president and the Portland Trailblazers as their executive vice president. As president for 13 years at Mandalay Sports, Spoelstra rebranded the Triple-A Las Vegas Stars into the Las Vegas 51s to create a marketing and merchandising dream, as well as created one of the longest sell-out streaks in sports history with the Single-A Dayton Dragons, which has sold every ticket, to every game, every year, since their inception. Spoelstra has written three popular books on sales success including “Ice To Eskimos,” “Success Is Just One Wish Away,” and “Marketing Outrageously.” With a mantra of “What’s It Gonna Take?” to solve any revenue issues, Spoelstra’s legacy may end up being a rubber chicken in a FedEx box, which was sent to Nets season ticket holders.
Breaking into college sports means being an intern or graduate assistant starting out. Christopher Kaufman is the coordinator of ticket operations and sales at the University of South Dakota Athletic Department, and talks about the challenges he faced getting into the field, as well as the positive outlook he brings each day to his job at USD. Kaufman discusses the challenges that USD faces in broadening its audience with a small state and area population, as well as how they are building their program for long-term success.
Controlling the secondary market for an NBA team is a new concept that Portland Trail Blazers VP of Ticket Sales Tyler Howell has been working on. Howell talks about working with ticket brokers in order to keep the secondary market from being flooded, thus dropping the value of the ticket. Howell discusses his thoughts on dynamic pricing, building demand, and how the Portland Timbers MLS team has helped, not hurt, establish a true market value for the ticket prices in the marketplace.
In the early 1990s, Rob Cornilles helped revolutionize sales training principles for sports franchises by founding Game Face, Inc. and then changed over the model again by creating an academy structure to train young college students into ticket sales reps, in his Portland facility, as well as helped place them with professional teams throughout the nation. Game Face was then expanded into an executive search model that helped broaden the careers of sports sales executives. Cornilles talks about founding the Game Face model, how word of mouth advertising grew his business into a powerhouse within a few short years, and his two unsuccessful runs for U.S. Congress in Oregon’s 1st District in 2010 and 2012. Cornilles presents his revenue philosophies on where the sports industry was when he started, where it is now, and what really needs to improve in the future. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org