Scott Lane has been overseeing one of the more unique minor league baseball franchises in the West Michigan Whitecaps, but that didn’t prepare him for one of the ultimate national stories that involved his operation in January 2013 when the White Cap’s stadium press box burned to the ground. Lane talks about the rebuilding effort of the club, including various ways that they not only rebuild, but grew their ticket base during the off-season when the team’s future was never in doubt. Lane discusses the White Caps’ incursion into the auto racing world, along with lessons learned in promotion and audience acceptance, and expands on what happens when the team’s 4,100-calorie Fifth-Third Burger drew the attention of Man Versus Food’s Adam Richman. Twitter: @WMWhitecaps
European football doesn’t have everything figured out when it comes to the fan, says Mark Bradley, who has used his own family as a working lab to ensure that the fan experience at matches is second-to-none. Bradley discusses his thought-processes over the years, trying to pull away that notion that club wins solves everything when it comes to attendance. Bradley talks about ways that he has helped draw families out to local matches and utilizes long-held trust mechanisms to ensure that each team representative is doing their part to promote the organization’s hallmarks during each match. Twitter: @FanExperienceCo
As more social platforms emerge, it takes an entire staff at an NBA franchise to adapt and create content continually for a department that wasn’t around 10 years ago. TJ Ansley talks about his tenure with the Portland Trailblazers as they expand into new markets online, as well as his experiences with the Columbus Crew MLS in order to build fan loyalty to the overall product and above all else, create an affinity for that product which translates into revenue. Ansley discusses the NBA’s movement into China, as well as some of the ways that the Trailblazers help create new avenues of interest in their brand with the local fanbase. Twitter: @TJAnsley
NFL stadium design is the focal point of this episode with Kelly Kerns, who has worked for over 28 years in architectural and management. Kerns talks about being a project leader on some of the larger NFL stadium projects, including Qwest Field and Convention Center (now CenturyLink) in Seattle as well as New Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City as well as renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, New York. Kerns talks about how human traffic flow within the stadium ecosystem becomes a large component of the overall design, helping security as well as the fan experience. Twitter: @Populous
John Shumate has worked on both the side of the franchise and the brand. With experience in corporate sales delivery for the Orlando Magic, Columbus Blue Jackets and Miami Dolphins, Shumate oversaw brand management of Gatorade for eight years and now serves as Director of Marketing for PepsiCo in the Southeast Region, fostering brand affinity with the NFL and the soft drink company. Shumate talks about some of the ways that corporate sponsorship representatives hurt their chances of ever getting a deal done, including asking for essentially a charity over true sponsorship activation asks. Twitter: @JohnAShumate
Scott Frasnelly returns to the podcast for his second stint. After serving with the ECHL hockey league, helping its sales practices, Frasnelly now has taken that experience to build his own dynamic ticket system. Frasnelly considers iSportstix to be a part of the CRM/ticketing lexicon, as it slowly grows its business out of his garage and into some of the smaller minor league franchises. Frasnelly also talks about his new ownership venture as a restaurant retail manager, and some of the things which change once a person who owns a food operation now eats in someone else’s food operation. Twitter: @iSportsTix
Another returning guest to the podcast is Mike Humes, who switched from the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies to help run the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. Humes is no nonsense, bottom-line financial mind who sees asset creation at the heart of how to sell the Coyotes’ product. Humes breaks down some of the new initiatives of the Coyotes, which have survived NHL ownership and bankruptcy, and now have a renaissance underway as it product builds a legacy in Glendale, Arizona. Twitter: @MikeHumes1
Eric Edelstein represents one of the best success stories in the sports industry. In high school, Edelstein was already getting his teeth cut on how to work in sports with the Cleveland Indians, then parlayed that into an internship in Buffalo. Now, 15 years later, Edelstein is in charge of one of the premier AAA franchises on the West Coast, the Reno Aces, and has already put his fingerprints on the Aces sales culture and success for the upcoming season. Edelstein shares his wisdom, as well as mindset on hiring, firing and making sure that the office reflects the values of the community. Twitter: @EricBaseball
Kevin Hatcher represents the epitome of NCAA Division II athletics, discussing how different the scene looks compared to the Division I days. Hatcher talks about the responsibilities, as well as smaller staff and budget, that make up the realities of CSSB and its sister Division II schools in the conference. Hatcher discusses coming into the environment, understanding how to shift the culture, and why it may be necessary to move staff when they do not fit into the system. Hatcher broadens the scope by illustrating why a jump to Division I athletics is not a certainty, even when an athletic department such as CSSB wins on the court.
The Arizona Sundogs CHL hockey team made international news in 2013 by having their front office staff climb into a scissor lift and staying up there for over a week until they set a new record of season tickets. The news coverage hit both BBC news and Deadspin as a completely out of the ordinary way to generate season ticket sales. The Sundogs are the Central Hockey League affiliate of the NHL Phoenix Coyotes. Sundogs GM Chris Presson talks about the scissor lift stunt, as well as how the club functions overall in Prescott Valley, about 90 minutes north of Phoenix, in the Tim's Toyota Center. Presson discusses some of the ins and outs of working in minor league sports, as well as what the sports management programs aren't teaching their students, and focuses on how sports sales needs to be viewed as a mainstay for anyone choosing to enter the industry as an employee.