Are Silicon Valley Teams as Data-Driven as You’d Expect?

Are Silicon Valley Teams as Data-Driven as You’d Expect?
by Brad Sherrill – October 2017

With Apple’s headquarters right down the street, you would expect the teams in Silicon Valley to be digitally-savvy and data-driven. We were not disappointed, as the teams from San Jose demonstrated how they employ business intelligence to generate revenue.

Sharks Leadership Analytics-Driven

Flavil Hampsten, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, began honing his sales & marketing analytic skills to drive revenue while completing his MBA at Arizona State in 2009 and serving as Vice President of Ticket Sales at the Phoenix Coyotes, before heading to the Charlotte Hornets and now back in the NHL at the Sharks. Neda Tabatabaie was brought in at the Sharks to implement a cohesive data strategy when Mr. Hampsten arrived in 2015.

CRM Boosts Sales

S3 graduate McKenzie Bryan said, “I really enjoyed hearing from the Sharks on how well they integrate CRM/Analytics into the sales department and all of the ways a solid CRM system helps sales.” The Sharks organization encourages utilization of CRM to achieve more efficient and effective sales numbers. Beyond this, however, the Sharks want salespeople to be analytical and intentional as they attempt to make connections with current and future fans.

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49ers Commit Headcount to Analytics

Hayley Di Naso, Hospitality Sales Executive (S3 ’15), hosted us at the 49ers. Following a stadium tour, Demar Amacker and Paul Epstein explained the organizational structure and integral nature of CRM as strategy working hand-in-hand with sales. The Business Strategy & Analytics group, led by Moon Javaid, includes five staff members with analytics responsibilities.

S3 Senior Jacob Kurian appreciated how “every aspect of the experience at Levi’s Stadium has been thoroughly planned out.” The 49ers have created an authentic atmosphere in the stadium that reflects much of what people in the area value. Levi’s Stadium uses repurposed redwood finishing in its concourses and has 16 (Joe Montana’s number) native plant species growing on the patio atop the building. The stadium also showcases an impressive collection of local artwork.

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Next up

We completed the S3 StubHub Analytics All-Stars trip with visits with the Warriors and Giants. Stay tuned for our next report!

How far will analytics take You? S3 majors meet with partners at StubHub, Giants, 49ers, Sharks, & Warriors to Find Out

How far will analytics take You? S3 majors meet with partners at StubHub, Giants, 49ers, Sharks, & Warriors to Find Out
by Brad Sherrill – September 2017

StubHub and Baylor S3

StubHub and Baylor S3 created a partnership to reward motivated, analytically-talented S3 students with an expenses paid trip to the Bay area. The inaugural S3 StubHub Analytics All-Stars group visited San Francisco for three days, gaining valuable interaction time with representatives from some of the Bay’s sports industry leaders. Thanks to StubHub’s generosity, we spent three days visiting with executives from StubHub, Golden State WarriorsSan Francisco 49ersSan Jose Sharks, and San Francisco Giants.

S3 Senior Ian Young said, “It was great to see the variety of career paths people have taken to get to where they are in the sports industry. I really got a feel of how closely connected people are in the sports industry and how best practices are shared among teams.” Young also commented on the value of being data-driven as an organization. Each organization relies on a data strategy to generate revenue utilizing analytics, CRM, and BI/BA to derive actionable insights.

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The StubHub Data-Driven Culture

Our group began the circuit of Bay area sports and entertainment properties by visiting StubHub’s corporate offices. Located in downtown San Francisco, the office encapsulates much of the Silicon Valley atmosphere and emphasis on creating a comfortable, enjoyable work environment.

S3 students received a tour of the office followed by interactive panel discussions with six StubHub employees whose positions touched many of the company’s various focuses. S3 Senior Jonathan Roselli found value in “understanding how analytics are used to report, optimize and predict performance.”

Adam Budelli headed the panels that included Charlie RockmanRaymond DelacruzMena AlsrogyRyan McDowell, and Adam Tatum. These professionals work in areas covering partnerships, business development, data management, analytics, consumer insights, data science, business operations, and marketplace supply chain analysis.

Join us!

If you are interested in the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) program at Baylor, visit www.baylor.edu/business/s3. Prospective students and transfers can find out more about their tickets to a career in sports. Like StubHub and other S3 Leadership partners, organizations can learn about supporting the growth of talent for the industry by visiting www.baylor.edu/business/s3/board.  Look for more stories with insights from executives we met at the Warriors, 49ers, Sharks, and Giants in the coming weeks.

Since launching the first Sports CRM & Analytics track in the U.S in 2011, the S3 program is the leader in placing graduates in data analytics roles at teams [Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Dynamo, Houston Texans, San Antonio Spurs, Madison Square Garden, New York Yankees, Denver Nuggets, Columbus Blue Jackets, Orlando Magic, Miami Dolphins, , Utah Jazz, University of Southern California] and sports-related companies [KORE Software, Stone Timber River, Eventellect, E-15 Group, The Company, Legends Hospitality, and SportsDesk Media]. 

How Academic & Professional Partnerships Work: Baylor S3 Pro Day

How Academic & Professional Partnerships Work: Baylor S3 Pro Day
by Kirk Wakefield – November 2016

If we, will you?

In 2003, the Baylor Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) program began the day we walked into the San Antonio Spurs offices and asked Russ Bookbinder, “If we did this, would you help?”

Darryl Lehnus and I then set out to every other team in Texas asking the same question, getting feedback, making adjustments and gaining support to launch the program in 2004 with the first graduating class in 2006. Students will get a kick out of watching the original S3 promo video. The keys, then and now, to make academic and professional partnerships work are simple:


Steps to Build Partnerships Ask/Offer
Identify the unique need. What is your biggest need?
Identify competition. How is this need addressed now?
Ask for commitment. If we, will you?
Ask for referrals. Who else might be interested?
Develop relationships. How can we improve?

We keep asking these questions to maintain position and relevance. In the beginning, and in adding the CRM & Analytics track (2011) to the major, we did not accept more students than industry commitments to help with placement.

Today, with over 210 S3 Alumni, many reaching management and executive levels, our vision is the same: to instill integrity in the business of sports & entertainment. Integrity starts with delivering on what we promise to students and employers. And listening. And learning. A lot.

Listen. Learn. Launch.

Board members began asking for more recruits. Board members moved to new teams, which usually means adding another team to the board. We saw the opportunity to grow, but at the same time maintain Baylor’s goal to keep classes under 20 students. So, in the past three years, the number of qualified students admitted to the S3 major doubled from the original 19 to 38 as we increased the number of sections for each class. We launch a new Sports Sales Management course Spring 2017, with board member Bill Glenn, leading the class. More changes are in the works for the CRM & Analytics graduate program, as we launch a global partnership in the United Kingdom.

For the first 12 years (2004-2016), recruitment was combined with the S3 Board Meeting. The S3 Pro Day was launched based on feedback from board members Alan Aldwell (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Rob Erwin (Dallas Mavericks), among others. After asking others for input, with the support of Patrick Ryan & Eventellect, we launched the first ever S3 event dedicated entirely to recruitment. We moved the S3 Board Meeting to a different date (January 17-18, click here for more information), focused on best practices and developing mentor relationships for career-long impact. We will keep listening and learning.

In the process, we also developed an interview scorecard to help both students and recruiters focus on the values and skills important to us. Feel free to edit and adjust for your own use in developing or recruiting talent. Click here to review and download.

Eventellect S3 Pro Day in Pictures

Thanks to the recruiters from the teams, companies, and leagues that participated in the Eventellect S3 Pro Day!

pro-day-attendees

Here are the S3 Senior Pro Days in pictures.

Night at Vitek’s

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Ticket Sales Interviews

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 Partnerships and CRM & Analytics Interviews

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2015 Baylor S3 Board Meeting in Pictures

2015 Baylor S3 Board Meeting in Pictures
by Kirk Wakefield – October 2015

The 2015 Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) Board Meeting was held October 20-21 along the banks of the Brazos in beautiful Waco, Texas. With over 80 executives and managers attending and over 40 managers interviewing S3 juniors and seniors for internships and positions, it marked the 12th year of continuous growth for the program. The S3 program admits up to 38 highly qualified students into its junior class each year to focus on sports sales, CRM & sales analytics. In 2015, 97% of graduating seniors were placed in industry positions.

2015 S3 Board Meeting Attendees

First Last Organization First Last Organization First Last Organization
Alan Aldwell Pittsburgh Pirates George Killebrew Dallas Mavs Bryan Apgar Website Alive
Spencer Ambrosius LA FC Kenny Koperda Minnesota Timberwolves Jody Bell Pizza Hut
Deno Anagnost Tampa Bay Bucs Andre Luck Houston Astros Derek Blake La Quinta Inns & Suites
Lindsay Beale San Antonio Spurs Clark McCormack Dallas Mavericks Larry Brantley The Company of Others
Derek Beeman Houston Texans Matt McInnis FC Dallas John Burnett Consulting
Brandon Bittel AEG/LA Kings Shawn McIntosh Houston Dynamo Brooks Byers Sports Desk Media
Joe Clark San Antonio Spurs Eric McKenzie San Diego Padres Laura Cade La Quinta Inns & Suites
Matt Clark San Diego Padres Nick McNeil Pittsburgh Pirates Lynda Carrier-Metz Pizza Hut
Murray Cohn NBA Drew Mitchell Texas Legends Tory Castillo Jack Morton Agency
Elliott Crichfield Denver Nuggets Jayson Morgan Dallas Cowboys Travis Dillon The Marketing Arm
Hayley DiNaso Minnesota Timberwolves Brian Norman Philadelphia 76ers Eric Fernandez Sports Desk Media
Justin Dunn Columbus Blue Jackets Pat O’Connor MiLB Tom Fletcher IMG
Jeff Eldersveld Columbus Blue Jackets Sean O’Connor Charlotte Hornets Bill Guertin 800 Pound Gorilla
Rob Erwin Dallas Mavs Sarah Proctor Philadelphia 76ers Jon Heidtke Fox Sports Southwest
Chelsea Fenstermacher Philadelphis 76ers Mitch Ried Cleveland Cavs Hunter Klop General Motors
Shannon Fischer Houston Rockets Jay Riola Orlando Magic Jose Lozano The Company of Others
Makinzie Foos Memphis Grizzlies Joe Schiavi Detroit Pistons Ryan Luckey AT&T
Sean Foster Houston Dynamo Andrew Sidney Houston Rockets Dan Migala PCG
Travis Gafford Dallas Stars Steve Timms Houston Golf Assoc. Bill Moseley AT&T
Mitch Gall Air Force Academy Jake Vernon Minnesota Timberwolves Jay Ory IMG
Brian George IMG-Baylor Andrew Vitale Memphis Grizzlies Tom Parsons Time Warner Cable Business
Stephen Gray Austin Spurs Adam Vogel NY Mets David Peart Root Sports
Greg Grissom Houston Texans Wil Walters Minnesota Timberwolves Katie Scallan Gulf States Toyota
Flavil Hampsten San Jose Sharks Lauren Ward Houston Rockets Jake Shockley State Farm
Leslie Horn Dallas Stars Heidi Weingartner Dallas Cowboys Bill Spicer Consulting
Anthony Horton San Antonio Spurs Jake Winowich Houston Astros Tami Walker Phillips 66
Tyler Howell Portland Trail Blazers Tommy Wright Houston Golf Assoc.
Chase Jolesch Baylor Athletics Tickets Justin Wynter Austin Spurs
Chase Kanaly Houston Astros Rob Zuer Denver Nuggets

2015 S3 Awards

Hunter Klop, District Sales Manager, presented the Chevrolet 2015 awards for outstanding service to the S3 program. Heidi Weingartner, Chief HR Officer of the Dallas Cowboys, received the Chevrolet Award for Outstanding Team Board Member. Kelly Roddy, President of Schlotzsky’s, was recognized as the Chevrolet Outstanding Corporate Board Member. The Chevrolet Award for Outstanding S3 Alumnus went to Brian George (S3 ’07), General Manager of IMG/Baylor. The Chevrolet Outstanding S3 Report Writer Award went to Andre Luck, Manager of Inside Sales at the Houston Astros, for his article, “5 Characteristics of the Best Salespeople.”

S3 Board in Pictures

Tami T. Walker
Tami T. Walker

The Phillips 66 S3 Banquet was held at the Hilton in Waco, Texas. Special thanks to Tami T. Walker, Phillips 66, for helping us enjoy the evening with fine food & festivities! Pat O’Conner, President & CEO of MiLB, was guest speaker, hosted by Dan Migala (see cover photo).

 

 

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The board meeting was held at the new Paul L. Foster Campus for Innovation and Business on the Baylor campus. Drew Mitchell (S3 ’06), CRO of the Texas Legends, led a panel discussion on “Branding you: Making yourself stand out in the business of sports,” with Tami T. Walker (BU ’86), Phillips 66; Derek Blake (BU ’86), La Quinta Inns & Suites and Greg Grissom (BU ’94), Houston Texans. Murray Cohn, the NBA’s Vice President Team Ticket Sales, led a group of All-Star Managers to guide S3 majors to position themselves with positivity, work ethic, coachability, honesty & integrity and remembering that good is the enemy of great.

nba panel

Dan Migala led a panel discussion on “The Art of the Deal: Emerging Trends in Structuring Partnerships,” with panelists Jose Lozano (BU ’93), The Company, Brian George (S3 ’07), and Ryan Luckey, AT&T.  Bryan Apgar (S3 ’08), Website Alive, moderated a panel on “Selling in the Social Space,” with Joe Schaivi, Palace Sports, Mitch Ried, Cleveland Cavaliers, Andrew Vitale (S3 ’14), Memphis Grizzlies, and Brooks Byers (S3 ’14), Sports Desk Media.  You can find these and many more in the slideshow below!

We look forward to next year’s board meeting on October 11 & 12, 2016. For more information, contact Dr. Darryl Lehnus or Dr. Kirk Wakefield.

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Utilizing LinkedIn for Business Prospecting

Utilizing LinkedIn for Business Prospecting
by Mike Dimitroff – July 2015

My sales philosophy: Better to go after the big fish than waste time fishing for minnows! Anyone can go to the local watering hole, cast a line, and catch small fish. But if LinkedIn is your fishing pole, businesses will be the big fish you are trying to catch.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]“It’s no secret that today’s business decision makers have greater control over the buying process. Three-fourths of B2B buyers use social media to educate themselves before making purchasing decisions and twice as many use LinkedIn to research purchasing decisions than any other social network.” ~ LinkedIn.com[/dropshadowbox]

If 75% of B2B buyers do social media research prior to buying, you can bet that business professionals preparing to make a large monetary commitment will run a background check on the seller–and that’s you!

First Impressions

People buy from people they like and often decide if they like you within the first few moments of contact. What will buyers think if they look on your LinkedIn profile with no picture? A photo helps prospects put a face to the person they’re talking to and helps develop familiarity.

Your story

Provide a short background story about yourself and list your job responsibilities. I recommend listing sales accomplishments since people are more likely to buy from people who are successful at what they do. They perceive that if other people are buying from you then you must be trustworthy. These may seem like nuances, but they will help build trust with your prospective buyer and trust ultimately leads to sales.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”jesse salazarNew and different methods to contact decision makers are invaluable. LinkedIn is an effective, smart tool for prospecting new companies, identifying decision makers and increasing your network. Professional salespeople will definitely increase productivity, generate qualified leads, and have a higher closing ratio when using LinkedIn.” Jesse Salazar, Manager of Season Sales, Houston Rockets[/dropshadowbox]

No Off-Season

At the Houston Rockets, our motto is, “There is no off-season!” Although some sales reps choose this time to relax and take a break, this is the perfect time to build your sales pipeline. I spend most of the off-season business prospecting.

Prospecting

Prospects can come from oil & gas magazines, billboards on your drive into work, or simply searching under the “people you may know” tab on LinkedIn. With over 500+ connections, many are within my target industries of oil & gas, construction, & law firms. When you search for a new company on LinkedIn simply type in the company name and it should pop up under the drop down menu. Once you have your company selected you can begin to filter by city.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]rob“LinkedIn is an essential tool for staying connected to business professionals and a creative method to target companies. C-level executives are almost impossible to get on the phone. LinkedIn is just another way to get in front of decision makers in a competitive business environment where their time is limited to unique salespeople who they see as a resource to get them immediate results.” Rob Zuer, VP of Ticket Sales & Services, Denver Nuggets[/dropshadowbox]

Once you identify a company, contact one of the following from your search of their LinkedIn profiles: Business Development Manager, Marketing Manager or Executive Assistants to CEO. These are typically the people that either make decisions on purchasing season tickets or handle the distribution of tickets.

You make the call

Call the mainline of a company and ask directly for the person by name. I’ve seen sales reps call the mainline and use basic intro lines like this:

“Hi, this is Michael Dimitroff with the Houston Rockets. I was wondering if you could put me in contact with the person who handles season tickets purchases at your company.”

Gatekeepers are taught to screen such calls and you’ve just given them a layup! Instead, act confidently, as if you’ve already had a conversation with the person.  Ask using their first names (e.g., Rob, or Rob Zuer; not Mr. Zuer) to give the sense you are familiar with them. Once the gate keeper transfers you to the direct line…now it’s time to work your magic and catch the big fish!

9 Ways to Best Use Time to Build Your Sports Career

9 Ways to Best Use Time to Build Your Sports Career
by Jeff Eldersveld – June 2015

The most valuable thing any sports professional can give is time. It doesn’t matter what stage in the career – looking for a job, recent hire at a job, or a seasoned veteran – because how time is spent defines one’s self and, ultimately, one’s career advancement.

Time management is often not formally taught in school or even at jobs for that matter. Yet it is directly mentioned in a vast majority of sports job descriptions. Entering college, students are thrust into an environment where they have to balance a workload of multiple classes, assignments, and extra-curricular activities. So, they become self-taught time management enthusiasts. Some students figure it out. But, what worked in college may not equate to success in the sports industry when it comes time to get a job, start a job, or continue as a seasoned veteran in this industry.

How to Best Use Time to Get a Job

Let’s focus on first-time job seekers.

  • 1. Intentional Internships: To get a job you have to have experience and to get experience you have to have a job. So, the most important use of your time should be finding an internship that directly translates to a desired occupation, rather than just accepting whatever will give course credit. Sometimes that means pursuing & creating an internship where one didn’t exist. You must intentionally commit scheduled time to develop relationships & connections. Your university, as well as the sports organizations in your area, often provide opportunities to network with executives. You should be first in line and last to leave after getting their business cards.
  • 2. Navigate Patience vs. Persistence: College students work their way through four years of school (or more) and have a job waiting for them when they graduate. Wrong. Not in sports! In a perfect world, sports administration programs would have rolling graduation dates to coincide with the off-seasons of the four major professional sports. Because that is not a reality, most first-time job seekers must be patient. The hiring cycle in sports does not always fit with recruiting practices of corporate America.

While patience is necessary, persistence is required to make sure your resume floats to the top of the pile when a job opens. Time must be spent reaching out to prospective employers letting them know about a related school project, something you saw in the S3 Report (duh), or some form of warm and NOT random conversation. Then when a job does open up, the decision becomes much easier on who the employer should reach out to first.

How to Best Use Time as a Recent Hire

Too many want to rush this stage without taking the time to develop their skill sets, instead diverting focus by looking for the next promotion or better job opportunity.

Figure1-Candour1
Linking Candour to Leadership
  • 3. Train like it’s a marathon, not a sprint: Rarely does someone become General Manager or Vice President before the age of 30. Developing leadership competencies (see right) don’t happen overnight or even in a few years.  Marathon runners are known for superior endurance and mental toughness. Half of running a marathon (other than the 26.2 miles) is believing it can be done. Time must be devoted to training, learning how to crash through “the wall,” and sacrificing momentary pain for long-term accomplishment.

Recent hires need to work like this. Impress the person who hired you by showing a high level of commitment and ability to accomplish delegated tasks. It may seem tough to endure while wondering if that promotion is ever going to come. That is a mental block or wall to overcome. Stay focused on the task at hand. Gradually earn more responsibility as you train, ready to go the entire distance. Don’t be the one who stops halfway and hops on the bus for the easy ride back home.

How to Best Use Time as a Seasoned Veteran

As you develop leadership skills and are in a position to lead and help others, two of the best ways to use your time are to give back and to work with the right people.

  • 4. Give Back: To become a “seasoned veteran,” others had to help along the way. Devote time to the next generation of up-and-coming sports industry superstars. These superstars could be looking for internships, first-time jobs, or taking a step to further their careers. But one thing is the same: a knowledge transfer from a veteran is what will help pave the way for the superstar’s future success.
  • 5. Hire the Right People: There is no better way to spend time than building a highly functional team. The trick is to identify resources during one’s career that produce top talent either by coming up through a highly reputable organization (led by seasoned veterans) or college students who have been given a superstar skill set by their institutions. Once these areas have been identified, finding the right people becomes much more efficient. And with efficiency comes better productivity and more time to train – making the team that much better.

Time is Always Needed for This

Here are a few exercises to practice no matter what career stage.

  • 6. Say Thank You: Handwritten notes are still king because they take time to write. But, don’t neglect a verbal thank you, either. Whether in the office or over the phone, saying thank you preaches humility – which is also why this act should be done to subordinates as much as superiors.
  • 7. Learn More to Teach More: Take time to find your inner curiosity. Discover something new like learning HTML or attending an online seminar. Better yet, gain new knowledge and disseminate that knowledge amongst peers and coworkers. It doesn’t help anyone when knowledge is concealed.
  • 8. Call Your Family: Whether it’s a special occasion like Father’s Day or just the start of a new week or month, make a point to reach out to your family – especially Mom and Dad. They are, after all, the ultimate seasoned veterans.
  • 9. Find Your Happy Place: Everyone goes through difficult days where stress pops up in unforeseen ways. Powering through it some days may work but use these opportunities to “take a lap” around the office. With most teams, a lap means walking around the arena to clear the mind and refocus but it could also be in the form of a physical workout.

Cover photo courtesy of Jeff Davidson.

 

Network NOW with Sports Business Professionals in your City!

Network NOW with Sports Business Professionals in your City!
by Russell Scibetti – April 2015

#SBWeek is this week

Networking events are taking place around the world throughout the week of April 13th.  This is a great opportunity to come out and network with other sports business professionals that work or live in your area. All backgrounds are welcome, from those just starting out to industry veterans. The format of the evening is very casual – 2-3 hours of open networking over drinks with your industry peers. All of our events are listed on our Eventbrite page at thebusinessofsports.eventbrite.com, and each city will have its own direct link below.

JimmyVlogo-300x89Tickets for these events are $5 in advance or $10 at the door with 100% of this money being donated to The V Foundation for cancer research. We want to make it clear that we are not looking to make any money from these events. The goal is the same as it has always been – to help fellow members of the sports business community connect with one another. However, one of the best parts about working in this industry is how charitable it is and how sports can be used to support the community.

Here is the full list of participating cities, with links to each registration page (some still in progress).

U.S. Cities

International Cities

– See more at: http://www.thebusinessofsports.com/2015/02/12/sbweek-2015/#sthash.6cmi4U73.dpuf

Why the best teams and brands partner with academics

Why the best teams and brands partner with academics
by Kirk Wakefield – August 2014

Back in the early 1990’s, I started out with my Baseball Almanac contacting major and minor league teams to conduct research. Being at Ole Miss during that time, just an hour south of Memphis, I made quick friends with every pro franchise that came through town–among them the Memphis Chicks, Memphis MadDogs (CFL), Memphis Fire (USBL), and Memphis Redbirds, where I managed their fan research for three summers before leaving for Baylor in 2002.

During the ’90s, I recall a visit with a vice-president of marketing at a MLB team in the northeast about collaborating on fan research. He thought it was all very interesting, but said they weren’t interested because, “We already did one fan survey this year.”

Times have changed and MLBAM has taken the league and its teams to the front of the class in understanding its fans. However, one paradox I learned still holds today:

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The best organizations always want to know more and the struggling rarely want help.[/dropshadowbox]

Why do the best get better?

Derek Blake
Derek Blake

Everyone who’s read “Good to Great” knows that the best leaders have an intense drive coupled with humility. This combination is what makes any leader get better because first they want to and second they know they don’t have a corner on knowledge. Derek Blake, Vice President, Partnership Marketing, La Quinta Inns & Suites, demonstrates this kind of leadership. Derek shares how this plays out in working with educators,

Business today is always evolving and we want to be on the cutting edge.  Working with academics who are experts in a very specific field of study – like corporate partnerships – just makes sense.  By giving back to our educational institutions, we help build the foundation of who students become in the future and that’s where we all benefit.

Some of the greatest franchises in the world are literally right up or down the road from us here in Waco and they always want to learn more. Some might think the San Antonio Spurs have accomplished all they need to after five NBA titles and operating above 99% attendance capacity. But from the top to the bottom of that organization, they always want to get better and are always open to new ideas, new methods, and new approaches to satisfy and grow the fan base.

Eric Sudol
Eric Sudol

The Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most valuable franchise, but their executives never hesitate to explore new ideas and to partner with us on research and classroom projects. Eric Sudol, Sr. Director, Corporate Partnerships Sales & Service at Dallas Cowboys, adds, “Teams are always busy and we can save time and money by partnering with academics when our interests overlap with their research needs.”

Much the same can be said of Baylor’s other partners around the state, both corporate and sports organizations. Further, aggressive teams like the Padres, Browns, Chiefs, and Dolphins work with us to take an innovative partnership approach with corporate sponsors to provide valid measures of sponsorship returns.

Why (not) work with academics?

WCAI Partners
WCAI Partners

ESPN and the Sports Analytics Conference partner with MIT. Wharton’s Consumer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) works with a variety of corporate partners (see right) and also works with sports teams. Yet, some corporate and sports organizations are hesitant to engage with academics.

Hey, I get it, we’re a little weird. Some of us are a lot weird. There’s a reason the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is called a “nerdfest” and hosts a panel entitled, “Revenge of the Nerds.” But, for the fearful, here are three reasons you should work with academics:

  1. Focus. At research institutions like MIT, Wharton, and Baylor, faculty are experts in very specific fields. Aside from service responsibilities, typical workload is 50% research & 50% teaching. We spend 2-4 days a week, about 50 weeks a year, often for many years focused on finding out what’s new in one or two areas–which leads to the next point.
  2. Innovation. Academics are rewarded for publishing research. Research gets published (ideally) only when we learn something new. In contrast, syndicated research firms are rewarded for standardizing and commercializing past practices.
  3. Confidentiality. If you read the Sports Business Journal and popular press, you might think academics will want to publish the name of the team, the executives, and specific financial or customer data. In sharp contrast, academics do the opposite for two big reasons:
    1. Research is published when it’s generalizable to other situations. Sports is just the laboratory to study interesting phenomenon. We often don’t state the specific team or location because then someone would say it might not apply elsewhere.
    2. Research is based on the relationship between variables or fields in a data set–not the levels. In other words, we care about the relationship between X and Y, not the levels of X and Y. So, if you had data on fan demos and expenditures, we don’t care about the amounts–we care about how much variable X (e.g., tickets used) influences variable Y (e.g., renewals). What we report is the strength of relationships.
  4. Expense. What academics need most is data. If you can provide access to data, most academics will trade time for cool data. Obviously, our institutions and programs need support so we can conduct research and teach the future business leaders of the world. Partners understand that (e.g., WCAI, above), of course. But, essentially, all we need is access.

And we thank you for your support.

Got a Question? A New Idea? Ask the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) Forum!

Got a Question? A New Idea? Ask the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) Forum!
by Kirk Wakefield – May 2014

Post questions to the community

This month we introduce the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) forum where you can post questions to others in the community. We encourage you to ask others what works for them in the area of ticket sales, sponsorship sales & activation, sponsorship metrics, sales analytics, CRM, social media, digital media, or any other category in the area of sports business.

 [dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#F7D358″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Click here to visit the S3 Forum.[/dropshadowbox]

Offer ideas & feedback

One of the options in the forum is to select “Feedback” as the category. Use that category in the forum to post ideas for new articles, ask for help, or offer insights/comments on how we can improve our service to the sports sponsorship & sales industry. We’ll check regularly and follow-up with each idea or suggestion.

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The Three Power-People You Need on Your Team

The Three Power-People You Need on Your Team
by Dan Rockwell – January 2014

Editor’s Note: This post had over 1000 shares in the last 3 days on Dan’s website (http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/).


The enemy of success is isolation. The higher you go the easier isolation becomes, but, it’s a devastating problem at all levels of leadership.

Isolated leaders fear conspiracies and feel misunderstood. Worse yet, ivory-tower leaders resort to control through authority.

Us/them thinking destroys influence.

Defeat isolation and enhance success by developing a high-power inner circle.

Choose

Don’t take volunteers. Choose your inner circle.

Three people are enough. Six is too many and two is too few. You need a:

  1. Visionary who is never satisfied.
  2. Tender-heart who nurtures people.
  3. Doer who is fanatical about execution.

Note: Include at least one old and one young.

Strengths

  1. Hard working. Doers trump thinkers.
  2. Strong opinions and emotions. Lapdogs feel good but won’t take you far.
  3. Unflinching alignment with organizational values.
  4. Comfort saying no. Good manners are nice but not essential.
  5. Dedication to serve the organization before serving themselves.
  6. Strength to confront brutal facts.
  7. Openness to change.
  8. Loyalty.

Technical skills and experience are nice, but character comes first.

Weaknesses

You won’t find candidates who perfectly fit the bill. Weaknesses are strengths in disguise. Consider the:

  1. Impulsive.
  2. Judgmental.
  3. Fiery.
  4. Egotistical.

Recruit strong people. Hard to manage is better than easy.

Your job

  1. Create connections within the inner circle.
  2. Instigate creative tension.
  3. Honor their individual perspectives.
  4. Satisfy their fundamental concerns.
  5. Focus them on finding solutions.

Put your three people – visionary, tender-heart, and doer – together and shake them up. Help them butt heads. Design projects, programs, solutions, and vision that satisfies their individual perspectives.

Focus, ignite, and galvanize your inner circle and your organization will follow.

Jealous

Don’t worry about those who feel jealous of the inner three. But, don’t constantly huddle in public, either.

What qualities are essential for a high-powered inner circle? Tweet (@leadershipfreak) below or visit our Facebook page to offer your feedback.