How long does it take to get to top of the business side in sports? We researched how many years from graduation to making it as CEOs or Presidents, and CIOs (or equivalent), among MLB teams.
Quarter of a Century
The average time from leaving school to first stepping into the role for the 27 CEO’S and 21 CIO’S included in our study was 25.4 years for CEOs and 17.69 years for CIOs. CEOs in MLB make a livable wage, typically into the seven-figure range.
The range was 13 to 46 years for CEOs and 3 to 34 for CIOs. Stan Kastan took 13 years to get to the top of the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Ron Fowler of the San Diego Padres took the longer route (46 years). In technology, Corey Kmichik of the Milwaukee Brewers, reached the CIO spot in 3 years and Don Brown of the Chicago White Sox took 34 years.
We also wanted to visualize where these major players received their education. As you can tell from the following the large majority did come from D1 level schools for both CEO’s and CIO’S.
Proportion of D1, D2 and D3 schools for each path.
We found a few interesting facts about the types of degrees that these leaders received. All CEO’s have bachelor’s degrees, but the spread of degree type is more varied than CIO. You have anything from psychology and American history to business and economics. Some CEO’s have MBA degrees, with one from Harvard and one from Wharton. Of the CIO’S, seven of the 29 have master’s degrees. The majority of the bachelor’s degrees are in engineering, with a few in MIS and computer science. There is even one CIO, Scott Swist, that has only a high school diploma and a lot of technical experience.
If you want to be a CEO the chances are higher if you have a law degree and come from a D1 school. To become a CIO, engineering degrees from a good school is a likely starting point, but other paths exist to get to the top of tech.
A passionate fan devotes heart, mind, body, and soul to the team. The consequences of a passionate fan base are increased ticket, media, merchandise and sponsorship revenue to the team.
But what are the antecedents to fan passion? What causes fans to be passionate?
Researching passion across thousands of fans and all major sports, we can now explain the vast majority (~75%) of the WHY fans are passionate for a particular team and not a fan of another team. Teams become popular when it becomes part of CULTURE.
In Chicago, “Cubs fans are part of a special group; the best fans in baseball who get to call the best place to watch baseball their home, Wrigley Field,” explains Colin Faulkner, Vice President, Ticket Sales & Service with the Cubs. The experience fans get at Wrigley make it cool to be a Cubs fan and it provides a positive identity for fans. It’s become part of the Chicago culture.
[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Fan passion is based on the team’s CULTURE:
Cool: Is the team cool, original, and different from other teams? Unique: Does the team occupy a distinct space in the sports marketplace based on their exclusive logo, brand name, and singular quality, design, colors or style? Love: Do fans love the players on the team? Are fans emotionally attached to players? Trust: Do fans trust the organization running the team to be dependable, competent, responsive, and to act with integrity? Utility: For what fans get for what they give up in time, effort, and money, what is the value of a ticket to a game? Relationships: What does the image of the team say about fans to others? Does following the team bring social approval? Experiential: Does the game environment allow fans to enjoy the experience and entertainment? Does the game experience build evangelists for the team?[/dropshadowbox]
We can score and rank teams on how strong the CULTURE is for teams in their markets. This data offers marketing diagnostics for teams and quantifies value for brands evaluating sponsorships.
We took a sample of 430 students at Baylor University to measure their passion for professional teams in Texas. Given our location 90 minutes away, students are biased toward DFW teams.1
1. Fan perceptions of team performance doesn’t necessarily predict passion. Students accurately see the Texans as one of the best performing teams and the Astros the worst, but this doesn’t correspond with how passionate they are about these teams. In fact, once we statistically account for the other elements of CULTURE, performance doesn’t help explain fan passion at all.
2. The Cowboys have not performed particularly well on the field in the past 15 years. Why are they so popular? Because they effectively position themselves as a cool, unique franchise with an exciting game experience. They have become part of the CULTURE.
3. The Spurs are frequently recognized as one of the best run franchises. While these students have a bias toward the DFW teams, they recognize the trust fans have in the Spurs organization.
4. The utility–or perceived value–of ticket prices is closely related to fan passion and the experience at the game. The true value of tickets is never a matter of cost, but always a matter of passion and past experiences.
What can teams do to build a CULTURE of passionate fans? Next month we’ll discuss, among other things, how organizations can build passionate fans by upgrading the experience and developing coolness.
“At Penn State football, if you missed the awesome touchdown catch, no worries. Pull out your smartphone and watch as many times as you want from multiple angles,” explains Mike Birdsall, FanConnex. “Don’t want to wait in line for food? At Stanford you can order food from your seat and receive a text when it’s ready to pick up at a special express window.”
1 Survey was taken the week prior to the Rangers falling out of first place.