Is integrity in sports sales a problem?

Is integrity in sports sales a problem?
by Wade Graf – February 2013

Hundreds, even thousands, apply for any ticket sales position opening, flooding LinkedIn, PBEO and Teamwork Online  with resumes and contacts trying anything to break in.

Some fly to the Baseball Winter Meetings or various sports sales combines in hopes of speaking to any hiring manager willing to listen. If fortunate enough to grab entry-level positions in inside sales, they soon realize they have a very short time period to prove worthy ticket sellers.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”350px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”.5″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]

Three Takeaways:
• Form good habits and practices early in your career.
• Never compromise morals or integrity in order to get ahead.
• Promotions aren’t always awarded to the top revenue generator. Integrity, teamwork and work ethic are other key components in taking the next step in your career.[/dropshadowbox]

Entry level sales positions are often part-time or limited periods (6-12 months) before the next batch of recruits invade the cubicles. Reps compete in revenue generation to earn a full time position with the team. In this pressurized competitive situation, inexperienced reps may look for any way possible to succeed.

Habits learned early in your career not only stay with you; they grow and intensify on a daily basis. It is incredibly important new ticket salespeople understand there is more to their jobs than just generating the most revenue possible. Sure, managers want and need to fill the seats through season tickets and nightly suites, but that’s not all that matters.

Does integrity count?

Outstanding sales reps don’t compromise integrity trying to make sales or earn promotions. Being a standout sales representative is not:

  • taking a 16-digit credit card number or check, then ignoring the client over the entire course of the season.
  • achieved by holding a great seat location from your co-workers until you find just the right individual or company who will buy them from you.
  • earned by trying to sell to a company your teammate has been talking to for months or by hiding a sale in the client’s brother’s ticket account.

Just one episode of taking another representative’s sale can tarnish that representative’s image. Months or even years of great work can come crashing down over one moral compromise.

Jason Fortune, Season Ticket Manager with the Texas Rangers, explains,

Jason Fortune

“As long as you  maintain your integrity and make the right decisions, you will always have a chance to earn a promotion. Always remember that sales reps who cut corners and ‘cheat’ the system will not last long with any organization. The recipe for success is simple: Come in, work hard every day surpassing expectations, never compromise your integrity, and eventually your hard work will pay off.”

Katie Morgan, CRM and Database Manager with the Texas Rangers, notes the effects acting with integrity has on potential promotions:

Katie Morgan
Katie Morgan

“Gaining the respect of your peers is one of the most beneficial things within the sports industry and also one of the most critical. Maintaining working relationships with those around you will help with day to day tasks. But, more importantly, those who earn respect and work well with others catch a manager’s eye when looking to potentially promote.”

Are you a great teammate?

Being a great teammate and helping the person you are competing with to earn the promotion is just as important as being on top of the sales board. Giving great customer service and showing customers around for an hour in the stadium means just as much to the organization as making ten more calls in order to earn the next sale.

When looking to promote from within the organization, season ticket or suite managers don’t always pick the leader on the sales board. They want those who can sell, but also those who provide superior customer service, have great moral standards, and represent the organization well each and every day. Remember it’s a team sport, both on the field and in the office.


Structuring corporate partnership departments to serve and sell

Structuring corporate partnership departments to serve and sell
by Tyler Epp – February 2013

Service or new sales first?

Every franchise experiencing a significant internal leadership change or external threat like the recent recession sees an immediate focus on new revenue.

Understandably, new corporate partners are often expected in order to reconcile revenue projections made during the sales process of a franchise or to deal with a down economy.  A short-term push to add partners can be successful, but must be balanced with providing long-term service and performance. In an informal poll across counterparts in the NFL, MLB,  & NBA, approximately 80% of corporate partnership annual revenue comes from current partners and renewals.

Wendy Morris, Vice President, Team Sponsorship Development for the NBA, shares,

“We see the biggest growth come from companies already working with our teams.  As a result, we’re seeing teams move to a more sophisticated approach to activation and investing in activation staff with brand and agency backgrounds.  Partners are looking to our teams to serve as an extension of their marketing team and expect us to be proactive in providing creative activation ideas, insights to drive their business and measurement to show success.”

In short, our first priority must be to take care of the companies already invested in our franchises.  The revenue from up-selling a current partner counts the same as revenue from a new partner.

Pier Bar at Petco Park
Pier Bar at Petco Park

Renewals: Service or sales?

The people who (a) build the relationship with partner, (b) take the time to understand the company’s objectives, and (c) solve  fulfillment problems should be involved in renewals. Since our role is to produce revenue, all members, with few exceptions, should have revenue goals.

If we trust Cindy or Carl to manage a $1M, 5-year relationship with Ford, do we not trust Cindy or Carl enough to renew the business?   If the job is done properly, Ford would certainly prefer to work through the renewal with Cindy or Carl than someone who sold the deal through 5 years ago.  New Business people should be focused on New Business – not on keeping the relationship with a current partner “warm” until they need to be hit up for a renewal.

Know Your Personnel

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”curled” width=”200px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Every Sunday afternoon NFL fans yell at the coach for obvious mistakes: “Why would we pass on 3rd and 1?” “Why is he returning punts?” Chants of “Te-bow” ring out after a mistake from Mark Sanchez. As fans, poor personnel management drives us crazy. But, are our sponsorship departments around the leagues managed properly?[/dropshadowbox]

Do we have the right people in the right places?

If you are dealing with a company based in Dallas for three generations and your staff has a Dallas native who sets his body clock on the Red River Rivalry, should you think about that person to manage this business?  Buck the trend of separating beer partners to avoid conflict.  Instead, assign the right person to truly understand the business and know everything there is to know about beer.  MillerCoors and Budweiser will quickly forget about any potential conflict once they realize they are working with someone who knows their business as well as they do.


It is probably good to remember the words  my high school prom date was clearly not familiar with:  “Dance with the one who brung you.”

Current partners invested in our franchises.  Take care of them.  Learn about their business.  Help measure their investment.  Be a good partner.

Chances are your franchise doesn’t get 100% of their advertising or marketing spend, so there’s upside with nearly all current partners. If they spend so much that the upside isn’t significant, then you certainly owe them a fully integrated and fantastic program.

Corporate partnership departments should not be built on sales people creating “books of business.” The mission should be to build a team of people to collectively sell and service a partner’s investment.  Potential partners will appreciate that you spend more time on the partners you have than chasing new business. In a funny way, your investment in your current partners is the best way to grow new business.

Opening Day, Petco Park
Opening Day, Petco Park



Welcome to the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) Report

Welcome to the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) Report
by Kirk Wakefield – January 2013

Join the S3 Community to:

Participate: Join the discussion on our LinkedIn group: Click here.[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#F5F6CE” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Content Categories:

  • Selling Sports: tickets, experiences, sponsorships, premium/VIP
  • Leadership: Leadership Freak and guest columns
  • S3 Spotlight  on alumni and board members[/dropshadowbox]

Access: All current month articles are available for those in the S3 Community. Click here to join. All archives from previous issues are open access.

Share. The purpose of the Sports Sponsorship & Sales (S3) community is to share best practices with each other. Content is written by members of the sports industry to share with the industry. Share freely! If you have content ideas, please contact the editor (

Network. The S3 Advisory Board and contributors are among the most respected in the business of professional sports. Join our community (free) and connect with leaders and learners in the industry.

Spread the word. More great content is coming from the Baylor S3 Advisory Board & our partners at Baylor University. Click on members’ names to view their LinkedIn profiles.

Team/Organization S3 Report Contributor See their 2013 posts in:
MLB: New York Yankees Dan Rosenthal May
MLB: New York Yankees Nick Forro July
MLB: Philadelphia Phillies Derek Schuster February
MLB: San Diego Padres Eric McKenzie June
MLB: San Diego Padres Jeremy Walls December
MLB: San Diego Padres Tyler Epp February and December
MLB: Texas Rangers Jason Fortune September
MLB: Texas Rangers Katie Morgan September
MLB: Texas Rangers Wade Graf February
MLS: FC Dallas Kris Katseanes October
MLS: Houston Dynamo Bryan Kraham April and November
NBA: Atlanta Hawks Corey Breton April
NBA: Atlanta Hawks Mitch Ried November
NBA: Charlotte Bobcats Chris Zeppenfeld June
NBA: Charlotte Bobcats Flavil Hampsten March
NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers Damion Chatmon December
NBA: Dallas Mavericks George Killebrew October
NBA: Dallas Mavericks Jeff Brown August
NBA: League Office (TEAMBO) Murray Cohn January and February
NBA: Orlando Magic Jamie Weinstein August
NBA: Phoenix Suns Bob Hamer March
NBA: Washington Wizards Jake Reynolds July
NBA:Philadelphia Sixers Charles Johnson February
NBDL: Texas Legends Bill Boyce January
NBDL: Texas Legends Drew Mitchell June
NFL: Denver Broncos Chris Faulkner April
NFL: Houston Texans Greg Grissom August
NFL: New York Jets Russell Scibetti November
NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ben Milsom March
NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets Drew Ribarchak May
NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets Jeff Eldersveld August
NHL: Dallas Stars Brad Alberts December
NHL: Dallas Stars Matt Bowman October
NHL: LA Kings (LA Galaxy) Kelly Cheeseman September
NHL: Los Angeles Kings/AEG Aaron LeValley April
NHL: New Jersey Devils Eric Kussin June
NHL: New Jersey Devils Krissy Keen (S3 ’09) November
NHL: Phoenix Coyotes Ken Troupe February
Racing: Feld Entertainment Ryan McSpadden July
University: ASU Rocky Harris April and December
University: Baylor Brian George July
University: IMG College Shane Hildreth May
University: Temple Todd Pollock (S3 ’06) December
Academy Sports + Outdoors Anita Sehgal February
American Airlines Dawn Turner May
AT&T Bill Moseley March
BAV Consulting Anne Rivers January and June
Chevrolet Steve Flynn July
Fathom Delivers Steve Kessen October
Fox Sports San Diego Wayne Guymon January and October
JGraydon Sports John Burnett
Leadership Freak Dan Rockwell Monthly
Legends Hospitality George Manias September
MediaLink Eric Fernandez July
Pizza Hut Lynda Carrier Metz November
Reliant Energy Tom Hughes September
The Marketing Arm Bill Glenn April and August
Website Alive Bryan Apgar (S3 ’08) May


S3 Board Member Spotlight: Kris Katseanes, FC Dallas

S3 Board Member Spotlight: Kris Katseanes, FC Dallas
by Travis Martin – January 2013

Kris Katseanes, Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service for FC Dallas, has been an invaluable member of the S3 Advisory Board. Because of Kris’ leadership and willingness to mentor the careers of young people entering the profession, Baylor’s S3 program annually places interns and new employees with FC Dallas.

Kris Katseanes
Kris Katseanes

Each fall semester Katseanes visits the Baylor campus to interview S3 students for internships the following summer. For most juniors this is the first real interview with a team. Katseanes helps calm the tension as students walk into the one-on-one interviews. As with other on-campus interviews with board members, students meet with the S3 Program Director, Dr. Darryl Lehnus, to help learn for the next interview.

All the students who meet with Mr. Katseanes quickly learn about his opinion of the value of hard work. His strong work ethic was instilled in him since he was a boy. Growing up on a potato farm, hard work was the only way to go when your day starts at 4:00 am.

One demonstration of this kind of dedication came one afternoon when Katseanes found inefficiencies in the team’s database. Salespeople were wasting time and it was clear the system needed organizing. Since the team did not have a specific person assigned to the database, Katseanes took it upon himself to work from 7:00 pm that night to 7:00 am to clean up the leads in the system. This not only helped them gain more sales, but gained admiration around the office for making everyone’s life easier.

Along with integrity and networking, work ethic represents part of the Baylor S3 W-I-N acronym instilled in students. Katseanes believes we reap what we sow and luck finds people who work hard. For young professionals, the best way to improve your career is to volunteer for anything and everything. This puts you ahead of the person next to you and gets you noticed by the right people.

“But, you have to be careful,” Katseanes says. “I see young professionals always looking to the next step so much that they can’t be content with the current. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, so find a place where you can be happy.”

Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Strategic Planning FC Dallas
Kelly Weller

“He’s fair, creative, solution and result oriented,” said Kelly Weller, Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Strategic Planning with FC Dallas. “Everyone has a chance to succeed with him.  They are given all the tools, resources and time to perform their best to not only hit their individual goals, but to help achieve the overall objectives of the company.  He’s one of a kind in my book!”

Katseanes loves working with the S3 program because of the leadership the program offers to its students. At FC Dallas, Katseanes has developed a leadership development program that helps employees set written goals with measurable results and deadlines. Katseanes enjoys working with the the S3 professors and S3 graduates, because the emphasis is on preparing to enter a career and not just get a job.

How to change behaviors of salespeople

by Dan Rockwell – January 2013

As manager, your job is bringing out the best in others by the way you interact with them. Well timed, well executed conversations change people’s lives. Poorly timed, unprepared conversations damage the individual salesperson and the team who interacts with him or her.

First: Determine and affirm aspirations and goals.

Never have conversations about an individual’s life, strengths, weaknesses, or potential until you understand their hopes and dreams.

People open their hearts to people who understand their hearts.

Second: Explore strengths and weaknesses in the context of aspirations.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Top Three Takeaways

  1. Well timed, well executed conversations change people’s lives.
  2. If people see you as being too critical it’s because you press on the negatives and don’t express the positives.
  3. Craft strategies with them not for them.



What strengths propel you toward fulfilling your dream? What weaknesses hinder progress?
Which strengths are most useful to taking the next step?
Which weaknesses are most detrimental to forward movement?

Third:  Address negatives without being a downer.

If you’re addressing weaknesses, try two questions at once. “What behaviors and qualities will enhance your progress and what qualities and behaviors will hinder your success?” Always address negatives in the context of positives.

If people see you as being too critical it’s because you press on the negatives and don’t express the positives.

Affirm strengths by explaining practical benefit and positive potential. Address weakness by exploring how they hinder aspirations.

Use positive qualities as foundations to discuss behaviors that need improvement. For example, if you’re having conversations with a goal oriented person. Open the “you need improvement” part of the conversation by asking, “A goal oriented person may walk on others, how might that be true of you?”

Jay Miller

Fourth: Craft strategies with them not for them.

After they identify strengths and weaknesses, craft strategies that better move them forward with them. You may feel you know the best answer but they must find their own. Embrace their journey.

Fifth: Focus more on positives than negatives.

If you bring something up that creates frustration or anger, pull back. But, know that anger indicates it matters. Touch the topic at another time. They just aren’t ready to deal with it yet.

Discuss with your sales team

Jay Miller, Executive Vice President for the Texas Rangers, says, “People buy from people they like and trust. The way I show salespeople how that works is take them with me on sales calls. Then the salesperson is open to listening and wants to learn. That’s when I have the chance to have the kinds of conversations to change people’s lives, to really help them. Now  they like and trust me—and they’ll buy what I’m saying to them.”

If  managers only criticize, will anybody be buying what they’re selling?

How do you have conversations that move people forward?

What types of conversations haven’t worked for you in the past?

The 2012 S3 Board Meeting: In Pictures

The 2012 S3 Board Meeting: In Pictures
by Kirk Wakefield – October 2012

The 2012 S3 Board Meeting kicked off on Tuesday afternoon (October 16) with the Ultimate Sales Panel, led by Murray Cohn from the NBA office. Yes, that’s Haley Hosch, our superstar 2007 S3 graduate.

The Ultimate S3 Sales Panel (2012)

If you’re going to make a good first impression, you have to have a walk-up song.

What's your walk-up song?
S3 majors all learn to have a memorable elevator speech.

The 2012 S3 Banquet

…attracted over 40 executives from dozens of teams and corporate partners. Ian McCaw, Baylor’s Athletic Director, was the guest speaker, explaining five ways the business of NCAA sports are becoming more like professional sports. S3 students spent the night visiting with board members at the tables.

Guest speaker Ian McCaw, Baylor Athletic Director, Dr. Darryl Lehnus & his wife Wanda, and Matt DiFibo.
The John Burnett Show
The Murray Cohn Table
The Bill Moseley & Bill Spicer Table


The Eric Fernandez Table


The Most Executives Table: Dawn Turner, Tyler Epp, George Killebrew, Joe Clark, Flavil Hampsten and S3 Students
The Dan Rosenthal Table
The Most S3 Alumni Table: Bryan Apgar, Drew Mitchell, Mike Vogelaar,and Brian George. Supervised by Mark Smith (Rockets).
The 800-Pound Gorilla Table
The Jon Heidtke Table

 Wednesday’s board meeting included great panels and presentations.

Winners of the AT&T Challenge, Cody Sandhoff, Brian Bauer, Tally Blair, and Olivia Rogers present their sponsorship activation ideas for the Dallas Stars.
Pardon the Sponsor Interruption: Wayne Guymon, Lynda Carrier-Metz, Dawn Turner, and George Killebrew respond to challenging issues with moderator Tyler Epp.
Eric Fernandez moderates the panel on the role of Digital & Social Media Strategy in sports with Brian George, Bill Moseley, and Dave Evans.
In the afternoon, all S3 majors interviewed with teams and corporate partners for summer internships (juniors) and jobs (seniors). Dan Rosenthal of the New York Yankees was a popular stop for students like S3 junior Amy Leinart.