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SBD/Issue 56/Sports Industrialists
What I Like... With Accrue Managing Dir Doug Perlman
Published December 4, 2008
|Accrue Sports & Entertainment
Ventures Managing Dir Doug Perlman
What I like in a business deal: I've always admired RUPERT MURDOCH's acquisition of NFL rights as a basis for the Fox network. Brilliant and bold use of sports content to build a broader business.
A story that bears watching: Post-Olympic China.
An insight: Friends and family have told us to enjoy our time with our children because it goes by quicker than you can imagine.
An influential person in my career: STEVE SOLOMON. As COO of the NHL, he pulled me out of the legal department and put me in a business role, gave me my entrée into the media business and showed me that one can be an effective negotiator and executive while maintaining terrific relationships. He continued to be a mentor after he left the NHL and, now, almost 15 years after we met, we are partners at Accrue.
An out-of-the-box idea: I recently saw a "60 Minutes" story about a person with no medical or scientific training who has pioneered a very promising cancer treatment using radio waves. As I watched the story, it struck me that his mind was not cluttered with preconceived notions or conventional wisdom, and that freed him to pursue his exciting research.
A timeless idea: Treat other people the way you want to be treated. As LISA [his wife] and I have told our boys, they'll usually know the right thing to do if they follow the golden rule.
A sports facility: Cameron Indoor Stadium. I know I'm biased, but it really is a special place.
A marketing idea: Like so many other people, I really like the "This Is SportsCenter" campaign. Some have been laugh-out-loud funny, and they effectively promote ESPN's flagship.
|Watch The Clip|
A print ad campaign: The old Sports Illustrated campaign, "What does it feel like ..."
A business solution: BOB IGER making some of Disney's highest-profile programming available on iTunes. Instead of resisting change, he embraced it. I think that was the tipping point for what has been the explosive growth of high-quality video online.
A strategy: DirecTV securing and retaining the exclusive rights to Sunday Ticket as an acquisition and retention tool. I admire they way they have kept it fresh by regularly adding new elements to the offering.
A hire: JOE GIRARDI. Long term, I think he's going to be great.
A brand: Coke. It's timeless and universal.
A trend: The industry recognizing that the distribution of content on new media platforms tends to drive TV ratings rather than decrease them.
An innovation: It's not an original thought, but I love TiVo. I was one of those annoying people who wouldn't stop talking about it when it first came out.
A business decision: CBS moving its March Madness streaming offering from a subscription model to an ad-supported one. It proved to be very lucrative, didn't hurt ratings and is the example so many others point to as sports content continues to move to new platforms.
A sports investment: The purchase of the Boston Celtics by WYC GROUSBECK and his ownership group and the speed with which they revamped the team and revitalized one of the great brands in sports.
A pro league business initiative: The NHL's outdoor games. They generate great buzz and help the NHL break through the clutter. By resisting the likely temptation to do more than one a year, the league has ensured that the games have maintained a big-event feel.
A college sports business initiative: IMG's entrance into college sports through its acquisition of CLC and Host. There is still a lot of upside in the college space.
A decision-maker: My wife.
An idea I wish I had thought of: YouTube.
A fantasy job: Fiction writer.
What I like about my job: My partners and colleagues. We have built a great team at Accrue that is focused on winning while having some fun. I also like the variety of entrepreneurs and businesses I get to deal with and the fact that the company is ours. We are driving the agenda and will ultimately be responsible for its success or failure.
Sports: The continuity across generations. My father took my brother and me to Yankee Stadium the night REGGIE JACKSON hit three home runs in a World Series game. [This year], we took our three boys (who are close to the same age my brother and I were that night) to the last game at Yankee Stadium, and they got to see Reggie take his place in right field during the pre-game ceremony. It was a special night.
Sports business: It's an exciting industry and, more importantly, it is intellectually stimulating and challenging -- particularly given the pace of innovation in the media space.
Sports media: It's often at the cutting edge of innovation. So many breakthroughs in media have emerged from the world of sports, and I think we'll continue to see that happen. There is no other type of content about which people are so passionate. It attracts desirable audiences, it is constantly refreshed, it is time sensitive, etc.
Pro sports: Game 7s -- in anything.
|Perlman Feels March Madness'
Format Provides Drama Every Year
Competing in this business: At Accrue it will be very easy to keep score. Our investments will be successful or not -- no room for spin.
The future or direction of sports business: Advances in technology are going to continue to make life better for the sports fan: higher-quality video, exciting mobile applications, coverage of more and more events, opportunities to offer opinions and engage in debate, next generation fantasy games, virtual worlds and ticketing options. The future is very exciting for sports fans, and that makes for good business.
What I would like to change: The perception of the sports industry by people who don't appreciate the complexity or significance of the business.
See different: I have no idea how to do it, but I would love for people to be able to introduce their children to the world of sports without inevitably exposing them to things like steroids, player misconduct off the field, etc.
Reinvent: The wheel.
Reintroduce: The glowing puck. It was a great innovation before its time. It debuted almost 15 years ago, and I'm always amazed at how often people bring it up.
Eliminate: Flopping in any sport.
Continue: The use of instant replay to help officials ensure that the right call is made.
See more of: Sports-themed documentaries from HBO.
What I don't like in general: Waiting. Patience is not my greatest virtue.
Pet peeve: People who are often wrong but never in doubt.
In sports: When announcers or athletes refer to their particular sport as "a game of inches" following a close play. Every sport is a game of inches.
In business: Short-term thinking.
In journalism: The bias that inevitably creeps into reporting. Sometimes it's subtle, but it's often significant.
In sports business: The fact that one's business interests inevitably affect one's rooting interests. It gets very hard to simply be a fan.
In sports media: Sports stories that get beat to death with too much redundant coverage. Unfortunately it's the same with political and other types of news these days.
In sports marketing: When the clutter created by too many sponsors detracts from the value of powerful marketing opportunities. A limited number of sponsors paying higher fees is often the more effective approach.
In sports facilities: Parking facilities that inevitably leave you sitting in a traffic jam after leaving a game.
About my job: Telling an entrepreneur that we won't be investing in his or her company. It is always a difficult conversation.
What I like above all else: My family.
That would surprise those who know me: I'm an ace at "Brady Bunch" trivia.
About myself: That I've been able to maintain a healthy work/life balance and that my wife and kids would agree (I think).
|Federer One Of Perlman's
All-Time Favorite Athletes
Players: WALTER PAYTON, DR. J, BO JACKSON and ROGER FEDERER.
Teams: Duke, Yankees, Giants, Rangers.
City: New Orleans.
Possession: I'm pretty excited about the new plasma my wife just got me for my birthday.
Memento: A pocket watch that my grandfather received as a high school graduation present in 1922. He pawned it to buy a train ticket to Shreveport for his first real job and was able to buy it out of hock months later. He gave it to me when I was graduating from law school and about to start my first job under very different circumstances.
Time of year: Summer.
Music: Classic rock.
Books: "The Prince of Tides," "The Bonfire of the Vanities," "The Great Gatsby" and "The World Is Flat."
Magazines: SI, ESPN, Forbes, Newsweek and lots of trades.
Newspapers: I read the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today every weekday. Time to read is one of the few benefits of a long commute.
Web sites: I check out most of the major sports, news and business sites. To my suprise, I'm also spending time on Facebook.
Blogs: Paid Content and Tech Crunch.
Authors: PAT CONROY, TOM WOLFE, THOMAS FRIEDMAN, FRANK DEFORD.
Ideas: Tide stain remover.
Gadgets: Blackberry, iPod, TiVo -- the standards.
Hobbies: Work and family take up most of my time, but I'm trying to get my tennis game back in shape and hoping to figure out golf.
Trips: Greece and Italy with my wife; Longboat Key and LBI with our family.
Movies: "Animal House" and "The Godfather."
|Perlman Has Seen Springsteen
In Concert Many Times
Concerts: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN many times.
Food: Chinese food.
Dessert: Homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Drink: Blanton's Bourbon.
Vacation spots: Santorini, Greece, and Lake Como, Italy.
Singer: ELVIS PRESLEY.
Quote: "In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king."