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SBD/Issue 150/Sports Industrialists
What I Like... With Harlem Globetrotters CEO Kurt Schneider
Published April 23, 2009
What I like in an insight: Kept information is not power; shared knowledge is success.
An influential person in my career: VINCE MCMAHON. There is no better promoter on Earth, and he knows how to elicit an emotional response from an audience.
A timeless idea: Freedom of speech.
A business deal: Disney buying ABC and getting ESPN.
A sports facility: The recently demolished Shea Stadium.
A business decision: Fox acquiring the NFL rights.
A marketing idea: Under Armour's "authentic sports" positioning.
A TV ad campaign: ESPN's "This is SportsCenter."
A trend: Sponsors looking for grassroots, family-oriented, wholesome value brands.
An innovation: Bluetooth.
A pro league or team business initiative: The NBA's push into China.
A decision-maker: RUPERT MURDOCH.
A story that bears watching: Ticketmaster and LiveNation merger.
An idea I wish I had thought of: The hole in the airplane napkin so you can button it onto your shirt.
A fantasy job: NFL Commissioner.
My job: Everyone loves the Globetrotters and everyone has a Globetrotter story. Who can't smile when they hear "Sweet Georgia Brown?"
My industry: Every day we all sell sports and aim to sell more sports. It is so easy to be passionate about what we do and have fun while doing it.
Sports: Team sports teach all the business fundamentals: planning, execution and harnessing individual talents into a seamless unit with a common goal.
Sports media: Individual subjectivity and passion usually find their way into reporting, and that is refreshing.
Sports technology: Innovations (e.g., oversized tennis rackets, tri-walled softball bats, etc.) allow people to perform at higher levels than ever before, bringing more people into sports.
Pro sports: Unbelievable athletes performing at the highest levels possible.
College sports: Purity of sport and rawness of emotions.
Competing: Everything. Competition peels back all pretense and brings out the true essence of a person. Endorphins feel good.
Sports fans: They are passion incarnate.
What I would like to see: Dartmouth win the BCS title game.
See more of: Laughter everywhere.
See less of: Close-mindedness.
See more of in sports: More focus on pure amateurism in scholastic sports.
See less of in sports: Celebrations on-field for just doing your job. Do I need to see someone doing a special dance because he deflected a three-yard down-and-out?
See less of in sports business: Exorbitant ticket prices.
See different: Paperless ticketing.
Reintroduce: Whitewall tires.
Eliminate: Beer with built-in lime flavor.
What I don't like in general: People with a sense of entitlement who have not done anything to deserve it.
Pet peeve: How people rely exclusively on e-mail to do business. Stop telling me you e-mailed the person. Pick up the phone and call him or her.
About college sports: No playoffs in college football.
In business: Hidden agendas. Every good negotiation ends with a win-win, so put it all out on the table. You can always walk away.
In sports business: Becoming too much about business and less about sports.
In media: The declining number of newspapers and print outlets, and those outlets remaining that are cutting back on generating their own unique coverage of local teams and sports. Fewer outlets and writers means less coverage for all properties, and it's the local fans who lose.
About sports fans: When they forget that sports are supposed to be fun and entertaining.
People that I like: My wife and two sons.
What I like that would surprise those who know me: I was an Eagle Scout.
About myself: My optimism and enthusiasm for life.
Hero: My grandfather.
Possession: A sterling silver cocktail shaker that was my great grandfather's and has his initials on it.
Music: 1970s classic rock and NEIL DIAMOND in his "Sweet Caroline" days.
Books: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Crossing to Safety," "1776," "All the Pretty Horses," "The Dharma Bums," "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World."
Chores: Grocery shopping. I love our local market.
Hobbies: Summer softball league, winter paddle tennis league, skiing.
Trip: The Galápagos Islands.
Movies: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Graduate," "The Jerk," "Fletch," "Witness for the Prosecution."
TV: "Mad Men" and "Family Guy."
Artists: JASPER JOHNS, MARK ROTHKO, RENE MAGRITTE.
Food: New York strip steak, broccoli rabe, risotto.
Dessert: Key lime pie.
Drink: Hendrick's gin martini straight up and very dry.
Vacation spots: Vermont, the Rockies, anyplace in Europe.
Quotes: "Every morn brought forth a noble chance. And every chance brought forth a noble knight" -- CHURCHILL quoting TENNYSON. "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly" -- ROBERT F. KENNEDY. Anything by DOROTHY PARKER.