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SBD/January 27, 2011/People and Pop Culture
What I Like... With U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association's Andrew Judelson
Published January 27, 2011
What I like about an insight: Put the fan/consumer first and the rest will fall into place.
An influential person in my career: 1) ALEX NIEROTH (founder of Clarion Marketing & Communication and Velocity): Gave a kid (me) coming out of b-school a shot to break into this business 18 years ago; 2) TIM KELLY (CEO, Network Solutions) and MARK FORD (President, Time Inc. News & Sports Group): Tremendous professional success and they have never, ever changed who they are to conform to executive stereotype; 3) GARY BETTMAN and BILL DALY (commissioner/deputy commissioner, NHL): Laser focus and unwavering commitment to save the NHL (CBA negotiation) for the fans and the betterment of all the stakeholders, including the players.
An out-of-the-box idea: Trust, honesty and transparency in business.
A timeless idea: Hard work and leading by example. Nothing beats grinding it out and showing your team you're willing to commit and sacrifice.
A business deal: Comcast acquisition of NBC/Universal Sports. "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" will now have a formidable competitor. Will make everyone better.
A sports facility: "The World's Most Famous Arena!" -- Madison Square Garden (and the renovation isn't even done yet).
A sports event: World Cup (soccer, or should I say fútbol). It has the ability to stop Civil Wars, enough said. Audi Birds of Prey men's downhill. Opening round of the U.S. Open (tennis).
A strategy: NBC Sports' NFL flex schedule. Simply brilliant that NBC got this done.
A hire: Whoever hired GEORGE BODENHEIMER in 1981 to a fledging sports cable start-up in Bristol, Conn.
A brand: Nike: Defines a way of life. Disney: Defines childhood joy in an ageless way whether you're 7 or 70 years old. Google: It is a verb.
An innovation: Wi-Fi on airplanes. Ability to communicate real time and do business 37,000 feet over Iowa. Pretty cool. Then again, "Big Brother" can always find you.
A pro league or team business initiative: NHL Winter Classic. Not the idea, as it has been on paper for 15 years, but their ability to get it done and have it matter.
A story that bears watching: 1) IOC domestic broadcast rights negotiation; 2) Labor (NFL/NBA), pass the popcorn!
What I like about my job: The opportunity to call a chairlift my office.
Sports: It creates "community" and brings together people in a passionate manner and allows young, old, rich, poor, conservative and liberal to forget who they are and be one.
Sports business: The people and lifelong friendships I have made. While we compete like hell, we also come together as an industry to support important causes (i.e, March of Dimes).
Sports media: Our industry is at the forefront of what I call the "Fan First Manifesto." Giving consumers what they want, when they want it, where they want it and how they want it.
Sports technology: The technology that supports the challenge and instant replay in professional tennis. It is immediate, transparent, decisive (and the fan is involved).
The future (or direction) of sports business: So much opportunity for growth and innovation.
What I would like to change: Our country's response to Hurricane Katrina.
Change in what I do: Less travel. Not likely, but might as well throw it out there.
See: My two sons doing the "pizza pie" wedge this winter on our beautiful Utah ski mountains.
See more of in sports: Dynasties. Does not happen due to player movement, but something that we should strive for.
See more of in sports business: Giving back as an industry.
See less of in sports business: BS and rhetoric.
Eliminate: The DH in baseball. Why is it the pitcher shouldn't hit? Truly, it makes no sense.
What I don't like in general: Mayonnaise. It freaks me out.
In sports: Franchise free agency. I understand the economic reasons why (and the business realities), but from a fan, community goodwill and civic pride perspective, it hurts. No one wins in the long run.
In business: Rhetoric and spin.
About sports fans: Fair weather fans. You should need to sign a lifelong contract with your favorite clubs by sport. Also, it is illogical to have more than one favorite club by sport.
What I like in people: Loyalty and diversity.
That would surprise those who know me: Not a day goes by that I don't think about 9/11/01.
Above all else: My family and friends.
About myself: That I have built trusting, lifelong friendships with my former/current bosses (Alex Nieroth, GORDON KANE, MIKE GOFF, Tim Kelly, Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, ED HORNE, Mark Ford and now BILL MAROLT).
Heroes: All the men and women who serve (and have served) in our Armed Forces.
Players: MARK MESSIER, JOHN MCENROE, LARRY CSONKA, DAN MARINO, PHIL MAHRE.
Teams: Miami Dolphins (and yes, I pop a bottle of bubbly ever year when each of the 32 clubs in the NFL lose at least one game).
City: New Orleans. Went to graduate school at Tulane and just love that town!
Possession: My two beautiful little boys, WILDER (4) and DYLAN (2).
Memento: "Tombstones" from many of the high-yield deals my father (who is deceased) did during a very successful career at Morgan Stanley. A self-made man who came from a very modest economic background to help build an industry (high yield or "junk bonds") in the 1980s.
Books: "A Confederacy of Dunces," "Decision Points."
Authors: All over the place. ERNEST HEMINGWAY to STEPHEN AMBROSE to F. SCOTT FITZGERALD to whoever writes the headlines of the New York Post.
Magazines: Sports Illustrated.
Web sites: CNN.com, WSJ.com, ESPN.com, USSkiTeam.com/USSnowboarding.com.
Gadgets: My Garmin running watch. It keeps me honest.
Hobbies: Training, running, mountain biking and hockey (I'm horrible, but love it).
Trips: The Tram at Snowbird after 18 inches "dumped" the night before!
Movies: Wow, hard, big movie guy. Anything by ALFRED HITCHCOCK, WOODY ALLEN, JOHN HUGHES, Coen Brothers, PETER WEIR, MARTIN SCORSESE.
TV: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "The Twilight Zone" (original with ROD STERLING).
Concerts: Guns N' Roses in Budapest, Hungary (summer 1992).
Food: Anything on the right side of the menu at The Harrison in Tribeca.
Dessert: Emack & Bolio's ice cream.
Drink: Dark & Stormy (Memorial to Labor Day), and nothing beats a crisp, cold Budweiser after a long day on the mountain.
Vacation spots: The front porch of The Columns Hotel in New Orleans. Smooth jazz, friendly, interesting patrons, a Bloody Mary that is a meal and simply watching the street car pass by. A timeless experience as it could be 1910 or 2010.
Cars: Porsche 911 and my beautiful new Audi Q7.
Singer: JOHNNY CASH.
Quote: "Be strong!!!" -- Andrew Judelson.