SBD/December 12, 2013/Anniversary Special Issue

The Daily Hits 20: Testimonials From Execs Throughout The Industry

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Throughout the week, THE DAILY will present anecdotes from numerous industry execs remembering when they first started reading SBD and SBJ and the impact the publications have had.

Bodenheimer appreciates the concise information
delivered by SBJ and SBD
George Bodenhimer, ESPN Exec Chair

At the time, coverage of the business side of sports was really hit-and-miss. I’ll just say SBD and SBJ brought it together in a focused, credible manner. You became the go-to source. I believe that. Your timing was great because the business exploded and we needed a serious comprehensive source to put it all together. And SBD and SBJ were there. You brought the coverage together with two highly credible sources. I preach this at ESPN all the time in meetings: Give me the headlines. What do I need to know? I cannot possibly read everything that is written about this company. I need to have good, concise information. SBJ and SBD did that. I need concise information to be effective. I always thought it would be successful. When SBD launched, ESPN was 15 years old. The company was growing, the business was growing. I was very bullish on SBD and SBJ as a vehicle, because we in the business needed a well-done, credible source for industry information as the industry was growing. I thought from the beginning that you all would have a successful business and you’ve accomplished that.

Steve Phelps, NASCAR CMO
I’ve been reading SBD since it came out. Within a month of it coming out, we were all getting it at the NFL. There was a sharing that went on. You could go through it quickly. I was an early adopter. I was getting it by fax. We would get it faxed and it would be shared within our department, a department of 20 at the time. We were all reading it. If you didn’t get through them, you’d take two or three and read it on a plane or the train. I remember before SBJ came out, working through our communications guy at the time, Chris Widmaier, and [SBJ staff writer] Andy Bernstein took us through the magazine. What it is and what it would be. My perception was that if there was an opportunity for us to tell our story about our business, the NFL, that was a positive. This was an outlet that didn’t exist. It was another business publication we could lean on. You never knew at the time if this was going to work, but the idea of having our industry have its own publication speaking to those participating in the business of sports was a good thing. How many people was it reaching? What was the audience? Those were wild cards. But why not have another outlet to tell our story other than where we were -- Brandweek, Ad Age, Adweek -- that we would plug into. This ended up becoming our home for sports business stories.

Brian McIntyre, NBA Senior Communications Advisor to the Commissioner
I remember reading SBD on the first day it published. It was one of those things you read and said, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ It was one place to get a roundup on the industry. It impacted every element of our business. Not just in the NBA but across the industry. I would print it out and read it. I would read it in depth on the train ride home. I’ve also been reading SBJ since it began. Both were well-received in our office within a few months. Over the years they have become a lot more focused, with almost too much information. Seeing how Rudy Martzke had made himself a must read, it was clear the industry was ready for publications like these. David [Stern] got involved in the idea. David would have meetings with AP sports editors. He’d say there is a whole business out there you are not covering. When I got to the NBA in 1981, we subscribed to 40 papers. There wasn’t any aggregator. That is where SBD revolutionized the business side. There just wasn’t much written about the sports industry as a business.

Their publications have made news more immediate and more categorized. SBJ is one source where you can get a distillation in the industry. There is no other place like it. Things like the Executive of the Year and the Top 50 lists in SBJ were one of those things where I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I read it. It keeps me more informed of what other entities are doing. It allows you to see quickly what is out there.

Tagliabue found the publications as part of his daily
report as NFL Commissioner
Paul Tagliabue, Former NFL Commissioner
SBD came to my attention first, and probably because I used to get daily briefings from our people on everything. Once SBJ arrived, it showed up as a piece of my daily report. We had a good daily clip service, but SportsBusiness Daily added to the scope of coverage and the quality.

Kathy Carter, Soccer United Marketing President
I’ve been a reader of SBJ and SBD since the days they started. Truthfully, I’ve always been more addicted to The Daily, back to the days when it was a fax that got printed and passed around the office. Back then, I wondered if there was enough information to keep it fresh, if Brandweek was enough -- at least in the commercial space. But, boy, was I wrong! We were all impressed by the depth and intelligence of the coverage. SBD/SBJ followed the trend of news and information being more readily available. Our business is better as a result of the information and services they provide. I’ve always been keen on the sponsorship pieces, but over time that has expanded to in-depth coverage of emerging areas in the business. The publications continue to be an invaluable resource for us. Not a day goes by when I don’t hear about SBJ/SBD and now with the international edition, the importance just continues to increase.

Lauren Gillian, Connor Sports Marketing Manager
In December 2006, I was director of sports and entertainment at the agency, Goehausen Associates, [trying to help the minority-owned motorsports group World Racing Team to find sponsors]. Terry Lefton was doing a piece titled, “Team can’t find deal to get on track.” After the piece went live, I received countless calls and emails, and it was from that point on that I’ve made it a point of having SBJ as part of my professional life. I call it the “SBJ Effect.”

Vince Wladika, Consultant/Publicist
During the early days of The Daily, you had other things like Burrell’s clipping service, but there obviously was no Google and no Twitter. You couldn’t just search out things. So before, if there was a bad story in one market, it often could stay confined to that market, and, as a network, you could sort of contain it. But with The Daily, you couldn’t do that anymore. Everybody now was seeing everything. It completely nationalized the industry.

Frank Supovitz said reading SBD and SBJ meant
being at the top of your game
Frank Supovitz, NFL Senior VP/Events

SportsBusiness Journal and The Daily became must-reads when the boss began calling shortly after a story broke. If you hadn’t read the story, he or she knew you were not at the top of your game. I didn’t think there was a market for another sports trade publication because my frame of reference based on earlier attempts was "weekly." What changed my mind was the daily opportunity to stay on top of stories through SportsBusiness Daily as it developed via fax, and then over the Internet. What a concept! SportsBusiness Daily was truly a game changer. It was Headline News for sports, with daily, nearly-up-to-the-minute access to insider industry information. SportsBusiness Journal was like ‘Face the Nation,’ with deeper dives into the most important stories.

Dale Koger, Turner Construction Sports Group VP & GM
I have read SBJ for at least 10 years. SBD for probably seven or eight years. When I first started seeing SBJ, it literally became a must-read every week for me. I felt like it gave so much information about the marketplace, in general. Not just about facilities, but the franchises, ownership groups, even players -- people who formed the industry. I think it’s unique in that it really does cover the entire spectrum of the sports industry. We printed [SBD] out and distributed it around the company to the various offices that might be affected by some of the news we were seeing in it. I could tell pretty early on people were reading it. I might have a discussion with an architect and they would say, "Yeah, I saw something in SBD." Then when we started going to the industry functions, probably a lot of those were conferences you were putting on. We were starting to see the attendance at those events [attracting] very high-ranking officials from across the industry. It became apparent that you guys were on to something.
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