SBJ/20100308/Forty Under 40

Bill Schlough

 

AT&T Park has held a reputation as one of the most technically advanced sports facilities in the world, and San Francisco Giants chief information officer Bill Schlough is a major reason why.

Bill
Schlough
San Francisco Giants

Schlough’s prior efforts at the ballpark have included the trailblazing Double Play Ticket Window and the first full-stadium Wi-Fi network in pro sports. He continued the innovation in 2009 by expanding the club’s Digital Dugout service, aiding Sportvision on the new Field f/x system that performed key beta tests at AT&T Park, and working with the team’s ticket sales operation on a new variable ticket pricing model in partnership with Qcue.

The Field f/x work, tracking the location and speed of the ball and every player on the field, promises to transform the landscape of defensive and base-running metrics in baseball. The Qcue system incorporates many dynamics from secondary ticketing into the primary market for single-game seats, and garnered more than a half-million dollars in incremental revenue for the club last season.

Age: 39
Titles: Senior vice president and chief information officer
Team: San Francisco Giants
Education: B.S., mechanical engineering, Duke University, 1992; MBA, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1998
Family: Wife, Erin
Career: EDS, 1992-1996; Booz Allen & Hamilton, 1998-1999; joined the Giants in 1999
Last vacation: Australia in November
Favorite books: "The Stand," by Stephen King; "Bringing Down the House," by Ben Mezrich
Favorite movies: "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Office Space"
What’s on your iPod? I dont have one, but sports talk (KNBR 680) is the No. 1 preset on every radio I own.
Pet peeve: Mobile devices in meetings, rest rooms, restaurants, weddings, bed, etc. Ballparks are OK!
Greatest achievement: Enabling my staff to grow into effective leaders, specifically the technician I hired 10 years ago who is now my peer at the Brewers.
Greatest disappointment: Game 6, 2002 World Series
Fantasy job: Caddie for my wife on the LPGA Tour
Executive you most admire: Gary Rogers, retired chairman of Dreyers Grand Ice Cream and Levi Strauss
Business advice: A quote from Chicago architect Daniel Burnham that became one of the themes of their 2016 Olympic bid: "Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir mens souls and probably themselves will not be realized."

The Digital Dugout, meanwhile, received a significant upgrade last summer under Schlough’s guidance that included a new smartphone-friendly interface to capitalize on rising mobile data traffic at AT&T Park. That upgrade included exclusive video content, closed captioning of public address announcements, tools to locate stadium amenities, and live game content from MLB Advanced Media.

“We’re out there trying to take risks, but the same time, we know we have to continue to deliver a differentiated experience for the fan,” Schlough said. “It’s a much bigger challenge to do some of these things in a 10-year-old facility as opposed to a new one, but being out on the leading edge is what our fans and our ownership demand. Innovation is the sixth word in our mission statement, and we take that very seriously.”

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