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Jim Brown, Executive Director, Competitions, FIFA
Published June 28, 2010
FIFA’s Jim Brown has a history in soccer that includes time in the 1990s with the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks of the American Professional Soccer League as well as with MLS. His work with this year’s World Cup follows past World Cup and Olympic event experiences.
What I Like …
An insight: Honesty is the best policy.
An influential person in my career: Nelson Mandela. Having met him several times, one is struck immediately by the humility, leadership, strength and wisdom.
A timeless idea: That people need entertainment, a relief. It is at our core.
A sports facility: The F1 racetrack in Abu Dhabi, the most impressive combination of luxury and sport that I have seen.
A strategy: Never forget to keep the sport at the center of any major decision or new concept being developed.
A brand: ESPN. What they have done for soccer in the U.S. is noteworthy.
An innovation: Artificial turf. The newer developments of artificial turf products really do allow people to perform on a quality surface around the clock and year-round and in areas of the world where natural grass simply cannot grow or be maintained.
A pro league or team business initiative: Cricket: Creating more consumable versions for the public combined with an aggressive [entertainment] packaging effort for the league in India is quite impressive.
A story that bears watching: Performance-enhancing drugs.
A fantasy job: Head groundskeeper at a major sports facility — and be allowed to say, “Get off my grass.”
What I Like About …
My job: The truly international dimension of what the sport of soccer entails..
Sports: How it has the power to bring people together.
Sports fans: Honesty. If you want to know what they think about your team, your event, your work, just ask them.
Sports business: The game behind the game. It feels like a natural extension of what happens on the field, making it easy to look forward to each day of work.
Sports media: The ability to take the sport via all sorts of mediums beyond the arena and to the masses.
Sports technology: Technology allows us to bring the spectator closer to the event, [enhancing] the experience whether in stadium or at home on TV.
The future (or direction) of sports business: Think global. Everything needs to be viewed globally in order to truly compete in the business.
What I’d Like To …
Change: That “more” is not necessarily better. Sometimes, “more” is simply too much.
Change in what I do: Share more of what I do with my family. As the kids get older, it is fun to see them appreciate my work.
See: When top athletes compete not only for themselves but for their countries. It brings an extra dimension that makes the whole experience so much more exciting.
See more of in sports: Stories of the good that leagues, federations and people are doing for other people.
See less of in sports: Financial inequality. Limit the rich from getting richer, and get more money into the grass roots of the sports.
See less of in sports business: Lawyers. No offense, but the days of your word being good enough are almost over.
Eliminate: Commercial/TV timeouts. Having lived outside the U.S. , I am shocked when a game is stopped so TV can go to commercial.
What I Don’t Like …
In general: When people do not do what they say they are going to do.
Pet peeve: Meetings need to start on time.
In sports: The political element of some decisions.
In business: That often the integrity of the sport is forgotten in favor of making an extra buck.
About sports fans: When they cross the line between passion and confrontation.
What I Like …
People: The moms and dads and adults who volunteer to coach and support youth sports around the world. They are the backbone of our sports.
That would surprise those who know me: That I am an emotional person.
Above all else: My family.
About myself: Regardless of what I am doing or have done, it does not really affect who I am and how I treat people.
Heroes: My parents.
Players: Those who compete hard on the field but are a class act off it. Walter Payton [and] Barry Sanders come to mind.
City: U.S. : San Francisco; Other: Cape Town, South Africa .
Memento: Ball from the opening match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany .
Time of year: Spring. I can ski, bike and play golf on the same day.
Music:Allman Brothers, Lenny Kravitz.
Books: Anything by John Grisham.
Gadgets: Recently, my sunglasses with built-in Bluetooth that links to my mobile phone and iPod.
Chores: Cutting the grass.
Drink: Diet Coke with ice in a tall glass.
Vacation spots: Bear Valley, Calif., in the summer; St. Anton, Austria , in the winter.
Cars: Dream car: Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet.