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SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Forty Under 40
Forty Under 40
Published March 21, 2011, Page 23A
As part of CAA Sports’ sales and marketing team, Danforth works on perhaps a tenth as many deals, but they are for world-class properties like the New York Yankees, FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC and Madison Square Garden, for which Danforth helped close a marquee partnership last year with JPMorgan Chase, a naming-rights-size transaction with everything but the title sponsorship included. The deal took 18 months to complete.
“That was like building an office building, and it probably died three or four times along the way,” said Danforth, who had seen a similar deal for 20-plus years between the Yankees and Bank of America die because of the financial industry meltdown during the recession. “After that, we weren’t going to let this one sink.”
Selling top-tier properties can’t be as simple as Danforth professes. Either that or nobody listened in sales and marketing 101 when they taught that listening is paramount.
“I see so many people go in programmed,” he said, “‘Here I am and here’s what I want you to buy.’ Ask questions, learn and then come back.”
Danforth may be the only Forty Under 40 winner who shares an office. Fellow CAAer Michael Levine, a Forty Under 40 Hall of Famer, and he are desk to desk in a room that also includes two TVs and a bar. They’ve been joined at the hip professionally since Danforth joined the company four years ago. When asked whether great salesmen are born or made, Danforth falls somewhere in the middle.
“If you aren’t a good listener, you’d better have some of the best properties in the world,” he said.
Fortunately for CAA Sports, Danforth has some of both.
Title: Marketing executive
COMPANY: CAA Sports
Education: B.A., management, Hartwick College, 1993
Family: Wife, Christy; son, Matthew (7); daughter, Katherine (5)
Career: New York Mets (14 years); CAA Sports (four years)
Last vacation: Sandy Lane hotel in Barbados last summer
What's on your iPod: Eminem’s latest
Guilty pleasure: Well-done bacon
Best stress release: A good workout
Pet peeve: Lazy people
Greatest achievement: My kids
Greatest disappointment: My father not
being around to share in my success
Fantasy job: Being Scott O’Neil’s boss
Business advice: Surround yourself with posi-
tive people who are not afraid to challenge you.