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SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Forty Under 40
Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame
Published March 21, 2011, Page 28A
COURTESY OF AEG
However, Goldstein’s heart was not in game ops. Even as an editor of his high school newspaper, he also sold ads for the publication. When his parents needed to raise money for their charities of choice, Goldstein would make cold calls for them. Even an early stint behind a bar was fundamental training, since Goldstein’s success was measured by how many drinks he sold each night.
“I was always good at getting people of whatever age to relate to me, so I wanted to get into sales,” he recalled during a recent interview at AEG’S L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles. So when two nearly forgotten McNichols Arena suites were left unsold, Goldstein hijacked the opportunity and started pitching. By contemporary standards, calling those areas “suites” is gross hyperbole. Goldstein remembers them as 10-seat blocks with no bathrooms or food service, and insufficient space to walk around them. Still, he sold both suites, one to a telemarketing firm, the other to Schick. The price was $45,000 each. “Some of our suites here sell for 10 times that” he said, gesturing toward nearby Staples Center.
According to Goldstein’s recollection, the initial reaction from management was a mixture of shock and anger. Who was this kid selling inventory no one else had the temerity to “smile and dial” about?
“They got mad initially,” Goldstein said. Then Tim Leiweke, his boss then and now, wanted to know who’d sold the inventory that no one else could? Letting that person sell suites and sponsorships seemed like a good idea, and that’s what Goldstein has been doing since.
He graduated from McNichols to the new downtown arena, where he helped sell naming rights to the Pepsi Center, along with the building’s Founding Partner sponsorships. Leiweke brought him to Los Angeles a decade ago, where he has helped build L.A. Live into a showcase for a sports venue as a development catalyst.
“Todd is one of the hardest-working sales guys in this business,” said Rich Krezwick, president of Devils Arena Entertainment, who worked with Goldstein at AEG. “He really cares and makes it his point to know the business and his clients. When you combine that with his people skills, you get a great salesman.”
As president of AEG’S Global Partnerships unit, Goldstein has had his hand in some of the biggest sports deals of the past 12 months.
“A lot of people pay lip service to this, but Todd really approaches deals from a partnership standpoint,” said Momentum Worldwide CEO Chris Weil, who’s worked with Goldstein on countless deals for American Express. “Clients become family and that’s a testament to the AEG culture and the people within that culture.”
AEG and Goldstein have been able to sell sports venue title sponsorships at a time when the recession has virtually frozen the market — MasterCard’s purchase of the former Olympic basketball venue in Beijing and Mercedes’ naming rights at the former World Expo Cultural Center in Shanghai were both AEG sales. Goldstein and AEG also pulled off the deal that’s generated the most industry buzz this year: the Farmers Insurance 30-year naming-rights deal for a stadium adjacent to the Staples Center that has no blueprints or approvals, nor an NFL team as a tenant. Goldstein insists that Farmers was the one and only pitch for the proposed stadium.
“Especially in the most complex deals, you’ve not only got to get clients to embrace your vision, but make them think that it’s their vision,” Goldstein said.
company: AEG Global Partnerships
Education: B.A., communications, University of Colorado, 1993; MBA, University of Colorado, Denver, 2009
Family: Wife, Kim; sons, Max (9) and Ben (7); daughter, Eli (5)
Career: Worked for the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Pepsi Center in various sales and marketing jobs until joining AEG in 1999
Last vacation: Vail with family in January
||What's on your iPod: The Limousines, MGMT, and KG Elephant
Guilty pleasure: My collection of hotel soaps from around the world
Best stress release: Running
Pet peeve: Last call
Greatest achievement: Family
Greatest disappointment: I’d like to do more philanthropic things within what we do.
Fantasy job: To be the voice-over guy for movie trailers. Or a shepherd.
Business advice: Listen, learn and be passionate.