Game Changers: Beth Hutter Game Changers: Mary Byrne Game Changers: Renee Baumgartner Game Changers: Stephanie Cheng Game Changers: Christine Brown Game Changers: Michelle McKenna-Doyle Game Changers: Bernadette McGlade Game Changers: Heidi Sandreuter Game Changers: Kristen Rose Game Changers: Andrea Williams
SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers
Game Changers: Marla Miller
Published October 10, 2011, Page 10A
WANT MORE GREAT STORIES LIKE THIS?
CLICK ON ONE OF THESE BUTTONS
Miller (center) with Michelle Obama and Jill Biden at the 2009 World Series.
SVP, Special Events
MLB’s All-Star Game is perhaps the one such event among sports’ showcase games that still has importance and growth — and has not devolved into a meaningless exhibition. Marla Miller is a key reason why.
Miller first oversaw an expansion of the midsummer classic into a five-day cavalcade that, beyond the game, itself includes a well-attended FanFest, a Futures Game featuring promising minor leaguers, and a Home Run Derby that is ESPN’s most-watched event each summer. After a series of attendance and revenue records were set, Miller then led a deft shift to boost the event’s power as an instrument of community involvement. The All-Star Game now generates more than $5 million in annual donations to various national and local causes. It featured President Barack Obama in St. Louis in 2009.
The playoffs and World Series have in recent years seen a similar spike in reach and depth, also under Miller’s leadership.
“The idea was to go beyond the ballparks and use these events to make a major impact in the various communities,” Miller said. “It started with a basic idea of what other ancillary activities we could add [to the All-Star Game] and now takes on a much larger thematic approach.”
- First job: Internship at Grey Advertising.
- Crowning professional achievement: 2008 New York All-Star summer.
- Biggest professional disappointment: Cancellation of the 1994 World Series.
- What keeps you awake at night?: Wanting every Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be better than the last one.
- In 10 words or less, how would you describe your management style?: No job too tall, no job too small.
- The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Preparing for the unexpected — from weather issues to local politics that impact our events.
- One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Loyalty.
- If I had to do it all over again, I would …: Have been born 20 years later so I could have majored in sports management. The closest I got to studying the business of sports in college at NYU was attending a guest lecture by Howard Cosell
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
“Marla and I spent a great deal of time together [planning the 2011 All-Star Game], and I quickly realized how strong, smart and prepared she is. She is a strategist and a problem solver. All of MLB’s special events appear to be finely tuned, and they are because Marla is at the helm.”
- Derrick Hall, Arizona Diamondbacks president and chief executive