SBJ/May 7-13, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Steve Raab, president, SportsNet New York

PROFESSIONAL

What I Like …

Photo by: SNY
An insight: Nothing’s more important than leverage and relationships.

Influential people in my career: Steve Lesnick, who owned KemperSports, which was my first real job. [Mets owners] Fred Wilpon, who’s been all about honesty, integrity and relationships, and Saul Katz, co-founder and president of Sterling Equities.

An out-of-the-box idea: Harrah’s hiring Gary Loveman, a career academic, in 1998 to
Wrigley Field
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
be its COO with oversight for 35,000-plus employees.

A timeless idea: Maintaining a focus on customer service.

A business deal: The Pac-12 Network.

A sports facility: AT&T Park is built in just a stunning setting, but Wrigley Field is still my favorite ballpark of all time. And it is the star, not the team.

STEVE RAAB
President, SportsNet New York

What I do: My parents ask me that all the time. I manage the business day to day. Most of what I do is clear the way for others and what they do here. On my own, I try to stay a step ahead by maintaining a focus on what we should be thinking about looking forward.

Where I'm from: New York City. Now I live in Scarsdale.

Where I Went to School: Brown, political science; Harvard, MBA.

My First Job: The first job I ever had was busboy at the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club. The first job I had after college was telemarketing tickets for a volleyball tour called The USA Cup from a windowless room on Fifth Avenue.

A sports event: Any truly big-time college football game, probably SEC.

A strategy: IBM transforming itself from mainframe obscurity into a software and service company.

A hire: Mark Lazarus by NBC.

A brand: Ironman Triathlon.

An ad campaign: I always thought “Where’s the Beef” from Wendy’s was brilliant.

A trend: Customization, which is just really hyper-segmentation.

An innovation: The yellow first-down line on televised football.

A pro league or team business initiative: Soccer United Marketing (SUM). Having a plan from the outset to branch beyond MLS and involve itself in soccer’s most important properties across North America.

Marv Albert
Photo by: NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
A sports announcer: Marv Albert … but Gary Cohen/Keith Hernandez/Ron Darling for baseball on television AND Gary Cohen/Howie Rose for baseball on radio.

A story that bears watching: TV Everywhere.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: StubHub and the whole movement that has made the secondary ticketing market so efficient.

A previous job: GM of the CBA Sioux Falls Skyforce team. I was 23.

A fantasy job: U.S. ambassador to a neutral country with a great climate.


What I Like About …

My job: The ability to manage an entire business every day.

Sports: The passion that it generates.

Sports business: A lot of days, it doesn’t really feel like a job.

Sports media: The fan base with an insatiable appetite.

Sports technology: The challenge to stay informed.

Competing: The chance to win.


What I’d Like To …

Change: Pricing, so that more consumers can participate.

See more of in sports: Sportsmanship.

See less of in sports business: The winning-is-everything attitude.


What I Don’t Like …

About sports fans: A winning-is-everything attitude.


PERSONAL

What I Like …
 
Heroes: My father. My dad is a pediatric ophthalmologist, and so what he does is highly specialized and highly valued. That’s got to be very fulfilling.

Athletes: Thurman Munson, Bernard King, Bill Bradley.

Teams: The championship Knicks teams.

City: San Francisco.

Possession: Does my family count? They are more important to me than any one thing.

Music: Springsteen.

TV shows: “The Office” and “60 Minutes.”

Movies: “Raising Arizona,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Brian’s Song.”

Books: “Ball Four,” by Jim Bouton.

Magazines: Sports Illustrated, Fortune.

Websites: Deadspin, SNY.TV.

Gadgets: BlackBerry.

Food: Italian.

Drink: A cold beer.

Vacation spot: Jackson Hole, Wyo.

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