SBJ/January 21-27, 2013/People and Pop Culture

What I Like: Brent Trager, COO, Fanatics

PROFESSIONAL

What I Like …

Trager’s Jacksonville-based company powers the e-commerce sites of MLB, NASCAR, the NBA, the NHL, the NFL and others.
Photo by: FANATICS INC.
An insight: “If you are going to fail, fail fast.”
 
An influential person in my career: Ken Schwaber, a software developer and consultant. He taught me that it’s OK not to have everything planned; organization and prioritization are more important.
 
An out-of-the-box idea: Letting your employees take company time for independent thought and work. A great way to empower your workforce.
BRENT TRAGER
Chief Operating Officer,
Fanatics Inc.

Where I'm from: Jacksonville, Fla.

Where I Went to School: University of Florida.

My First Job: I sold insurance.

 
A timeless idea: The Golden Rule, which in business would equate to treating people the way you would want to be treated. A fundamental thing that gets lost.

A business deal: Nike returning as the NFL’s on-field licensee. It was good for the fans and both brands.

A sports event: I’ve been going to Gator games since I was a little kid, so Florida-Georgia is always a highlight for me.

Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
A strategy: Get there as quickly as possible and then adapt quickly as times change.

A hire: I like to hire people that are better than me in at least one thing.

A brand: Colleges themselves. They mean more than just sports.

A trend: Digital media and online retail making it so displaced fans aren’t really displaced anymore.
 
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Favorite team as a fan: Other than my Gators, either the Atlanta Braves or the Jacksonville Jaguars.
 
Favorite team from a management/marketing perspective: You have to respect what Robert Kraft has done with the Patriots.

An innovation: New and better fabrications from athletic-apparel manufacturers over the past decade.

Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
A sports facility: When I take my own fandom out of it, probably Fenway Park. There’s just something about the ambiance there.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: I am an operations and warehouse guy, so Amazon bought this company called Kiva Systems, where the racks move to the people in the warehouse instead of vice versa. A simple solution to a warehouse problem that had been around forever.

A fantasy job: If I couldn’t do what I was doing today, I would probably want to teach business.


What I Like about …

My job: Building team and motivating people. There’s a lot of rewarding moments when I read customer appreciation letters.

Sports: Like business: team play, sacrificing for a common goal, and ultimately succeeding because you worked together.

Sports media: It has never been more available or more customizable.

Sports technology: Technology has really enabled a business like ours to focus on consumers in a way that wasn’t possible 10 years ago. We can engage sports fans in a way that didn’t used to be possible.


What I’d Like To …

See more of in sports business: More focus on the long term. It seems everyone is focused in maximizing dollars for today. In sports, that could crowd out the younger generation. So I’d like to see more value pricing for the non-wealthy fans.

See different: Eliminate: Cheating, like the Lance Armstrong thing, comes to mind. You want a level playing field and when it is not, no one should be happy.


PERSONAL

What I Like …

That would surprise those who know me: I coach soccer for 7-year-old girls, including mine. I am no soccer guy, but it is amazing how much growth you can see on the field.

Favorite memento: I have a painting from the 1986 Florida-Georgia game hanging on the wall of my office.

Favorite sports T-shirt: I have a Jacksonville Jaguars AFC Champions T-shirt I wear all the time, which is great, since they haven’t won an AFC Championship.

Heroes: My uncle, Alan Trager, who’s our CEO. He taught me to think big picture, not to sweat the small stuff, and to build for the long term.

Book: “The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization.” by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.

iPad app: Yahoo’s fantasy football app.

Trips: Italy was probably my favorite trip of all time.

Movies: I am a “Star Wars” buff.

TV: I am not a crazy right-wing lunatic, but I like watching Bill O’Reilly. I TiVo it every night.

Concerts: I just saw Train, but my tastes are all over the place.

Food: I am a sucker for dessert. A cookie brownie pie mixture with some ice cream makes me happy.

Drink: The mango iced tea at Chili’s.

Vacation spots: The Bahamas. Atlantis is really easy for us to get to.

Quotation: “A man is going to be about as happy as he puts his mind to be.” There’s a guy in India with a dirt floor who’s happy and a guy in New York City with a mansion who’s miserable.

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