SBJ/March 18-24, 2013/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40



Photo: EXECPIX.COM / MATT FERGUSON
With the record-setting Los Angeles Dodgers sale to Guggenheim Baseball Management done and the club’s mammoth TV deal with Time Warner Cable soon heading to MLB for review, the Chicago Cubs are widely viewed as the next baseball franchise poised to reshape the industry.

Alex Sugarman, the club’s senior vice president of strategy and development, is already busily laying the groundwork for a coming wave of changes.

A key adviser to team owner Tom Ricketts, Sugarman recently played a lead role negotiating a broad partnership with Starwood Hotels and Resorts in which the Ricketts family and Starwood will co-develop a boutique hotel across the street from Wrigley Field. Sugarman is also a central figure in the club’s emerging $300 million plan to renovate Wrigley Field and is helping shape the team’s strategy for its future TV rights that will partially be in play following the 2014 season.

At once, Sugarman is a primary touch point in the Cubs’ intersection with facility development, media rights, ticketing and analytics.

“All the big areas of change in the industry are converging on this franchise right now,” Sugarman said. “It’s a very exciting time for us.”

As an associate with Galatioto Sports Partners, Sugarman advised the Ricketts family on the then-industry record $845 million purchase of the Cubs in 2009. He joined the club soon after the deal closed. He was promoted to his current role just last month.

“The dynamics of working with Sal [Galatioto, GSP president] and a club are completely different,” Sugarman said. “But the Cubs have a terrific platform and a very unique opportunity in front of us.”

— Eric Fisher



Age: 32
Title: Senior vice president, strategy and development
ORGANIZATION: Chicago Cubs
Education: B.A., Emory University; MBA, Columbia University
Family: Wife, Eileen
Career: NHL (2002-04), Galatioto Sports Partners (2006-10), Chicago Cubs (2010-present)

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: The fear that something may slip through the cracks
How do you strike a work-life balance? Try to get away a couple times a year with my wife and try to unplug for at least a few hours each weekend.
Best business advice received: It takes a career to build relationships and one bad decision to destroy them. If you treat people well and with respect, it will come back to you.
Worst advice received: If you want to work for a sports organization, business school doesn’t make sense.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers, Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, Robert Earl Keen
Stress release: An exhausting workout
Pet peeve: People not being respectful of each other’s time
Guilty pleasure: Vince Flynn and David Baldacci novels
FANTASY JOB: NHL goalie
Favorite movie line: “So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.” (“Caddyshack”)


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