Pistons challenge fans to virtual game USA Swimming appeals to listmakers People: Executive transactions From the Field of Management Earnhardt open to career in broadcasting Yormark, Cooper form naming-rights venture Faces and Places Cartoon: The real winner The Sit-Down: Felix Palau, Tecate Skipper: There’s no liberal bias at ESPN
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A veteran of the agency business with more than a decade of experience, Jennifer Carper joins experiential sports, entertainment and lifestyle marketing agency Engine Shop as a partner and chief client officer. In addition to her work with marketing companies, Carper worked for the PGA Tour in the marketing department. She spoke with staff writer Brandon McClung.
■ New title: Partner and chief client officer, Engine Shop
■ Previous title: Owner, Eclipse Marketing
■ First job: Working at an ice cream shop on the beach in Rye, N.H.
■ Education: Bachelor of arts in Chinese, University of Arizona (1990)
■ Resides: Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., with my husband and two kids
■ Grew up: Amherst, N.H.
■ Executive most admired: My mother, a principal at public middle school
■ Brand most admired: Louis Vuitton
■ Favorite vacation spot: South Island, New Zealand
■ Last book read: “Alex Cross, Run” by James Patterson
■ Last movie seen: “Argo”
■ Favorite movie: The Bourne trilogy of movies
■ Favorite musician/band: Miguel
■ What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
We have been very fortunate; the company has only been open just over 12 months and has had a tremendous amount of growth, and you need to balance that with ensuring that you are still delivering at 150 percent to your clients.
■ What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
I am huge advocate of people volunteering at events. I have done a lot of hiring in this business and when I go to events to work with different properties, I am always on the lookout for people that are all with it. Just getting yourself out there and getting the experience. People do take notice, and I certainly take notice.
■ What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
My most recent one. Prior to me forming Eclipse, I decided to step out my comfort zone and leave a very stable and successful position with an agency to jump into the unknown to build a new business.
■ What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Becoming a partner in an agency and being able to affect the culture and direction of the business.
■ What is your biggest professional disappointment?
That I don’t have as glamorous of a headshot as Greg Luckman!
■ What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
Oscar Pistorius. It is a complete circus. It’s tragic and a bit hard to watch, but it’s quite captivating and makes no sense what happened. It’s so tragic but it is kind of like watching a train wreck to a certain degree. You keeping looking at it over and over and can’t believe what is happening.
■ What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
Seeing more consistency related to the high-level customer experience at events. The definition of what is suitable and appropriate for certain brands is very different than for other brands. I think these leagues and events and organizations need to recognize the difference. I can boil it down to: Are you going to have plastic knives and forks in your hospitality or you going to have real ones?
The NBA hired former player and team executive Kiki VanDeWeghe as vice president of basketball operations.
The Oklahoma City Thunder hired Jason Ranne as director of strategic planning. Ranne was senior vice president of team sports for Wasserman Media Group.
Kansas State University hired Clint Dowdle as assistant athletic director for administration. Dowdle was assistant athletic director for football at Bowling Green State University.
Miami (Ohio) University hired Mark Rountree as deputy athletic director. Rountree was senior associate athletic director for internal operations at Georgetown University.
The University of Minnesota hired Chris Werle as associate athletic director for strategic communications. Werle was vice president for global communications for Estee Lauder Cos.
Binghamton University hired Mike Cherry as associate athletic director for facilities and Events Center manager. Cherry was assistant director of operations and athletics facilities at East Carolina University.
Bowdoin College named Tim Ryan athletic director.
Iona College Athletic Director Eugene Marshall Jr. will step down, effective June 1.
The University of North Carolina hired Michelle Brown as director of its academic support program for student athletes. Brown was associate athletic director for academics and student services at Florida Atlantic University.
Tuskegee University Athletic Director Patrick Simon stepped down from the position.
Prairie View A&M University Athletic Director Fred Washington will step down but remain on the school’s executive staff as vice president of auxiliary services.
Dominican University of California named Brandon Leimbach athletic director. Leimbach was associate athletic director at the Colorado School of Mines.
The University of Tulsa named Derrick Gragg vice president and athletic director. Gragg was athletic director at Eastern Michigan University.
Northwest Missouri State University named Mel Tjeerdsma athletic director, effective in mid-April. Tjeerdsma was the school’s football coach from 1994 to 2010.
Centre College named Brad Fields athletic director. Fields was athletic director at Eastern University.
Vail Resorts promoted Michael Barkin to chief financial officer.
True Capital Management named Kenneth Sorosky director for its new Los Angeles office and Temple Sewell client relations manager.
The Washington Redskins hired Malcolm Blacken as director of player development. Blacken was director of speed, strength and conditioning at the University of Colorado.
The San Francisco 49ers promoted Jeff Ferguson to vice president of football operations.
Jana Smoley will resign as executive director of the PGA Tour’s Reno-Tahoe Open but will remain on the tournament’s board of directors.
The Columbus Blue Jackets hired Evan Ashton, Ashley Smith and Sean Siebenkittel as corporate development account executives; Alison Pegg as Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation manager; Katie Massey as community relations and foundation coordinator; and Ryan Leitenberger as human resources assistant.
The New York Islanders promoted Mike Bossy to vice president of corporate sponsorship and partnership marketing.
Sunrise Sports & Entertainment promoted Elizabeth Jenkins to director of entertainment marketing for SSE and the BB&T Center.
The American Horse Council hired R.J. Layher as director of health and regulatory affairs.
Keeneland director of communications Julie Balog will step down after the spring meeting to become vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA of Central Kentucky.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, named Brent Nowicki legal counsel. Nowicki was a senior associate with Hodgson Russ.
Dickstein Shapiro named Shaun Crosner the leader of its Insurance Coverage Group’s sports practice.
Patrick Klinger launched sports marketing activation firm Patrick Klinger and Co. Klinger was formerly vice president of marketing for the Minnesota Twins.
Bensussen Deutsch & Associates promoted Rob Martin to chief marketing officer.
Engine Shop named Chris Handy chief business officer.
Relevent Sports hired Kwame Bryan as vice president of marketing. Bryan was vice president of marketing strategy and client services for the Washington Redskins.
Cablevision Systems named Gregg Seibert vice chairman. Seibert will continue his role as chief financial officer.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area hired Nancy Gay as digital managing editor for its digital media portfolio. Gay was a senior editor of NFL content for FoxSports.com.
Home Team Sports promoted Natalie Gibbons to senior manager of sponsor implementation.
Raycom Sports named Gary Blitzer sales director and Meg Little client services manager.
Dial Global hired Paul Caine as chief executive officer. Caine was executive vice present, chief revenue officer and group president of advertising for Time Inc.
Electronic Arts Chief Executive Officer John Riccitiello stepped down.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area promoted Jason Liu to local sales manager.
Fox Sports Media Group promoted Kai Dhaliwal to senior vice president of business and legal affairs.
Formula One team Mercedes Grand Prix CEO Nick Fry will step down. Executive Director Toto Wolff will take on day-to-day responsibilities alongside team principal Ross Brawn.
Salvi Sports named Pete Laven president. Laven was general manager for the Class AA Texas League’s Arkansas Travelers.
USA Hockey named Matt Herr a regional manager for USA Hockey’s American Development Model.
US Speedskating named Mike Plant interim president. He is expected to be confirmed as president in May. Plant is executive vice president for the Atlanta Braves.
Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing hired Alyssa Chargar as licensing manager for consumer products; Dave Keevill as production and technology manager for MLS Digital; Tyler Larson as custom content manager for MLS Digital; Mark McClure as product manager for MLS Digital; Dan Meder as a staff accountant; Matt Folger as social media coordinator; and Kate Zuparko as director of digital marketing for MLS Digital.
The Houston Dynamo named to its digital media team former London Times soccer reporter Tom Dart, CSN Houston anchor and reporter Sebastian Salazar and former Dallas Cowboys reporter Sara Eckert.
Chivas USA named former MLS player Juan Francisco Palencia director of soccer for the club and Liga MX club Chivas de Guadalajara.
Sporting Goods and Apparel
Easton-Bell Sports promoted Matt Arndt to executive vice president and general manager for hockey and Bob Diebold to vice president for baseball/softball and lacrosse sales. The company also named Mike Zlaket president for Easton Sports and Mark Kuryak senior vice president for global hockey sales. Chris Zimmerman, John Graham and Craig Ryan resigned from the company.
Skullcandy hired Hoby Darling as president and chief executive officer. Darling was general manager for Nike+ Digital Sport.
Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
Will Webb was named executive director of the new Charlotte Sports Foundation. Also named to the group’s board of directors, in addition to Webb, were: Heather Ackerman, HA Events; Kendall Alley, Wells Fargo; Johnny Belk, Belk; Mike Crum, CRVA; David Darnell, Bank of America; Sheldon Francis, Babson Capital Management; Ken Haines, Raycom Sports; Ruffin Hall, city of Charlotte; Johnny Harris, Lincoln Harris; Harry Jones, Mecklenburg County government; Steve Luquire, Luquire George Andrews; Danny Morrison, Carolina Panthers; Jim Murphy, Davidson College; Tom Murray, CRVA; Jimmy Rayburn, Raycom Sports; Judy Rose, UNC Charlotte; Dave Singer, Snyder’s-Lance; Marcus Smith, Charlotte Motor Speedway; Tom Skains, Piedmont Natural Gas; Keith Trent, Duke Energy; Chris Traeger, Bank of America; and Fred Whitfield, Charlotte Bobcats.
The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission named Katie Brown president and executive director.
New York Road Runners and ING New York Marathon director of media relations and sports strategy Richard Finn has stepped down.
Awards and Boards
Indiana Sports Corp. named Scott Dorsey chairman of the board of directors, Cindy Simon-Skjodt vice chair-youth programming, Erik Johnson vice chair-external affairs, Scott Davison vice chair-program planning committee, Joe DeGroff immediate past chair and vice chair-board affairs committee, Tag Birge secretary, Ryan Kitchell assistant secretary, Cindy Lucchese treasurer and Jim Isch assistant treasurer. Named to the board of directors were Julie Carmichael, Karin Sarratt, Carolene Mays, Bill Smith and Mike Bosway.
Live Nation Entertainment named Greg Maffei, Liberty Media Corp. president and chief executive officer, non-executive chairman of the board.
The NASCAR Foundation named Lesa France Kennedy, International Speedway Corp. chief executive officer and NASCAR vice chairperson, and Glenn Ritchey, Jon Hall Automotive Group/Ritchey Autos Southeast Automotive Management president and chief executive officer, to its board of directors.
The U.S. Soccer Foundation named Rob Simmelkjaer, NBC Sports Ventures senior vice president, to its board of directors.
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WISE Power Panel convenes in San Diego
The WISE Executive Power Panel on March 12 at the San Diego Hall of Champions featured Dana Allen, Competitor Group SVP of business development; Sue Botos, San Diego Padres VP of community relations; and Jeanne Bonk, San Diego Chargers EVP and CFO. From left: Shanna Bright, Gema Tarango, Reba Robinson, Shana Reed, Botos, Allen, Bonk, Jennifer Stakiw, Sheri Jennum, Alex Mallen and Kari Mills.
Photo by:ERIC BONDOC
Off to the races with a new name
Karen Leetzow (left), NASCAR VP and deputy general counsel, and Lesa France Kennedy, NASCAR vice chair and EVP, help unveil United SportsCar Racing as the name of the series resulting from the merger of Grand-Am Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series. The event was March 14 at Sebring International Raceway. Leetzow and Kennedy serve on the board of directors for the series, which will debut in 2014.
Photo by:DAN BOYD / ALMS
GMR Marketing welcomes Vickers
GMR Marketing hosted NASCAR driver Brian Vickers for a GMR Ignition Series event at its Charlotte office March 19. From left: GMR’s Jimmy Bruns and Sarah Davis, Vickers, GMR’s Mike Boykin and Cameron Wagner, and Rod Moskowitz, Fuel Sports Management Group CEO and Vickers’ agent. Fuel hosted lunch from Price’s Chicken Coop for 25 GMR employees to get to know Brian.
Photo by:JEFF HOWLETT
On court at Indian Wells
A groundbreaking ceremony March 8 at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells marked the start of construction that will include a new Stadium 2. From left: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, tournament owner Larry Ellison, Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka and Novak Djokovic.
Photo by:MATTHEW STOCKMAN FOR GETTY IMAGES
Job fair fellows
The New England Revolution and Kraft Sports Group played host to the Executive Lecture and Sport Management and Entertainment Career Fair on March 23 at Showcase Live at Patriot Place. From left: Jim Davis, Boston Celtics director of ticket sales; Will Kuhns, MLS senior director of communications; Mark Lev, Fenway Sports Management managing director; New England Revolution President Brian Bilello; and Murray Kohl, New England Patriots VP of sales.
Photo by:NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
A happy third for Shamrock
Shamrock Sports & Entertainment marked its third anniversary by welcoming more than 100 guests to its Portland, Maine, headquarters. From left: bagpiper Brian Young with Shamrock Sports & Entertainment President Brian Corcoran, EVP Rob Coppola and EVP Erik Hansson.
Photo by:KATHLEEN O’CONNOR / SHAMROCK
Colorful IMG College
IMG College staffers participated in the Color Run 5K event March 16 in Winston-Salem, N.C. Doused in paint (from left) are Melanie Hatcher, Alisha Sleep, Ali Rankin, Tim Russo, Caroline D’Englere, Heidi Leigh and Jason Wilmoth.
Photo by:IMG COLLEGE
Big East presidents gather with Fox Sports
University presidents gathered in New York City on March 20 as the Big East and Fox Sports talked about their new media rights deal. From left: Fox Sports broadcaster Gus Johnson, Fox Sports President and COO Randy Freer, the Rev. Peter Donohue of Villanova, A. Gabriel Esteban of Seton Hall, MSG Sports EVP Joel Fisher, John DeGioia of Georgetown, the Rev. Donald Harrington of St. John’s, the Rev. Brian Shanley of Providence, the Rev. Timothy Lannon of Creighton, Fox Sports EVP Larry Jones, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider of DePaul, the Rev. Michael Graham of Xavier, Jim Danko of Butler and the Rev. Scott Pilarz of Marquette.
Photo by:WILLIAM HAUSER / FOX SPORTS
Kaepernick camps with Kellogg’s
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick partnered with Kellogg’s to host a free youth football camp for 350 kids ages 7-14 on March 23 in San Francisco. The camp was part of Kellogg’s Share Breakfast Program. From left: Steve Mair, Ellen Mair and Nick Voss of Kellogg’s, Kaepernick, Jason Bernstein of XAM Sports and Eric Liebler of ProCamps.
Photo by:COURTESY OF PROCAMPS
The U.S. Olympic Committee introduced some Olympians and Paralympians to friends of the organization at a fundraiser March 23 in Big Sky, Mont. U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun (left) and 2012 Para-cycling bronze medalist Sam Kavanagh (center) pose for a photo with a Team USA supporter.
Photos by:LAUREN GRUNDHOEFER
Founders Medal winner
Steve Nazro (left), VP of event scheduling at TD Garden, received the Hockey East Founders Medal during an on-ice ceremony at the Hockey East Semifinals at TD Garden on March 22. Presenting the award was Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna.
Photo by:STEVE BABINEAU
Racing groups unite
At an event announcing the technical license cooperation agreement among Grand-Am Road Racing, the International Motor Sports Association, DTM and Super GT on March 26 at the InterContinental Times Square Hotel in New York City (from left): Jens Marquardt, director, BMW Motorsport; Jim France, EVP and secretary, NASCAR, and founder, Grand-Am Road Racing; Hans Werner Aufrecht, ITR board member; Wolfgang Schattling, director of motorsport communications, Mercedes-Benz; and Juergen Pippig, executive board member, DTM ITR GmbH. The agreement could lead to a North American version of DTM, the German touring car series.
Photo by:JEFF ZELEVANSKY / NASCAR VIA GETTY IMAGES
Golden A.C.E.S. Award
Mike Sage (right) of Seminole IMG Sports Marketing was given the Tallahassee Network of Young Professionals “Top 20 Under 40” Golden A.C.E.S. Award in the sales category March 23. Sage received his award from Sean Donovan, VP of the organization.
Photo by:JASON FRANKENFIELD
NBA’s Silver visits China
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver (left) met with Li Ting, deputy chief editor of China Central Television, on March 19. The NBA is celebrating its 26th season on CCTV and recently expanded its partnership with a new comprehensive multiyear agreement. Silver was in Beijing and Shanghai meeting with business partners March 18-22.
Yormark opens gym
Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark (holding ribbon’s end) is flanked by Madison Square Boys & Girls Club executives and young members in dedicating a Nets-themed renovated gym that Yormark funded in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, on March 27.
Photo by:ADAM PANTOZZI
Louisville students visit Atlanta
Graduate and undergraduate students in the University of Louisville Sport Administration program visited Atlanta, where they met with representatives from Collegiate Licensing Co., Team Epic, the Atlanta Sports Council, Georgia State Athletics, Collegiate Consulting Group and the Atlanta Hawks before getting a behind-the-scenes tour of Philips Arena and Turner Field March 21-23. Students received a behind-the-scenes tour of NBA TV studios in Atlanta by associate producer Darryl Marshall.
Photo by:MEG HANCOCK / UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE
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Reinsdorf has multiple titles with the Bulls and Sox.
Photo by:CHICAGO BULLS
After watching the film, Reinsdorf told the media, “Brooklyn was the perfect place for the first black ballplayer. It was a melting pot.”
From watching history at Ebbets Field as a young man, to building a successful, 30-year career in the sports business, this kid from Brooklyn has created history of his own. Reinsdorf has brought seven championships to Chicago and has changed the face of the city by developing two facilities, U.S. Cellular Field and the United Center.
For those achievements, as well as his lifelong work toward social justice and the pursuit of advancement of minority representation in sports, Jerry Reinsdorf is the recipient of the SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013.
After an early career in financial accounting and private business, Reinsdorf bought the Chicago White Sox in 1981. Four years later, be bought the NBA Bulls, and over his 32 years of franchise ownership, his teams have seen consistent success. The White Sox have won five division titles and the 2005 World Series. The Bulls have won six NBA championships while selling out the United Center for a period of 13 straight years.
His record of ownership success, along with his influential business leadership and advancement on social issues, has continually won Reinsdorf praise and admiration. He was a key figure in MLB pooling its Internet rights in creating MLB Advanced Media while also being a leader in the development of MLB Network. He is a member of MLB’s executive council and one of the most senior team owners in the game.
Essentially, nothing of importance gets done without Reinsdorf’s knowledge or, more often, his direct involvement.
With his success has come a share of critics, and Reinsdorf has been a lightning rod on certain subjects. He has been seen as uncompromisingly pro-management, and his six-year lawsuit against the NBA over WGN telecasts of Bulls games during the 1990s cast him as contrarian in many ways.
But Reinsdorf has influenced the direction of two sports in a straightforward, yet innovative way, and he’s been a progressive agent of change throughout his ownership tenure. In addition, he’s been widely-respected for the support and guidance he gives his executives.
These and other commitments to diversity in sports, along with Reinsdorf’s philanthropic and social efforts both personally and organizationally, have won him awards and praise. Reinsdorf and his organizations have received a Jefferson Award (considered the Nobel Prize for public service); the Barnes and Thornburg Jackie Robinson Award for diversity in the workplace; and the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence, for the White Sox’s Volunteer Corps program.
Reinsdorf’s career will be chronicled in the May 20 issue of SportsBusiness Journal.
What I Like …
■ An influential person in my career: Bill Campbell, former chairman of Visa, someone who has had great success in his career but you would never know it from how humble he is (unless you Google him and see his accomplishments). Having him on the LeadDog board has helped us focus and build based on a strategic blueprint.
■ An out-of-the-box idea: How what Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are doing is changing the face of philanthropy; it will be interesting to see how it manifests itself within the sports industry.
■ A timeless idea: Meeting face-to-face vs. via conference call or other technology. In person is always a better idea.
■ A business deal: Guggenheim Partners’ purchase of the Dodgers.
■ A sports facility: Madison Square Garden, from memories of Bernard King’s Knicks games to current work with them.
■ A sports event: Wimbledon — incredible history and aura.
■ A strategy: Get the right people on the bus and then make sure they are in the right seats (roles) on the bus to unleash their potential.
■ A hire: Donna Providenti, our COO. It was our version of adding LeBron to the Heat.
■ A brand: The New York Times. Quality content and compelling stories every day.
■ A trend: Rare athletes cut from the mold of Magic, Grant Hill, Peyton Manning; localizing the food/culinary experience at sports venues.
■ An innovation: Micro-financing and how it is impacting communities and causes, and its potential future impact on the sports business.
Madison Square Garden
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
■ An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: The rollup of numerous marathons that became Competitor Group’s Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series; Toms Shoes — buy a pair and a pair gets donated. The best ideas are the simplest.
■ A fantasy job: Shooting guard of the Knicks — with Red Holzman as coach and Clyde as
Photo by:GETTY IMAGES
What I Like about …
■ My job: The people. I am lucky to work with honest, passionate people who care a lot about what they do.
■ Sports: The psychology and chapters within the story over the course of a game.
■ Sports media: The deep knowledge of the announcers and studio hosts enhances the viewing experience. (Quirky answer: Their love of Beethoven and the arts.)
■ Sports technology: Balancing the amazing new tools and technologies while not taking away from the storytelling that unfolds in great games.
■ Competing: The feeling of giving it your absolute all is a good feeling to have.
What I Would Like To …
■ Change: The color of the sports business. We need more colors in the rainbow represented — there is too much white in the picture.
■ Change in what I do: Listen carefully before offering solutions.
■ See more of in sports: More athletes who make an average play not celebrating like they won a championship.
■ See less of in sports: High school athletes holding press conferences.
■ See less of in sports business: Alumni getting involved with college recruiting.
■ See different: The Knicks — from next to Spike Lee vs. our current seats.
What I Like …
Above: The T-shirt that launched a company name
Below: Mannix with son Jackson
Photos:COURTESY OF DAN MANNIX
■ Heroes: Jackie Robinson, Jennifer Goodman Linn, my grandmother.
■ Players: Magic Johnson, Walter Payton, Mookie Wilson.
■ Possession: The “LeadDog” T-shirt that my wife found in the attic and had framed, with the quote “Unless you’re the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” That was the initial spark for the name of the company.
■ Memento: My grandfather’s old desk.
■ Time of year: Summer. I have been going to the North Fork of Long Island since I was born — barbecue, beach and unplugging — and eternal optimism around the Mets.
■ Books: All of Jim Collins’ books (“Good to Great,” “Built to Last,” etc.), Howard Schultz’s two books, “John Adams.”
■ Magazines: Fast Company, Harvard Business Review.
■ Gadget: Sonos.
■ IPad app: Words with Friends.
■ Chore: The dishes after dinner.
■ Trip: Backpacking around the world for 10 months after spending seven years at the NBA.
■ Movie: “Remember the Titans.”
■ Concert: Springsteen tribute concert with my wife, Michelle, at Carnegie Hall.
■ Artists: Picasso; my son, Jackson.
■ Food: Anything from Ted & Honey in Brooklyn (full disclosure: my wife is Honey).
■ Singer: My son Jackson’s renditions of Fun’s “Some Nights.”
■ Quote: “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
■ Miscellaneous: Carpe Diem, have fun, love what you do, help others get into the industry every chance you get.
Computer industry veteran Jonathan Becher joined SAP in 2007, when the company acquired Pilot Software. He’s been chief marketing officer at SAP since April 2011, during which time the company has increased its sports marketing spend dramatically. Since technology integration with sports is one of the paramount topics across the industry, SAP’s interest in sports should continue to grow.
— Compiled by Terry Lefton
We have the [NFL] league deal and we are trying to own fantasy as a marketing platform. Our [sponsored] award is the Fantasy Player of the Year, and by supplying the numbers to allow a basis of comparison, we think it’s a real way to stand out.”
Target marketing: The marketing world has made a mistake by trying to differentiate B-to-B and B-to-C marketing. … We market to companies, but we recognize that when we are dealing with the finance person, or the IT person, or the salesperson, or the HR person — all want something different. So really, our marketing is B-to-B-to-C.
Getting their attention: [Smaller] companies are generally wary of technology because [the employees] have grown up in the company and they wonder if they really need what we sell. We have stuff that could cost them as little as $10 a month. If we can show them how our technology can change sports, we have a better chance of showing them how they can change the way they interact with their own customers.
Using sports: We already have people saying, “I want my business data to provide as much competitive information as you have shown SAP can do in the world of sports.” … Our sports sponsorships are a moneymaking enterprises for us, and we’ve more than doubled our spend there over the past 18 months or so.
About the NFL: Our value proposition with the NFL … is using technology to help businesses do what they do better. Next, we will be embracing fantasy and use our technology to get deeper numbers in terms of tendencies and more extensive mining of NFL data.
What’s next: Everyone wants a second screen with them now. If we can be the brand behind the technology that makes the game-day experience as good as the home experience for NFL fans, and create a network of fans around the game and get deep into fantasy, we’ll be at the center of the NFL as technology needs change; we’ll be there to provide change.