SBJ/June 10-16, 2013/In Depth

New Alabama AD Battle settles in

Bill Battle, who succeeded Mal Moore as Alabama AD, recently spoke with SportsBusiness Journal college writer Michael Smith about the work ahead.

On facility projects: We’ve got a few things on the front burner. One is the baseball stadium. It’s a pretty good-looking stadium, but we’ve dropped to the lower half of the conference if you look around. We’re considering a renovation of the stadium in its current location or building a new one. We’re leaning toward a renovation. In the next few years, we’ve got plans for a nicer rowing facility as well.

Battle said he’s looking at ways to improve the game-day experience, including tackling lingering issues with parking.
Photo by: USA Today Sports
On his approach to being AD:
As far as my job, people say just maintain what’s going on. But you don’t maintain. You’re either getting better or getting worse. We’re going to put the pedal to the metal. If you’re not going forward, you’re going backwards, and we’re going to work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.

On his first two months on the job: I’m learning our staff, and seeing how we’re organized, what we do well, what we don’t do well. I’m making sure that our staff has the resources they need to attract athletes at the highest levels. We’re looking at our game-day experience, and if there are certain technologies that help the fan experience. For schools with stadiums at 100,000-plus around the country, it’s getting harder and harder to fill them up. The product on the field is the first thing, but we’ve got to look at making sure it’s a pleasant experience getting there. Parking is a huge problem. I probably hear from negative comments about parking (more) than anything else. We have to look at every way we can eliminate the hassle factor.

On the potential for new revenue: In some ways we’re out of things to sell, so that’s something we have to look at. We’re trying to explore all of the opportunities out there, whether that’s through traditional fundraising or better marketing.

On his background as CEO of Collegiate Licensing Co.: Hopefully, the experience I’ve gained in building a company and providing good customer service will have applications at Alabama. That’s leading, recruiting good people. … You know, I don’t see a lot that’s broken, but we will look to see if there are any organizational changes that make sense. But I wouldn’t say it’s going to be anything major.

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