Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 219
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Minding My Business: Lagardère Sports' Jeff Sanders On New-Look CareerBuilder Challenge

Name: Jeff Sanders

Position: Lagardère Sports Exec VP/Golf Events (CareerBuilder Challenge Exec Dir)

Age: 60

Where I call home: Portland, Ore.

Focusing on right now: Our tournament this week. Last year we were the consultant on this tournament and this year we’re the operator. Trying to get everything settled away. 

Best advice: You’ve got to be willing to take some risks to make change a positive. At the point of change, there’s a one-time opportunity to improve. You only get one swing. JACK NICKLAUS once said the only thing more important than winning is preparing to win. We believe in that. We’re prepared.

Person I admire: My father was my mentor and best friend, he encouraged me and supported me to get started in this business when I left the PGA Tour in ’85. He encouraged me to stay in golf.

Best book I’ve read: I live by a book called “Selling To VITO (The Very Important Top Officer)” by ANTHONY PARINELLO. I’ve read it 10 times. It talks about how to take care of the customer at the highest level. In our business, we are absolutely quite frankly, concierge, host and hostesses, waiters and waitresses. That’s the business we’re in. You have to be able to sell, and not just sell, but over-deliver to highly successful people. I’m also writing a book called “Pick Up The Phone.” Nothing’s ever happened in business without picking up the phone. Every relationship that we have, everything starts with the phone.

Must-have music: I’m a classic rock guy, all day long. I’m 60, so that’s my ideal. I like some contemporary music, too. I'll listen to bands like the X AMBASSADORS or GAVIN DEGRAW. But I live and die by classic rock. I love HUEY LEWIS, THE EAGLES, JOE WALSH, DOOBIE BROTHERS, THE ROLLING STONES.

First thing in the morning: I get up early, usually by 4:00, and get right to my emails. I’ll make a pot of coffee. I write down what I need to do that day. If I don’t do that, it doesn’t work.

Talking tech: The apps available to us these days make our jobs much easier. We’ve got all of our communication that we do with our sponsors. We used to send envelopes full of paper to them, now it’s all on an app. That’s been a big deal for us, a really nice customer service benefit. We want to communicate highly and effectively and take all the questions away. 

Food for thought: I eat really healthy. I’m a big fish guy, we love salmon. We eat out a fair amount on the road, but when we’re at home in Portland we try to eat clean. I like to have a drink or two now and then. I’m a big red wine, Cabernet guy. But we try to eat really well. It’s important. It keeps the energy high and the weight down. This business requires a lot of energy.

How I unwind: Because I played so much competitive golf, it’s very challenging for me to play social golf, I don’t really enjoy it. The reason is because I’m not prepared, and I always want to play well. I love to work out and I’ll go on some pretty long walks up in the hills around Portland. I went on a 10-mile walk this morning here in La Quinta. I also have season tickets to Oregon football.

Day in the life: This tournament has the identical model of the Safeway Open, which we've also operated. We call it our golf festival entertainment model. We eliminated all of the cover charges. We went to one $30 daily ticket, or a four-day, $75 dollar weekly ticket. That ticket includes getting onto the golf course, it includes getting into a green-side hospitality location on 16, 17 and 18. At 4:30pm on Friday right after golf, on the driving range Huey Lewis is going to do a concert. On Saturday, same thing with the GOO GOO DOLLS. We believe in enhancing the fan experience, which leads to more and more hospitality from a corporate sponsor standpoint.