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Volume 22 No. 23
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Forty Under 40

Estis

Estis
KELLY ALEXANDER
A few years before Cowboys Stadium opened, the Dallas Cowboys did not have Chad Estis on the original list of candidates interviewing for their top sales job. That changed in a hurry when his name kept popping up.

“Everybody kept saying they were a protégé of Chad Estis, and after I heard his name about five times, I said I’ve got to meet Chad,” said Jerry Jones Jr., the club’s vice president and chief sales and marketing officer.

Fast forward to 2011, 3 1/2 years after Estis took the job as the Cowboys’ vice president of sales and marketing. He has led a team that generated more than $500 million in revenue tied to the $1.2 billion stadium’s 300 suites and 15,000 club seats.

In addition to his Cowboys duties, Estis is now president of Legends Premium Sales, part of Legends Hospitality Management, the company co-owned by the Cowboys, the Yankees and two private-equity firms. The premium sales division has a deal with the San Francisco 49ers to sell suites and club seats for their proposed stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Separately, Legends is selling 44 new suites, 1,428 club seats and 32 loge boxes to help pay for the Rose Bowl Stadium’s $170 million renovation in Pasadena.

That deal is through IMG Legends, its joint venture with IMG College.
Back in 2007, two years before Cowboys Stadium opened, it took some doing for Jones to convince Estis that he should come to Texas. Estis was chief marketing officer for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, and his wife is from Cleveland, too.

Jones visited Estis in Cleveland during a playoff game to plead his case. Estis wasn’t convinced until he went down to Dallas, met with all the Joneses and realized it was the opportunity of a lifetime to market the new stadium.

“That’s where it really hit me, what I viewed as the largest sales project in our industry,” Estis said.
“Once that clicked with me, I started to get enthused to be a part of it.”

Age: 39
TitleS: President / Senior vice president, sales and booking
COMPANIES: Legends Premium Sales / Dallas Cowboys
Education: B.A., Ohio University, 1993; master’s, sports administration, Ohio University, 1994
Family: Wife, Tracey; children, Ben (7) and Allie (5)
Career: Cleveland Cavaliers, 1994; Teamwork Consulting, 1994-95; director of sales, Detroit Pistons, 1996-99; Tampa Bay Lightning, 1999-2001; Cleveland Cavaliers, 2001-07; Dallas Cowboys, 2007-present
Last vacation: Disney World and Hammock Beach, Fla.


What's on your iPod: U2, Coldplay, John Mellencamp
Guilty pleasure: Golf
Best stress release: Playing basketball
Pet peeve: When people don’t reply all to e-mail when others are copied
Greatest achievement: Our success selling Cowboys Stadium
Greatest disappointment: Not being 6-foot-5
Fantasy job: High school basketball coach
Business advice: Do something you love, build great relationships and don’t be afraid to speak your mind and take risks.