What I Like: Nathan Grube, Tournament Director, The Travelers Championship
What I Like …
■ An influential person in my career: Eric Eshleman. My first real boss at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. He trained me to serve our clients with an amazing blend of customer service, creative marketing and old-fashioned blood, sweat and tears.
■ A timeless idea: Face-to-face meetings. Nothing is more important, or effective, than seeing your clients face to face.
■ A business deal: Cowboys Stadium. The deal between Arlington, Jerry Jones, the NFL and the Cowboys fans to get that done was amazing.
■ A sports facility: If the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale can be called a “facility,” then that is it. It is an amazing marriage of PGA Tour golf, a fraternity party, a Monster Truck event, a nightclub, a protest rally and spring break in Cancun that somehow combine to make great theater.
■ A strategy: Toms shoes. A simple, straightforward message about giving back.
■ A hire: Gene Chizik.
■ An innovation: Disposable DVDs that will only play for 24 hours after opening them. I am still trying to figure out the science.
■ A fantasy job: Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
What I Like About …
■ Sports: I think sports are a microcosm of life. You learn how to interact with people, how to win, how to lose, how to work as a team.
■ Sports business: Transforming passion into business is exciting.
■ Sports technology: The slow-motion replay in HD.
■ Competing: Eighty percent of our staff either competed in college athletics or played professionally in some sport. I believe the mentality of competition that an athlete brings to the table is an incredible advantage in business.
■ The future (or direction) of sports business: The sharing of ideas. I have seen more references to “best practices” across the sports landscape lately than ever before. This needs to continue.
■ Sports fans: Passion. The fan that is willing to cover their body in green paint on a Wednesday night in February for a game and then wash all that off, get up and go to work the next day … that kind of passion is inspiring.
What I Would Like To …
■ See: A pro athlete donate 100 percent of his/her next big endorsement deal to charity.
■ Change: Online ticket convenience fees.
■ Eliminate: Commercial breaks. With the latest technology we now have other ways to advertise. Break away from the competition less and build advertising into the broadcast.
■ See more of in sports business: Fan appreciation. The stadiums, the contracts, the endorsements … they are all generated from the fans. I think more fan appreciation events, access to athletes, signed memorabilia, giveaways, etc., would go a long way to having the fans invest even more.
■ See more of in sports: Compensation based on performance. Reduce the guarantees and increase incentive compensation. I think we would see the records begin to be broken across the board.
■ See less of in sports: Fights in hockey being allowed to run their course.
■ See different: Owners having their earnings capped.
What I Don’t Like …
■ In general: Egos not checked at the door.
■ Pet peeve: People chewing with their mouths open.
■ In sports: The lack of acknowledgement of a genetic gift.
■ In business: Always trying to upsell.
What I Like …
■ People: Justin Rose. He may be the most gracious person I have ever met.
■ That would surprise those who know me: I cry every time I see “Les Miserables.”
■ Above all else: My wife. I seriously think she is the coolest person I know. She still makes me nervous.
■ About myself: I can shoot either 68 or 86 on the golf course. That kind of diversity keeps the game fun.
■ Player: Tony Gwynn. Stay true to your team and don’t chase the money.
■ Possession: My first set of Mizuno T-Zoid irons.
■ Memento: My dad’s intramural football championship pin from Ohio State in ’62.
■ Time of year (because): Fall in New England … just come once and you will know.
■ Gadgets: Microsoft Sync on my Ford Explorer.
■ IPad app: “Angry Birds” … when I can pull it away from my son.
■ Hobbies: Playing catch with my son and tea parties with my daughter.
■ Trips: A three-day hike around the Tetons.
■ Movie: “The Shawshank Redemption.”
■ Concert: U2 in Memphis in ’97.
■ Food: Mongolian Chicken from P.F. Chang’s (make sure they caramelize the sauce).
■ Drink: Venti Peppermint Mocha.
■ Scent: Eucalyptus.
■ Vacation spot: Nantucket.
■ Car: Chevy Tahoe Z71.
■ Quote: Whatever you are, be a good one.