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Volume 21 No. 2
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Peter Hurley, founder and president, Synergy Events

Hurley’s Synergy Events is gearing up for another U.S. Open, where it has been creating activation events for 20 years.


What I Like …

An influential person in my career: Jack Kelley, a hall of fame hockey coach at Boston University and one-time GM of the New England Whalers. He gave me great initial advice on how to get into sports marketing.

An insight: Time flies when you are having fun. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary, and I have no idea where that much time has gone.

Sports executive: Mark Stenning, CEO, International Tennis Hall of Fame. He juggles so many things …

An out-of-the-box idea: QuickStart Tennis, a scaled-down version of the game for kids. It makes tennis approachable enough for kids to play.

Founder and president,
Synergy Events

Where I'm from: Melrose, Mass., where I grew up playing tennis 12 hours a day on the public courts. Now I live in Rumson, N.J.

Where I Went to School: University of Vermont, B.A., organizational communications, 1987.

My First Job: Working as an AE for a business-to-business direct marketing firm in Boston, Creative Professional Services.

A timeless idea: Handwritten notes. At a time when everything is emailed, they really stand out.

A business deal: Apple bringing back Steve Jobs for a second try.

A sports facility: The old Boston Garden. I grew up playing hide and seek after games there, along with the rats.

A sports event: Wimbledon is a great combination of an event that respects and honors tradition and still has forward thinkers, when you look at things like the roof there.

Favorite moment inside a sports venue: The Rose Bowl, 1999 Women’s World Cup,

when Brandi Chastain scored the deciding goal in a shootout

A strategy that worked: Southwest Airlines always giving something extra to customers.

A hire: Joe Torre by the Yankees. Not a great managerial record before he got there, but he was clearly the right man at the right time.

A brand: Rolex. It is timeless, which is strange for watch brand, right?

1999 Women's World Cup

A pro league or team business initiative: NASCAR Champion’s Week. Getting exposure in New York City was a great way to speak directly to Madison Avenue and make noise in the No. 1 media market.

A business story that bears watching: Health care costs are doubling every four years. As a small-business owner, that’s very distressing.

A sports business story that bears watching: Wimbledon looking to move back a week and how that will affect everything else in tennis.

An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: The oversized tennis rackets from Prince. They changed everything.

What I Like about …

My job: The ability to grow a team and develop some real talent within.

Sports business: Allows me to do what I love.

Sports media: Allows us to capture the big moments and build a bigger sports community for those really important moments.

Sports technology: It gives the average player hope.

What I’d Like To …

See more of in sports business: More of a level playing field. There’s a huge gap between the haves and have-nots.

See less of in sports: Fewer traveling teams for youth. Our kids are all way over-programmed.

See less of in sports business: The notion that a pro team is no good unless they win a championship that season. Ultimately defining an individual on whether they win a championship in a team sport is just wrong.

What I Don’t Like …

About sports fans: You often see a lack of respect shown for families and children at games, whether it is alcohol abuse or language. That needs to change.

Pet peeve: Disrespecting people’s time by being late.


What I Like …

That would surprise those who know me: I went to the University of Vermont, but I didn’t learn how to ski until I was 40.

Above all else: Spend as much time with family as possible.

Heroes: Patrick Rafter and John Havlicek. When Rafter won his first couple of U.S. Opens, he quietly gave that first big check to charity and never told anyone about it. He did it again the next year. Havlicek was just like your next-door neighbor, very unassuming.

Teams: New England Patriots and Boston Celtics.

City: Boston.

Memento: I’ve given away a piece of the Green Monster, so I don’t know what it would be.

Book: “TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments,” by Doug Conant, is a current favorite.

Magazines: Various tennis mags, Golf Digest.


IPad app: Shazam, which allows you to ID a song via your

iPhone or iPad and then you can buy it online.  

Hobbies: Tennis, swimming, a little golf.

Trips: South Africa, Paris. The one I haven’t done that I want to is the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

Movie: “The Sting” is an all-time favorite.

Concert: The U2 concert that was one of the last at the old Meadowlands Stadium.

Artist: Monet — I was just in Paris.

Food: Soft-shell crabs, in season.

Dessert: Love it, so it is whatever I am having that night.

Drink: A Mojito in the summertime.

Scent: The smell of fresh-cut grass.

Vacation spots: Park City, Utah, and Bermuda.

Car: My 100,000-plus-mile Lexus.