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Volume 20 No. 42
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Spotlight: Steve Vogel, U.S. Bank

Benefit for banker: ‘I’ve had the chance to meet remarkable people’

U.S. Bank recently named Steve Vogel vice president of its professional sports group. Vogel, a native of Boston, joins U.S. Bank after serving as director of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s sports and advisory group. He spoke with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Anna Hrushka.

Age: 33.
New title: Vice president, professional sports group at U.S. Bank.
Previous title: Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch sports and advisory group.
First job: Children’s tennis instructor.
Education: Finance, Boston College, 2001.
Resides: Charlotte.
Grew up: Boston.
Executive most admired: “The commissioners for the major leagues here in the U.S. Their job is extremely dynamic and I think a lot of their position. They’re great people and I look up to them in a lot of ways.”
Brand most admired: Apple.
Favorite vacation spot: “Lima, Peru, which is where my wife is from.”
Last book read: “No Easy Day,” by Mark Owen.
Last movie seen: “Argo.”
Favorite movies: “Forrest Gump,” “Good Will Hunting” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”
Favorite musician/band: U2.

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
I think about all the great opportunities that we see across all of the four major sports in the U.S. and globally. I don’t really think about the challenges. I think about what’s exciting and what’s growing in this industry.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
When I decided to move from Boston, where I grew up and started my career, to Charlotte. … For me, it was a change in lifestyle and business and, personally, it was difficult to leave what I had known for a long time.

What’s your biggest professional accomplishment?
I think there’s been a lot. I’ve had the opportunity to work on really interesting financing transactions in the industry, some high-profile transactions. I’ve had the chance to meet remarkable people. People that I probably wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to meet. And they’ve taught me a lot and shaped who I am today and given me that perspective.

What’s your biggest professional disappointment?
I’ve been very lucky. I think that I’m lucky at this point in my career to have fought through challenges, but I don’t think I’ve had any major disappointments.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
What I’ve found over the years to be a huge benefit is to find people in many different industries who are successful in what they do and learn about their best practices. Getting into this business isn’t always about coming from a cookie-cutter background. I think there’s so much to be said for just plain-old hard work and building a network of people who can teach you to be well-rounded.

What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
We’re obviously watching what’s going on with the NHL, the negotiations going on right now, and how that’s going to play out. We’re seeing how the value of Major League Baseball and their national TV contracts have grown remarkably, and those contracts were just recut very recently. We’re watching the globalization of United States sports.

What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
From the consumer perspective, in this economy, it’s challenging for a lot of fans out there to be able to see their favorite teams live very frequently. … I think it would be great if it could be more affordable, especially in the big cities, for families to get in front of their teams more often.