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Volume 21 No. 34
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Forty Under 40: Brad Sims

Brad Sims

Age: 39
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Title: Senior vice president, chief revenue officer
Where born: Sacramento
Education: University of California, San Diego (B.A., communications; minors in U.S. history and political science)
Family: Wife, Beth; expecting first child in August

Favorite way to unwind: Weekend getaways with my wife.
Causes supported: United Way and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
Most thrilling/adventurous thing I’ve ever done: Rappelling down the side of a mountain near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Peter Guber.
If I could change jobs with anyone for a day, it would be: Dan Gilbert. He owns 120+ companies and is somehow totally on top of what each of them is doing. And, on top of the business side, he’s almost single-handedly revitalizing a great American city, Detroit. I don’t know how he does it, but it would be undoubtedly insightful to walk in his shoes for a day.
2015 will be a good year if: My wife gives birth to a healthy baby this August; period. But the Cavs winning the NBA championship would be pretty great, too!
My fellow Forty Under 40 class members would be surprised to know that I:
Have pulled a tarp on and off a baseball field over 1,000 times in my life. (Or that I attended Bono’s 40th birthday party after a U2 show in Chicago in 2000.)


CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Brad Sims is one of the industry’s most creative sales executives, yet the California native entered sports with different career aspirations.

Initially bent on getting into baseball operations, Sims’ career shifted just three weeks into his first job with the Durham Bulls. That’s when industry sales veteran Jon Spoelstra visited the Class AAA team and suggested the young executive move into sales. One year later, Sims was hired by Maryland Baseball LLC, which owned three minor league teams. He went on to work for Comcast-Spectacor, and he later landed with the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division.

In 2012, the Cavaliers called and convinced Sims to move to Cleveland despite the fact that

{podcast}

SBJ Podcast:
Forty Under 40 editor Mark Mensheha and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss this year's class, some of the more interesting stories in it and how the selection process works.

the Cavs’ business had bottomed out after LeBron James left for Miami. Sims also would be one of the first in the league to carry a CRO title for a team. But before that move could be made, the newly married Sims had to convince his wife to move from Manhattan to Cleveland, an effort he calls his greatest sales job.

Now, with James back in Cleveland, Sims has spent the past year shattering traditional ways of doing business. He has structured the team’s sales business to sign one-year suite deals in order to leverage more lucrative deals as demand skyrockets. He also has instituted a program that requires the automatic renewal of season-ticket customers, eliminating the burdensome annual renewal efforts teams normally experience.

“Our numbers are off the charts,” said Sims, noting that the growth started even prior to the team re-signing James. “But I’m more proud of the past two years, when we grew the business by double digits.”

— John Lombardo