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Volume 21 No. 1

People and Pop Culture

The Boston Red Sox named Tony La Russa vice president and special assistant to the president of baseball operations. La Russa was chief baseball analyst for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Cincinnati Reds named Buddy Bell vice president and senior advisor to the general manager and president of baseball operations. Bell was vice president and assistant general manager for the Chicago White Sox.

The Oakland Athletics hired John Nowicki as senior manager of partnerships and Kerwin Ferrette, Curtis Hinkle and Taylor Smith as sales consultants. Nowicki was senior manager of partnership marketing for International Speedway Corp.

The Philadelphia Phillies hired Sam Fuld as major league player information coordinator and Ben Werthan as minor league player information coordinator.

The Seattle Mariners hired Dr. Lorena Martin as director of high performance. Martin was director of sports performance analytics for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Class AAA Pacific Coast League Omaha Storm Chasers promoted Sean Olson to assistant general manager of sales; Keri Feyerherm to director of human resources and administration; Cody Stewart to client services manager; Cody Smoot to group sales executive; Kendall Hendrix to ticket operations assistant; Kaci Long to director of marketing and communications; Nick Sandberg to mascot and theme night manager; Andrew Asbury to marketing and promotions coordinator; Noah Diercks to director of grounds; Scott Rowedder to grounds manager; Kathleen Ezell to special events and community relations coordinator. Kory Foster to senior ballpark operations assistant; and Andrew Green to media operations manager. The team hired Michael Herman as group sales executive and Sara Howard as a sales assistant. Herman was an account executive for the San Antonio Missions.


The Los Angeles Clippers hired Amy Millstone as director of corporate communications. Millstone was associate athletic director of strategic communications at California State University, Northridge.

The Memphis Grizzlies hired Lang Whitaker as general manager of the Grizzlies Team in the NBA 2K League, as well as a contributor to their in-house digital content group, Grind City Media.

The Phoenix Suns promoted Dan Costello to chief revenue officer; Carlissa Henry to senior vice president of marketing partnerships; Matt Wright to senior vice president of media and content strategy; Brooke Campbell to vice president of marketing and brand strategy; and Kyle Pottinger to vice president of ticket sales and service.

Marist College promoted Brandon James to assistant athletic director for business operations.

The Big Ten Conference hired Randy Lieberman as director of communications. Lieberman was assistant commissioner for advanced communications for the Sun Belt Conference.

The Patriot League hired Jackie Eddy as associate director of communications. Eddy was a public relations assistant for the Big South Conference.

Auburn University Athletic Director Jay Jacobs will step down from his position, effective June 1, 2018, or sooner if a successor is in place.

The University of Connecticut hired Eric Schneider as assistant athletic director for compliance. Schneider was director of compliance services at the University of South Carolina.

Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko resigned.

Bethune-Cookman University promoted Reginald Thomas to senior associate director of athletics for student support services, and hired Jarrad Ratliff as assistant athletic director for student-athlete service and compliance and Neal Clark as assistant athletic director for student-athlete services and academics. Ratliff was associate athletic director for compliance at Jackson State University, and Clark was assistant director in the athletic academic center at Vanderbilt University.

Drake University named Brian Hardin athletic director. Hardin was deputy athletic director at Marquette University.

Fairfield University hired Nick Wormley as executive director of athletic development and senior associate athletics director. Wormley was executive director for university advancement and campaign management at Sacred Heart University.

Fairleigh Dickinson University promoted Cathy Liggett to associate athletic director for facilities and operations.

Grand Valley State University hired Jake Levy as director of communications and broadcasting. Levy was director of media relations for the Class A Midwest League Quad Cities River Bandits.

Purdue University hired Tom Moreland as associate athletic director of strategic initiatives. Moreland was director of development and premium services at the University of Iowa.

Miami University promoted Paul Bland to director of Red and White Club.

Hofstra University Vice President and Athletic Director Jeffrey Hathaway will step down, effective June 30, 2018.

The University of Texas at San Antonio named Cameron Kovach director of ticket sales and service, C.J. Gilvens corporate sales representative, Charlie Powers group sales representative and Ronnie Cantu inside sales representative.

Missouri Western State University named Eric Kramer associate athletic director for compliance and sports administration.

The University of Richmond named John Hardt athletic director. Hardt was director of athletics and recreation at Bucknell University.

Awards and Boards
GoPro named Rick Welts, Golden State Warriors president and chief operating officer, to its board of directors.

People news
To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or email them to Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please. News items may also be sent via fax to (704) 973-1401. If you have questions, call (704) 973-1425.

Hired to oversee Monumental Sports Network’s content strategy in February 2016, Dan Shanoff has been experimenting with all sorts of programming to see what works in an over-the-top environment. Like other media platforms, he has found success with live games, like minor league hockey (the Hershey Bears) and local high school sports. The network also will carry G League games when a D.C.-area team forms in a year.

Highlights always have been a massive part of sports. But the way they are distributed today has changed the nature of how we relate to live games. Highlights posted to Instagram or Twitter within 60 seconds of it happening might as well be live. I want to watch the game. My son is content watching Instagram and seeing the game highlight pretty quickly after me.

On trends in sports media: I’m interested in the six-second ad formats where we’re not leaving the game. We’re shrinking the screen and hitting you with a highly engaging six-second ad. It’s so much closer to a soccer broadcast where there are no commercial breaks, just persistent branding. What does it mean for the more traditional sports that have ad breaks?

A traditional media company well suited for the future: You can’t coach youth sports and not recognize that a company like Bleacher Report owns a share of attention and awareness that would make most media companies envious. Kids who like traditional sports are finding an entryway into those sports through Bleacher’s app or Bleacher on Instagram. That’s powerful.

A new media company worth watching: Cheddar is really interesting. It is a forward-thinking, nimble, media company. It looks like a company somebody would dream up if they were starting a media company from scratch today.

Programming in the works for Monumental: We experimented with a lot of things in the first year. In the end, it comes down to bringing viewers closer to the stars. We have incredible access to Wizards and Capitals and Mystics — athletes our fans care deeply about. In the absence of showing live Wizards and Capitals games, we want to give exclusive insight and access into who the players are.

You coach sixth-grade basketball; give us a play that works: Five players around the perimeter. Set a screen for the ball handler. First option is always driving to the basket. Second option is a kick out to the wing for a jump shot.

                                                                                                                            — John Ourand

Wharton Sports Business Summit

At the Wharton Sports Business Summit on Nov. 3 in Philadelphia: Jared Faust, conference co-chair; Aileen Dagrosa and Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles; Scott Rosner, The Wharton School; Jerome Allen, conference vice chair; Noah Klayman, conference co-chair; Joe Favorito, sports media and marketing consultant.
Capital coaches

At the Nell and John Wooden Leadership in Coaching Awards dinner Oct. 12 at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C: Front: Bob Geoghan, Wooden Leadership award founder; Gary Williams, University of Maryland; Erik Moses, Events DC Sports and Entertainment. Middle: Roy Williams, University of North Carolina and Wooden honoree; Morgan Wootten, formerly of DeMatha Catholic High School. Back: Johnathan Scribner, St. John’s College HS; Steve Turner, Gonzaga College High School; Walt Williams, formerly of the University of Maryland; Danny Ferry, formerly of DeMatha; David Falk, founder and CEO of Falk Associates Management Enterprises; and Mike Wise of The Undefeated, emcee.
Courtesy of: EVENTS DC
BodyArmor flavor packs a UFC punch

The UFC-themed BodyArmor flavor Knockout Punch was introduced at an event Nov. 2 in New York City: BodyArmor co-founder and Chairman Mike Repole, UFC President Dana White, BodyArmor investor Kobe Bryant, UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, UFC strawweight Cynthia Calvillo and UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou.
Courtesy of: ZUFFA LLC
Arizona honorees

The five members of the 2017 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class were honored Nov. 1 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort: former Phoenix Coyotes player Shane Doan; Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, representing his father, Bill; longtime local journalist Paola Boivin; Arizona State University national champion wrestler Anthony Robles; and former Phoenix Suns player Dan Majerle.
Alabama's best

Inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame on Nov. 9 in Birmingham: Charles E. Adair, Kowaliga Capital president; Dr. James Andrews, American Sports Medicine Institute co-founder; Bill Battle, Collegiate Licensing Co. founder and former University of Alabama athletic director; Dr. Dorothy Davidson, Davidson Technologies chairman and CEO; John Johns, CEO and chairman, Protective Life Corp.; and Don Logan, Birmingham Barons owner and part of the group that owns B.A.S.S.
Wisdom from Shapiro

Shapiro Negotiations Institute founder Ron Shapiro spoke Nov. 1 in Columbia, S.C., at the Thomas H. Regan Executive Sport Seminar, presented by the University of South Carolina Department of Sport and Entertainment Management.
Spoelstra at UMass

Longtime sports marketer Jon Spoelstra served as the Mark H. McCormack Executive in Residence on Oct. 23-24 at the University of Massachusetts’ Isenberg School of Management.
Hometown Hall of Famer

Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Jones with Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Co. vice president of marketing, sales and service, during a recent Hometown Hall of Famer ceremony presented by Ford.

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Pricing and revenue management is obviously something that’s been very unique to the airline industry. It’s interesting to see how it’s moved across industries over the last few years.

In airlines, especially in pricing and revenue management, we are maybe the originators of big data, especially when you consider the scale that Delta flies.

We set the schedule, sell the schedule, then run the schedule.

The whole strategy that we’ve employed, as an airline, is that we want to be the No. 1 airline, the preferred airline, of the business traveler. Thus, it caused us to change the way we thought about what we sold.

We didn’t sell just flights, and we don’t sell just seats. We really sell time. … Because that is what the customer, whether it’s a leisure customer or a business traveler, really values.

If [our schedule] is very, very reliable, it will change how the customer thinks about what flights they purchase when they have other options, and what price they’re willing to pay.

Our job is to find the price point that the customer is willing to pay, not want to pay.

I know what customers want to pay. It starts with a “five,” and it ends with “dollars.”

“Willing to pay” is a very different type of conversation that we have with customers, depending on why they’re traveling, where they’re going, when they’re going.

You have to then think about the relationship with the customer beyond then, just that one transaction, just that one trip.

Pricing is always thinking about customer segmentation. The more granular we can get about customer segmentation, and really customer segmentation pertains to the behaviors of the customer.

The way to think about what inventory management is doing is we’re always balancing between yield … and load factor, how full are we.

We could be 100 percent full if all of our fares were $50. Conversely, we could flip it, we could say let’s make every seat $1,000. And we would find a few people who were willing to pay that, but our load factor would be really low.

“What do you look for in job hires?” … The one that we look for in pricing and revenue management is risk-reward trade-off. If you can find an analyst who’s really, really comfortable with risk versus reward, and making that trade-off pretty easily and quickly, those are people who are really, really good at their jobs in pricing and revenue management.

It’s really fascinating. There’s big algorithms we’re running behind the scenes.

The Super Bowl is amazing, but it also gets really complicated for us because it moves. So our demand forecaster will look at a city and be like, “That day in February was awesome. Let’s wait next year for all of this really great demand that’s going to show up, and all these really high price points.”

And the analyst has to be like, “No, no, no, no, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen this year. We’re going to have to think about it a little bit differently.”

A real turning point for us … a few years ago we shifted to a branded products approach. So rather than just selling seats … we started then offering in the shopping experience what different types of experience could be.

We made a move about six years ago to sell more of our first-class seats, especially domestic.

The front cabin for us domestically is always full. Upgrades are very, very important to people, upgrades are valuable. So while the front cabin was always full domestically, only about 13 percent of the people who sat there had paid for it.

Rather than the fare being six times what a coach fare was … what if we just changed the proposition and said, “Would you be willing to pay us an incremental amount more than the coach fare to confirm yourself into the front cabin?”

The cool thing about the incremental amount is that it would change. If you were buying a discounted coach fare and it was a leisure product, that incremental amount would be pretty big. If you were buying a business product in the coach cabin, that incremental amount shrunk.

We started this about six years ago. Right now our paid load factor in the front cabin is just north of 60 percent for domestic.

Airline seats have always traditionally been thought of as table salt. It’s a commodity. A seat is a seat is a seat.

We want to make it really seamless and simple for the customer to be able to see what their options are and buy it and then make changes to it later if they want.

When Georgia played Notre Dame on Saturday (Sept. 9) and then the Falcons played the Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field, that was a really unique experience for sports fans, to be able to pair up two events like that. We saw an incredible amount of demand for that.

I think that there’s probably room, though, on kind of an everyday basis, more room for partnership between the sports teams and event promoters and airlines.

We use a lot of artificial intelligence already, in terms of the algorithms that we have, but we always know the relationships we’re looking for. It’s not like we just put a bunch of data into it and say, “What can you come up with?”