Forty Under 40: Bill Hudock
A chance connection made while Bill Hudock was studying in England propelled him to a career on the business side of American sports. In 2000, Hudock was in a creative writing program at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, when a professor picked up on his lifelong love of sports and recalled that Lex Sant, a student 10 years prior, now worked in media relations for the Carolina Panthers.
Vice President, Corporate Consulting, Genesco Sports Enterprises
Born: Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Education: Dickinson College, B.A., English; University of Virginia, Darden School of Business, MBA
Family: Wife, Alicia; children, Audrey (6), Billy Jr. (3)
What gets you fired up: The last four minutes of “Freebird.”
Profession you’d most like to attempt: Rock star.
Something your friends would consider “so you”: Giving obscure restaurant recommendations in equally obscure cities across America.
Could not go a day without: Music and headphones.
Cause supported: Future 5 is a Stamford, Conn., group which supports college prep to students who need it.
Person in the industry you’d most like to meet: John Calipari. He fought his way up.
Most thrilling/adventurous thing you’ve done: During business school, I went to South Africa and drilled for gold a mile and a half below the surface in a gold mine. We found some, but didn’t get to keep it.
That connection led Hudock to two internships at the team, followed by three years in media relations with the Buffalo Bills.
“Until then, the business side of sports wasn’t obvious to me,” Hudock said. He knew additional credentials would be required to switch from PR to marketing, so he pursued an MBA at Virginia, which led to a summer marketing job with the Washington Capitals. That was followed by a stint at a media and marketing agency and a job with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2010-13 as director of strategic marketing and business development, in which he helped discern revenue opportunities outside of football.
“What’s really helped me is that I spent the first four years of my career in locker rooms,” Hudock said. So, he stays fan focused. “We have more data than ever, but if there’s too much, it can cause paralysis.”
In 2013, Genesco Executive Vice President Kit Geis lured Hudock to New York, where he’s since worked on Pepsi’s expansive sports sponsorship portfolio — its NBA league deal and NFL rights, which include the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
“Bill’s been a great strategic sparring partner for us,” said Justin Toman, Pepsi’s head of U.S. sports marketing, who was a Forty Under 40 honoree in 2017. “When we get in a room and debate new ideas with him, I know we’ll always end up with plans that are more complete and better developed.”