Featuring fifty interviews with fifty sports executives ranging from team owners, team/company executives, facility designers, and analytics experts, They Shoot...They Score offers a comprehensive guide to applied lessons in leadership, innovation and strategy from the sports industry. Topics covered include Strategic Marketing, Brand Management, Business Analytics and Sport Science, Corporate Culture, Corporate Partnerships, Entrepreneurship, Facility Logistics, Sales, and much more! Conducted between January and May 2018, these interviews span additional topics such as brand building for pro sports startups, the evolution of sponsorship analytics, applications of experiential marketing, key aspects of stadium design, and college athletic administration. These interviews cover every major professional sports league in North America (basketball, football, hockey, soccer, baseball), numerous consulting firms (Wasserman, Block Six Analytics, GumGum, Populous), and entities from collegiate athletics and the sports commission world (NCAA, University of Oklahoma, America East Conference, St. Louis and Kansas City Sports Commissions). Published as an e-book, this format allows readers to click on a variety of links to dive deeper into topics of interest to them. This interactive feature adds to the educational and entertainment value of the project. The target audiences for this book are: (1) Sports enthusiasts who want to learn more about the Business of Sports. (2) Those who enjoy reading about business and leadership, for there are numerous applied lessons in each throughout the book. (3) College professors who wish to supplement their Sports Business or Sport Management courses with a compilation of real-world sports industry applications.
1. Joe Lacob (Owner and CEO, Golden State Warriors)
2. John Abbamondi (EVP of Ticketing/Suites/Hospitality, The Madison Square Garden Company)
3. Kerry Bubolz (President and COO, Vegas Golden Knights)
4. Kelly Cheeseman (COO, AEG Sports and L.A. Kings)
5. Mark Cuban (Owner, Dallas Mavericks)
6. Dan Flynn (CEO and Secretary General, U.S. Soccer Federation)
7. Robyn Glaser (VP, The Kraft Group)
8. Al Guido (President, San Francisco 49ers and CEO, Elevate Sports Ventures)
9. Ben Gumpert (President and Chief Operating Officer, Sacramento Republic FC)
10. Larry Miller (President, Jordan Brand)
11. Kathy Nelson (President and CEO, The Greater Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation)
12. Tom Penn (President and Co-Owner, LAFC)
13. Scott Radecic (Founder and Senior Principal, Populous)
14. Ari Segal (President and Chief Operating Officer, Immortals)
15. Chris Zimmerman (President and CEO of Business Operations, St. Louis Blues)
1. JOE LACOB
- - Owner and CEO, Golden State Warriors
Genesis of Relationship:
- - Became acquainted with Joe through his affiliation with the Sports Business Program at Washington University in St. Louis. ? His son, Kent, is a 2015 graduate of WashU's Olin Business School.
? Joe has generously contributed to the genesis of and continued growth/success of the program and has been kind enough to spend some time with me in-person on a handful of occasions since 2015.
- - An integral part of the Warriors' success on-the-court is a selfless team-oriented style of play, so recruiting players who embrace that philosophy is of tantamount importance.
- - On the importance of recruiting players who are quality people: ? ".a lot of (our success) really does depend on character and culture, and how you're going to work together."
- - On the value of transparency and debate within the organization's corporate culture: ? ".everybody is encouraged to have an opinion. We debate it, we discuss it. That's a great place to work. You want to be in a place where your opinion matters, where it's going to be heard, where you can have an impact. You feel more buy-in, and you work together better, and by the way, you make better decisions, and the whole esprit de corps of the organization is affected."
I challenge any reader to cite another professional sports franchise in the history of American team sports which has experienced as monumental and rapid a reversal of fortune (on and off the field of play) as the Golden State Warriors.amassing fortunes in the process.
Yes, that includes you too, Cubs fans! And "no", this is not the biased sentiment of an ardent St. Louis Cardinals supporter. 3
Consider these facts: 4
- - Chris Cohan assumed ownership of the Warriors franchise in 1995
- During Cohan's 15 years as owner, the Warriors: ? Won a little under 38% of their games
? Had 2 winning seasons, and
? One post-season appearance in 2006-07 (where they miraculously as an 8th seed upset the #1 seed 67-win Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs before bowing out to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semi-finals)
- - And in the 18 years prior to Cohan's ownership dating back to the 1977-78 season, the club only reached the playoffs 5 of 18 years, did not reach the conference finals, and had an average winning percentage of 0.447.
- Joe Lacob and partner Peter Guber purchased the Warriors from Cohan in July 2010 for $450 million
- From the 2010-11 season through the time of this draft, the Warriors have: ? Won 66% of their games, and 75% of games played since the beginning of the 3rd year of the Lacob/Guber ownership regime (i.e. the 2012-2013 season);
? Made 6 consecutive trips to the NBA Playoffs;
? Reached 4 consecutive NBA Finals, winning three times.including the 2018 NBA Finals with a 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- - The Forbes 2018 NBA franchise valuations estimated the Warriors worth at $3.1 billion, third-highest among NBA teams.trailing only the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. ? This value is roughly 6.9 times greater than the price Lacob/Guber paid in July 2010
Suffice to say, Lacob and Guber have made all the right moves. 5 Some of which took considerable guts because they were not extremely popular decisions. Most notably:
- - The trading of Monta Ellis in March 2012, which led to the infamous "Chris Mullin" night on March 20th, 2012.where Joe Lacob was roundly booed for several minutes as he was trying to honor Warriors great Mullin during a pre-game jersey retirement ceremony.
- - The firing of coach Mark Jackson, whose win-loss record improved across his three years with the club, culminating in a 51-win season in 2013-14 after a 23-43 record in his first year with the club. 6
Fast forward to late September 2017:
- - On Saturday morning September 23rd, hours before my scheduled in-person interview with Lacob at the Warriors practice facility in downtown Oakland on their first day of practice for the 2017-18 season, I biked from my hotel in downtown San Francisco to the site of the future home of the Warriors, the Chase Center, located in the ever-evolving Mission Bay district. ? The purpose of the video-recorded interview was to air the conversation for the audience in attendance at the 2017 Olin Sports Business Summit on Friday, September 29th in St. Louis at WashU.
- - When I arrived back from my bike ride, I learned of President Trump's tweet earlier that morning in which he dubiously withdrew his invitation for the Warriors to visit the White House.calling out Warriors star Steph Curry in the process. 7
The Warriors are an intellectual organization. They are communicators. They huddle. They debate. They air grievances. But they encourage discussion and the sharing of dissenting viewpoints. And this culture of openness and freedom to express one's opinions comes from the top. It is a fundamental part of Joe Lacob's philosophy of how all people within the organization must have an opinion and not be afraid to share it.
** Reader's note: This interview was conducted in-person on Saturday, September 23rd 2017 in downtown Oakland at the Warriors practice facility on their first day of practice prior to the 2017-18 season. Watch the entire 17-minute interview here. **
PJR: We are roughly seven years from when you took over the club. And when I think back to 'Chris Mullin night', I have often asked myself 'How would I have felt if I were Joe on that night?'
Now here we are. You are a two-time NBA champion. Tell us about that journey. Tell us how it feels to go from where you were that night to where you are now.
JL: Well it feels pretty good! (Both men laugh) Two championships will do that for you.
You're referring to what I refer to as 'The Booing'. Chris Mullin's jersey retirement.
You wouldn't have wanted to be me on that night, I can assure you. It was no fun. Probably one of the hardest nights I've ever had to absorb and deal with. I had to go with my gut in terms of how to react to it.
But the truth is, we've had five years since then. It's been a great five years, we've stayed on our mission, we've stayed on our plan. Explained it as best we could to others at the time, and obviously it's worked out. Five straight playoff appearances, three Finals appearances, two championships.
And more importantly, the things I'm perhaps even more proud of, is the way our organization has performed as a whole. The business side as well as the basketball side. It's been a great five-year run, and I just look forward to the next five years.
PJR: There have been several success stories in professional sports recently. You look at the transformation your club has made. The transformation the Chicago Cubs have made. There are decisions and choices ownership must make to go down a certain path.
When you look back at what has happened with the Warriors, if you had to pick two or...