The God Father is my all-time favorite movie. I could watch it over and over and quote movie line after movie line. I take it with me where ever I go, even the office.
When I was hired as the GM of the Philadelphia Soul back in 2005, I came in with the daunting task of competing with the Eagles and the Phillies, and the Flyers and the Sixers. We were in the third largest market in the country and needed to find ways to draw fans into arena football. We wanted to give them a reason to come and watch once, and then come and watch again and again.
Intuitively, I knew that the only way we could compete in a city like Philadelphia was to find our niche and do it well. It required our very lean staff to each work to our potential. We worked long and hard and shared plenty of nights, and weekends and arguments. We became like a family. I even started joking about my La Famiglia – God Father style. We argued over merchandise, the best ways to cross promote, sponsorship packages, and game day presentations. We fought about graphics and seating prices, and where to order lunch. But in the end, we had each other’s back. Like Michael Corleone, “Never go against the family.”
We provided the best entertainment value we possibly could. It was a team effort – a family effort. By our third year, we averaged 16,477 fans per night at what was then the Wachovia Center (currently the Wells Fargo Center). We were one of only a few teams out of 16 that made money in the AFL. We were thrilled when in 2007 we were recognized with the Commissioner’s Award, boasting the best front office staff in the league. In true form, we took this picture.
The following year, in 2008 we won the Arena Bowl and I swear it had something to do with the Famiglia we built. Since then, we’ve all moved on – bigger and better and upward, but I learned, we all learned, that to do your best you have to count on one another.
- Rich 7.5.12
5 Reasons to Work in Minor League Sports
I often ask people when I interview or visit a classroom why they want to work in sports. I am continually surprised by the range of answers given…the sports world is always exciting, working with athletes would be cool, having a role in bringing people together in an arena is something I’d love to do, I love the formula for a good salary cap. The range of backgrounds – sports marketing, accounting, economics, management, physical therapy is like no other field. It gets me thinking about why I got into sports and why I continue to love it.
Here’s my top five:
1. You get to wear many hats.
There’s no better place to learn to do everything….one minute you are selling tickets, or writing a press release, next minute you’re lugging soda to the press box and adjusting the salary cap. You might take players to a school for an appearance, hang signage at the arena, deal with fans one-on-one, and sell merchandise – and that’s just Monday! One of the best things about the minor leagues is you get to do it a bit of everything and it never gets boring.
2. Emotional attachment
Every day you go to work, you’re doing something for your team. In sports you can get emotionally attached and it’s actually part of your job. Tweet This. I see team shirts and hats around town and I feel a sense of pride. I watch the kids get autographs from MY players. When the team scores a goal, it might as well be me that’s scoring the goal. When we win it is the best feeling, and when we lose it is the worst feeling. When I stand in a sold-out arena and the lights go off and the team in introduced and the hair on my arms stand up, to me, there’s no better feeling, AND it’s all in a day’s work.
3. It’s fun
We aren’t accountants or census takers! (No offense) We work in sports. It’s exciting….It is every changing…It has emotion attached to it every night…..and did I mention it was fun?
4. It’s in our blood
Listen, at the minor league level we don’t make a lot of money and we work very, very, (Did I say very?), long hours. We work when other people relax – nights, weekends, holidays, but we continue to do it and love it…why….because we LOVE sports….it is in our blood. Most of us played and loved the adrenaline and the camaraderie of the team. We love stats and highlights. We love the excitement of a goal being scored or hitting a home run and to do that every night is what we crave.
5. Quality of Life
This may sound hypocritical based on what I just mentioned above – long hours and low pay, and now I’m talking about getting into sports for quality of life. Here’s how I see it…..you need passion to live and I believe you need passion to work… no matter what job you do. We spend a lot of time working so why not work at something you LOVE? Why not work at something you have PASSION for? If you love music, work in the music industry….if you love numbers work in accounting….if you love politics work in government….if you love service, work for a non-profit. But do something you love. I LOVE SPORTS…plain and simple I LOVE SPORTS….always have always will…..I have passion for sports and love what I do….that makes me happy which in return gives me a quality of life I love.
The business of sports is not for everyone, but if you remotely agree with my list than working in sports just might be for you so find your way into the industry and never get out.
- Rich 7.12.12
I Like Mike Too... But I Sure Hope He Knows What He Is Doing
The Charlotte Bobcats came up with a unique promotion…FREE SEASON TICKETS! While lots of teams offer BOGO offers (Buy One Get One) this one strikes me as unique….it puts a lot of pressure on MJ and the Basketball Operations Department to put a winning product on the court
Let me explain….in my opinion the diehards will buy….they love the team….they love the atmosphere and they will suffer through bad seasons….that is they are called diehards….now if a diehard is paying for four season tickets now they will only pay for two season season tickets receive two for free and you have left money on the table.
Now I wasn’t in on any of these discussions, but what I assume is that the powers to be believe that the money they are losing on the diehards will be made up by new season ticket holders….what brings in new season ticket holders….well basically a good competitive product and winning would be at the top of that list….so that will put some added pressure on the staff to win….they weren’t good last year and they lost the lottery…. which they should have won and that would have added instant credibility and hope…so in this guys opinion this is a HUGE gamble and puts a lot of pressure on Michael….now if I’m in a pressure situation and I need someone to come through and take that last important shot I’m putting my money on Michael….Good Luck Bobcats…..
After finishing with the worst record, being 25 out of 30 in attendance and losing the draft lottery what would you do if you were in Mihcael’s shoes? I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts.
- Rich 6.8.12