Warsaw Center & David Stern

Warsaw Sports MBA’s vist the NBA, David Stern in NYC

In anticipation of our Wednesday meeting with executives at the NBA’s 5th Avenue headquarters, the majority of the Warsaw crew made the judicious decision to pass up a late Tuesday night in NYC for much-needed rest.  We arrived in the morning looking impressively bright-eyed and alert, and were greeted first by NBA Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.

Warsaw Center & David Stern

NBA Commissioner David Stern and the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center

Discussion focused on the new CBA, competitive balance and the potential for a revenue-sharing business model in the coming years.  Although Stern postulated that revenue-sharing could once again bring up the possibility of small-market team contraction, NBA owners in the last week have reportedly initiated discussions to make it a reality (http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/revenue-sharing-plan-taking-shape-143828186.html).  Stern also stated that the current 30-team alignment is working well and that the plan for the next decade is to “exploit the brand globally” by providing access to international audiences through the expansion of digital media.  After Stern and Silver left to attend to more pressing matters, we had the chance to meet with WNBA President Laurel Richie.  The Warsaw students took a keen interest in discussing the demographics of WNBA fans, and Ritchie explained that the league is focused on making the experience rewarding for all fans of basketball, not just for women and families.

 

WNBA President Laurel Richie and the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center

Richie also mentioned that the two core points of differentiation for the WNBA are its accessibility and the purity of the game.  Next in the distinguished queue of executives was Chris Granger, the EVP of Team Marketing and Business Operations , or “TeamBo”.  Granger explained the NBA’s concept of “teamnet”, in which all 30 teams share ideas and best practices in order to create value for consumers in every market.  He, like Stern, iterated that management, not market size, was the primary determinant of team success.  Another interesting topic of conversation was dynamic food and beverage pricing, in which arenas equipped with digital menu boards are able to strategically modify concession prices at different times before or during the game.  In the cleanup spot was EVP of Production, Programming and Broadcasting, Danny Meiseles.  Meiseles discussed the NBA’s efforts to ensure production consistency across all its platforms and broadcasting partners, including TNT, ESPN and the Olympics.  Last up was EVP of Basketball Operations and former Duck, Stu Jackson.  Fearing fines or suspensions, we steered clear of the tougher questions, but managed to talk about the NBA’s increasing focus on data collection and analytics and how that will impact future business decisions.  For the Warsaw students, this was an unbelievable opportunity to meet some of the most influential people in sports.  Hopefully this great experience will lead to some of us being in their shoes someday soon.

 

– Tim Dobyns, Warsaw Sports Marketing Center MBA ’12

Written by UO Business

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