The Final Word / Conversations with Extraordinary People
What was the impetus for starting Elevate Sports Ventures?
We’re a sports and entertainment consultancy, and we serve leagues, teams, and brands to help them with valuations and partnerships, sponsorships and sales, technology and insights, and brand representation. The overall asset value of sports teams has skyrocketed as you’ve seen stadiums that used to be a billion dollars are now five billion and arenas that were two to three hundred million are now over one billion. With that increase in investment has to come some level of sophistication and modernization of the tools one needs to run the business as successfully and profitably as possible. What we do is help teams make that happen.
How important is data and insights in today’s professional sports business?
I think it’s critical. You need underlying technology and data that really powers your sales efforts. And whether it’s through our equity relationship with Ticketmaster or our proprietary technology stack that we’ve built, we do believe that no other agency has access to the data we see, both consumer and team data. That really helps us become more sophisticated in our sales approach and how we help teams.
Do you see the trend of mixed-use facilities continuing?
Without question. When you’re going to build a billion-dollar venue, you want to get as much effective use out of it as you can. What we try to do is focus on maximizing value of both on-premises and off-premises through our design services, technology integrations, and brand activations. Over the course of a season, we might get 700,000 fans in our stadium, but we have 10 million on our social and digital channels. You have to provide an increasingly beneficial experience for those on-site and off.
One thing you’re very focused on personally is community involvement. Why is that such an important part of your life?
Our players and personnel are more than what you see on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays. We live in our community, work there, play there, and shop there. I think organizations like ours are part of the fabric of our community and have a responsibility to give back to the community that gives us so much. We have a responsibility to lift up the community in difficult times, and sports is a wonderful way to do that. We also have a responsibility to lend our voice on matters that are important to our players and our broader community. If someone feels pride from wearing our logo on their chest, I want it to be because of more than wins and losses.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
My father was a truck driver and my mother was an administrator. We grew up very blue collar. It’s not advice as much as a quote that I live by which is: the dream is free, the hustle is sold separately. No one would ever have picked the kid from south Jersey to be running the day-to-day business of the San Francisco 49ers. Like I tell my daughters, you can do anything you put your mind to if you’re willing to put in the work. I wouldn’t be here without a whole lot of hard work and a whole lot of good people believing in me and helping me along the way.