Who can forget their first time going to a professional baseball game and seeing the pristine infield, vibrant green grass and the guys from your baseball cards in real life? As a kid growing up in Detroit, I followed the ’84 Tigers as they won the World Series with Trammel, Whitaker, Parrish, Morris and Kirk Gibson. I loved to play too, but realized as a teenager I probably wasn’t going to make it to the big leagues as a player. I remained a fan and at fifteen years old experienced one of the most memorable moments of my life. Attending game 1 of the 1988 World Series where Kirk Gibson (now with the Dodgers) hit one of the greatest home runs in the history of baseball.
I loved basketball too and played throughout high school, but again recognized a pro career seemed highly unlikely. Upon graduating from college I set my sites on the business side of sports. With a little networking, I found a two month job with the NBA Summer Pro League in Long Beach, CA handling the merchandise sales. While there, I initiated a deal with a local sports bar & grill to provide food for the press room in exchange for advertising during the games. My first sponsorship deal!
The Summer League led to a position with the Lakers and then a sports marketing agency in Chicago working on brands such as Miller Beer and Sears. I returned to California on the property side as Director of Sales and Marketing for California Speedway (now Auto Club Speedway). I then spent ten years working in baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers as Director of Corporate Partnerships and then as Vice President Western region for MLB Advanced Media (mlb.com). In 2010 I launched 88 Marketing with a focus on sponsorship marketing.
After nearly 25 years in the industry, I feel very fortunate to have worked with some great people and attended many exciting sporting events. Most importantly, I met my wife while at the Dodgers who brilliantly came up with Gibson for our son’s middle name. Working in the sports business is a dream come true and I can’t imagine ever doing anything else.