This past Tuesday two independent professional baseball team owners spoke at the Sports Business Conference which was hosted by Infinity Pro Sports at a conference hotel near Dallas Fort Worth airport. Mike Veeck, co-owner of the St. Paul Saints (American Association) and affiliated Minor League teams, and Pat Salvi, owner of the Gary Southshore RailCats (American Association) and Schaumburg Boomers (Frontier League) along with summer collegiate baseball teams, both spoke twice. The attendees were comprised of many independent baseball and summer collegiate league team owners, general managers, assistant GM’s, staff members, baseball team investor groups, indoor football teams and speakers on multiple topics.
Veeck discussed several ideas about promotions, creativity, generating positive media publicity and his history at all levels of professional baseball. He also talked about the need to be unique in order to keep team staff motivation flowing, especially late in the season when most staff members traditionally get tired.
Salvi discussed his thoughts on upcoming industry trends and then spoke on the elements of successful ownership and what independent leagues need in order to prosper and grow team valuations in the future. He also discussed what owners seek in employees. During one of the breakout sessions, Kevin (GM for the RailCats) and Andy (GM for the Boomers) also spoke about their experiences in working with owners and how to increase sports team profitability as well as the challenges faced when starting a team in a market which had a previous team and ownership group.
Uri Geva, who runs Infinity – which maintains the website infrastructure for several independent and summer collegiate league teams and league offices (as well as other sports), concluded the conference with his thoughts on proper use of social media properties. These properties included many not normally discussed among industry insiders. Other speakers gave ideas for creative and grassroots marketing, the use of social media and pay-per-click advertising to build e-mail database lists for incentives, the sales process demanded by today’s marketplace for all sales staff employees of sports teams, using high school sports tournaments to boost future summer collegiate and independent game day attendance. Discussions about non-traditional revenues also were had throughout the breakout sessions.
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