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4/9/10 Boston Celtics Networking Event
Rich Gotham, Celtics Team President, spoke to the group on “Creating a Championship Team.” The presentation was followed by a reception and Promenade seats to the Celtics game. Gotham joined the Celtics after five years with the global internet media company, TerraLycos, where he served as vice president of US Sales and Corporate Development and was responsible for the generation of advertising, sponsorship, e-commerce, and business-to-business revenues.
From April 2003 to June 2006, he served as executive vice president of Sales, Marketing and Corporate Development. In June 2006, he was named chief operating officer of the Boston Celtics organization. In April 2007, Gotham was promoted to team president. In his new role, Gotham became responsible for all aspects of the Celtics business operations. In addition, he continues to work closely with Celtics Basketball Operations and the NBA on strategic initiatives and team-related matters.
Gotham relates business to sports, because a winning team will sell more! Gotham joined the Celtics before they were a winning team. He understood that success on the court correlates to player payroll, so generating revenue was vital to replenishing team talent. Immediately, he recognized a need to create demand but he had a couple of problems. He had only four people on the phones driving sales and the head of sales was calling Boston, “a Red Sox town.”
Gotham changed this by adding about 25 people to the sales group and by creating a corporate sales group to handle ticket sales to large corporations. He led the charge for the Celtics to become a familiar presence on every social network from Facebook to Twitter. Gotham and his team knew they had to deliver the right customer, to the right seat, on the right night, at the right price point. By adhering to this philosophy, they managed to exceed all previous game revenues.
After the Celtics began to generate revenue and make the right decisions under the guidance of Rich Gotham, they added Kevin Garnett to the team. Gotham calls him the “difference maker” and with him on board, the organization dove into the huge task of controlling the fan experience. Each game soon became a show with choreographed music and video, dancers, hi-def screens and a dunking leprechaun. This resulted in keeping the fans happy while continuing to generate revenue for the team.
A ticketholder wouldn’t simply be satisfied with a Celtics win; he would be happy having experienced the constant energy and excitement presented on the court and in the arena throughout the night. Gotham closed his speech with some words of advice before the game began - “Put the customer first, don’t get arrogant, the key to good business is good people that care, and service is what it’s all about!”
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