SGP 063: Brad Mayne on stadium technology & Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium

Brad Mayne on Sports Geek Podcast with Sean CallananBrad Mayne was one of the key people I met on my very first #SportsGeekTrip when he was CEO of American Airlines Center in Dallas, he is now CEO & President at MetLife Stadium in New York I catch up with him to discuss his career in sports and his recent experience hosting Super Bowl XLVIII.  I also reflect on a nightmarish experience leading up to the NRL Grand Final that had a very happy ending.

On this podcast you’ll learn from about:

  • The management differences between an indoor and outdoor stadium
  • How Brad’s ability working with multiple ownership groups was vital in new role at MetLife Stadium
  • How the technology demand on stadiums keeps increasing
  • The customer service demands on stadiums and how MetLife Stadium can turn around a bad fan experience
  • Moving to paperless ticketing and RFID technology
  • What would you do if your phone died before the big game?

Resources from the episode

Brad’s tweet morning after SB48

Luckily the cold weather didn’t hit during the game, but it didn’t miss by much.

Last time we met…

Social Media Post of the Week

Congrats to the South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL Premiers for 2014

and on Instagram


What a moment! #PrideoftheLeague #GoRabbitohs

View on Instagram

From the Rabbitohs Family Day using Google+ Auto Awesome feature


Humble Brag

3 of the last 4 NRL Premiers - Sports Geek Clients!

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Want to pick my brain?

Sean Callanan is founder of Sports Geek, helping sports teams around the world connect with fans

I get asked all the time for people to pick my brain over a coffee or a phone call.  My brain is my business, but I am a giving guy.  If you are a subscriber to Sports Geek News (below) and are happy to be included on a future podcast I am happy to chat to you about how you can engage sports fans for your team or brand.

Find out more about me here

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SGP 062: Mark Cuban on sports business, technology, Dallas Mavericks & Shark Tank

5 years ago I started Sports Geek and one of the guys I looked up to was Mark Cuban, I’ve alway ssaid he is a Sports Geek like me just with a bigger bank balance.  It was great to finally catch up and chat to Mark about his new apps Cyber Dust and Xpire, the changing NBA landscape, Shark Tank and his beloved Dallas Mavericks.

If you’ve been listening to my podcast from the beginning or have just found it, please enjoy this chat with Mark Cuban.

Learn from Mark Cuban

  • Why Mark built Cyber Dust
  • Why athletes are loving Cyber Dust
  • Importance of understanding your digital footprint
  • How you can use Xpire to clean up your bad social media posts
  • Why you might think your posts are OK but other might not
  • How the NBA owner landscape has changed in 12 years
  • What impact China will have on next NBA digital deal
  • Why the next big sports battle will happen off the court
  • Mark’s advice if you want to work in sports
  • Why Mark invests in Shark Tank pitches
  • How much work goes into Shark Tank when the cameras are turned off
  • How the Mavs crowd sourced their alternate jersey design
  • How will the Mavericks go in the 2014-15 season
Mark Cuban from Shark Tank on Sports Geek Podcast

Listen to Mark Cuban chat with Sean Callanan

Resources from the episode

Mark Cuban Dallas Mavericks Championship Ring

Join the conversation, send us a tweet

Are you following Mark Cuban on Twitter?

More info about Cyber Dust

Mavs new crowd sourced jersey revealed

Are you on Cyber Dust?  Add me

Cyber Dust by Mark Cuban add SeanCallanan

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Subscribe to the Sports Geek Podcast in iTunes, if you liked this episode please leave a review on iTunes and help spread the word on your network. Thanks in advance.

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Follow Sports Geek on AudioBoom, we are uploading all episodes daily until we catch up.

Want to pick my brain?

Sean Callanan is founder of Sports Geek, helping sports teams around the world connect with fans

I get asked all the time for people to pick my brain over a coffee or a phone call.  My brain is my business, but I am a giving guy.  If you are a subscriber to Sports Geek News (below) and are happy to be included on a future podcast I am happy to chat to you about how you can engage sports fans for your team or brand.

Find out more about me here

Book a free 15 minute chat


Want a free eBook of Sports Digital Case Studies?

SEAT EBook PromoI presented Digital Case Studies from Around the World at SEAT conference in Miami, all 700 attendees received a free eBook detailing case studies from Portland Trailblazers, Arsenal, Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings and more, simply sign up to our weekly email and a FREE eBook.  Note sure yet?  Check out the slides that support the eBook on Slideshare.

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SGP 060: Jack Elkins on business innovation at Orlando Magic

Jack Elkins from Orlando Magic on Business InnovationJack Elkins was a lifesaver for me at SEAT in Miami covering for me on Saturday as my voice recovered, we didn’t talk much so we caught up to discuss his role as Business Innovation Manager at the Orlando Magic.  One of the most tweeted about CRM sessions at SEAT was with Katie Morgan Katie Morgan and Lou Antonucci from Scribe discussing how the Texas Rangers integrate multiple data sources for their CRM solution.

On this podcast you’ll learn from about:

  • Why Orlando Magic have an innovation lab
  • Why innovation is not always tech focussed
  • How startups can pitch to sports teams
  • Why there is no such things as too much data
  • CRM comes down to tickets so you need to know your fans

Resources from the episode

Katie in action at #SEAT2014

Watch full Bryan Cranston MLB one man play

Listening via iTunes?

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Leave an iTunes review

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Podcast Transcription

Sean: Welcome to episode 60 of the Sports Geek Podcast. On this week’s podcast, I catch up with Jack Elkins from the Orlando Magic Tour Innovation in Sports and Katie Morgan from the Texas Rangers on ticket sales, because it’s all about getting the cheeks on the SEATs.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek Podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now here’s your host, who uses digi sports sports biz and SM sports hashtags equally, Sean Callahan.

Sean: Thanks DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan and you are listening to the Sports Geek Podcast. This is episode 60. Thank you to those of you who have been listening since episode 1 when I had James Royer on from the Tampa Bay Lightning on and for all of the guests in between. But if you are listening for the first time, thank you very much. Please send me a tweet and tell me that you’re listening. Every feedback is welcomed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumbler, pretty much any platform, you can find me on. So at seancallahan or at sportsgeek on Twitter, and always reviews on iTunes are very much welcomed. I do read them all and take all the feedback very seriously.

On this week’s episode, I got a couple of people who I caught up with at SEAT Conference and they both presented at SEAT. I didn’t get a chance to chat with them due to the lost voice, so I scheduled a podcast interview to catch up with them. I catch up with Jack Elkins from the Orlando Magic to talk about business innovation and what he’s doing at Orlando Magic, and then I catch up with Katie Morgan from the Texas Rangers who spoke on the CRM tracker around the importance of data and how these integrated their systems from the ticketing data point of view to better target and better understand their fans and then present them with the right offers, because as I said in the opening, it’s all about getting the cheeks in the SEATs.

Just a little bit of an update from what’s happening here in Australia, if you are following from around the world, both AFL and NRL finals are up and about getting to the point here the end of the season much the same as the major league baseball are getting to the point of the end of the season. So you can keep an eye on that via the hashtags afl finals and nrl finals on all platforms, and I’ve got a few interviews. I’ve been backing up with quite a few interviews the last couple of weeks. I’ve had some internet issues at Sports Geek HQ that has caused a bit of angst. Hopefully I can get this episode out and then a few more. I’ve got some great interviews coming up.

But first here is my interview with Jack Elkins from the Orlando Magic.

I’m very happy to welcome a fellow SEAT steering committee member. I caught up with him in Miami and did a couple of panels he covered for me when I didn’t have my voice. Jack Elkins from the Orlando Magic, welcome to the podcast.

Jack Elkins: Hi Sean, it’s great to actually be able to hear you this time.

Sean: Yeah, exactly. For those who weren’t in Miami, Jack and I did a session on Sunday. I was on a strict word limit of zero words. So I was just pretty much watching the timing. When we were doing the showcase and Jack more than ably stepped in to handle the showcase. We were showing off some startups. Your title at the Orlando Magic absolutely fascinates me. It’s Business Innovations Manager. You’ve been with the Magic since 2005. Do you want to take us through the story of how you ended up in that role, because for me, like I said, it’s a fascinating combination and if you’re looking at it on your LinkedIn profile, you go what exactly is that role and how did you get there?

Jack Elkins: Sure Sean, it’s actually really exciting to me that right now I’m getting to meld the two worlds that I love and what I do. I’m very passionate about Orlando and the startup community that’s here as well as comfort innovative initiatives. And to be able to do that with my hometown team is really exciting. I’ve been with the Magic for nine years. The first big project that I worked on was actually the construction of the Amway Center. Starting from preconstruction, we toured quite a lot of buildings, and then moving into sort of the political approval side to get that pushed through and then the other world of development. That was a big part of my career at the Orlando Magic.

And coming out of that I moved into technology because that was one aspect of the project that I managed. And about two years ago, we were very fortunate to Magic, that our senior leadership came up with four really great core values. One of which was around innovation. And at the time I was considering leaving to start my own company and instead stuck around to manage the activation of that core value and different initiative that go along with it. And it’s been real exciting to start that. We’re still in the middle of the journey right now and hopefully I’ll be able to share a little bit more with you.

Sean: So I mean innovation means so many things to so many different businesses and different people. What’s innovation to you especially from a sports and a sport’s technology focus?

Jack Elkins: Absolutely, it’s the buzzword of the day. I think that there are two key ways that I see companies approaching it. I see them approaching it internally, and I see them approaching it externally, and that’s exactly how we’re trying to do that as well. A lot of companies internally either work with a third party group like Frog and IDO or a group such of that nature like Luma, or they take on sort of running their own process internally. We tend to, here at the Magic, we’ve created an innovations lab where we’re using design thinking and trying to capture what we can from our internal staff, trying to maximize what we can pull from our staff and creating space for them to actually share ideas and be creative and a way to actually channel those effectively.

And then we see companies trying to capture this externally with another buzzword of the day which is open innovation. And the cost of this, no company can master all of the knowledge that it needs nowadays to survive, and so the borders of the company are becoming more porous, and this was coined by Henry Cheesebrough, and the concept is that you can find potentially disruptive companies in your industry that exists outside of your walls that you can start to test prototypes with or practice open innovation with in order to help bring, at least in our case, help bring what’s next to the market rather than have what’s next being dictated to us. And we do this because we want to try to bring what’s the next latest and greatest thing to our fans.

Sean: So I guess there are a couple of points from my point of view like normally the people that I’m talking about, when they talk about innovation, they’re talking about the latest technology. When we’re recording this, the iPhone seeks and the Apple watches just launched a couple of hours ago. So they’re always on the technology. Here’s the new thing. Here’s the new gadget. His eye beacons. But I’m guessing you’re looking at both that technology side of things, and what’s developing there. But you’re also talking about design and experience, so it’s also a business process, innovation, how you can do things better around the stadium and through your just normal business transactions. So are you handling innovation on both sides of that fence?

Jack Elkins: Sean, you’re exactly right. Innovation, and it’s funny. Profession Rob Walcott from the McKellar School of Management says innovation is really about business design. And so, when you take for instance, starting an innovation lab, it actually requires a culture change for innovation to become part of your identity and that’s something that we’re going through right now, which is not to say that there’s not a third piece in capturing innovation internally and externally. And that’s also how do you play a part in this ecosystem, this new shift that we’re seeing, this rise in entrepreneurialism, this rise in startups, the rise in the creative class, folks that are getting their excitement off of staring a company and existing a company and starting another one not necessarily attending games, and so how do you make relationships within that field in an authentic way whereas it used to be about, hey, who can I sign up for the next sponsorship?

So how do you have relationships with this group that is disruptive and causing the next wave of innovation to occur?

Sean: And it is really a culture change, because you’re literally trying to get your whole organization to say, how can I improve this sort of every single day, aren’t you?

Jack Elkins: Yeah. I would add that you’ve got to be careful when what we’re talking about are two things. One is innovation is not just technology and digital. It just happens that today, the majority of what we’re seeing in terms of people highlighting innovative things happens to be around digital technology, but innovations happen through a lot of different ways and processes. And quite frankly, a number of our projects in our lab just happen to do with collaboration around our staff as well as some other more what would be high profile type things that they work for families.

Sean: And you’re also saying that it’s a process. It reminds me of a blog post that I made and I spoke about him at SEAT, Steve Samartino. He wrote a blog post of two bathrooms, a tale of two bathrooms. He went into two different corporations, and one had a sign that said, please leave the toilet where you found it. And the other one said, did you bring your best self to work today? Can you show us something new and amazing we haven’t thought of? And two completely different signs in a bathroom can make a change to the culture and make it an innovative business. So is that type of thing happening in the Magic organization internally?

Jack Elkins: I would say yes it is. I would say one of the things we’ve learned as we’ve embarked on this is that you can’t avoid the journey. And it’s not like you can put it in a binder and lay it on a desk and implement it Day One. It’s something that does take a culture change in order for that to happen. But then once that starts to tip like where I believe we are now, then it is possible to start working with those folks in the community with disruptive companies. Even during something like a reverse pitch scenario where you take insights that you’ve learned from your fans or a need that you have. Kansas City did this last year with KC Next.

There was a reverse pitch in Kansas City and the Kansas City Chiefs said, hey, we’re putting a wifi network out there, and we want ya’ll to help us understand what we need to do to use that to better the fan experience. And I think you’re going to see more and more teams doing corporate innovation issues, kind of like what we’re doing, because I really think the next sort of entrepreneur wave is going to sweep through sports media and entertainment.

Sean: Yeah, I wanted to tap into that whole entrepreneurial innovation startup stuff, because it’s something that I’m also passionate about. But I’m also interested, because I get, I work with teams and so I get pitched a lot of, here’s an idea of that I think I work. Well, for sports and their pitching and I know that people are listening and people like yourself who are working in sports, gets pitched a lot. Whereas you’re actually outward and you’re out there trying to find the latest and greatest. Have you got any advice for those type of disruptive companies, how to one, get your attention, but also how to peak your interest in pitching to a sports team and what you’re looking for?

Jack Elkins: Sure. I think it’s actually kind of loaded, because I think it’s actually harder to make the conviction than you think. A lot of the companies that you try to pitch are much more established. And I think when you’re really trying to find those gems, those startups, those teams, those great teams that are out there that may not have the right concept, but they’re a great team, and they could bring a product that you could work with to bring to market in CL And I look at the Cleveland Cavaliers as a great example, and this was a key takeaway of mine from the SEAT Conference. Even today with the announcement of Apple, they have TechCrunch Desrupt going on in San Francisco and you saw Dan Gilbert and Mark Cuban out there.

And Dan, himself, is kind of leading the resurgence in Detroit. And one of the venture capital firms that he’s an investor in is an accelerator called BSM. And a gentleman that came through that accelerator, Maurice Bachelor, of Snatch Batch came in with the concept and they said that doesn’t really work, but you appear to be a great developer. Let’s work together, and they came up with a great concept that they actually just rolled out to the Cavs this year this trivia piece that they added to their app Snap Batch. And so what I think they key way to have this happen is as we’ve seen during the year, a lot of teams you just can’t filter hundreds and hundreds of potential startups.

And there are people that can help you with that. Venture Capitalists can help you with that. Accelerators can help you with that, and so if you can create that relationship with those groups that are looking for the organizations to test their startups with like an Accelerator or like a BC, they can help filter, and they’re looking to do three or four great deals a year. And you might be looking to test three or four great companies a year. And you usually will find some synergy with what the top startups are in their pipeline.

Sean: And so, and that’s the primary reason that you’re pretty much well embedded in the startup scene. What is the startup scene like in Orlando?

Jack Elkins: I actually think that it’s very robust. It’s something that I think the rest of the nation will start to hear more about. The developer community in Orlando is really, really strong. And another thing that we’re starting to see is some of these great startups or great entrepreneurs in other states that have had exits, there’s actual a tax benefit when they sell to actually relocate to a state that had no state income tax. So we’ve actually seen some people moving to Orlando that were talent from previous businesses. It’s a very young ecosystem that’s growing very rapidly, and I think it’s something that we want to be a part of, and it’s something that, being an Orlando native, it’s great for me to play in the space that I live and play and love to be a part of these startups and these people that I love to be friends with and actually have a chance to meld that with what I do day-to-day at the Magic. It’s really, really gratifying.

Sean: And so sort of going forward in the next 12 to 18 months, is there any projects that you’re looking to develop or any particular areas that you’re looking to focus on? We keep seeing that going back to this stadium, engaging the fan in the stadium and how that is a real important piece for most teams, but then there’s also how can you better engage the fan that’s not in the stadium. Is there any particular focus you have going forward to the next NBA season?

Jack Elkins: I think we have a few specifics, but I think I’ll start first with we’re really still working on establishing the effective pipeline of prototypes and insights. And I think that’s going to happen through our lab as we become more entrenched with the community from an authentic and grassroots perspective within this startup ecosystem. It’s not natural, not usual for teams to play in that space. And it’s not necessarily natural to them either, because there hasn’t been a lot of big, there hasn’t been any real exits with any great sports software companies yet.

And so I think what they’re wanting to see is the insights and needs from a team side, and we’re looking to becoming more entrenched with identifying that local talent. So what we’re working on this next year is really putting the people in place to be able to qualitatively identify those needs and insights from the fan using empathy, ethnographic type research methods, and then those relationships in place within that ecosystem. Once we have some of those needs and insights, whether it be a meet up group which Orlando has some of the largest meet up groups in the Southeast, whether it be a startup weekend or a reverse pitch event, or just having a SEAT within a coworker space where we can continue those conversations and identify that local talent that can take some concepts to market, and then we can test with them, and prove it out.

Sean: Yeah, I reckon there is real value in meet ups and the people having gone to It’s a real underground networking committee as much as things like Event Broad are great for setting up events, has done a great job of just collecting these groups of people that meet on a consistent basis and some of the ideas that can spark out of those events are fascinating. So if you can one, keep participating in those conversations but then develop thickly a fan technology counsel kind of thing that can be sparking ideas for you. I’m sure that’s exactly the thing that you’re sort of looking for.

Jack Elkins: I would say that from a specifics standpoint, we really are looking to the Amway Center up into 2010, we really want to make sure we remain relevant, because the building that we opened was one of the most highly technical buildings that have ever opened at the time, and we still have a really strong robust technology infrastructure, and so new really want to continue to bring those new concepts to our fans. One of the things that we are going to continue to work on is with our partner Apex on our Wi-Fi.

And we are a test partner for Apex, and one of the first locations that they bring some of their new technology to the table, and it’s been really successful for us to be able to capture something new that was first for us last year was a portal for our fan to sign in through the Wi-Fi, and it opens up a myriad of ways in how we can deal with them. And there are a lot of technologies we are looking to continue to test this next year.

Sean: Yeah, it was a really good, I wasn’t able to attend the Jay’s presentation at SEAT, but I heard nothing but good things of his presentation in the CRM tracker at SEAT. Of that case study that you just said, where the portal and you’re starting to get more of that fan data, understanding what your fans want and what they’re doing when they’re in the stadium.

Jack Elkins: Yeah, I was actually very impressed with my colleagues at SEAT who presented. We have a business strategy group that’s second to none in the sports industry, and I’m always amazed at what they’re able to learn and bring to the table every year.

Sean: Yeah, well, thank you very much for coming onto the podcast, Jack. I’m looking forward to speaking to you more at SEAT next year in San Francisco. Thank you very much for coming on.

Jack Elkins: You’re very welcome. Hopefully we won’t wait until SEAT to connect again.

DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek news at

Sean: Thanks again to Jack Elkins from the Orlando Magic. Like all Sports Geek podcast guests, you can connect with Jack via Twitter and LinkedIn by going to If you go to the website, you can find and connect with them over 75 guests I’ve had on the podcast guests. I’m very grateful for them all for taking the time to chat with me. I do want to pass on my apologies to Jack. I’ve committed one of the cardinal sins of podcast interviewing. My first rule of podcast interviewing is not to talk about the podcast with the guest before you start recording the podcast. I’m getting better at that.

But the other rule that I have is to not have interesting conversations after I turn off the mic and finish off the interview, and unfortunately, I did that with Jack this week. After we finished up that interview, we did talk about some of the innovation work the NBA is doing talking to startups and DC firms, and the like, around technology for stadiums and also he was interesting in what a lot of the players are doing, we’ve seen recently with Carmelo Anthony investing in a venture capital firm looking to support startups and Kobe Bryant also indicating it’s an area that he wants to get into. So apologies for that, Jack.

I will definitely have you on the podcast to talk more about that space, because I think the sports arena is definitely one that the startup space can leverage with such a passionate fan base to be able to test these new technologies. My next guest is Katie Morgan from the Texas Rangers. I want to thank Lou from Scribe for helping to set up this interview. Scribe was a sponsor at SEAT and Katie actually presented with Lou. We’ll talk about that and how the Texas Rangers gets cheeks on the SEATs.

I’m very happy to welcome Katie Morgan, the assistant director of ticket sales at the Texas Rangers baseball club. Welcome to the podcast, Katie.

Katie Morgan: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Sean: I’ve been trying to catch up with you for a while. I’ve been the email backwards and forwards after SEAT. I was lucky enough to be in all of the digital sessions but unfortunately I missed a bunch of the sessions in the CRM track and that’s your field. I wanted to talk a little bit about your experience at SEAT, because Miami was the first time you were at SEAT?

Katie Morgan : It was indeed, and it was actually a great conference. I came back and told me boss that it was probably one of the best conferences that I’ve been to thus far in my career.

Sean: Well, I completely agree with you. And the fact that the whole CRM tracker is just completely blowing. To have guys like Russell Scibetti driving it, and Paul Greenberg turning up and collaborating in all of the discussions. I was able to pop my head into a few sessions, but absolutely amazing sharing of stories and what you all are trying to do from an implementation point of view.

Katie Morgan: You know I couldn’t agree more and CRM and specifically data analytics are growing so much throughout our industry that it was a real blessing for us to be able to kind of sit down and pick each other’s minds. People from football like you mentioned Russell Scibetti who is no longer in football, but he use to be and also Paul Greenberg who is referenced as the godfather of CRM. To be able to sit down in a room with them, and talk to them about some of the things that we’re doing and get advises beyond imaginable for us.

Sean: So I want to go into your role as assistant director at ticket sales. It’s all about selling the tickets. It’s all about understanding the data. How did you come into the role? How long had you started at the Rangers, a long time ago? When did you start at the Rangers?

Katie Morgan: I’ve been here for six years, and I started out as an inside sales representative. And from that position, I kind of moved into a ticket sales coordinator role when then led itself into a database manager role. And now I primarily focus on the data analytic side of things. We use a data warehouse. We have replicated data with ticket, and then we obviously have Microsoft CRM. So we’re trying to jump in head first to some of that new data analytic stuff that’s going on.

Sean: And so you’re presentation, you did a presentation with, I hope I get Lou’s name right, Antonucci. Did I get that right?

Katie Morgan: I believe so.

Sean: Yeah, so Lou from Scribe, and you were talking about extending the value of CRM through integration which is a pretty common problem, the fact that everyone has all of this data, but it’s a matter of how you can get the data in the right place to be able to understand the data and get the right view of your fan, your ideal thing is that 360 degree view. Do you want to take us a little bit around the problem that you had at integrating all of that data?

Katie Morgan: Sure, so whenever I started as the database manager, we had Microsoft CRM, but we didn’t’ have an integration with anything. So we didn’t have our ticketing data in the system. We didn’t have any demographic information in that system. So basically, we were just using it as a place for our sales representatives to house notes and information about cold calls that they were making. And when we really dug down into that system, we realized that we were missing out on a lot of what it could do for us in reference to potentially letting us vet better leads for our sales representatives, letting it be a place for us to store information about every single buyer that we had, not just people that we’re trying to do business with.

So what we did is we partnered with Scribe, and we did an integration between not only our ticketing system and our CRM system, but also we use the Turnkey Prospector who demographic information to us. And we did an integration between that system and also CRM. So now when we look at our system, we have a little bit better view of not only our current clients, but people that we’re trying to get to do business with us. And in turn that’s really helped us kind of enhance our revenue streams and also just give reps better leads to follow up on every day.

Sean: So it is just a matter of getting the right data in the right place. So that have got those leads?

Katie Morgan: Yeah, it really is, because if you have information, you know, let’s take you for instance. Let’s say I have information that maybe you brought a couple of tickets from us but then I also have some demographic information on you, where you live and maybe what you’re interested in, but those are in three different areas. It’s really hard to combine those areas and figure out what type of buyer you actually are. But CRM, and moreso, the integration with CRM, allowed us to get all of that data in one place so that we could see a better picture of who our buyers are.

Sean: And is that extended to now having a better understanding of who those buyers are to now who you pitch those deals to for ticket offers and sort of help your outbound marketing when you’re going out with specific ticket offers, because you know the type of buyers that you are getting now?

Katie Morgan: That’s exactly right. For instance, we’re integrated with our ticketing systems. So we can look in CRM and say, okay, so Sean has bought 20 tickets to games this year, and we have a 20-game package that would be perfect for him. So why don’t we give him a call and see if that’s something that he wants to look into, or maybe for a different type of buyer, we noticed that they’re based out of Lovett, Texas which is five hours away. But we notice that they like to bring fairly large groups out to the game, but they’re paying full price for those groups. Why don’t we give them a call and offer them our group pricing and maybe get them out to a couple of more games and really enhance their experience out here as well.

Sean: So have you started taking some of the data at the moment you’re giving it to your sales people to call and follow up, but if you also started taking some of that data to attract more leads into your system?

Katie Morgan: We have, so what we’ve done is we’ve kind of done an overall analysis of who buys specific packages from us whether that’s a full season, a half season, a group buyer, a suite buyer, and really dugged down and looked at the buyer that person is if there is a mileage range that they are from the ballpark, if they have children in their house, just really looking and focusing on the 360 degree few of a specific type of buyer. And then when we go out and try to find new leads we really try to hone in on that specific type of lead or a specific package. So it’s really made us more efficient when we are trying to purchase leads or potentially just find new leads in different sources, we’re a little bit better apt to find the correct ones now.

Sean: And as far as I guess another source of data is the fact that you’ve got, I think it’s 2.8 million Facebook fans. Are you starting to see some, you know, taking that same demographic data, that same fan profiles, can you target those fans and those profiles with some more efficiently, because you’ve got that data of knowing who your fans are more likely to be?

Katie Morgan: Right. So in major league baseball, it’s a little different, because we partner with major league baseball advanced media in terms of doing our social media and also our email campaigns. So we’ve been fortunate that they have come to us with several ideas that kind of target some of those people that we’ve been seeing who are not only, you know, hitting us on social media but also on our website. So we are fortunate that major league baseball advanced media helps us out with that.

Sean: Yeah, because effectively that whole side of the equation, you know, Mark Zuckerberg is effectively doing a lot of that that stuff or you to tell you that these are your most engaged fans. These are the fans that are visiting your site, and I guess it’s just another data source that can provide that view of the fan.

Katie Morgan: You’re exactly right, and it seems like everything is moving in that direction as well. Well, not only are people more active on social media, but they’re making their purchases online more often. They’re looking for information online more often, and so you really have to take that into consideration when you’re marketing to new buyers.

Sean: And now that we hear just in the last week Twitter is bring out a buy button in the integration with Facebook to be able to click and buy is getting so much easier to be able to put that offer directly in front of that right fan will become far more important, especially for the ticket sales, and things like that, to be able to get that offer to them where they’re sitting, right in the palm of their hand on their mobile.

Katie Morgan: That’s exactly right, because if you go and look at the statistics, people are on their phone all the time. So if you can just hit them with an offer while they’re looking at their phone, they’re a lot more app to buy it than if they have to go sit down at a computer or make the phone call. It’s a one-click stop.

Sean: So from a CRM point of view, you are also on a panel around the pros and cons of data warehouse and the analytics. I’m assuming you’re definitely on the pro side, but what was that panel discussion like at SEAT?

Katie Morgan: I am definitely on the pro side for both of those. But the panel discussion for me was very informative, because I was lucky enough to have two other panel participants who took a little bit different of a view on the data warehouse and how it was set up and how they’re using it. So from my perspective, I was not only able to give advice to those out there who are looking to set up a data warehouse, but I was able to take back a little more information on how we can potentially use it to better target people and also potentially build progression in predictive models which is something we definitely want to get into eventually. So for me, it was very beneficial, and I hope that the people that were at the panel thought the same thing.

Sean: One question you did sort of talked about it, and I have definitely seen it over the last couple of years, because CRM tracker at SEAT started in Boston is that it is a very daunting process at the very beginning. When you say we have got data, we have got a data base, but we don’t quite know enough to know what we’re doing. We don’t know. We’re at the very start of that mountain of here’s what we want our CRM solution to be. You’ve climbed that mountain. You’re still climbing it, because there are more things to be able to do. What advice or what tips would you the person at the start of that trip to say we need to get our data in order. We need to get a CRM solution in place.

You’ve gone through that with the Rangers. What’s some of the advice when you’re first starting out? What are some of the key things you have to look for?

Katie Morgan: I think there are two things. I think first you need to be willing to involve a lot of people in your organization, not just sales or ticket operations, or marketing. It needs to be a group effort, because what we realize is we’re setting it up, and even now, there are so many aspects to a CRM system and a data warehouse for that matter that hit every single department of your organization. And I think it’s really important that you remember that. So while you’re laying out how you’re going to house your data, how you’re going to get it in your CRM system, what you want it to look like.

It’s very beneficial to have all of those people in there with you, because they can say, well, if you’ll just tweak this one field a little bit that would be usable for us in marketing as well. So you get a little bit of benefit from every single department. And I think the second thing that I would tell somebody is to not be afraid to reach out for help not only in the sports industry but outside of the sporting industry as well. I think you can gain a lot of information from other types of companies that maybe you wouldn’t have thought of, because we’re so honed in on just the sports side of things. So that would probably be the best advice that I could give somebody.

Sean: Well that’s right. Talking to guys like Paul Greenberg, like you said referred to the godfather of CRM, you know CRM is not a new technology, and there are industries that have been doing it far better than sports for many more years. Follow their lessons and learn from what they’ve done to take it onboard.

Katie Morgan: I agree completely. And Paul Greenberg spoke at a conference for Major League Baseball three or four years ago, and it was the first time that I had interacted with Paul and I kind of took what he said to heart that you really need to take advantage of those people around you. And he even gave us the ability to give him a call to consult on our CRM system and that’s something that you have to take advance of when you have people around you that have been doing this a lot longer than you have or organizations that seem to have it down. Give them a call. In the long run, not only are you making a new connection, but it’s going to pay off for your organization or team.

Sean: And the other thing I think is also really important is that you’re growing the knowledge in the industry itself. So the rising tides lifts all boats type of strategy if more teams are understanding the technology and using it effectively, and sharing best practice, then you’re able to get better results across the board.

Katie Morgan: I agree completely, and that was the best thing about SEAT for me is typically when I go to a conference, its major league baseball, and that’s great because it’s great to talk to other teams and my peers of other teams. But being able to sit in with the NFL, NHL, soccer teams from England, you really pick up on some new things that maybe you never thought of before and that was so beneficial to us when we came back. I had pages and pages of notes and people to reach out to. And I think that’s what I took away from SEAT is not only the connections that I made, but the things that people are doing in other aspects of our industry.

Sean: Yeah, and I think the other part which is why I wanted to touch base with you is not only were you getting up to talk about what you’ve done, but it was being done with Scribe side-by-side and you were taking people through a case study rather than, you know, no offense to Lou, but if a sponsor gets up and starts making their ways, it’s like well, hang on. We’ve heard the sales script before but we don’t want sales script. We want to know, we want to get our hands dirty and sort of find out exactly what you did, how you went about it, and some of the lessons that you learned, and the places that you stumbled, I think that’s really good when a team and reps from the team will get up and talk about how they’re using products, because a lot of the success is in the how and how you go about doing it and why you chose that tool and how the integration worked and not just look at the feature set and here’s our product features list and those kinds of things.

Katie Morgan: I think you hit the nail on the head with that, because as somebody who’s using a lot of the software that was being presented by teams and also the vendors that were there, it’s a lot easier for you to relate to a specific software there whenever you know how people are using it so I can kind of put myself in their shoes. Whereas previously, if somebody was just getting up there telling me about how their software works, it’s a little bit tougher for me to say, okay, if I took this back to ballpark, I could use it here, here, and here. But when you have somebody up there, especially a trusted colleague within the industry, and you can hear a little bit about not only how it works for them, but some of the road bumps that they came across, it makes it a little bit more real and a little bit more susceptible for us to maybe go down that route, because we understand how it can be a positive thing for our company.

Sean: So one thing I do want to ask is we seem to be getting more and more data from fans and just from life in that fact that we’ve got all of these devices that track everything, you know, the new iPhone is going to be tracking where we are. Our watch is going to tell us what our heart rate is. Is there a case that there’s too much data, that there will get us to a point where enough is enough?

Katie Morgan: You know, I think that’s a tough question. I don’t think there can ever be too much data, but I think it’s up to the individuals to figure out what they actually need out of that data. So for us, if we took all of the data that was out there for us to use, I would use a completely different set for something that I was doing than say maybe somebody in marketing would use. So I think it’s very important that you have all of that data. And yes, sometimes it can get a little bit watered down. But I’m a firm believer that all data out there is good data and that you could use it in some form or fashion.

Sean: Very good. I also just want to go back on a point you were saying about rolling out a CRM and really getting by across the whole organization, because getting that good data and understanding that data is a real companywide thing. In the digital track, we pretty much had the same discussion saying digital is everywhere it’s the face across the whole organization, and I think that are both sort of hand in hand in that all of your different departments will benefit if they understand and buy in why we’re getting the data, why we’re reaching these fans. So I think we may be need to talk to Christine and get a little more sessions where we get the digital guys and CRM guys in the same room as well just threshing out some of those topics.

Katie Morgan: Yes. I think that will be very beneficial as well, because there were some things that we talked about on the CRM and data analytics track that we brought back to our organization and sat down with members of our IT department and our marketing department and say, you know, this came up in one of our sessions and how will we be able to implement that? Would it be beneficial in your areas as well? And I think that it’s very important to kind of showcase how the different departments work together to not only get to a common goal but how it benefits each department as well. I think that’s very, very important when you’re not only trying to sell a product but also figure out the best route for your company.

Sean: Yep. One of the phrases in your slide deck, I was checking it out before this interview, it’s all about the cheeks in the SEATs. I love that phrase. I’m going to start using that more often about getting people to the game. Is that one yours?

Katie Morgan: It’s actually not. I have to give credit to Lou for that one.

Sean: Oh well, it’s all about the cheeks in the SEATs. I’m definitely going to be using that one from now on.

Katie Morgan: It’s definitely true.

Sean: It is. It is. It’s all about getting people there. It’s all about engaging them when they are there. And what you can do is get that data to understand why they are there. Why they’re turning up? What they’re turning up with, here they’re coming from, because everyone has different motivations. And so that’s the fascinating thing with the data side of it. There are so many different views of the data to be able to find those different types of fans.

Katie Morgan: I agree completely.

Sean: Well, Katie, thank you very much for spending some time. I’m looking forward to catching up with you in San Francisco next year for SEAT 2015.

Katie Morgan: I look forward to it, and it was great catching up with you as well Sean.

DJ Joel: Want to understand Facebook advertising options? Go to

Sean: Thanks to Katie Morgan from the Texas Rangers. Like with all of the guests that have said earlier, you can connect with them all at Just follow the links. It’s linked to the episode guides, the previous episodes and also a link to all of the guests. So thanks to Katie and thanks to Scribes Soft as a SEAT sponsor for helping tee up that interview. That wraps us this episode of Sports Geek podcast. I guess one thing that I wanted to talk about is the announcement recently that Twitter is going to integrate and start offering the Twitter buy button which is really just an extension of Twitter cards and bringing in a payment facility.

I’m interested in your take on it. We heard previously there with Katie that loves in having some success selling ticket via Twitter and via Facebook. So it will be interesting in seeing how the buy button works and the integration will be the key part getting it to work with the payment providers and then getting it to work with the ticketing providers that will be where the secret source will happen. But if you’re not using the Twitter cards right now, for some of your activations whether it be e-mail signups or even just to promote some of your key content, I really suggest that you should look into that. You probably seen the Twitter cards that I’ve been using in Sports Geek to either promote people to go to iTunes store to review the podcast, which you can do at

So play around with that. Just simply go into your analytics in the ad side of your Twitter account and set up some Twitter cards, some really cool stuff. The social media post of the week is going to go to TBS on MLB with this great promo from Brian Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. Here’s a snippet.

Brian Cranston: I have been doing a lot of movie and tv work, and i felt it was just time for me to get back to the basics by diving right into my great passion, baseball. And I also knew that I wanted to do this one-man show, so then it hit me, why not dramatize the entire MLB post season. It would be my greatest acting challenge. And there were problems, I sunk a lot of money into this, but you never know when the inspiration will hit you. The Buckster, Mr. B. Any actor who tells you that he is not inspired by Bugs Bunny is a liar.

Sean: As I said, it’s about a five or six minute mini movie and some really good work there by the guys at The Bleacher Report. It’s on the Bleacher’s Report Youtube channel. I’ll put that link in the show notes, definitely watch it. It’s a great way to promote the upcoming MLB playoffs. There’s the clock wind up. It’s telling me it is time to wind up this episode and let you get on with your day. You can find the show notes for this episode at So that’s 60 episodes of the Sports Geek podcast. Thank you very much for downloading and supporting the podcasts. I’m going to dedicate this episode to this man, see if you know who it is.

DJ Joel: He threw it up there, and it went in. Well he has a record and McHale goes over to congratulate him. McHale aims. Larry Bird has 57 points, and all-time Boston record for one game. And McHale has set the record less than two weeks ago. Bird, foul shot, got it. Bird has 58 and with 3 seconds, Bird will try another jumper, and hit it at the buzzer. Bird has 60 points. Larry Bird scores 60 points. Look at the Boston players mob him. Larry Bird scored 60. It is the greatest shooting exhibition that I’ve ever seen in my life. Larry Bird, one more impossible shot after the other.

Sean: There you go. Larry Bird scoring 60 points versus the Atlanta Hawks way back on March 12, 1985, playing a game in New Orleans of all places. So oh yeah, here’s some highlights for the 50 point win, for the 50 best episode with Michael Jordan, so I thought 60 points, I pretty much put 60 points into Youtube, and Larry Bird was one of the first names that came up. So I’m going to dedicate this episode to him. Thank you very much for listening to the Sports Geek Podcast. Please, as I said, send me a tweet. I really do like it when people are live tweeting. As you’re listening to the episode, connect with the guests, and if you’ve got a question, please send me an email Until next week, cheers from me.

DJ Joel: Check out which teams work with Sports Geek at Go to for more sports digital marketing resources. Did you know that Sports Geek podcast has listeners in over 35 countries? Thank you for sharing. Thanks for reviews on iTunes.

TDF cyclists faced with a new danger – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Wednesday 16th July 2014

DaveSjolinDesaLogicWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

Tour De France cyclists faced with a new danger: selfies

World cup footage boosts content, viewers for FFA website

That’s the ticket: Portland Trail Blazers revamps online UX

Inside ESPN’s Social Media war room during the most tweeted sporting event ever

New Kings arena will be among NBA’s smallest, but built for profit

Hundreds of competition entrants left angry after they were unable to buy a Jeep

PUMA launches Arsenal kit trilogy

The Facebook algorithm signal no one talks about……including Facebook

#timcahilling: Tim Cahill sparks Twitter craze after response to Germany thrashing Brazil at World Cup

Throwback Thursday: A look back at NBA teams’ websites in 2004

How Google map hackers can destroy a business at will

How a password changed one man’s life for the better – must read!

Want to help decide where next #SportsGeekODE is?

Register your interest for next #SportsGeekODE event

Why audiences hate hard news— it’s all about cats – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Wednesday 25th June 2014

NBA Preseason appearing on Warriors LiveWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

What to look for in killer digital campaign

Why audiences hate hard news— it’s all about cats

The NBA’s Instagram team doesn’t need LeBron to score

San Francisco 49ers roll out reward program in lead up to new stadium launch

FIFA’s Chinese own goal

The key Twitter stats from #AUSNED

Facebook dominates #WorldCup chat

Dear Red Wings: Detroit’s Twitter account offers solid relationship advice

Don’t Let Your Website Rebuild End in Tears

Seven #WorldCup data takeaways so far

Infographic Friday: Most social sports on Twitter

Funny stuff again with Jimmy Kimmel with NBA stars reading out mean tweets

Want to help decide where next #SportsGeekODE is?

Register your interest for next #SportsGeekODE event

The L.A. Kings shift business strategy from ticket sales to fan engagement – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Tuesday 17th June 2014

David Burtenshaw from Adelaide Crows on Sports Geek PodcastWhat @SportsGeek reads…..

The L.A. Kings shift business strategy from ticket sales to fan engagement

Pat Riley’s other master plan: Trademarking ‘Three-Peat’

The World Cup’s #AskPitbull Twitter campaign is a beautiful failure

Dunkin’ Donuts finds mobile offers and sports play well together

FIFA 2014 World Cup: Are Brazil’s Telecoms systems ready for social media overload?

New insights on NBA’s legal strategy on Donald Sterling

The future of Major League Baseball is not just about baseball, great read about MLBAM

Google, ESPN announce World Cup partnership

The man behind the L.A. Kings hilarious twitter account

NRL takes ownership of the Knights

Good luck ‘Mike”: Tony Abbott gets Socceroos skippers name wrong

GIF: van Persie scores ridiculous diving header for Netherlands

Nike Football: The Last Game – killer ad featuring Rinaldo, Rooney, Neymar Jnr, Iniesta and more

Want to help decide where next #SportsGeekODE is?

Register your interest for next #SportsGeekODE event

Which social media platform will Arsenal tackle next? – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Thursday 22nd May 2014

Richard Clarke discussion content and social media platforms that are working for Arsenal

What @SportsGeek reads….

Social media use strengthens the bonds between football fans and their teams

Melbourne Tigers to abandon past for United future – disappointing day for Tigers fans (myself included, here is my take)

Niners looking to hire ‘app experience specialists’ to help fans connect at Levi’s stadium

Cleveland Brown’s quarterback Johnny Manziel says he ‘learned lessons’ about power of social media

LeBron James to lead boycott in 2014-15 if Donald Sterling still owns Clippers

How to show the “most recent” news feed in the new Facebook App

Arsenal launch one-off FA Cup Final iOS App – what a great come from behind win for the Gunners!

Strategies to go digital and boost your business

There are 500 million soccer fans on Facebook

11 Productivity hacks from successful entrepreneurs

Facebook weekly highlights from Facebook newsroom – a lot of #smsports

Are you ready for Asian Cup in your backyard? Grab your tickets now!

When Apple damns your texts to iMessage purgatory

Why the NFL draft delivers – ICYMI – @SportsGeek News

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Wednesday 14th May 2014


What @SportsGeek reads….

Why the NFL draft delivers

The World’s Most Valuable Soccer Teams

YouTube vs. Facebook: Why only one of these still has an audience

Mapping Basketball Nation where NBA fans are in USA according to Zuck

How many group tickets are you leaving on the table?

Twitter’s not growing fast enough, why PR pros should care

Why MLB Teams put so many eggs in the Facebook Basket

Snapchat grows up, adds text messaging and video conferencing

Here is how Twitter is promoting Twitter in India – “Discover Cricket on Twitter”

Infographic Friday: The Sabres Plan

How to media hack your startup to awareness

Barcelona’s tribute to Tito Vilanova (I am in the photo above it)

Thanks for the BBB podcast mention, Wil Anderson!

Funny take on Batman Vs. Superman

Want to know more about public speaking?

Unplanned surprise seeing F1 cars in Monaco


SGP 046: A-League Finals with Brian Gibson & Peter Robert Casey tracking your fan story

Brian Gibson runs Social Media for A-Leagues discusses #ALeagueFinalsJust before taking off on European Sports Geek Trip I was lucky enough to host a small sports business networking event thanks to Robert Squillacioti from FFA as Melbourne Victory faced Sydney FC in an elimination final at Etihad Stadium.  A great night was had by all in attendance and I caught up with Brian Gibson who drives social media for the FFA about their plans for #ALeagueFinals.  I also catch up with good friend & sports Twitter trailblazer Peter Robert Casey about his new projects to log your fan stadium journey.


Like this episode? please leave a review in iTunes.

On this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • What the A-League is doing with Instagram to develop the fan story
  • How much A-League fans love inforgraphics
  • Why this year every Australian will know what is happening inside Socceroos camp and in Brazil
  • How Peter Robert Casey broke the mould in sports journalism using Twitter
  • How you can keep track of every NBA or MLB game you’ve attended
  • How MLB fans differ from NBA fans

Resources from the episode

@SportsGeek Asks

Sports Geek Podcast Listener Survey

Help me improve this podcast, I need your feedback.

Thanks for reviews on iTunes

Enter Sports Geek Podcast Listener Survey


See you at Digital Sport London

Thanks to Dan McLaren from UK Sports Network (and guest on ep #38) for inviting me to #DSLondon on April 22, looking forward to meeting some #sportsbiz people on my trip.  Grab a ticket and I’ll see you there.

See you at Digital Sport London on April 22

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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to Episode 46 of the Sports Geek Podcast.

On this week’s podcast I catch up with Brian Gibson from the A-League on the eve of the A-League finals. And I have a chat with Peter Robert Casey about his journey to every stadium in the NBA.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek Podcast, the podcast built for the sports digital marketer. And now here’s your host who is looking forward to the Euro Sports Geek trip, Sean.

Sean: Thanks DJ Joel. I am looking forward to it, so much so I’m actually on it already. I recorded a few of these interviews before I left but in the rush to get everything done I didn’t get to put this together so here I am, I’m in London at the moment. My name is Sean Callanan from Sports Geek and you are listening to the Sports Geek Podcast either on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud. So yes, I’m in London this week looking forward to catching up with a few teams. It’s been a bank holiday here today so a little bit tired from walking around, doing all the touristy type of stuff in London.

Last week though, I did catch up with Brian Gibson from the A-League and from the FFA and (Rob Squillacioti) from the FFA was very kind to host us at Etihad Stadium for the first match of the A-League finals and probably would’ve been following along with the #ALeagueFinal.

So I had a bit of a chat with Brian before that night kicks off and again thanks to (Rob) for hosting us for a little bit of a (SB Night Meetup) with a few of the crew from the AFL cricket and a few other sports coming along, it was a good night out at Etihad Stadium.

So this week I’ll have a chat with Brian and then I’ll also catch up with a mate of mine who I met on the very first Sports Geek trip in New York, Peter Robert Casey, a bit of a trailblazer in the Twitter space as a sports journalist. We talked about his story and then we also talked about his new project with Hardball Passport and BB Passport, enables you to keep track of every single game that you’ve been to in the NBA and the MLB so it’s really a good catch up with him.

And if you are in London, if you’re listening to this and you are in London, looking forward to catching you all at Digital Sport London tomorrow. Simply go to to grab a ticket. Looking for to catching up with Darrin Mclaren from the U.K. Sports Network and a few of those in the sports marketing industry in the U.K.

But first here’s my chat with Brian Gibson from the A-League.

Sean: All right. I’m very happy to welcome a good friend of mine and we’re here at Etihad Stadium for the A-League finals. He runs all the social accounts and drives all the social activity for the FFA, that’s the Football Federation Australia.

Brian, welcome to the Sports Geek Podcast.

Brian: Thanks Sean. Good to have you here at the A-League finals.

Sean: #ALeagueFinals.

Brian: #ALeagueFinals.

Sean: So this is the first game of the A-League finals with the Victory and Sydney FC. What I want to do is just — while we’re here to watch the game and very happy to have a few people, a little — meeting sports (biz) night here at Etihad Stadium. I guess yeah, I want to talk to you about a few initiatives that we’ve been working on for A-League finals, do you want to kick us off with some of the things you’re trying to do?

Brian: Yes, so we’re running an Instagram promotion where you know, fans can use #ALeagueFinals, use the support hash-tag for the club and we’ll pick winners, we’ll run a Facebook vote, pick the winners and…

Sean: … so with Instagram.

Brian: I mean and I’ve already entered, probably counting on, I’m probably not eligible to win since I happen to put the promotion together but you’ve got the A-League Trophy out there and also the Asian Cup trophies out there for people take photos of and you’re pretty much just trying to get more people, use some hashtags, show them the game both whether they are around the game or at the game I guess is the main thing.

Sean: And you’ve seen, like you’ve been watching it this week and keeping an eye on Instagram and like me you’re seeing a bit of an uptick in fans getting excited for the A-League finals.

Brian: Yeah, mainly more so in the last couple of days.

Sean: Yes.

Brian: You know that’s pretty much the only hashtag we are using, so people are starting to use that as the hashtag you know, for the game.

Sean: Yes and so the other stuff that you’re doing also is sort of playing off the teams, going backwards and forwards, sort of like having that social playoff. What are the components you do with that?

Brian: So we’re basically looking at the Facebook followers, so increasing the game across the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, looking at the most popular Facebook (process), see which team can get the most likes in a single post.

Sean: Yes, so you’re sort of rallying, getting that interest to the fans out there and just sort of saying, getting get behind your club so it’s a night, you know we’ve got two pretty big teams from a following point of view, Sydney FC and Victory. Have you had a look at the numbers yet or is it too early to tell?

Brian: It’s a little bit too early to tell. It’s been pretty busy so I’ll probably start looking at the numbers, so tonight, see how they’re going and…

Sean: And if you’re seeing a little bit of the fans rally behind the clubs, the fact that you’ve given them, the specific reason to go, “You have to like this post this week,” or “You have to use the hashtag more,” just amps up what we — you know, it’s a final so it’s normally going to be big but get those you know, super fans amped up a little more?

Brian: Yeah, definitely and the posts that the clubs have been doing to promote this, they’ve been getting a lot more shares than the normal post so it’s working straight away.

Sean: And you know delving a little bit with — in the infographic space. I saw there you put the match up, shown us this one sort of just analyzing all of the stats and that’s something you’re going to do throughout the finals?

Brian: Yeah, so far. We’ve basically got a, match stats, like team versus team stats on the field and then we’ve got a team versus team stats in social media and we’ve thrown those up and the fans love them. They’re just there — they’re just infographics, a lot more of them.

Sean: Yes, exactly. It’s just so bite-size, it’s easy to consume and also easy to go, “Yes. I like it,” or, “Yes. I can share it,” so. And I guess in the other part of your job and a big part of your job coming up is you know, the Socceroos in the World Cup, how are the plans and everything going for all that?

Brian: They’re coming along quite well, everything that we really want to do so it’s all in the pipeline. Now it’s just a matter of you know, executing over on the ground to there and back here so it’s going to be you know, a team of five or six people across social, so some in Brazil, some back here, just taking fans — they can’t get there but we’ll take them on that journey.

Sean: Yeah and the idea is that yeah, and we’ve worked on it before and we’ve had (Rob) on the podcast previously talking about how the Socceroos just unite all Australia and everyone gets behind them and that means you’re going to have that wide, I guess breadth of fan, you’ll have the — the fans have loved their football and know everything backwards and then they’ll be the, “I’m an Australian so I’m following the Socceroos” and you know, when they go out and play, you know we’re not — everyone’s going to be behind them and you just going to have to be inundated you know, the timeline is going to be phenomenal.

Brian: Yeah and it’s going to be 24/7 coverage from a social media point of view so it’s going to be pretty intense.

Sean: Well Brian, good luck for the A-League finals and looking forward to a big World Cup but I’m sure we’ll probably — we will probably catch up with you before the World Cup.

Brian: Sounds good. Thanks for having me, Sean.

DJ Joel: Sign up for Sports Geek news at

Sean: Thanks again to Brian Gibson there. @GibboFootball on Twitter, if you’re not following Brian. He — as I said there in the interview, he is looking after all things social at the FFA which includes the A-League, the Socceroos and the FFA and he’s really doing a great job and he’s got a big year ahead of him with the World Cup as we said and I’ll be catching up with Brian before the Socceroos head over for the World Cup because we’ve got some really good plans for the Socceroos.

My next guest I won’t give much introduction to because we do talk about it in the interview but you can follow him on Twitter, @Peter_R_Casey, an absolute trailblazer in the space of sports journalism and specifically around Twitter and we’ll talk about that as I met Peter back in 2010 on one of my first Sports Geek trips. And it’s really what these trips are about, meeting and connecting with people, finding out what they’re doing and then staying in touch and finding out what they’re doing from the initial beginnings that Sports Geek was. Both Peter and I have gone on a journey over the last four years so here is my chat with Peter Robert Casey from the websites Hardball Passport and BB Passport.

Sean: Very happy to welcome a longtime friend of mine, all the way from New York City, Peter Robert Casey.

Welcome to the Sports Geek Podcast Pete?

Peter: Sean, it’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Sean: Well what I wanted to get you on, like we have known each other for a fair while now but I wanted to talk to you about your new site that you’ve just launch. You’ve just done a second sport, first sport was Basketball and the second sport now is Baseball with and

Do you want to tell us a little bit about what they are and what they are — what you’re trying to do with those sites?

Peter: Sure. So much like it sounds like a passport does is, for fans it allows you to track your entire game-going journey over time, where you’ve been, where you’re at and where you’re going.

And what that means is we all tend to keep our ticket stubs after we go to a match or a game and those ticket stubs generally serve as a reminder of those games and all the memories that surround those games, so you go to a basketball game, NBA game with your father, with your son or with even your girlfriend or wife and that ticket stub is kind of that tangible evidence that I was there.

So Basketball Passport and Hardball Passport basically allow you to digitize those so you can track over time where you’ve been, the number of matches you’ve seen, the best performances that you’ve witnessed, the number of unique venues that you may have seen in your history and it’s a way to track that over time.

Sean: I mean that’s the — I mean when you first sent it to me and said, “Check it out.” I said, “I’ve been doing it manually anyway.” Like I’m keeping track of how many major league baseball ballparks I’ve been to and you know, NBA arenas I’ve been to and you can check it out at I’m up to 12 MLB parks now because I was able to tick the SCG, you know the Sydney Cricket Ground but I think that one’s going to be a tough one for you to mark off because they are not going to come back for another four years but it’s a — but it’s — like I was able to tick that off with the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks coming to town.

So how is it like — and it’s really cool because again to give a bit of back history of how I know you, when I did my first Sports Geek trip, that’s exactly what I did. I went to couple of games in LA, couple of games in Dallas and then I finished up the trip in New York. And we actually met and was, actually as a byproduct of using the basketball one, the BB Passport.

I went in and I went — venue and I went Madison Square Garden, I went previous year, you know and I knew the times that I was there, on January 23, 2010 Villanova played St. John’s, unfortunately your St. John’s did not get up. It was a 10-point loss, 71 to 81. Like, so that kind of thing you know, and I have got all those ticket stubs on a board in my office.

Do you want to give I guess people a little bit of back story from yourself being you know, you were one of the first guys that really took to Twitter in the sports journalism space with your work at St. John’s?

Peter: Yes, so back in 2009 which seems so long ago in the Twitter’s-sphere, I received the press credential to cover the St. John’s men’s basketball team exclusively on my Twitter accounts. And if you recall at that time, it was still challenging for bloggers to get press (real) access so the story itself of getting there, a credential to do so on Twitter and you know, if you’re a Beat Writer, once the buzzer sounds at the end of the basketball game, you’re generally filing your story at that time and my job kind of ended at that point.

I was just tweeting about live updates during the game and the whole idea was to capture the things that the camera wasn’t capturing. And so the people who were at home watching the St. John’s game on television, giving them the sights, the sounds, the smells, the real-time nature of quotes, things that I was hearing and seeing.

And there was a unique way to cover basketball back in 2009 and the Beat Writers and that time weren’t even on Twitter so, we’ve long way. Obviously, now it’s just natural and a normal part of how reporters cover basketball and any sport for that matter.

So that was unique in 2009, it got a lot of press coverage nationally, the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and it really opened doors for my career.

The New York Knicks then hired me right after that to be their first social media specialist and editor-in-chief of, so it was a great opportunity, something that we take for granted now but back then it was kind of a new story.

Sean: Yeah, I mean the fact that yeah, I think it was you know, credentialed microblogger because I didn’t even know you know, what a social media guy was or someone that was a professional Tweeter like it was — that — all the terms are still getting created, so you know, and it’s — that’s the good thing about things like social media. It allows guys like you and I to connect from other sides of the country.

And you know, I remember you know back in January 2010, we were tweeting each other backwards and forwards to find out where we were going to meet after the game.

So you launched the basketball one first and to launch it, you went on a ridiculous — you know, I like to pride myself on my Sports Geek trips but you completely outdid what I do with — you went to 30 NBA stadiums in 30 days. Can you tell us a little bit about what that experience was like?

Peter: Sure, so we wanted to launch Basketball Passport properly and do so in a way that was authentic to the site which is breaking through the television and getting out to games.

And one of the features — it’s a fun feature on both Basketball Passport and Hardball passport our “Arena Challenges” or “Stadium Challenges” for baseball and you earn stamps, it’s a passport so you earn stamps when you complete a challenge and as the Founder and Ambassador for Basketball Passport I wanted to do the most aggressive challenge which is the “All NBA Arena Challenge.”

And I thought it would be a fun way to do some storytelling around passport by getting out there, getting the product in the hands and you know, getting people to log in and talk about it so, I took a month off from work at the time. And this started November 7th, in Miami and I literally went through all 29 arenas.

As you know, the Lakers and the Clippers share the Staples Center, so I got to see both of those games separately in December and then I ended my journey on the 6th, in Boston, front row, the Vice President of the Celtics put my wife and I literally feet on the floor so, amazing trip and we got so much more publicity than I could have ever anticipated, so it was a great way to build awareness for (the site).

Sean: Well I’m only still like, I’ve logged some of my games that I’ve been to but I’ve got to actually go through my ticket stubs over the first couple of games that I have been to, to see if I can get there. That “All NBA Arena Challenge” is something that I will accept that challenge but it might take me a few more years. I don’t think I’m crazy enough to do it in one month.

How have you — I mean I’d be interested to know, how have you found the baseball because the baseball fans you know, are almost obsessive about their stats and the history and tracking everything. Have you found a difference between basketball fans and baseball fans on use of the site and how many fans want to get on?

Peter: That’s a great point Sean. You’re right, so the reason why I wanted to do the trip for basketball was kind of a learning curve, these behaviors warrant you know, normal behaviors of keeping track of every game I’ve been to in a spreadsheet or as you know, when you go to a baseball game, people literally keep score on a scorecard and those behaviors were there.

So we started with basketball because that’s my background, that’s what I know, that’s where my relationships reside but the concept of passport and chronicling your personal journey as a fan was already there for baseball so we did notice a significant spike.

Even during beta testing for example, I kind of just teased it out (and read it) — in a (sub read it) for a baseball and it went haywire. I literally had to shut down, you know I had controlled beta-testing but just already in the first two weeks we’ve already had 50,000 logged games on Hardball Passport, so people are going way back to 1975 where our database starts for major-league games and all the way back to 2002 for minor-league games, so it really took off.

And we kind of predicted that, you know not to that extreme but we knew it was going to be more popular than basketball just because like you said, they are — fans are obsessive, they keep spreadsheets, they keep text files, they hang on to those ticket stubs like you know, they are near and dear to them.

Sean: Yeah, I’m just looking here, yeah, you’ve had 52,000 total check-ins.

I guess one question (I indeed) have and I’ve always — as I was trying to do a bit of, you know go back to mine when I was going back to when I went to Fenway in 2012 and then last year I was able to go to (Kauffman) and I get to see the Royals and I didn’t have the stubs or I’ve lost the stubs but what I was able to do, was to go to my Foursquare and say, “When was I at the baseball?”

Have you thought about bringing in those kind of social networks to say, integrate Foursquare with your log in and will automatically you know, keep your check-ins as you’re going along?

Peter: Yes, so we do want to leverage the existing on all the momentum that they already have versus trying to compete with them because you know, you can’t do that.

But one of the areas that we thought would be really crucial is using Instagram’s API, specifically because every photo there is geotagged with the time stamp on it and it would be much easier to you know — that’s where people are placing their photos now is in Instagram so fans, as soon as they get to their seat or sometimes even outside the arena, they take that photo there you know, prove that there, kind of show off, “Hey, I’m at the game, you’re not,” you know, natural behavior for fans.

So why not, yeah, being able to look at when a fan is within 0.1 mile of an arena on a game night, you can say, “Hey, do you want to add these to your passport?”

That would make the most sense and to go a step further, the biggest priority in 2015 since we live in a mobile-first society is to have that mobile native app so that when you’re there you can immediately add it to your passport because you don’t want to have any friction with the experience.

You want people to be able to do this stuff naturally. You know, not many people are interested in going way back scanning and old photo and tying it to a game so you have to do it when they are there.

So yes, using what’s already out there, whether it’s a Foursquare Checkin API or Instagram photos. And the next big thing is Facebook login and Twitter login, so that again you don’t have to create a profile, it’s already done for you.

Sean: Yep. I mean that’s great. I mean, I completely agree. I mean, I’m still a Foursquare fan but you know, from a Geo — if you’re looking at Geo Apps, you know Instagram is so far ahead in front these days in ballparks and stadiums, I (work with) Instagram.

Peter: That’s right.

Sean: … you know, Fenway and AT&T Park, I think AT&T Park is one of the most Instagram venues on the earth and — but partly to it’s a combination of picturesque scene, terrific Wi-Fi, the fact that people can get coverage and yeah that bragging right. You know, you want to tell people you’re at the baseball or you want to tell people you’re at the football, so I guess that leads you to — so this is also in the plans is to bring in NFL stadiums and then also NHL?

Peter: Exactly. So Football Passport, the goal is to launch that an August 28th and it’s going to include all your NFL games and then even your college football games that you’ve been to in college, you know, just because — actually college may even be bigger than NFL because of the (travelling) culture and the rabid you know, fandom that exist around college football, this is from the alumni base so…

Sean: Oh yeah.

Peter: … it’s really a key that we do that, College and Pro.

Sean: Well, because the thing is with college, you would have people that have said, “Uh, this is my thousandth game of Michigan and I have watched every game, the last,” you know, “27 years” because…

Peter: Right.

Sean: … in that same super fandom. I guess you know, as I’m about to head off to my Europe trip, is there any plans in the agenda to tap into the large world, that is a world of football and look at the world game, soccer?

And I’ve been guessing you’ve got you know, you’ve got a system in place now or it’s just a matter of getting the database of the games and the venues and once the structure is there, you can build that site?

Peter: That’s exactly it and that’s going to be the sixth sport and probably the most important sport just because of the global nature of that game and I mean, it’s the world’s largest sport.

Let’s not kid ourselves, the challenge for us is that the language differences around the globe so — but the opportunity to tackle football you know, from a global nature is a massive one and we have to do it but we want to go into that just because we know that’s the biggest. That’s the big (beast).

We want to going to that with a lot of momentum, with the infrastructure that you mention, have the interface built we know how to you know, interact with the database on the backend.

And the beauty of it is if you create an account on Basketball Passport, it works for Hardball and it will work for any future sport as well, so all your games are in one place so that when the mobile app comes out, you know, you’re not going to have five different apps. It’s one app and it’s a singular sports passport app.

So yes, Football will be the sixth sport and definitely looking forward to that challenge.

Sean: Well thank you very much for joining me on the podcast.

So they can find the websites at and I’ll have the links and the links to both of those sites in the show notes. And they can find you — you’re still tweeting away at Peter_R_Casey, if got that correct?

Peter: Absolutely.

Sean: Thank you very much for joining me on the podcast and next time I’m back in New York City we’ll have to catch up for a beer.

Peter: Absolutely and have a safe trip and I hope you get to many games while you’re in Europe.

Sean: No worries mate.

DJ Joel. Do you, Tumble? Go to
Send in your sounds of the game. Email Sean at
Sean: Thanks again to Peter Robert Casey for joining me on the podcast.

And yeah, I look forward to actually going through my ticket stubs and definitely putting all the games I have been on the Sports Geek trips. As I said in my chat, I previously have kept track of all the MLB games and NBA stadiums that I’ve been to, I just haven’t been recording the games and those kinds of things so if you go to, that’s where I’m actually keeping a list of how many games or how many venues have been to but now I’ll do it via Hardball and Basketball Passport.

So really looking forward to see how it evolves Pete and yeah what it can be done with. You know, the fact that fans do love checking in, it’s one of the most obvious things that fans want to do.

Well that noise you can hear is [shouts] [boos] from the Eels and Roosters at Parramatta [boo] [shout].

They’re not happy.

And thanks to Sports Geek Podcast listener (Pies Josh) for sending in the “Sounds of the Game” this week.

That’s it for this episode of the Sports Geek Podcast.

One short play if I may, really great response to the latest Beers, Blokes & Business Podcast, we were lucky to have Wil Anderson coming to Sports Geek HQ and talk about his business. Some great insights in there on content marketing, developing your fan base, some really — some great takeaways there for people in fan development.

Simply go, to grab that and you can find Beers, Blokes, Business in iTunes.

Well that’s the clock giving me the wind-up to tell me to get out of this episode.

Now this is episode 46 of the Sports Geek Podcast, so it’s getting a little bit harder to find jersey numbers and things like that, so this year I’ve gone for the year, 1946 and they’ve asked me to sneak in another player that I could have used for the number 42. And that would be Jackie Robinson who played for the Montreal Royals, a, AAA affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946 and he became the first African-American to play organized baseball and obviously his key number is 42.

Thank you again for listening to the Sports Geek Podcast. Thank you for the people that have left reviews on iTunes. You can leave a review by just going to Keep following the A-League finals via Twitter and Instagram and keep an eye on what Brian is trying to do.

Closing two cents this week, is all about networking. Always be networking. It’s one of the things that I do love doing, so I hope to see anybody in London who works in digital sports at DigiSport London.

DJ Joel: Check out which teams work with Sports Geek at Listen to Beers, Blokes & Business at Go to for more digital sports marketing resources.

Sean: Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek Podcast.

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