3 Quick Questions With Brian Berger of Sports Business Radio


      As a self-proclaimed “life-long” learner, I am always looking for new tools and resources to improve my sports business knowledge. The hope/goal is to be able to pass along the most up to date sports business knowledge to our Partners at Underdog Sports LLC.

      Over the last year and a half, one of the resources I have found very useful is the Sports Business Radio Podcast.  Sports Business Radio focuses on the issues and people directly impacting the world of sports business. Guests on the show offering an insiders’s perspective include pro sports league executives, agents, college athletics administrators, sports apparel company reps, ad agency executives, media executives and athletes. 

We hope you enjoy…

Nick Cipkus: What are three trends to pay attention to in 2018? 

Brian Berger:  1.  The use of ANALYTICS will grow – Businesses and sports organizations are using analytics more than ever to track the habits of their fans/consumers. Teams and player operations will also increase the use of analytics through wearables and other technologies to study the physical condition of their athletes and prevent injuries while optimizing the athlete’s performance. 

2. Social Media is a cost effective and sustainable way to reach your desired target audience. Organizations will continue to invest in growing their social media platforms versus spending a considerable amount of money on advertising. Most small businesses have moderate ad/marketing budgets, so activating and growing their social media platforms is even more important.

 3. Staying Nimble – If you’re a small business, you have little margin for error financially. So many small business owners I speak with have a small staff or they hire freelancers/contractors exclusively in order to eliminate overhead and the expensive commitment to full time employees. More and more small business owners have home offices and have eliminated pricey office space/monthly parking, etc.
Nick Cipkus : What was your initial goal in creating the Sports Business Radio Podcast? 
Brian Berger:  I launched Sports Business Radio in 2004 with my friend and former college roommate Keith Forman. We knew there was a more sophisticated listener out there and also I have a number of excellent contacts with powerful, high profile people in the sports world. Athletes and coaches are interviewed daily, but we were rarely hearing from pro sports team owners, executives, commissioners, agents and the people behind the scenes who make the sports world go. Our first guest was former NBA Commissioner David Stern, so Sports Business Radio made national news and had instant credibility. The show was soon syndicated and we also have been podcasting the show on iTunes since iTunes launched podcasting in 2007. So we have built a solid global audience of listeners. I am very curious about people, especially successful people. On Sports Business Radio, I have the opportunity to go one on one (Keith Forman departed the show years back to focus on his full-time work commitments) with some of the most powerful people in sports – from David Stern and Mark Cuban to Mark Emmert, Jeanie Buss and Pete Carroll. I love learning about people’s path to success and finding out why they’ve made the decisions they have. I try to put the listener in my seat behind the mic and ask the questions I think my audience wants to learn about. I love hearing from listeners and those who work in the sports industry that they learn something new every time they listen to Sports Business Radio. 
Nick Cipkus: Do you have two “ideas” sports businesses should adopt in order to improve their business and stay ahead of the curve? 

Brian Berger: Face to Face communication – You can never have enough authentic interaction with someone you are trying to do business with or build a relationship with. In this digital age, it is very easy to hide behind the computer and only interact digitally. But when you meet someone face to face, they dynamic with that person changes. They become more memorable and you are likely to be more responsive to each other. So attend a conference, network with people face to face, go meet one person a week for coffee or lunch. Face to face interaction is one of the big reasons I launched the Sports PR Summit in New York City (www.sportsprsummit.com). I love seeing people meet at our event face to face and then they stay in touch and build a better relationship than they would have if they had only known each other virtually.

– Train your employees on the pitfalls of today’s world where everyone has a camera on their phone and likely at least one social media account. I work with a number of pro sports teams and businesses to educate athletes and executives about living in a world where Everything is on the Record (www.everythingisontherecord.com). From the texts and emails you send to your posts on social media, many people don’t realize the impact of their digital footprint and how they are being judged by employers and business partners based on that digital footprint. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer scandals, it is even more important for companies and sports organizations to educate their employees about proper conduct in and out of the workplace and that their digital footprint impacts the organizations they are tied to – its a ripple effect. One mistake can be costly. It will take NBC and the TODAY show years to recover from the damage Matt Lauer did to their brand. More companies need to be proactive and get ahead of this with educating their employees versus dealing with the crisis fallout on the back end.
I re-created a new Twitter account in 2016 and am continuously amazed at the generosity and willingness of people on the platform to help each other. I can’t think of a better term to use other than a “community.” Take out a pen and paper. Brian Berger delivers some very important information that can help propel your business in 2018. 
 Underdog Sports

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