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Executive Spotlight: Greg Jamison

TeamWork Online

President/CEO, Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment

I recently heard that four young executives in a ticketing department followed their head of ticket sales to his new job. Two other ticket sales people followed their boss to his new job at a minor league team. Is there something special about these people that others will follow, or have we not grown up from our childish game of "follow the leader?"

"Greg is a special human being. We work very well together," recounted Malcolm Bordelon, the Executive Vice President of the San Jose Sharks who has twice followed Greg Jamison to new teams - first with the Indiana Pacers, then to the San Jose Sharks.

"I was working at an ad agency in Dallas when Greg and I first met. He was with the Dallas Mavericks. Then I ran a small billboard company, and I had the Mavericks as a client. I mentioned to Greg one day that I might like to do something else and asked if he wouldn't mind serving as a reference. He agreed and wrote me a terrific letter of recommendation. When he subsequently told me he was leaving for the Indiana Pacers and asked if I might be interested in joining him, I handed him back the letter and said, 'You can only hire someone for whom you've given a great recommendation!' And I have been with him ever since."

And together they have accomplished great things in the sports industry:

  • At the Pacers, they changed the way sponsorships were done in Indianapolis, a heavily discounted marketplace, and sold out all the sponsorship inventory. This has helped raise the sponsorship deals for the market that in turn allowed Conseco Fieldhouse to be successfully financed.
  • At the Sharks, they established Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment as a way to increase alternative revenue by capitalizing on the talent they have with the hockey team. SVS&E markets the MLS's San Jose Earthquakes; they bought out and market the Sybase Open Tennis event as well as the Siebel Classic Senior PGA Tournament; and bought out a publishing company that in addition to publishing their own products, the company produces the Oakland Raider's media guide and the San Francisco 49ers Game Day Magazine. SVS&E also owns the Cleveland Barons and manages the Logitech Ice facility, as well as the Compaq Center.
  • Started the Shark's Foundation in 1994 to provide resources and financial support to nonprofit organizations, especially those that enhance the lives of local youth. The Foundation raised $300,000 in 1997-1998 for the local charities.

    "I consider myself incredibly lucky to work with Greg. I know I work well with him because I agree with and have adopted his general philosophies and reinforce his management style and approach to our business. One of the best compliments I ever received was 'you are a Greg clone'. I only hope to live up to that standard. I've worked for Greg for nearly 14 years and I still learn from him and appreciate the numerous opportunities and experiences he has provided me in my sports business career. It's a true privilege to work with and for Greg and a real complement to be closely associated with him."

    In this whacky world where everyone seems expendable, it is good to see this "coupling" of executives. It's not unusual. Duos like Michael Eisner and Frank Wells built Disney. Andy Dolich, President of the Memphis Grizzlies, hooked up with a former colleague from Oakland, Mike Golub, to relaunch the Grizzlies' NBA team. And even last week's executive profiled, Brenda Tinnen, rejoined John Thomas, former business head of the Houston Rockets; Shawn Hunter, head of the Phoenix Coyotes; and most recently Tim Leiweke, President of Anschutz Entertainment, when they moved on to their next jobs. Cases of "follow the leader"? Or does the game give us a guide for life?

    As the popular song goes, "I will follow him...follow him wherever he may go...there isn't an ocean too deep...a mountain so high it can keep...keep me away..."

Buffy G. Filippell founded TeamWork Consulting, Inc., an executive search firm for the sports and event management industry in September of 1987. The firm's more than 120 clients have included: NASCAR, PGA TOUR, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, International Speedway Corporation, Major League Soccer, Olympic Governing Bodies, corporate sponsors, and sports marketing agencies. Learn more at

All TeamWork Online content copyright © 2008 Buffy Filippell, President, TeamWork Online LLC.

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