Miracle Marketer: Mark Cuban

By Todd, Kristin | Baylor Business Review, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview

Miracle Marketer: Mark Cuban


Todd, Kristin, Baylor Business Review


Form and sell successful companies. CHECK.

Purchase and rebuild NBA team. CHECK.

Revolutionize technology. CHECK.

Become self-made billionaire. CHECK.

it almost seems too easy. But for Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, unstoppable determination and an unshakable work ethic form the foundation of every aspect of this checklist. He possesses a passion tor basketball, but business marketing is the game he plays. And he plays it well.

"In business, to be a success, you only have to be right once," Cuban said. "One single, solitary time and you are set for life. That's the beauty of the business world. Real competition comes from the sport of business."

PENNIES TO PROFITS

He didn't always have a $41 million private jet, a 24,000 square-foot mansion or ownership of the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban grew up outside of Pittsburgh, where one of his first business ventures involved door-to-door selling of trash bags. Fueled by a sheer desire to succeed, Cuban paid his own way through college.

As a student at Indiana University, he was dissuaded from earning an MBA. Dancing to the beat of his own drum, Cuban surpassed all expectations. Irony surfaced when he made his debut in the business realm as a co-founder of MicroSolutions in 1983. He later sold the company to CompuServe and established himself as a multi-millionaire.

"With every effort, I learned a lot," Cuban said. "With every mistake and failure, not only mine but of those around me, I learned what not to do. I also got to study the success of those I did business with as well. I had more than a healthy dose of tear, an unlimited amount of hope, and more importantly, no limit on time and effort."

Business logistics are not a forte for all; however, Cuban's turned it into an art. After forming Broadcast.com in 1999 and selling it to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion, his sights were fixed on the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

SLAM DUNK

Cuban purchased the Mavericks in 2000 for $280 million, the largest amount paid for an NBA team up until that time.

The transaction landed the ball in his court, where he took the fast break.

Through redesign and strategic marketing, Cuban picked up the team and dusted off the jerseys. A new logo gave the 'Mavs' a fresh start, and the American Airlines Center became their home in 2001. Ticket sales skyrocketed, fans were rejuvenated with pride and the Mavs made a comeback.

"It didn't take me long to realize that the business of the Mavericks was not selling basketball," Cuban said. "It was selling a Rm night out and creating a favorable brand identification with our team and our players, with the hope that people would be excited to buy merchandise, products and services from us."

Perhaps the underlying factor for his success with the Mavs points to his own passion tor the game and its players. Cuban is no stranger to fans, as he attends even' game cheering from a courtside seat instead of in a glass box of luxury.

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