Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

An Interview with Ron Seaver, President and CEO of Seaver Marketing Group

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

An Interview with Ron Seaver, President and CEO of Seaver Marketing Group

Article excerpt

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Introduction

Ron Seaver is in a unique position within the sport industry. He has worked on both sides of the sponsorship business, selling sponsorships for teams and assisting corporations in securing productive sponsorships.

In his current role as President and CEO of Seaver Marketing Group, Ron is working to bring all parties in the sponsorhip industry together.

Here he talks to Dr David Stotlar, of the University of Northern Colorado, sharing his experience and his insights.

DS: Ron, please tell us about your background prior to founding the Seaver Marketing Group.

RS: I've been in sports since 1983. I got involved with the San Diego State University selling tickets which, I can tell you, I wasn't any good at. We had two wins and nine losses that year and I think that I pretty much realized that my future, while it may be in sports, wouldn't be in ticket sales.

I joined the San Diego Padres in Major League Baseball right after that season, again in ticket sales. It's one of the best ways to get involved in an organization. After a short period, I was promoted to the promotions department to work for Andy Strausberg in 1984. Fortunately, that year, the team qualified for the World Series. It was the first time the Padres had ever been in the World Series. I called my parents and told them what a great job I had . . . every year you just go to baseball games and at the end of the year you get to go to the World Series. (I always think positive!) I advanced in promotions through 1985 and was promoted to the Director of the department.

I stayed with the Padres until the end of 1990. In 1990 I was appointed by my peers to represent the promotions discipline for Major League Baseball and organize the off-season business meetings. These meetings became the blueprint for the National Sports Forum.

I loved the experience with Major League Baseball, in particular, the camaraderie with the other teams. Our mission was to find out what's working and what's not working, what are the issues, what are the solutions? Sharing this information was extremely important to all of us. I left the Padres shortly after Tom Warner took over the team and joined Fantastic Sports Promotions as their Vice President.

Fantastic Sports Promotions, based in San Diego, has several divisions. They have a travel division, a merchandise division and the promotions division. It was a great experience and I spent three years with them establishing and managing the merchandise division, which was selling premium items that the teams could use as giveaways.

Along the way I also handled several of the corporate sponsors including Ralston Purina, Evian, Gillette, Upper Deck, Embassy Suites Hotels, Denny's Restaurants, Royal Oak Charcoal. We worked on behalf of those companies, not just with doing baseball promotions, but in many of their business relations.

This experience gave me an opportunity to get outside the world of baseball and experience both aspects of the industry. Instead of selling sponsorships I was now buying sponsorships and was better able to understand the whole sponsorship equation.

When I was with teams I wasn't as focused on what the sponsors could gain from the promotions. I was really focused on what the team needed to accomplish. That was my objective. However, it was getting more difficult to succeed with that perspective.

From Fantastic Sports I started Seaver Marketing Group with the idea that if we put together a program where we didn't just invite the professionals from baseball, but included promotions and marketing people from basketball, hockey, and all of the other sports, we could learn from each other. We don't necessarily have to compete with each other; we could definitely profit from each other's ideas and experiences.

DS: What do you see as the emerging trends in sport sponsorship? …

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