THE BIG INTERVIEW: Marshall Glickman, CEO, G2 Strategic
In this latest interview, we hear from industry veteran, Marshall Glickman, CEO of G2 Strategic, who benefits from almost four decades experience working in the sports and entertainment sector, with clients including ATP, EuroLeague Basketball, LaLiga and Ligue 1.
Marshall, can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself, your background and any standout career highlights to date?
Born and raised in Portland, OR, USA, I joined the NBA Portland Trail Blazers in 1983, launching Blazer Cable, the first-ever pay-per-view service, where we offered a package of home games as a “season ticket” or a la carte.
In 1986, I was recruited by the NBA, where I became Broadcasting Coordinator, managing the day-to-day relationship with CBS, Turner and local/regional club broadcasters. I then moved to NBA Properties as Director of Media Sales. In 1988, I returned to the Blazers as VP, Business Development, focusing on growth initiatives. After the club was purchased by Paul Allen, I was promoted to Senior VP, overseeing all business ops, and was appointed to oversee the development of a new arena. In the later role, I was the lead negotiator in forming a public-private partnership with the City of Portland, as well as securing a $155m non-recourse debt financing via a consortium of institutional investors, led by Pru Power Funding and TIAA-CREF. The financing required that we pre-sell the vast majority of suites, club seats, sponsorship, courage rights and other contractually-obligated income — we had to achieve a COI to debt service ratio of 1.75 : 1.00 before construction funding was provided. We were the first arena deal in the States to achieve an investment-grade rating from S&P, in addition to Fitch, and we were cited by Institutional Investor as “Deal of the Year.” In 1993, I was appointed as President of the Blazers, Oregon Arena Corporation and several affiliated companies involved in concert promotion, food & beverage, real estate, etc.
In 1995, I left the Blazers and launched an effort to renovate Portland’s Civic Stadium, an outdoor multi-purpose stadium that was originally build in the mid-1920’s. As founder, Chairman and CEO of Portland Family Entertainment, we raised $8m of private equity, $38m of non-recourse debt (led by TIAA-CREF) and $40m of public financing to do a major renovation of the Stadium; with those funds we did a major renovation of the stadium, turning the venue into a fabulous retro venue that hosted college football (Portland St.) and two clubs we acquired — USL soccer (expansion Portland Timbers)) and Triple-A baseball (Pacific Coast League Albuquerque moved to Portland and renamed Portland Beavers); we sold naming rights to Portland General Electric for what was then the 2nd-largest naming deal in Minor League Baseball history.
In 2002, I was retained as an independently-contracted business advisor to EuroLeague Basketball, moving with my family to Barcelona, Spain. In 2004, we launched G2 Strategic, relocated to Boston, retained EuroLeague as a client (we are entering the 19th consecutive year), and built a portfolio of clients that included the ATP, French Tennis Federation and several other European tennis tournaments. In 2007, we relocated to Bend, Oregon, and in 2016 moved back to Portland. G2 Strategic entered into an agreement with Ligue 1 (French Professional Football League) in 2014 and Spain’s LaLiga in 2016 (we are now in the 4th consecutive year).
I have been married for 26 years to Lisa Glickman, a private chef (who regularly appears on a local morning show), and we have a 20-year old son, Laz Glickman, who is a sophomore at the University of Oregon, double-majoring in business and music. Laz was a 3-sport athlete in high school and is an accomplished jazz pianist. G2 Strategic was also the Executive Producer of two different jazz series staged in Bend, OR, over a-year period.
Can you give us an overview of G2 Strategic, your services, clients, etc?
We provide business counsel, focusing on commercial assets, monetisation, growth, new markets, guest experience, sales strategy, ticket sales, premium/hospitality, digital transformation, venue design, finance, organisational structure/culture and all matters relating to revenue generation. We do not offer sports advice!
With both LaLiga and EuroLeague, we provide counsel directly to the Leagues, as well as work directly with individual clubs. We travel to Spain and several EuroLeague countries multiple times each year.
For EuroLeague, I am on the CBO Board, and have helped launch a series of initiatives, including Business Operations & Club Services (BOCS); we also facilitate and lead the annual EuroLeague Business Summit.
For LaLiga, I chair the Customer Experience Committee (made up of 18 clubs), where we are leading a series of new initiatives, including Customer Experience Standards, transitioning to digital ticketing, ticket re-sale, video screen content, and seating in proximity to the pitch. We also work directly with several LaLiga clubs and regularly lead Workshops for all clubs on topics such as business planning, sales strategy and guest experience.
You will be giving a Keynote at the next edition of ALSD International, being held at Liverpool FC’s Anfield Stadium, and also moderating panel sessions with both EuroLeague and LaLiga. Can you give us some insights as to what to expect?
Given the current pandemic, we will focus on plans for re-launch. We are working with both Leagues and individual clubs on three phases:
1) During suspension of games (now) — stakeholder engagement, business planning, monetisation strategies & actions, protocols for re-launch, partial capacity strategies, overcoming fear and limited financial resources, development of new monetisable assets, etc.2) Once the doors open, assuming limited capacity — access control, screening, sanitation, digital ticketing, contactless payment, etc.3) Once the doors open, full capacity — focus on new markets (women, GenZ, young Millennials, B2B), new formats for social gathering, celebration, and how to take advantage of pent-up demand.
How do you see the sports sector evolving post Coronavirus?
I suspect older fans will attend fewer games, if any, preferring to watch on TV, but there is a huge opening to welcome new fans, especially GenZ and younger, by substantially improving the guest experience, enhancing links with the broader community, corporate social responsibility, etc. This is an opportunity for all European Leagues to refresh their aging fan base and shift the value proposition from sports results to experience, and to use digital tools and tech to improve engagement, service and customise experiences.Media rights will be more valuable and be delivered across multiple platforms; streaming will become a bigger part of the media pie. New ticketing products, especially Netflix-like monthly subscriptions, will become popular. Paper tickets will end and the smart phone will become a necessary companion at live sports & entertainment events.Capacity downsizing will take place in many venues, while gate and ancillary revenues will increase due to higher customer spend in exchange for unique experiences. Valuation of commercial assets will shift from impressions to results (ROI).
What should clubs, teams and venues be focused on in the short term?
Focus groups (weekly), via video conference — talk to the fans. Surveys and formal research as well. Comprehensive business planning. Reallocation of human resources to bottom line results. Structural changes that assure long-term economic stability. Focus on service and experience.
Infrastructure upgrades will take time, because accessing construction financing will be challenging. B2B networks will emerge (like Bayern Munich’s Business Circle). Clubs should digitise administrative tasks and humanise engagement.
#arenas #basketball #football #Hospitality #PremiumSeating #sports #SportsBiz #sportsentertainment #SportsHospitality #stadia #tennis
Marshall Glickman is one of 45+ industry experts that will be speaking at the next edition of ALSD International – Europe’s leading event for the Premium Seat & Sports Hospitality sector – taking place at Liverpool FC’s Anfield Stadium, joining Borja Gonzalez Bilbao of Athletic Club, Robin Gollbach of Bayern Munich Basketball and Une Marije Jurkstaite of BC Zalgiris Kaunas, to name but a few. The high-level conference will examine how to increase revenue through new builds, renovations & service expansions, as well as via the latest technologies, and how to recoup lost revenue due to COVID-19.
The 2020 edition of ALSD International – organised and delivered by the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD) in conjunction with Sports Venue Business – will also feature an exhibition hall showcasing the latest products, services & solutions, as well as behind-the-scenes tours of Anfield Stadium, Goodison Park and M&S Bank Arena, in addition to numerous networking events, including access to 1-on-1 meetings, ensuring optimised opportunities to knowledge-share, network and do business.
#ALSDInternational – Europe’s leading event for the Premium Seat & Sports Hospitality sector
#ALSD – Leading the Premium Seat sector for the last 30 years