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Spotlight On Minor League Baseball: Fun Promotions With Frisco RoughRiders President & GM Andy Milovich

Andy Milovich | President & General Manager | Frisco RoughRiders

Aligning the interests of the franchise, community and their career, while creating a fun work environment is the sweet spot from my perspective.

Andy Milovich

President & General Manager

Frisco RoughRiders

× The interview with Andy Milovich was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

Tell us about your role as the President & General Manager for the Frisco RoughRiders. What does a typical day look like for you?

The President/GM role involves overseeing all aspects of the Frisco RoughRiders operations except for the player/coaching decisions, which is handled by our Major League Affiliate, which is the Texas Rangers.

We have a staff of approximately 40 people and departments that include Food and Beverage, Operations, Finance, Ticket Sales, Marketing/Promotions, Sponsorship Sales, Merchandise, Media and Community Relations.

The sales and marketing efforts are the largest focus of mine because they drive the franchise revenue, but a significant amount of time is spent integrating each of our departments. No two days look the same!

How have you separated the RoughRiders from other baseball clubs to ensure the fans are provided with maximum value and a unique baseball experience? What strategies have you used to achieve such?

Our focus is on delivering an incredible game-day experience for all fans! The fan experience encompasses all aspects of the game-day visit, which includes purchasing tickets, parking, entering the ballpark, purchasing food and beverage and enjoying the game.

Our ballpark is among the finest in the country and includes the largest video board in Minor League Baseball, a Lazy River, Outfield LED, multiple bar locations, 23 suites, private club space and multiple hospitality areas.

What are some tools that you and your team use to identify and develop new business opportunities for the RoughRiders?

We utilize a variety of tools to identify potential sponsors and ticketholders.

  1. BusinessWise: A tool that allows us to identify key contacts at businesses throughout the Metroplex. It provides data on business size, revenues, employees and contacts.
  2. SponsorUnited: A tool that identifies key contacts and details on sponsor relationships and details for businesses throughout the country.
  3. DigiDeck: An interactive sponsorship sales platform that we use to present sponsorships digitally that provide analytics on behalf of those viewing the documents.

Previously in your career, you led the creation of the Pelicans Play It Forward Community Initiative, giving back $2 million in donations since its launch. Why is it important for you to create strong ties with the community?

Minor League Baseball is a unique sporting endeavor. We don’t have the luxury that major college or major league sports have in passing fandom down from generation to generation. We deliver an incredible fan experience, but we must work harder to develop that fan interest.

Taking our efforts to the streets and engaging with non-profits throughout the community allows us the opportunity to create the emotional connections with potential fans that are more difficult for us to generate than the big leagues or major college programs.

Serving on the community boards facilitates relationships with business owners and leaders throughout the community, which drives ticket and sponsorship sales.

Additionally, minor league ballparks are community assets that are built for the purpose of providing wholesome affordable family entertainment for the communities in which we play. The teams that operate these ballparks become part of the fabric of our communities by engaging with the community and by operating as though we are a public trust.

Tell me about your leadership style. How are you able to engage your team in creating a dynamic ballpark experience?

Leading a team of young professionals that have devoted their lives to careers in sports requires creating a culture that connects them to a “Why.” To that extent, I work to connect them to our community and emphasize the important role we play in our community.

Aligning the interests of the franchise, community and their career, while creating a fun work environment is the sweet spot from my perspective.

What moments or accomplishments in your career are you most proud of?

  1. Prostate Exam: I had a very public prostate exam while singing the 7th inning stretch in 2014. The suggestion came about as a result of a radio interview and quickly took on a life of its own. The promotion was two-fold. First, to erase the stigma associated with prostate exams and to highlight their importance. Secondly, a young girl who was a family friend was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. We were raising money for her family at an upcoming game and we needed to drive awareness for the event via her Facebook page. I agreed to the exam on the condition we got her 10,000 Facebook likes. It led to coverage on ESPN, The Today Show and in newspapers, radio and television reporting all over the world. Most importantly, it led to a great fundraiser for her and an evening that she described as “was the greatest day of my life.” Check out some of the footage.
  2. Opening 3 Ballparks: I had the opportunity to open 3 new minor league baseball stadiums in Erie (PA), Niles (OH) and Charleston (WV) during my career, the second two as a General Manager leading the charge on the ground. It’s incredible to look back at the impact that baseball has had in those communities. In both Niles and Charleston, fans commented on Opening Night that “I can’t believe I’m in…..”
  3. Career Development: I have had numerous employees that began their career with me become General Managers in the game or moved on to successful careers in the big leagues. I have taken great pride in attracting and developing talent while trying to focus on their career path.
  4. Play It Forward Campaign: The 2013 15th Anniversary Season in Myrtle Beach was a career changer for me and a pivotal moment for the franchise. I relocated to Myrtle Beach in January of 2013 with less than 10 weeks until Opening Day. Our promotional schedule had been set, staff was in place and our marketing dollars had been allocated. We hadn’t made any significant plans for our 15th Anniversary. We created the “Make a Splash” campaign as a way to celebrate “15 Seasons of Making a Splash. “Make a Splash Mondays” were created to raise money and food for kids throughout the county participating in the Backpack Buddies program. We established a goal to give back more than $250,000 in donations, fundraising proceeds, in-kind services and volunteer hours valued at $10/hour. The $397,000 total greatly exceeded our goal! More importantly, it completely changed the lens through which our staff and the community viewed our role in Myrtle Beach.

Hayley Michie Hayley's Final Thoughts

After concluding this interview, it’s become apparent to me that Andy loves baseball like no other. He’s created amazing initiatives and improved the fan experience for both the Frisco RoughRiders and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. He’s even gone as far as getting a prostate exam as a fundraising initiative while Pelicans fans watched! Despite all of Andy’s successes, I found he is quite humble. Andy’s hope is that he can connect his team to a “why”. From what I can see, it looks like Andy as accomplished that! Under Andy’s leadership, he’s seen plenty of his employees move on to successful careers in the big leagues. Even though Andy oversees the entirety of the RoughRiders, he hasn’t forgotten the impact he can have on each individual employee. If I ever find myself in the lone star state, you can catch me at a Frisco RoughRiders game floating down the lazy river!

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