1 on 1 with
Director of Business Applications and Analytics
Great Lakes Loons
Our work environment and industry has changed significantly since COVID-19. Being in the state of Michigan we have had a ‘Stay at Home’ order since March 24.
To say it was the perfect time for us to update some of our technology is an understatement. We upgraded all staff to laptop computers in January and upgraded our phone system in February allowing us to work from home with all the amenities of the office.
For me personally, COVID-19 has shut down most of the upcoming projects I was starting initial planning on, but it created an entire new set of challenges from budgeting, forecasting, and scenario building.
My primary focus has been on helping our ticket office through figuring out social distance seating plans, budget models, and creating policies and procedures for 2020 ticket purchasers.
My role with the Loons is unique as I routinely work with multiple departments and on a variety of tasks. But two are major.
The Business Applications part of my job primarily has me focus on project management for system hardware and application software implementation and upgrades.
This includes determining the scope of the project, resources needed, developing work plans and timelines, and researching all possible solutions.
The Business Analytics portion of my job has me work closely with leaders across ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, promotions, and food and beverage to provide support in developing and executing strategies and making high quality, data-driven decisions. In addition, I lead the inbound sales strategies using StellarAlgo data and information.
I have a large amount of freedom and creativity in my role. I am allowed full autonomy to research and find solutions to present to our executive leaders. Being with the organization a long time has allowed me to build up a large amount of trust in my decision-making process.
Every day for me is a bit different, which is why I love this job.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve implemented a new CRM, ticketing system, task management system, a new phone system with new hardware and software, upgraded stadium Wi-Fi for staff and fans, and purchased new computers for all 35 full-time staff members.
In addition, using our data analytics information we increased our 2019 Single Game ticket sales revenue by approximately 10% over 2018 and were on track to increase our ticket sales again in 2020 before COVID-19.
These are a few examples of why every day is different for me.
I’ve been extremely involved in sports from a very young age. I especially loved baseball and basketball and played both throughout my childhood and through high school.
I primarily followed college sports and the University of Michigan teams along with the Detroit Tigers and then the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves were on TBS almost every night when I was a kid so I would always mirror Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as I was a pitcher as well. As I started college, I was unsure of a career path.
I spent a couple of years at a local community college getting all of my general education classes done, but sports never really left me. After discussions with my parents and my downright love of all things sports, I decided to enroll in a Entertainment, Sports, and Promotions Management program. That was my first introduction to the business of sports.
I say all this, but the moment I truly believe I realized I was meant to work in sports was after I left the industry in early 2018. I took a job working in the administration of a community college doing purchasing. However, after a short period of time, I knew that type of work would never be for me.
I missed the feeling of making other people happy through sports and entertainment. There isn’t really another feeling like it. Every game, our job is to create memories for our guests and fans.
It’s something I feel I thrive on, and I think most people in this industry thrive on.
The road to get to where I am now was definitely challenging. It took a while for me to fully understand what I wanted in a career. I spent a number of years with jobs in sports which I didn’t love the job I was doing but had fun because of the people I was around. Leaving the industry was probably the best and worst thing I’ve ever done. It was the best because it gave me the clarity I needed to what is important in a job, and the worst because it was a pretty rough time away [laughs].
But, through it all, I had a great support system both personally and professionally from my parents, girlfriend, and brothers to former bosses and colleagues who provided guidance, encouragement, and feedback. In the end, I found what I was looking for and couldn’t be happier now.
I think the biggest surprise to me when starting my career was that pretty much every entry level position was in ticket sales. During my undergrad program, they made it seem like everything would be on the table to start my career.
In reality, in order to really get into the baseball industry, you have to be able to sell tickets. The second surprise to me was how close you actually get with your coworkers in this industry.
At least for me, I’ve developed close friendships with a number of current and former coworkers that even without working together, we will and have still stayed friends.
I would tell them to first not look down on taking any job in the industry, especially in sales. I knew long-term I didn’t want to be a salesperson, but the first job I took in baseball was as a Group Sales Coordinator in the ticket office.
This gave me a foundation to build on that all professional sports teams want, ticket sales experience. The second piece of advice would be to always be a learner.
Regardless of what level you’re at, or where you want to go, you can always learn something new. Ask questions, try something new, and most of all remember you can learn from anyone.
Strong business applications and analytics in Minor League Baseball are integral to success. The Great Lakes Loons, the Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers are a clear example of why. And it was our honor to spotlight Loons Director of Business Applications and Analytics in the lead up to MAJOR LEAGUE Baseball’s opening day. We know MiLB opening day will have to wait until 2021, but it’s people like Eric Ramseyer that deserve a spotlight on a huge part of Major League Baseball.