By BECKEY BRIGHT
September 16, 2006; Page R2
For many office slaves who've just finished an 80-hour work week of crunching numbers, all you want to do when Friday arrives is sink into the couch for a lost weekend of sports on TV.
The problem is, while your heart is craving a buffet of games, your mind is still corralled in a world of Excel spreadsheets, says Dan Migala, publisher of the Migala Report (www.migalareport.com1)., a Chicago-based monthly newsletter for sports marketing executives.
"Instead of fighting this paradox," he says, "embrace it and use it to your advantage to learn about the business side of sports."
Mr. Migala, who has served as an advisor to teams in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the Ladies Professional Golf Association, among others, has also written three books on sports marketing, including his most recent, "Interactive Sports Strategies," a guidebook for team executives looking to duplicate their offline marketing and business initiatives online.
Here is a selection of books he recommends that can help you become a more knowledgeable fan and may even give you a solid idea that you can apply to your business. "Even better," he says, "perhaps you'll end up blending your childhood passion and your business skills into a new career in sports."
• "Fun Is Good: How to Create Joy & Passion In Your Workplace & Career" by Mike Veeck and Pete Williams
"Mike Veeck has turned six money-losing or start-up minor league baseball teams into a rising $25 million business thanks to three simple words: "fun is good." This motto is the foundation of an entertaining and educational book that not only reinforces Veeck's status as baseball's top marketer but a force to be noticed beyond the baselines for his simple and effective lessons that flat out generate results for the bean counters. Like Veeck says, 'Treat every day like Opening Day and life and business will be fun.' That sounds good to me."
Get a regular take on what experts are reading to stay on top of their field, whether it be Small Business, Technology or Trends. Check back weekly at The Journal Report4 and see an archive of previous columns5.• "Ice to the Eskimos: How to Market a Product Nobody Wants" by Jon Spoelstra
"There are three reasons I recommend this book by the former NBA team president and current head of Mandalay Sports & Entertainment. First, I can't remember the last time I interviewed a team president or owner who didn't have it on their credenza. Secondly, his 19 'jump-start ground rules' are as much anecdotal lessons for marketers of sports as they are for any product or service. These lessons were developed by Spoelstra as he turned around the finances of some of the worst NBA teams and have reached iconic status in the sports business community as simply 'The Spoelstra Theory.' Finally, I personally try to read this book once a year and continue to find its lessons timeless in a progressive and technologically changing world nearly 10 years after its first printing."
• "When The Game Is On The Line" by Rick Horrow, with Larry Bloom
"This book is part memoir, part sports business book and part how-to manual that takes readers on a first-person journey through the high pressure world of public-private partnerships. Rick Horrow knows this world first-hand as he has been the architect for numerous stadium-financing pacts, including deals in Boston, Cleveland, Miami and Oklahoma City. The fact that the Harvard Law graduate's infectious personality gives this book the feel of bellying up to the bar with Horrow for a night of tales of big deals and high-profile decision-making in an entertaining and easy-to-understand manner."
• "The Ultimate Guide to Sport Event Management and Marketing" by Stedman Graham, Joe J. Goldblatt and Lisa Delpy
"If there's one all-encompassing must-read textbook reference for the sports industry it's this one. Stedman Graham and his team of authors show readers how to negotiate sponsor contracts, design an event and plan an integrated marketing campaign and offer advice on hundreds of more issues. The subjects are relevant and timeless and simple, step-by-step lessons provide for a complete understanding of each topic. It is worth noting that Graham also has a new book coming out. 'Diversity: Leaders Not Labels' serves as a solid compliment to 'The Ultimate Guide,' by providing evidence that successful leadership lessons are grounded more in results, performance and excellence than in surface characteristics."
• "Break Into Sports Through Ticket Sales" by Mark Washo
"Many people ask about the fastest way to get a job with their favorite team and the answer is almost always the same: ticket sales. Tickets are the bloodline of every team's revenue streams. And with only a few exceptions -- where demand is greater than supply -- every team craves good ticket sales executives in the same way a baseball team always needs middle relief pitchers. For this audience, Mark Washo, the current senior executive of the Chicago Fire [soccer team], provides a shortcut for anyone looking for a job with their favorite team. He gives a complete overview of every issue ranging from seeking out the job, scoring an interview, and determining the skills needed to thrive once on the job. I always suggest that folks get to know anyone who reads this book. I have no doubt they'll be the ones running a ticket office very soon and you'll want to hit them up for some free tickets."
• "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein
"Next to Spoelstra's book, the most common thread on sports executive's bookshelves is children's books and it shows the uniqueness of the sports industry. At the core of any sports consumer is a childlike quality of dreams and passion that is rooted in their younger selves. The most successful sports business executives not only understand this, but embrace this simple truth. For my money, Silverstein's timeless book of children's poems inspires me to have the confidence to take an adult's wisdom and a child's heart into the business world. The results in the sports industry will be both rewarded with smiles in the grandstands and measured with results in the CFO's office."