Welcome to Sports Biz Advisor

It seems like the same cities are always in play for Final Fours, Super Bowls and other major sports events. There are plenty of rankings of the best sports towns, but I wanted to take a look at the bigger picture from the business perspective. Let’s try to get in the minds of a sanctioning body, league or promoter and see what they’re considering when picking a host city. Here are my top five picks for the best American sports towns for major events.

New Orleans


  • Venues: 7
    • The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a classic, if a little old. But it’s still good enough to host Super Bowls and Final Fours. The Smoothie King Center is right next door and has some very solid amenities.
  • Location: 9
    • It’s not a moderate walk from the venues to the French Quarter, but it is doable (1.5 miles). A good amount of hotels on both sides of the river and lots of fun house rentals are available.
  • Atmosphere: 10
    • There’s always something going on from festivals to music, food and culture. Any time you go there for an event, you know you’ll have something to do in between games.
  • Big Business: 1 (Fortune 500 company with headquarters in the city)
    • Large companies aren’t the only ones who can spend on sponsorships, high-end tickets and parties. The thought here, was the number of Fortune 500 companies located in the city was a harbinger for its role in big business. New Orleans gets a pass here b/c it’s such a massive tourism hub, people are dying to spend big bucks in the Big Easy. 


  • Venues: 8
    • Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse are new enough to have all the suites, scoreboards and amenities you want, but styled in a way that feels like they’ve been around forever. White River State Park is a perfect location for outdoor concerts or other shoulder programing for a major event. Bonus points for having a domed stadium. Home of the nation’s first sports tourism bureau!
  • Location: 8
    • There are plenty of places to eat and drink from fun dives to fine dining within a short walk of Indy’s stadiums. There are several walkable neighborhoods near the stadiums that are exciting but not overwhelming. It’s a hub for amateur sports organizations like the NCAA, USA Gymnastics, USA Track & Field, USA Football and USA Diving.
  • Atmosphere: 7
    • The most low key of all the cities on the list – and the one I currently call home – gets up for big events. There’s a different vibe here during the weekend of the Indy 500, or when the Final Four is in town. It doesn’t have the every day feel of Chicago or New Orleans, but feels sort of similar once the event is upon us.
  • Big Business: 6
    • Just a few more than New Orleans, but not as many as some of its Midwest counterparts.


  • Venues: 10
    • Jerryworld, American Airlines Center and Globe Life Park are all very sweet. With two of the more powerful and savvy owners in Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones, the amenities in each stadium are top notch.
  • Location: 8
    • The one thing not to love here is like everything in Texas, the commutes are big if you’re headed to Arlington from Dallas or points north. The AAC has lots of good bars nearby, but you’re a bit out of the way if you’re at the ballpark in Arlington.
  • Atmosphere: 9
    • The Big D has a big city vibe for sure, there’s plenty to do from art to history and more. The weather is milder than Chicago or Indy, but can get a bit hot in the summer.
  • Big Business: 19
    • It’s not New York, but it’s in the same conversation as Chicago when it comes to large companies.


  • Venues: 9
    • It has four major sports (like Chicago), but with newer stadiums and each team has its own venue. The natural grass field the Cardinals play on rolls out of the stadium to soak up some sun, then rolls inside for game time. Amazing!
  • Location: 8
    • The football and hockey stadiums are out in Glendale (25 minutes from downtown), but have some entertaining areas built around them. Baseball and basketball facilities are downtown and easy to access from anywhere in the city
  • Atmosphere: 10
    • Great golf, sunny nearly 300 days a year, lots of beautiful landscapes for hiking and biking. It’s going to be nice when you’re there, so that’s a bonus that other cities can’t promise.
  • Big Business: 4
    • All the local stadiums have title sponsors (Jobing.com Arena, University of Phoenix Stadium, Chase Field, US Airways Center) and there are a handful of Fortune 500 companies though the city lost one last year after the US Airways and American Airlines merger.


  • Venues: 8
    • They have all the types of arenas you’d need – baseball, hockey, basketball, football, soccer – though none are that new. Soldier field alone has hosted football, hockey and soccer recently. Pretty impressive for an older stadium.
  • Location: 9
    • Depending on the stadium, the neighborhood changes. Soldier Field has some great spots not too far from it, Wrigley Field has a whole neighborhood named after it that’s full of bars and restaurants. It’s #3 on the list of cities with most hotels in the US (after Vegas and Orlando) and therefore has the most of any on this list. Mass transit is a piece of cake here.
  • Atmosphere: 8
    • The weather can impact travel and events so a Super Bowl at Soldier Field probably isn’t happening anytime soon. However, there are few cities with a big city feel like Chicago has. There’s always something to do.
  • Big Business: 21
    • Lots of huge companies, and plenty of satellite offices in the Second City. There’s no shortage of brands to spend a pretty penny on and around big sporting events.

None of these cities are perfect for hosting events, because no city is. However, these are some of the best by any measure and the top five by my criteria. If your team travels there for a game or your favorite sport hosts an event or tournament in one of these locations, book the trip, it’s worth it.






What thorn? The thorn that has stuck with Pete Rose since then-MLB Commissioner Bart Giamatti slapped Charlie Hustle with a lifetime ban from baseball after the Dowd Report concluded that he bet on games, and possibly his own team, while managing the Cincinnati Reds.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 2.07.07 PMBut there’s a new sheriff in town and Commissioner Rob Manfred has already received a formal request from Rose asking that the ban be lifted. Rose’s past attempts from former commissioners Fay Vincent and Bud Selig fell on deaf ears.

At 73 years old, it’s doubtful he’ll ever guide a major league team or even get back in the game in any significant management capacity. This is clearly about that small village in the county seat of Ostego County, New York.


Simple as that.

Rose has admitted he bet on games. And I think any reasonable sports fan can see, at the very least, that’s a huge conflict of interest. Sports has rules. Managing a team and betting on games is a big no-no. Did Rose purposefully rig games his Reds played in so he could make money, or even make other people rich? We may never know.

Regardless, it’s bad.

Former San Francisco 49er Jerry Rice admits he used illegal ‘stickum’ on gloves during his career. But last I checked, he’s still in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Two different situations,” you say? “Not the same thing,” you proclaim?

Illegal is illegal. Facts are facts.

And the fact is that, as a player, Rose had 4,256 career hits, still a major league record. Rose is a Hall-of-Famer. Not for managing. Not for likeability. But for being among the best hitters of all time and one of the hardest-nosed players ever. He was a hit machine!

Simple as that.

So, is it time, after all these years, for the new Commish to lift the ban so the Hall board can vote to induct Rose?

This isn’t the “Humanitarian Hall of Fame,” or the “Nicest Guy You’ll Ever Meet Hall of Fame.” It’s the Baseball Hall of Fame.

And it’s where Rose belongs.


Note: Athlete marketing principles, when stripped to the core, are universal. This is part 3 of a four-part series about how executives can and should be utilizing these practices. Read part 1 and part 2.


Now that we’ve, albeit briefly, discussed brands, I can tell you that everything you or your company engages in should align with and support the brand. In our world, professional sports is a business and it comes with a brand promise. The brand is what the athlete stands for to the fan and the promise is that the athlete’s behavior will stay true to the brand.

Simply put, when a hamburger advertised as “juicy” tastes like shoe leather, the brand promise is broken and consumers react by avoiding the joint.

It’s the same in sports – just consider Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods. Both were arguably considered 537497415the best athlete in their sport and were widely regarded by fans, media and athletes alike across the world. Their brands were as the dedicated, hard-working, respectable, humble, everyday guy athletes. Until their indiscretions made front-page headlines and outrage ensued.

How you can apply it: Take an inventory of everything you or your company is involved with: organizations, boards, partnerships and sponsorships, events, online content and social media channels. If you haven’t already, Google yourself.

Are there common themes across these engagements? And if so, do they align with the desired brand? Identify inconsistencies and start to weed them out. Instead, put those assets toward better-aligned activities.

On the other hand, you may notice a consistent theme that isn’t part of your brand. Maybe you thought it wasn’t brand-worthy, or maybe it’s something so innate to your identity that it didn’t even occur to you to consider. If it’s important enough that it makes its way into nearly every piece of work, maybe it’s time to reconsider your brand.

Girls have been in the news a lot lately, and for good reason.

Last October, Ted Bishop was removed as PGA President for his sexist remarks on social media, referring to Ian Poulter as a “Lil Girl.” Bishop tweeted, “Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C’MON MAN!”

Bishop Twitter Post

Poulter’s response was fitting, and called into question a much larger issue. “Is being called a ‘lil girl’ meant to be derogatory or a put down? That’s pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment,” Poulter said in a statement.

Just a few months prior, P&G’s Always brand released a short film based on female confidence. #LikeAGirl aimed at changing the way we as a society think and talk about girls, especially when it comes to sports and performance, by spotlighting the disparity between society’s view of what it means to do something “like a girl,” and what it means to young girls figuring out life for themselves.

Always shortened the film to a :60 spot for this year’s Super Bowl and garnered over 400,000 mentions the night of the game alone. Now, two months later, the film has been viewed more than 85 million times in 150 countries and is one of the most successful viral campaigns of all time.

In preparation for International Women’s Day this Sunday, Always released their follow-up film, “Like a Girl – Stronger Together.” Girls showcasing their skills in basketball, rock climbing, volleyball, martial arts, gymnastics and more, are packaged together to turn the once derogatory phrase into a message of strength.

The spot challenges viewers to “Share what you do #LikeAGirl.” So, after a month back to work following maternity leave (with twins) in the books, here’s what I do #LikeAGirl:

  • Develop athlete brands and national campaigns for elite sports clients
  • Serve as a leader within my company and my family
  • Empower others to follow their passion
  • Participate in the community on volunteer boards

Each day I walk into the office, I’m happy to say that I, in addition to my female colleagues, are supported and encouraged to think #likeagirl, lead #likeagirl and affect positive change #likeagirl. It’s clear that we are a growing sorority of leaders in sports and entertainment, and our ideas will change the world.



TimWellmanName: Tim Wellman
Hometown: Carmel, Indiana
School: Indiana University
Major: Sport Marketing and Management
Year: Junior
Internship: Summer 2014


Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: Indianapolis Colts, Boston Bruins, Indiana Hoosiers (Basketball) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Football)

Q: What’s your major and what do you hope to do after you graduate?
A: Right now, I’m a junior at IU majoring in Sport Marketing and Management and interning with the university’s athletic department. Hopefully after graduation, I can attain a position with an organization connected to the sports industry in some capacity.

Q: Why do you want to work in sports?
A: I have greatly enjoyed participating in and viewing sports since I was pretty young. It provides entertainment and promotes good health, and I would love to have a job where I enjoy what I do and believe in the cause.

The most intriguing thing about sports to me is how sporting events come together. There is a lot that goes into each event behind the scenes and it’s pretty cool how everything – from the media to sponsors to the venue – fit together to create the final product of what fans see and experience.

Q: What did you learn from your internship at U/S Sports Advisors?
A: I think interning at U/SSA proved to be very valuable as I had the opportunity to observe the type of work that goes on in a sports and entertainment marketing agency firsthand. That was definitely a welcomed break from the classroom where the information tends to be very general and theoretical. Interning provided me an improved, more in-depth understanding of the concepts discussed in class.

Q: As an IU basketball fan, what’s your take on their current season?
A: It’s kind of tough to really gauge IU basketball this year. When they’re hitting 3’s, they can beat anyone. But when they’re not, they can definitely struggle. I’m optimistic they can make some noise in the postseason. Hopefully they’ll win their last two regular season games and at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament to build some momentum for the big dance.

Connect with Tim on LinkedIn.