President of the Angels discusses responsibilities
The Santa Clara
May 16, 2019
Santa Clara student life and the professional sports world often seem overwhelmingly disconnected. Most of us weren’t blessed with the raw talent to give us a chance to play in the big leagues, and, for many of us, the business side of sports may seem even more complex.
We constantly hear of big-name, recordbreaking contracts or large marketing deals, but we might be kept in the dark about the people behind those headline decisions.
Fortunately, this week gave me a chance to have a conversation with John Carpino, president of the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball.
Carpino oversees all areas of business, sales, marketing and communications for the Angels.
He has been integral to large-scale events such as the 2010 All-Star Game at Angel Stadium and has been an incredibly valuable part of the Angels’ organization for 16 years.
He also oversaw the general manager selection processes in 2011 and 2015 and has assisted in the acquisition of high-profile Angels such as Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani.
In addition to his role with the Angels, Carpino oversees AM830 Radio, Anaheim Ducks Hockey, and Notre Dame Football in Souther California.
Beyond baseball he is incredibly generous and has even been inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. He gratefully shared his experiences with me last weekend.
Can you briefly explain your job and your responsibilities with the Angels?
My job responsibilities are to plan, develop, organize, implement, direct and evaluate the organization’s fiscal function and performance of the team, both on and off the field.
In addition, I evaluate and advise on the impact of long range planning, introduce new programs and strategies which will benefit the team, increase our fan base and build the brand.
What might a normal day look like in your role?
Every day can be different based upon the needs of the organization.
A day can consist of dealing with a stadium issue in preparation for a game day, a roster move or long term planning as it relates to the stadium and city.
Activities may also include overseeing daily ticketing reports, marketing initiatives and employee relations such as union negotiations, merit pay increases, promotions and terminations.
Santa Clara is a Jesuit school that promotes several values, such as care for the whole person, service of others, striving for excellence and putting reflection into action, to paraphrase a few. Where do you see these values come across in the Angels organization?
I believe in Jesuit values; so much that my son Nicolas attends Santa Clara University. In the Angels Organization, we have something known as “Championship Standards.”
These standards are applicable to everyone in the organization, from players to ushers. Our people are our best asset and we have to value them to the utmost.
Two weeks ago I wrote an article about some of the MLB attendance troubles, have you experienced this with the Angels at all and what has the organization done to try and address this problem?
We are one of two franchises, the other being the Yankees, which have drawn over three million fans for 16 straight years—and we are on target to draw three million for a record 17th year.
We take pride in knowing that this says a lot about the organization, ownership and more importantly, our fan base.
From a business standpoint, we look at it as a simple supply and demand model, which is the amount of product, tickets and the desire of buyers, fans and we price the tickets accordingly.
The more fans that attend the game, the greater the energy and subsequently, the greater the revenue on ancillary streams including concessions, merchandise, and parking.
Our pricing model must remain as fluid as possible, to attract fans, and once in the building, we must deliver a positive experience to them, every game.
What is it like being in the room—or at least in the know—for major deals like the Mike Trout contract and such?
Doing any business deal is a very exhilarating experience, and each one is different. One of the most important aspects for any business deal is the early preparation for the possible roller coaster—and unforeseen challenges— during the process. This, along with seeing the deal through to the very end and keeping emotions aside, are essential components in getting a suite sold, signing a naming rights deal, or even signing Mike Trout to a record contract.
How do you see the game of baseball, especially on the business end, changing in the future?
We always have to be prepared for, and ahead of, change. This is something we discuss every day. Technology changes things at a very rapid pace and affects our business dramatically. If we are not addressing it, and staying in front of it, we will fail.
For instance, the way people buy tickets has changed drastically in the last decade since StubHub’s acquisition by eBay in 2007. Currently, over 20-plus percent of all tickets being resold on the secondary market represents approximately 20 million tickets for MLB games.
I believe the value of streaming rights will greatly affect the future based upon the advent of companies such as Hulu and Netflix, and their desire for live programming affects the relationship with MSO (Multiple System Operators) and teams.
In addition, the legalization of gambling and its effect on viewer engagement and ratings also increases advertising. Another element of gambling is in-game wagering, which will be integrated into the media and subscreens, enhancing the analytical portion of the probability of live sports.
For students wanting to get into the business side of not only baseball, but sports in general, as a career, is there any advice that you would give them?
Look for a job that you love doing; one in which can support you and your family. If you do something you love, you will be good at it and if you are good at it, you will be successful.
Once you are successful, you will have choices in the field which fuels your passion.
Contact Kyle Lydon at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.