Flip the Switch

College Leaders | Equip People to Launch People w/ Mitch Barnhart

This week, we welcome Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart to the show. After 20 years as UK’s Athletic Director, Mitch has produced one of the largest leadership trees with more than six former associates now holding Division 1 athletic director positions. In this episode, Mitch shares his passion for equipping people to launch people and guiding his organization with a true servant heart and integrity. 

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Show Notes

3:25   Countering Today’s Labor Staffing Challenges – The Kentucky “Blue Coats” 

7:41   Right-Sizing Your Venues

10:03   Diversifying Your Fan Base

11:41   Navigating the Changing College Landscape

17:00   Find the Balance

19:10   Most Impactful Leader & Leadership Styles

22:11   Creating a Growth Mindset Culture

26:49   Equip People to Launch People

31:19   Foundational Leadership Moments

39:21   Generational Leadership

43:18   Challenges of Reactionary Decision Making

46:59   Importance of Family First

52:34   Show Appreciation for Your Staff 

54:25   Mitch’s Billboard

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Connect with Mitch via email or follow him on Twitter

Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Flip the Switch

Making Your Customer Experience Remarkable w/ Dan Gingiss

This episode of Flip the Switch features Customer Experience Coach, Keynote Speaker and Author Dan Gingiss.  Dan’s latest book, “The Experience Maker,” comes out today, featuring his “WISE” framework and stories from 20 years of experience working with brands, including McDonald’s, Discover and Humana.  Throughout the episode, Dan and David discuss simple, yet remarkable ways to enhance your engagement with your customers.

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Show Notes

2:26   The Experiences Customers Want to Talk About

4:20   The Framework for Becoming “WISE”

6:45   Be “Witty”

12:05   Genuine Social Media Interactions – The Green Skittles Story 

14:29   The Leaky Bucket – Pay Attention to Your Existing Customers

17:35   Applying Fan Concepts to Other Industries

21:41   It’s All About the Little Fixes

23:44   Be “Immersive”

25:50   What Do You Own and What Can You Influence?

29:32   Be “Shareable”

33:50   Meeting Customer Expectations Consistently 

39:08   Be “Extraordinary”

45:13   Dan’s Billboard

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For more great stories on delivering a spectacular customer experience, check out Dan’s new book: The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait To Share

Connect with Dan to share your feedback on the book or ask any customer experience questions: 

Email |  Twitter |  LinkedIn  | DanGingiss.com

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Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Flip the Switch

Studying the Subconscious and Emotions of Fandom w/ Peter Sorckoff

Today’s episode is all about appealing to the emotional side of fandom with Peter Sorckoff.  What started as a career in a therapeutic environment has evolved into 20 plus years of understanding the human subconscious impact on fandom.  Peter leveraged those insights to create immersive marketing and branding experiences for major brands in the NBA, the MLB and NHL, most notably as the Chief Creative Officer and EVP of Brand for the Atlanta Hawks.  Now, Peter is applying similar concepts to other industries, including aviation and retail, through his company, Seer.

This podcast goes in-depth on building experiences based on the instinctual – and sometimes irrational – aspects of fandom.

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Show Notes

6:28   Change Management and Inspiring Cultural Transformation

9:55   Appealing to the Millennial Audience – the Birth of “Swipe Right” Night

15:07   The Story Behind the Kiss Cam and Teddy Bear Toss

15:51   Deliberate Decision Making through Strategy not Tactics

19:10   Challenging “Transactional” Marketing

21:18   Being “Kind” to the Customer

23:41   The Elephant and the Rider

27:55   The Three Fundamentals of Fandom

33:26   Applying the Social Psycho Structure of Fandom to Other Industries

35:34   Segmenting People by Instinctual Orientation

38:08   Customer Personas and Emotional Segmentation in Aviation

43:11   The Next Big Metamorphosis Coming in Transportation

46:50  Peter’s Learning Journey

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For more information on topics covered in this episode:

Connect with Peter via email or Twitter 

Check out SEER to learn more about fandoms

If you want more from Peter, reach out and let David know.

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Peter’s Learning Journey
The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler
Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal
Bold by Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis
The Future is Faster Than You Think by Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis

The Story of the Kiss Cam and Teddy Bear Toss
Episode 260 – Peter Sorckoff on fans and brands in sports  | Sports Geek with Sean Callanan

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Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Flip the Switch

College Leaders | Using Data and Tech to Amplify the ’12th Man’ Tradition w/ Michael Thompson

Michael Thompson joins David for this week’s College Leaders podcast. After nine years at Ole Miss, Michael reunited with Ross Bjork at Texas A&M in October of 2019 as the Deputy Athletics Director for External Relations and Business Development. His innovative leadership has led to appointments as the 2020-21 NACMA President and membership in the SEC’s fan experience working group. His team also won the 2019 NACDA Technology Innovation Award.

Counting down the days to football at Kyle Field, Michael shares his framework for keeping the 12th Man traditions sacred while employing data and new technology to evolve and innovate game day and carrying that through to other sports.


Show Notes

6:06 What’s new for 2021 Texas A&M Football?

8:57 Creative Planning for Staffing Challenges

13:54 Celebrating The 100th Season of the 12th Man

19:18 Balancing Traditions with New Innovations

23:55 If Money Was No Object…Investments to Enhance Customer Experience

27:03 Defined Social Spaces in Stadiums

30:27 Diving into NFTs and the Blockchain 

33:43 Cracking the Code on Season Ticket Usage

38:43 The Flexible ‘Gig ‘Em Pass’

39:33 Understanding Your Different Customers

43:30 The “FOMO” Factor

46:48 On Michael’s Bookshelf

50:56 When “No” Presents a Better Opportunity

56:36 Best Investment Under $100

57:59 Practicing Intermittent Fasting

1:01:53 Michael’s Billboard

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For more information on topics discussed in today’s episode:

Flexible Gig ‘em Pass

On Michael’s Bookshelf

Pappy Land by Wright Thompson

Endurance | Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition by Dennis Perkins

Dispatches from Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn or Twitter

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Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Flip the Switch

College Leaders | Leading with Conviction and Empathy w/ Troy Dannen

In our latest College Leaders podcast, we are joined by Troy Dannen, Ben Weiner Director of Athletics at Tulane University, to discuss leadership and guiding Tulane through turbulent times.  Five years into his tenure, he’s revamped his senior management, increased fundraising and enhanced the student-athlete and fan experiences.  He’s a recognized leader in college athletics, recently named to the newly established NCAA Constitution Committee, representing all Group of 5 schools.  

Less than 24 hours before we recorded the podcast, Tulane announced its mask and vaccination policy in conjunction with the City of New Orleans.  Throughout the episode, Troy shares his framework for scenario planning and decision making. 

Show Notes

6:09     Managing Through Tulane’s 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine policy 

11:12   Serving on the NCAA Constitution Committee16:36  Greatest Investments under $100

18:35  Learning from Failure

22:59  The Importance of Empathy

27:17  The “Sound of Silence” and Scenario Planning

30:23  You Don’t Lead Everyone the Same

35:16  The Art of a Graceful “No” and Delegation

38:02  Incorporating Other Impactful Leadership Styles

41:14  Making a Convincing Argument – Takeaways as a Referee

49:37  What is your edge?

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For more information on topics covered in this episode:

Bite Away mosquito repellent


Connect with Troy on 
Twitter

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Today’s episode was sponsored by 
CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Flip the Switch

Comparing Fandoms in Western Markets and China w/ Greg Turner

In this episode, David is joined by Greg Turner to dive in to the differences in fandoms and live events between China and the West.  What started as a summer internship for Greg has evolved into a 20-year career in China, moving from agencies to live events and venue management, before establishing his own company, Shenzhen High Performance Event Management.  

Compared to most of our fan bases that have existed for decades, live events have only been a regular part of the Chinese culture for the last 20 years.  Throughout this podcast, Greg shares a number of applicable lessons on educating and engaging fans and bringing new audiences in to sporting events.  



Show Notes

5:38      From Canada to China – Greg’s Path to Shenzhen High Performance Event Management

9:46      The Introduction of Live Events in China

12:14   “How to Be a Fan”

15:35   Integrating into Chinese Markets – Case Studies from the NBA and UFC

22:14  “Authentically Disney, Distinctly Chinese” 

24:31  The Evolution of Chinese Fandom and Fan Experiences

27:17   Community First, Commercialization Second

30:46   Digital Strategies Driving Engagement – Key Opinion Leader (KOL) Influence

40:04   Professionalizing the Chinese Soccer League and Chinese Basketball Association

43:04   Opportunities for Growth in Both Markets

46:30   “Buying a Ticket 101”

47:59   Understanding Your Fan

For more information on the topics covered in this episode:
Key Terms Referenced – Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs)
Other Flip the Switch podcasts on Fandom – How Fandom is Evolving with Zoe Scaman

Connect with Greg via email or LinkedIn 

Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Flip the Switch

BONUS | Diving Deep on Books and Reading Strategies w/ Justin Doherty

This week’s episode strays from our usual podcast pattern.  David is joined by Justin Doherty, Wisconsin’s Senior Associate AD for External Communications and member of EngageMint’s tribe.  Outside of his roles in brand communications, marketing, video services and facility branding, Justin has authored four books on Wisconsin history.  David and Justin have embarked on a 25-book challenge and share some of their top hits and reading strategies in this bonus episode. 


Show Notes

4:14     Diving in to Justin’s Books

6:03     Reading vs. Writing Note Taking

13:46  The 2021 25-Book Challenge

20:16  Intentional Reading Strategies

30:19  Most Recommended Books

35:31  Most Impactful Books

39:01  Building Your Own 25-Book Challenge

For more info on topics covered this episode:

Seth Godin – altMBA program
Tim Ferriss – Scientific Speed Reading

Recommended by Justin:

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Glory Days by L. Jon Wertheim

Recommended by David:

A Memory of Light, Wheel of Time (Book 14) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Authored by Justin:

Tales from the Wisconsin Badgers Sideline: A Collection of the Greatest Badgers Stories Ever Told

The Wisconsin Football Vault
with Pat Richter and Vince Sweeney

The Dayne Game: Ron Dayne and the Greatest Day in Wisconsin Football History

What It Means to Be a Badger: Barry Alvarez and Wisconsin’s Greatest Players

Connect with Justin on Twitter

Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Flip the Switch

Capitalizing on New Tech to Transform Fan Engagement w/ John Kosner

In our latest podcast, David sits down with John Kosner.  After 20 years at ESPN, where he transformed its digital media strategy, John co-founded Micromanagement Ventures with former NBA Commissioner David Stern and also leads Kosner Media, where he invests in and advises sports tech companies focused on sports media, sports betting and gambling and player development.  

This episode covers all things sports tech, truth speaking and leadership and the future of sports broadcasting.

Show Notes

(4:00)  Forming Micromanagement Ventures with David Stern

(15:04)  Importance of Humor in the Workplace

(18:11)  Assembling the Right Team Around the Right Purpose

(21:51)  Trust is the Essence of Every Human Relationship

(25:35)  The NBA Trade Machine and Taking ESPN Digital

(32:35)  Learn from TikTok, Instagram and Twitch

(34:53)  Static Personalization vs. Modern Personalization

(36:55)  John’s Advisory Work

(43:34)  The Adrenaline Factor in Viewing Sports

(50:32)  Overcoming Complacency


For more information on the topics covered this episode:

Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christianson

The Adrenaline Factor by John Kosner


Check out more from Kosner Media

Connect with John on Twitter or LinkedIn

Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Blog, Uncategorized

Lessons from Leaders – Rick Burton

“You’ve got to skate to where the puck is going.” – Wayne Gretzky

It may be an overused cliche – Rick Burton even acknowledged that – but it best encapsulated this week’s podcast.  Rick is a long-time industry executive and brings a background as brand manager at Miller Lite, commissioner of the National Basketball League and CMO of the 2008 Summer Olympics to the classroom, where he is the David B. Falk Professor of Sport Management and Faculty Athletics Representative at Syracuse University. 

This episode went into a number of Rick’s specialties and there are three key takeaways from the conversation in management and leadership and the impact of esports:

Is your mission business-focused or purpose-focused?

Fans want a connection with brands.  If your mission is tied to business goals, then it has to evolve every time your business strategy does.  What business-focused missions don’t account for is the role your customers play in your organization – or the “now, what?” if you actually hit those goals!  When your mission is purpose driven, such as Disney theme parks “creating happiness for people of all ages,” the role that your staff and customers play in your organization is something they can visualize. It is also aspirational – the experience at Disney is constantly evolving to bring Guests back time and again.  

Keep the “engage” in fan engagement  

During the pandemic, organizations found innovative ways to connect with fans – zoom calls with coaches, gaming sessions with players, virtual tailgates, simulated game days on second screens.  Returning to full capacity, fans are still going to want to have that connection with your organization.  Rick borrowed the term “glocalization” – fans globally want to actually feel like they are locally involved.  This is what traditional sports leagues are learning from esports.

Pulling off event days is no small feat for any organization and it will be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details when returning to full capacity.  Can you still offer a simulated stadium experience for fans who can’t travel to your games?  Are there interactive contests that you could offer to fans who are in the stands?  Cheering from the stands as opposed to the couch is not enough of an active entertainment experience anymore.  

You got to the puck, now shoot it.

It’s a problem we see in a number of organizations we work with – not enough hours in the day, not enough staff to handle everything.  All too often, the focus becomes “just getting through” – managing the email inbox or the day-to-day responsibilities.  Rick sees it in the executive coaching that he does as well.  Those who emerge as leaders have to be thinking about what’s next, diversifying the organization to reach new markets, new revenue streams.

If Rick had a billboard of advice, it would read:

“Learn, and then do those things.” 

What content are you consuming? What are the trends you are seeing?  What are the best practices in your industry?  What are the best practices in other industries that could be applied to sports and entertainment?  Once you are equipped with that knowledge, apply it.  

Check out the full conversation with Rick here.

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Flip the Switch

College Leaders | The “Glocalization” of Sport and Immersive Fan Experiences w/ Rick Burton

A long-time sports executive, Rick Burton brings a breadth of experience and insights to this week’s podcast.  After roles in brand management with Miller Lite, a stint as commissioner of the National Basketball League in Australia and Chief Marketing Officer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Rick has spent the last 12 years at Syracuse University as the David B. Falk Professor of Sport Management and Faculty Athletics Representative.  He’s also co-authored three books and contributes regularly to Sports Business Journal, as well as Sportico and Sport Business.  

This episode goes deep on all of Rick’s specialties – sports marketing sponsorship, the Tokyo Olympics, organizational management and leadership and ESports. 


Show Notes

(4:11)  The Digital, Global and 24/7/365 Economies

(5:23)  An Impactful Career

(9:29)  Rick’s Inspirations

(12:46)  Emerging Leaders – Skating to Where the Puck is Going

(15:40)  Proactive vs. Reactive Leadership and Exploring New Trends

(18:43)  Content Consumption – Are You Scuba Diving or Jet Skiing?

(22:58)  What to Expect from the Tokyo Olympic Games

(28:16)  The Role of Faculty Athletics Representative

(33:20)  The NIL Impact

(39:22)  Shifting Traditional College Athletics Mindsets

(43:36)  Traditional Sports Diversifying into Digital Worlds

(50:24)  Moore’s Law of Digital Transformation

(53:38)  The Mission of Athletic Departments

(55:09) Rick’s Billboard of Advice

For more information on the topics covered this episode:

Moore’s Law
Replika.ai
Ready Player One


Connect with Rick via email or on Twitter

Read more from Rick

Forever Orange: The Story of Syracuse University
20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student-Athletes Who Won’t Go Pro
The Sport Business Handbook: Insights From 100+ Leaders Who Shaped 50 Years of the Industry
Sports Business Unplugged: Leadership Challenges from the World of Sports

Sportico Guest Columns  |  Other Recent Publications 

Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Know exactly who’s working in your venue.

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