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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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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Joining us on today’s episode is Eric Nichols, the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Marketing and Branding/Chief Marketing Officer at the University of South Carolina. Nichols oversees Marketing, Digital and Social Media, and the University band and spirit programs as well as serving as the primary liaison for Licensing, merchandise sales, and outsourced entities including

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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The University of Miami became the first college athletic department to break into the NFT space, announcing the new CanesVault this week that will officially open on August 16. In this episode, Dan Boyd, Miami’s Senior Associate AD for Sales and Marketing and Jon Parise, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of GigLabs, Miami’s NFT partner, join David to discuss the strategies and behind-the-scenes conversations leading to this innovative launch.

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This week’s special College Leaders segment features Rick George, Athletic Director at University of Colorado.  Rick had a rather unorthodox path to the big chair, taking on roles with the PGA Champions Tour and the Texas Rangers’ Front Office before returning to the collegiate industry with Colorado in 2013.  Throughout this episode, Rick and David discuss Colorado’s strategic plans, its “RAPID” core values and the importance of incremental revenue generation.  

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This week’s episode strays from our usual podcast pattern. David is joined by Justin Doherty, Senior Associate AD for External Communications at Wisconsin. 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.

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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 in sports media, sports betting and gambling and player development.

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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 Sports Business.

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

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Flip the Switch is all about uncovering the latest trends in sports and entertainment and the experiments organizations are running. Working alongside college athletic departments has inspired a new series: Flip the Switch – College Leaders. Joining David on the show will be senior leaders who are transforming the industry and implementing those trends and experiments.

Our first guest of the series is DeWayne Peevy, Vice President and Director of Athletics at DePaul University. Peevy became AD in September of 2020, after 12 years at Kentucky, including the last 7 as Deputy AD.

In this episode, DeWayne shares his experience from the first 10 months in the role, lessons from his past that have influenced his leadership style today and the vision he has for DePaul, recently announced through the department’s new “Dream Big” strategic plan.

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Our guest this week is Nick Sautner, CEO of Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. A worldwide leader in sports and entertainment, Eden Park was the first venue to host a sporting event and a concert at full capacity since the pandemic and has won a number of recent global awards, including the Product Innovation Award for “Staydium Glamping”. Sautner has also been recognized as EVANZ Supreme Person of the Year and TheStadiumBusiness Global Executive of the Year. Throughout this episode, Sautner shares his framework for Eden Park’s strategic plan, his “town hall vs. cathedral” mentality and monetizing the venue to create more participative events and experiences.

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This week, we welcome Kevin Gober, Sr. Director of Arena Experience & Leadership and & Development for the Atlanta Hawks, back to the podcast. A recurring guest on the show, Kevin shares his takeaways from welcoming fans back to venues, adapting to increasing capacities and gets candid on the staffing challenges that State Farm Arena has faced. For venues across the country preparing for a return to full capacity, this episode dives deep into the programs Kevin and State Farm Arena are putting in place to grow their staff, create an employee referral program and develop the leadership skills of their current team.

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For our second Flip the Switch Live episode, we are joined by Dan Gale of Leona Marketing Group and Tim Rebich of Varsity Partners. Sharing their perspectives as third-parties in the college athletics space, this episode is more idea-based than best practices focused. Dan, Tim and David forecast where college athletics is headed and the impacts NIL and multimedia sponsorship will have on the industry.

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Our latest episode features Jen Rottenberg, Chief Marketing Officer for Fan Controlled Football (FCF). Just as it sounds, this new professional league gave the fans the ability to select everything from team names, colors and logos to the plays that were called on the field during the game. To make that all happen, data is at the heart of everything FCF does, attracting four uniques audiences and crafting every aspect of the game for active broadcast viewing, as opposed to the traditional emphasis on the in-person experience.

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This week’s guest is Mike Farrell, Assistant AD for Broadcasting and Video Production at University of Maryland. As part of Maryland’s 75-year Terrapin Club “Reinvented” campaign, Mike and his team created Terrapin Club +. Often referred to as “Netflix for Terps”, the subscription service is the first of its kind in college athletics and features five shows to create additional value for Terrapin Club members and share the stories of Maryland current and former student-athletes.

We go in-depth on content strategies and deepening ties with your tribes in this episode.

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Today’s guest is Jason Fox. After 6 years in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins, Jason launched EarBuds in 2018. What started as a platform to facilitate consumers and fans being able to listen to the same playlists as their favorite athletes in real-time has morphed into a new social listening experience through EarBuds’ partnerships with Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify.
This episode covers everything from sports tech, data, exclusive fan experiences, entrepreneurship and digital social engagement.

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Joining the show this week is Brittany Hodak. Recently named Chief Experience Officer at Experience.com, Brittany shares her frameworks that organizations can adopt to cultivate super fans and experiences. Prior to joining Experience.com, Brittany co-founded a marketing and collectibles company ZinePak (later named The Superfan Company), which was featured on Shark Tank and earned one of the highest valuations in show history. She exited in 2019 to focus full-time on speaking and consulting with organizations to harness the passion within fans.

David and Brittany set their rivalry aside to dive in to Brittany’s SUPER strategy and focusing on real-time data to perfect customer and employee experience.

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