Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - March 2, 2004
VP, Ticket Sales and Service, Charlotte Bobcats; SVP, Business Operations, Charlotte Sting
It was jam-packed at the Gund Arena. No, this wasn't a 2003 LeBron James Cavaliers game, but a 1995 Cleveland Lumberjacks game of the now defunct International Hockey League. It was Boy Scout night, and I must have been one of few over the age of 16 in attendance. I looked out of place without my uniform, cap and kerchief!
Len Komoroski, the Chief Operating Officer, had invigorated this team with a toothy cartooned logo, pastel colors, and silver blimps streaming around the arena dropping t-shirts and coupons. Music blared as throngs of children screamed and swayed with arms outstretched to "Y-M-C-A". Len was walking down the steps towards me and behind him were his "followers" - his staff.
After a hug and hello, Len introduced me to Steve Swetoha, his head of ticket sales. Steve was wearing these dark, heavy, horn-rimmed glasses - a virtual Clark Kent look-alike. He was a little shy, embarrassed, and exhaustingly overworked. But, he was optimistic about the season and ticket sales for the Lumberjacks.
A major newspaper, not the "Daily Planet," not long ago reported on leaders and noticed a trend. Leaders always had strong followers. The Lone Ranger had Tonto. Captain Kirk of Star Trek had Mr. Spock.
Len had Steve and other followers, perfecting their craft as they went along. But Len had once been a follower, too. In fact there were a bunch of great followers from Pittsburgh who became leaders, superheros, with beginnings in the late 1980s.
Not surprisingly in this Metropolis, there was a professor, Dr. Bill Sutton, early in his career as the sports marketing guru at Robert Morris College. He has since been an author and consultant to the NBA teams for best practices, particularly in ticket sales. Steve was Bill's student...in many ways.
Vic Gregovitz, another Robert Morris grad, has worked as head of ticket sales to sold-out Jacobs Field and head of sales and marketing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mike Levy, head of ticket sales for the Memphis Grizzlies, also worked with Steve, Vic and Len at the Pittsburgh Spirit and NHL Penguins.
Nowadays, Steve has become the leader he once followed. In January of 2003, he took on the role of Senior VP of Business Operations for the Charlotte Sting, overseeing all business aspects of running the team under the new ownership of Robert Johnson. Sponsorships had to be secured, ticket packages created and sold, public relations efforts coordinated. Not to mention hiring a staff and building a franchise from the ground up. In just four months, Steve led a staff to doubling the season ticket sales and nearly quadrupling sponsorship sales for the Sting.
As soon as the Sting season was underway, their NBA counterparts took on an identity and were named the Charlotte Bobcats. Steve now focuses his attention on the selling the Bobcats, who will begin play in the NBA in the fall of 2004. Steve and his staff are well on their way to hitting all their ticketing goals.
Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive... Steve is still always exhausted. He should be, for underneath that business suit, he's trying ever so hard to conceal the red "S" on his chest that keeps becoming more and more visible!
"I am very proud of Steve. He has continually worked hard to learn and grow and develop into what he is today - one of the top ticketing and premium seating people in the industry; a leading sales and marketing professional."
--Bill Laimbeer, Head Coach - Detroit Shock
What I do...
Overseeing a staff of 27 that make up the fan relations, ticket operations and sales team, Steve is responsible for both the sale and service of Bobcats/Sting season tickets, suite sales, club seats and group ticket sales. New Charlotte Arena will open in fall of 2005.
HOW I GOT HERE...
CHARLOTTE STING/NBA; Charlotte, NC; 2002-Present
Vice President Ticket Sales, NBA; SVP Business Ops, WNBA
DOVER MOTORSPORTS; Dover, DE; 2002
National Director of Ticket Sales
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS; Jacksonville, FL; 2000- 2002
Director of Sales
ORLANDO MAGIC/RDV SPORTS; Orlando, FL; 1998- 1999
Director of Ticket Sales
CLEVELAND LUMBERJACKS; Cleveland, OH; 1994 - 1998
Vice President of Ticket Sales
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS; Pittsburgh, PA; 1985 - 1994
Director of Telesales, Sales & Marketing Executive