Do you think you need to be an athlete yourself to run a successful sports business? You don’t. Take Mark Cuban, for example.
In the early 1980s, Cuban was one of the top salespeople at Your Business Software, one of the first PC software retailers in Dallas, Texas. He held that job for under a year, until he was fired when he met with a client to finalize a large software purchase and couldn’t open the store.
Many of us would be knocked back by an incident like that. However, Cuban used his knowledge and foresight to start his own company – MicroSolutions. It was an early seller of programs many of us know today (or, at least, knew in the past) like CompuServe and Lotus Notes. Despite his almost total lack of an IT or computers background, Cuban was able to stay one step ahead of the game in that industry, testing every new innovation that came his way. His company was an expert in local area networks at a time when computer printers were just becoming popular. In 1990, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe for $6 million.
Five years later, inspiration struck again, and he merged his tech company experience with his love of sports. He cofounded AudioNet, a website that allowed sports fans to listen to their home teams’ games – no matter where they were. This company became Broadcast.com, which was sold to Yahoo with almost $100 million in revenue and 350 staff members.
In 2000, Cuban’s next business move was further inspired by his love of sports – he bought his hometown basketball team, the Dallas Mavericks. He combined his knowledge of basketball with his business knowledge and revitalized his team. Aside from recruiting more talented players, he refocused the team’s marketing efforts with new uniforms and new advertising strategies. He has even been known to sit with other fans in the audience, wearing a team jersey. By repackaging a Mavericks game as a total entertainment experience, Cuban brought the team to heights of popularity they hadn’t seen in years – with both fans and players.
With his actions in previous business ventures and as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban has truly been a creative destructor. Though no stranger to the odd controversy, he’s approached each business venture with creativity, forward thinking and true passion. Not all sports fans can own a basketball team, but sports-related entrepreneurship is definitely a viable option, even if your background would make it seem otherwise!