Earlier this week, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with James Van Stone, president and business operations & chief commercial officer of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, at the World Sports Ecosystem Summit in Beijing. He shared his philosophy on the partner selection of MSE and the ambitious plan to expand its brand globally including China.
Yutang: As we know, MSE appointed MP& Silva as exclusive worldwide marketing rights agent to secure sponsorship, naming rights and commercial development. How will both sides benefit from each other?
James Van Stone: I think the best thing in the world about MP&Silva is that they have more relationships globally. There are many other agencies out there, so we’re really excited about our partnership and now we’re excited about sports being a part of that too. The uniqueness our marketers mentioned earlier with being international I think is an opportunity for working with MP&Silva to bring companies that are outside our region to our market place. And the uniqueness of our market is what we are talking about is an international city, you have certainly business consumer, you also have business to business messaging opportunity. The other part is with Washington D.C., the nation’s capital, is that you have a good business government opportunity. So I think it is a little bit unique compared with some properties out there and MP&Silva will help create some opportunity for us globally.
Yutang: MSE aspires to expand its brand globally, what do you look for in a partner in this stage to take MSE’s footprint well beyond the borders of Washington D.C. and the United States?
James Van Stone: We look for organizations and companies that have the same philosophy as we do. We are deeply rooted in Technology. Our owner is a technology pioneer in the business. So certainly companies are tech-focused is important to us. We also look at companies and organizations that want to build a community. We believe internally in a double bottom line business. It is not only one group that wins. You want both parties to feel like they got a lot from the relationship. So it is important to make sure that our customers are satisfied. So we put a lot focus and attention to customer satisfactions. So I think the two companies share those same philosophy is important.
Yutang:Would you please give us a brief introduction about your community philosophy?
James Van Stone: I think the uniqueness of our brand, when you take a look of NBA and NHL, they are truly basketball and ice hockey global sports so there are fans all around the world. We control the IP within our region. I think there is a tremendous growth opportunity for our brand from that standpoint. One of the unique things that we do at MSE is that we set programs closely tied to the local market. I think that’s what helping build communities. We want to build fans outside of our region. But we have to do it in a certain way that makes them feel that they are part of the experience.
Yutang:There is a huge fan base in certain region in the United States and it is something that grows generationally. But in China sports is still at the initial stage and waited to be developed. What should be done to expand fan base in Chinese market?
James Van Stone: We’re trying to adapt our experience to match the younger audience. A lot of the teams locally here are probably focused on those young people that are starting their careers and has some disposable income and hopefully to be able to experience the property.
James Van Stone
James Van Stone is the President of Business Operations and Chief Commercial Officer overseeing ticket sales and services, corporate partnerships, executive suites, marketing and retail business. Previously Van Stone was Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s (MSE) Chief Revenue Officer. He joined the Capitals as Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service in 2007 before transitioning to his MSE role in 2010. Before joining MSE, Van Stone held senior positions with the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Coyotes.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment
Monumental Sports & Entertainment, located in Washington, D.C., is one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports. MSE owns and operates four professional sports teams: the NBA's Washington Wizards, NHL's Washington Capitals, WNBA's Washington Mystics and an as yet unnamed AFL team to debut in 2017. The group also owns and operates Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., which is annually ranked as one of the top venues in the world by industry publications Billboard, Pollstar and Venues Today.
MP& Silva is an international media rights company based in London, with 20 offices around the globe. The company manages sports TV rights for a range of international sporting events and distributes around 10,000 hours of programming to some 500 broadcasters globally. The company's portfolio includes FIFA World Cup rights, senior European football leagues, Grand Slam tennis, motor racing, handball, baseball, volleyball, boxing and the Asian Games.