2003 - 2004
Fifteen Minutes In The Spotlight
Managing Director, Greensboro Coliseum
By W.C. Jones
With less than three hours before the Greensboro Generals Hockey Team's season opener, Matt Brown set aside the hundreds of details still to be attended to and met with me one-on-one for fifteen minutes.
Spotlight: "So how are ticket sales going?"
M.B.: "Great! They're up 118% over advance ticket sales last year."
Spotlight: "What made you decide to pull this whole deal together for the city to own a hockey team?"
M.B.: "No, we don't own it. (the hockey team) That's a misconception, and even the newspaper keeps saying that. It's owned by Art Donaldson, and the team is being leased for one dollar to Don Brady and Bill Black and their group. We have an operating agreement which provides for us to be responsible for managing the team for this year and the possibility of being asked to manage it for a second year on the condition that we exceed a certain amount of season's tickets. We chose to do this because we felt that the economic impact of not having the Generals at the coliseum would have a negative impact financially, and image wise, for our sponsors, our suite holders, our major advertisers, and club seat holders. In addition, the impact on our community to lose another entertainment option for both young and old, at a time when our community was questioning the loss of other entertainment option."
Spotlight: "What would you consider your management style to be?"
M.B.: "I've always been a hands-on person rather than a removed one. I think I energize people by my enthusiasm and energy, and by example. There's no piece of paper that I should walk by and expect one of my employees to pick up, if I didn't pick it up. There is no job too small that I would not accept doing myself I consider the jobs of a housekeeper to be as important as the marketing director. People see that and they become enthusiastic behind that. I think that it has similarities to coaching, that you push people to their maximum level, you excite them, you energize them, and hope for the best results from the best talent."
Spotlight: "What is your vision for the coliseum?"
M.B.: "We've set a vision during my time, I think it's going on nine years, where we've doubled the number of events, and we have the belief that we have a competent enough staff that we can manage multiple different events at the same time. Eighty percent of the weekends there is more than one event going on simultaneously in all of our different venues. We're constantly trying to keep that competitive edge with newer buildings in Raleigh and the new one proposed in Charlotte. We're not laid back, we don't sit here and wait for the phone to ring, we're aggressively making those phone calls, and that's the reason we have been able to have so many top entertainment acts that we have been fortunate to have."
Spotlight: "You have a "Wish-List" for the coliseum. What is number one on that list?
M.B.: "Naming Rights. Having someone enjoin their name to this facility that would have a substantial financial impact on our bottom line which I believe would then take the negativity away that some people still harbor resentment for in the expansion of this facility. We could then have people focusing on only the positive things that it (coliseum) does by generating an economic impact in our community. Through hosting conventions, trade shows, everything from opera to ballet, symphony, and high school graduations, I think that people would be focused on what it is, one of the premier assets in our community. It's a huge economic generator. In light of all the economic loses we've had from furniture to textiles, you can get an appreciation of what this building does in generating non-taxpayer revenues through hotel-motel tax, restaurants, and things of that nature. I think that's what has always driven me."