Profession in focus: Len Komoroski’s Govt Tree

Profession in focus: Len Komoroski’s Govt Tree
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Profession in focus: Len Komoroski’s Govt Tree

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The cascade of emails, texts and calls arrived in bunches on Len Komoroski’s cellphone on April 7, leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO humbled and emotionally moved on the heels of his announcement that he was stepping away from his function after a distinguished 19-year tenure with the group.

Komoroski, 62, was integral in serving to the as soon as moribund franchise attain new heights in income, rankings and attendance, creating an impactful social accountability platform and renovating Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

However a defining side of his legacy transcends these achievements, centering as a substitute on the very faces on the different finish of these messages, particularly those who as soon as known as him their boss. They now oversee massive groups and make industry-shaping choices in numerous corners of the sports activities enterprise world and past.

After greater than 42 years within the {industry}, Komoroski, now senior adviser of Rock Leisure Group, is proud proprietor of an ever-expanding govt tree as huge as it’s spectacular.

“Wherever he has been, he has left a constellation of stars,” mentioned Scott O’Neil, the previous CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports activities & Leisure who labored below Komoroski within the mid-Nineties with the Philadelphia Eagles.

A lot of those that reported on to him — or labored alongside him — say their skilled philosophies had been formed by his management traits, from his grand imaginative and prescient and no-stone-left-unturned preparation to strategic planning and unrelenting positivity. A guiding gentle for Komoroski’s personal journey has been the Robert Frost poem “The Highway Not Taken.” The Pittsburgh native has lengthy sought the largest skilled mountains to scale — the steeper the incline the higher — and lots of of his staff say he empowered them to affix him on the ascent.

“He’s such an important cheerleader or baton passer, if you’ll,” mentioned Hallie Yavitch, who labored below Komoroski in Cleveland for greater than a decade earlier than changing into senior vp for reserving and advertising for Area, Microsoft Theater and L.A. Stay. “He creates individuals who could be profitable. He helps you notice your potential even when you didn’t know that’s what you wished him to do.”

That began many years in the past. At an early profession cease, Komoroski — a mere 27 in 1988 — sprung into a job as vp of gross sales with the growth Minnesota Timberwolves. The 35-member workers of largely 20-somethings leaned into innovation to such an extent — taking cues from indoor soccer’s use of fog machines, laser reveals and pulsating music — that even the perpetually forward-thinking, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern would name and say half-jokingly, “What the heck are you guys doing in Minnesota?” However throughout Komoroski’s six-year stint, the brand new franchise grew to become one of many league’s strongest revenue-driving groups.

On this picture taken in 1989 whereas Komoroski labored for the Minnesota Timberwolves are: Shawn Hunter (left), Komoroski, Tim Leiweke, John Thomas and Brenda Tinnen.cleveland cavaliers

Amongst these benefiting from Komoroski’s instruction was Shawn Hunter, who arrived as an intern 31 years in the past earlier than being shortly employed within the sponsorship division below Komoroski. The 2 shared many drives by the Higher Midwest to safe logistics for preseason video games, diving deep into philosophical discussions about gross sales, sponsorship and branding and the way they might combine probably the most inventive, irreverent ideas from minor league baseball into enterprise technique. Hunter likened his tenure with Komoroski to getting a Ph.D.

“It modified the course of my life,” mentioned Hunter, who now owns the Chicago Canine, an impartial minor league baseball staff. “If I’d use one phrase to explain Lenny by way of how he went about technique and execution, he was relentless. … I might put him in a uncommon class of leaders all the time trying to pull individuals up. He launched so a lot of our careers.”

Komoroski’s subsequent problem emerged as senior vp and chief of enterprise operations of a then-distressed franchise, the Philadelphia Eagles. That they had cornered the market on the worst services in sports activities — Veterans Stadium was known as a concrete ashtray — and their enterprise infrastructure was nonexistent. However with Komoroski’s arrival got here robust winds of change; his fingerprints had been on the multimillion-dollar naming-rights deal for a brand new coaching facility, the 20-year, $140 million stadium naming-rights settlement with Lincoln Monetary Group, and creating a complicated NBA-style entrance workplace.

O’Neil recalled Komoroski’s first day on the job in Philadelphia. As director of company gross sales, O’Neil was lengthy on work ethic, brief on expertise. Komoroski put the problem to the chief, telling him he was far too younger for his function. O’Neil embraced the chance and thrived, studying from Komoroski how you can “suppose greater than cheap, greater than what others are pondering, greater than what appears doable,” O’Neil mentioned. Earlier than diving right into a undertaking, he realized to cellphone 20 groups for perspective.

“I had excessive expectations for myself,” O’Neil mentioned. “His had been larger. An excellent strategist. He is likely to be the most effective strategic planner in all of staff sports activities.”

The following mountain loomed with the Cavaliers — final within the league in attendance and income — who had been perceived to be the fourth staff in a three-team city. Komoroski  joined the Cavaliers in 2003 as president and began serving as CEO in 2013. Thanks in no small half to fortuitously touchdown LeBron James within the 2003 NBA Draft, the franchise underwent a metamorphosis. Komoroski assisted in creating one of many league’s most dynamic in-venue, game-day experiences, helped spearhead the $185 million transformation of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, and noticed the franchise purchase G League, American Hockey League and esports groups throughout his tenure.

What Len realized from …

Tim Leiweke:
“Tim taught me at a younger age that when you put your thoughts, ardour, drive and dedication into it, something really is feasible. The one limits are those we place on ourselves.”

Edward J. DeBartolo Sr.:
“Mr. DeBartolo was thus far forward of the occasions with one of many first true sports activities platforms, with a number of groups, managing a number of venues, taking dangers on occasions, concessions, ticketing and media manufacturing firms in-house — it was a sweet retailer for my first job in sports activities. For those who might monetize it, he wished to regulate it.”

Jeffrey Lurie:
“Jeffrey demonstrated how we might use our staff’s platform as a change agent, starting from social accountability issues to local weather change.”

Dan Gilbert:
“Dan is on the forefront of how you can create and maintain a tradition of innovation and execution on the highest ranges. His ethos of ‘For Greater than Revenue’ additionally drives a way of higher goal and our capacity and accountability to positively affect our communities.”

Gordon Gund:
“Gordon is a person of remarkable character who modeled for us how you can deal with anybody and everybody with unbelievable class and respect. For example, even for individuals he might have met solely as soon as, he would bear in mind probably the most minute particulars about individuals or their households that made them really feel particular.”

David Stern:
“Relationship again to the inception of the Timberwolves, I used to be lucky to have a entrance row seat to see David lead the NBA in redefining the enterprise of sports activities. He pushed all of us exterior our consolation zones to be our greatest together with his holistic method to our {industry} and a focus to each element — or else!” — E.P.

His tutelage helped springboard scores of executives, together with Kerry Bubolz, whom Komoroski employed for the second time in 2003 — the primary got here in 1994 with the IHL’s Cleveland Lumberjacks. The aim was lofty: Construct a enterprise over a number of years that may rank among the many NBA’s high 5 in each income metric. In his 13 years in Cleveland, Bubolz realized to not enable market dimension to find out expectations. He realized Komoroski’s mantra: Neighborhood affect is a contact sport.

Now Bubolz is placing these tenets to profitable follow as president and CEO for Foley Leisure Group, which encompasses the Vegas Golden Knights, an American Hockey League staff, indoor soccer staff, two group ice services and The Greenback Mortgage Middle.

“He’s the most effective strategic thinker I’ve ever labored for,” Bubolz mentioned. “He actually helped instill in me how you can play choices out — not only one step — however like each methods two and three steps. He challenged us to suppose that approach.”

Hearken to Komoroski, now centered on particular initiatives, development and growth for REG — the umbrella entity of the groups and venues which might be a part of Cavaliers Chairman Dan Gilbert’s Rock Household of Firms — and listen to enthusiasm construct as he particulars the success of his former executives. He additionally praises the myriad influences on his personal journey — Ed DeBartolo Sr., Tim Leiweke, Gordon Gund and Gilbert amongst them — whereas saying he might have been a “respectable decide” of discovering expertise.

He talks about pinpointing “that sure additional particular one thing” that distinguishes staff, a tenacity and drive “virtually like they’re coming throughout the desk at you to be the most effective they are often.” He talks about delegating extra as his profession progressed, being “blown away by what staff members achieved past no matter I might have executed.” He talks concerning the significance of offering staff with challenges from which to develop, and that typically their subsequent one might organically emerge externally.

“This has been actually phenomenal to see so many terrific individuals exit on their very own and to take issues to a different dimension,” Komoroski mentioned. “To see them blow the doorways off what their subsequent stage and subsequent a part of their journey is, I really feel lucky to have performed only a small half alongside the best way of their journey.”

Many who labored for him proceed to make use of him as a sounding board on huge choices. Hunter, for one, mentioned Komoroski’s positivity nonetheless resonates: “His cup isn’t simply half-full, it’s overflowing.”

Yavitch summons Komoroski’s demeanor when arduous occasions hit. “I don’t know if Len simply all the time has the silver lining or realized to indicate the silver lining,” mentioned Yavitch, who was the vp of occasion reserving for the Cavaliers. “Nevertheless it positively influenced me. After I speak to my staff, I’m all the time like, ‘Don’t fear concerning the present you didn’t get, fear concerning the present you’re engaged on.’”

O’Neil mentioned even Komoroski’s departure unfolded in a extremely skilled, “typical Len style,” including that “he left it tidy, a pleasant field, all wrapped with a bow.” That plan entailed Komoroski bringing Nic Barlage, who had labored with the Cavaliers from 2008 to 2014 earlier than spending three years with the Phoenix Suns, again to the franchise in 2017 with the express intent of Barlage assuming the CEO function when Komoroski stepped apart. Barlage, who joked that he’s most likely spent extra time with Komoroski the final four-plus years than together with his spouse, known as Komoroski an ego-less, mild big within the career.

“Len has a really distinctive approach of increasing what you suppose the potential of a state of affairs could also be,” mentioned Barlage, now CEO of the Cavs, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Rocket Leisure Group. “He actually appears on the enterprise in exponential alternatives, and he’s actually helped me stretch my very own pondering. This distinctive capacity to dream an end result into actuality.”

At numerous stops Komoroski has sought to create environments the place “individuals can attain for the celebs daily and redefine what excellence is.” As he embarks on his subsequent mountain to climb, some guiding ideas — group engagement, ardour, a can-do angle — proceed to resonate with him, in addition to the numerous former staff who’ve blazed their very own trails.

“For those who’re capable of do these effectively, something is feasible in your world,” Komoroski mentioned. “And whether or not it’s right here or some other place, alternatives will discover you.”

Komoroski’s Connections

Len Komoroski

Over 4 many years within the sports activities enterprise, Len Komoroski has managed or labored alongside a few of the {industry}’s most acknowledged executives. 

Joel Adams — VP, Premium Gross sales, Los Angeles Clippers

Sezin Aksoy — SVP, International Knowledge Technique & Analytics, AXS

Rob Alberino — Vice President, Content material and Manufacturing, Kansas Metropolis Chiefs

Spencer Ambrosius — VP, Ticket Gross sales & Service, Detroit Purple Wings

Molly  Arbogast — President & CEO, POV Sports activities Advertising

Kim Babiak Phillips — VP of Advertising, The Howard Hughes Company

Scott Bailey — Basic Supervisor-ODU Sports activities Properties, Playfly Sports activities

Josh Baker — CRO, SVP of International Partnerships, Skilled Bull Riders

Molly Arbogast

Nic Barlage — CEO, Cleveland Cavaliers, Rock Leisure Group, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland Cavaliers

Tamzin Barroilhet — Senior Lead of International Sports activities Advertising, Basketball & Group Sports activities, Below Armour

Brian Basloe — CEO, Concierge Stay

Paul Bee — VP, Ticket Gross sales & Service, Milwaukee Bucks

Mike Behan — COO, Collegiate Partnerships, Legends

Nic Barlage

Leonard Bonacci — Regional Vice President, Stadiums and Arenas, Official ASM International

Jeff Bowler — Former VP, Enterprise Operations, Monumental Sports activities & Leisure

Kerry Bubolz — President & COO, Foley Leisure Group

Tad Carper — Senior VP, communications, Dallas Cowboys

Eric Clouse — CCO, Haslam Sports activities Group

Paul Bee

Chad Estis — EVP, Legends / EVP, Enterprise Operations, Legends / Dallas Cowboys

Marlyse Fant — Founder & President, Inquisitive Partnership Advertising

Marc Feldman — Founding father of Feldman Regulation Agency LLC and AGC at 5 Forty Investments, Feldman Regulation Agency LLC / 5 Forty Investments

John Fisher — SVP, Ticket Gross sales and Advertising, Arizona Diamondbacks

Todd Fleming — Vice President and GM, Legends

Nick Frasco — CRO, OneTeam Companions

Kerry Bubolz

Colleen Garrity — VP Advertising, Excel Sports activities Administration

Liz Godek — Director of Premium Seating, College of Michigan Athletics

Scott Gordon — Assistant Govt Director, Georgia PGA

Jonny Greco — Co-founder, CEO, Shine Leisure

Joe Hamlin — Director, Partnership Technique, Cleveland Browns

Chris Heck — Former president, Philadelphia 76ers

David Livingston

Jim Heim — Former SVP of Occasions and Race Director / Senior Member Of Consulting Employees / President ,TCS New York Metropolis Marathon / Clever Crowd Options / Paddling Productions Inc.

Shawn Hunter — Proprietor, Chicago Canine

Steve Kessen — CEO, Fathom

Mike Levy — President of Operations, Corridor of Fame Village

David Livingston — VP, International Partnerships, Oak View Group

Meka White Morris

Mike Maleski — EVP, Babcox Media

Carl Manteau — VP, Ticket Gross sales, Minnesota Timberwolves

Abbey Mathis — VP, Gross sales & Service, F1 Las Vegas

Ken Meredith — Vice President, Premium & East Coast Gross sales, Skilled Bull Riders

Meka White Morris — SVP, CRO, Minnesota Twins

Jentry Mullins — Sr. Director, Group Consulting and Govt Search, Basic Sports activities Worldwide

Garin Narain — SVP, PR, Atlanta Hawks 

Scott O’Neil

Scott O’Neil — Former CEO, Harris Blitzer Sports activities & Leisure

Mike Ondrejko — President, International Gross sales, Legends

David Painter — Director, Basketball Services, Orlando Magic

Matt Papatheodorou — Director, Advertising, Cleveland Browns

David Perry — Senior Vice President, Built-in Sponsorships, Pac-12 Networks

Amanda Petrak — Regional Company Accountability Officer, KeyBank

Doug Plagens — Voice of the Florida Panthers

Brad Sims

Dan Purdy — GM, Akron Sports activities Properties

Wendy Ross — Former Senior Director, Built-in Advertising, Washington Commanders; Now Founder, Principal, LeadUp Strategic Advertising

Dave Rowan — Former COO, Nationwide Lacrosse League; Present CEO, BLOCS – Enterprise Management Organized for Catholic Colleges

Steve Ryan — Senior Vice President, Enterprise Growth, Arizona Cardinals

Jeff Ryznar — Proprietor, 898 Advertising

Don Smolenski

Justin Samra — Vice President – Enterprise Growth & Model Technique, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute

Meredith Scerba — Senior Affiliate Athletic Director for Exterior Relations, College of South Florida

Olivier Sedra — Voice of the Brooklyn Nets

Brad Sims — President & CEO, New York Metropolis FC

Bob Sivik — VP of Gross sales, Well being Academy

Ron Skotarczak — EVP, Chief Gross sales and Advertising Officer, Madison Sq. Backyard Leisure Corp.

Don Smolenski — President, Philadelphia Eagles

Dionna Widder

Kerri Stephen — Vice President, Fund Growth, United Manner of Summit & Medina

Steve Strawbridge — Chief Administrative Officer, Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame

Michael Tomon — Co-President & COO, Legends

Troy Tutt — Head of Strategic Partnerships, TicketManager

Dionna Widder — CRO, Houston Dynamo

Bruce Wimbish II — Vice President, Anomaly Sports activities Group

Scott Woodruff — VP, Strategic Partnerships, Intersport

Mark Wright — Vice President, Movie, Greater Floor Productions

Hallie Yavitch — SVP Reserving and Advertising, Area, Microsoft Theater & L.A. Stay

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