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Mandalay launches consulting division

Mandalay Baseball Properties, which owns and manages several minor-league teams, has formed a consulting division to work with still more franchises and collegiate programs.
Mandalay Baseball Properties, which owns and manages several minor-league teams, has launched Mandalay Sports Consulting, a service that will aid professional teams and collegiate athletic programs in driving revenue through tickets sales, sponsorships and more. The group is led by Mandalay Chief Marketing Officer Steve DeLay and staffed by a veteran team with over 100 years of experience in all levels of sport.

Mandalay owns or operates six minor-league baseball franchises including three of the top 25 teams in attendance in all of minor-league baseball.

“As competition for sports and entertainment spending increases at both the consumer and corporate sponsor levels, innovation and execution are critical to any sports franchise’s success,” said Mandalay Baseball CEO Art Matin. “Through Mandalay Sports Consulting, we are looking forward to leveraging our considerable expertise and assisting other franchises and/or universities to capitalize on the opportunities that exist in their markets.”

Ticket sales have been a hallmark of Mandalay’s success. The Dayton Dragons (Low Class A; Midwest League) has sold out every game they have ever played, 704 in a row, continuing to build on what now is the second longest sellout streak in all of professional sports. That feat had the Dragons named one of the Top 10 tickets in all of sports by Sports Illustrated in 2007, and the club is one of the most successful in all of minor league baseball. Their Double-A Frisco RoughRiders franchise (Class AA; Texas League) regularly ranks among the top 10 in minor-league attendance, and since taking over operations in 2007, Mandalay has positioned the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League) as a leader in ticket sales and sponsorship revenue. Mandalay has also spurred dramatic growth in Staten Island which they also took over in 2007, where the Staten Island Yankees (short season; NY-Penn League) have gone from one sellout in six years to 26 out of 38 home games in 2009.

While ticket sales are a big part of the Mandalay approach and offering, they also bring demonstrated results in sponsorships, where their innovative “less is more” approach has their clubs near the top in league revenues. Game entertainment, creative services, customer service, facility design and operation, merchandise and concessions are other areas of concentration within the consulting practice for existing clubs, as well as start-up and new facility strategies.

“Every market is different and every team has a different set of challenges, opportunities and areas of concentration,” said DeLay. “Our strategy is not to come in and provide a team with a cookie cutter approach, but rather to review and define the market, and offer both counsel and execution assistance for an integrated approach that will drive revenue.”

In addition to DeLay, who has served as Mandalay’s point person on new franchises for more than nine years after serving at the executive level with NBA and NHL franchises, the Mandalay consulting lineup includes Executive Vice President of Ticket Sales Barry Gibson, who, in nearly 20 years of professional sports experience has driven sales for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Tigers; Executive Vice President of Facility Operations Gary Mayse, whose 18 years of experience includes the creation of Fifth Third Field in Dayton and the emerging stadium in Winston-Salem, NC; Vice President of Entertainment Shari Sharkins, who runs Mandalay’s approach to game entertainment and supervises mascot training, mascot design and development, on-field skits and activities and entertainment staff training; and Sean Coffman, Mandalay Vice President of Creative Services, an award-winning producer of graphics, advertising and multimedia.

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