THE BOB JOHNSTON PODCAST
By Bob Johnston
April 21, 2020
SEASON
1
EPISODE
8
Mohegan Sun Sports Chief – Amber Cox

Amber Cox oversees sports at Mohegan Sun, on topics of team building and leadership. Amber and her team operate the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun as well as Major League Lacrosse’s Black Wolves. We cover a lot of ground from measuring success to focusing on revenue and the bottom line. She has had a very successful career across the sports industry, having also served as president at the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, and Chief Marketing Officer at Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. And, she also served as Associate Commissioner for Women’s Basketball at the Big East.

In her final two seasons with the Mercury, Amanda held the dual title of President and Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing all business and basketball operations.

During her time with the Houston Dynamo, Cox oversaw all aspects of the marketing, broadcast, branding, digital/social strategies, media relations and community relations for the team, as well as Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League, BBVA Compass Stadium and Houston Sports Park.

Prior to Houston, Cox was the Associate Commissioner for Women’s Basketball at the Big East Conference for two years, managing all aspects of the 10-team league, including scheduling, officiating, television, branding and marketing.

Cox joined the Big East after nine seasons with the Phoenix Mercury, where she began as the Director of Marketing in 2005. In that position, Cox employed tactical grassroots efforts as well as social and digital strategies to build the Mercury fanbase, and she helped secure the first marquee jersey sponsor in WNBA history through a ground-breaking partnership with Arizona-based Lifelock in 2009.

In her final two seasons with the Mercury, Cox held the dual title of President and Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing all business and basketball operations. Cox directed the marketing and sales initiatives behind the selection of Brittney Griner as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, an effort that resulted in record-setting sales, website viewership and media impressions.

A Missouri native, Cox spent five years prior to joining the Mercury as the Assistant Director of Athletics in charge of media relations and development at Columbia (Mo.) College. She administered statewide marketing strategies to promote five sports and built internal promotion programs targeting students, faculty and staff. Her duties also included managing the sports information office and game operations, as well as serving as coordinator of the athletic department’s fundraising and community relations efforts.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Castbox, or your preferred podcast platform.

SELECTED QUOTES
Patience is important when growing a sport. For example, the WNBA is further ahead in its lifecycle than the NBA was at this time (the 24-year mark)."
– on the fact that it will take time to grow the WNBA yet, despite this fact, it's still ahead of the NBA in terms of fan base at the 24 year mark
It's one of the most action-packed, marketable sports out there."
– on the growing presence of the National Lacrosse League
EPISODE MARKERS

4:40 Minute Marker
Being part of the Mohegan Sun family and running two teams at same time
Learning about National Lacrosse League (box lacrosse)

8:05
Being blown away by marketability of box lacrosse
Cross-selling with the gaming base of Mohegan Sun
Take advantage of the destination of Mohegan Sun
Free parking matters as a perk!

15:20
Lax at national level – what are the metrics to show success?
Sponsor dollars crucial

19:15
Working in college sports and pro sports
Jay Parry’s mentorship at Mercury

23:00
Developing the business of women’s basketball in Big East

25:15
Lessons from Marketing translates into promotion
Creating your own content to tell your own team story
10-minute ‘inside training camp’ video every week to showcase personalities of players

28:45
Comparing WNBA as as new league to the older, more established leagues
Revenue matters
WNBA growing fast – averaging more fans than NBA at the same age

31:45
New viewing platforms super helpful
WNBA Live Access for $17
NESN+ Deal

33:55
Salaries in WNBA versus other pro leagues
New WNBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is a big step in right direction
Great opportunity for players to be role models to young women

38:30
Mentors
Jay Parry
Ann Meyers Drysdale

GUEST FOOTNOTES
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