Today we’re sitting down with Jim Van Stone, who is President and Chief Commercial Officer at Monument Sports – Jim oversees the Washington Wizards, Capitals, WNBA Majestic, several venues and e-sports properties.
There's a lot of lessons on leadership and tenacity from sports, which is why I love talking with and interviewing sports execs. Out of all of them, Jim Van Stone might have the most diverse experience – he’s worked at five teams in four leagues over his 30-year career.
You’ll hear Jim’s thoughts about why connecting with such a wide range of people across his career has informed his own management style, how he enters new markets / businesses, negotiates large deals and makes him a better leader. His boss is Monumental Sports founder Ted Leonsis (co-founder of AOL) and we hit on some of the great things he’s learned from Ted and his son, Zach, too.
We also cover Esports – Monumental is placing some strategic bets on Esports and it has me super excited to dive deeper into the space. Keep an eye out for a future podcast on the topic.
What Jim learned about ownership, players, and partners through his varied experiences. [0:07:36]
Connecting with a variety of people and the opportunity to learn something from each of them. [0:08:03]
Jim talks about the strong leaders he has seen in the organizations he has been involved with. [0:09:43]
Get some insight into the characteristics Jim and his team look for when hiring new talent. [0:10:26]
Finding people who have unique qualities that can’t be learned. [0:11:12]
What it means to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in sports teams and why it matters. [0:13:03]
The benefits of having a family office spirit while still operating as a multifaceted business. [0:13:47]
How the mitigation of risk in entrepreneurship can make you look like a corporation. [0:14:34]
Find out how Monumental approached the opportunity to get into esports. [0:15:17]
The research that convinced them about the market opportunity of investing in esports. [0:17:23]
Why they have substantial confidence in their direction and position in esports. [0:19:01]
The status of sponsorship for esports and the companies partnering with Monumental. [0:21:33]
What it takes to turn on an esports league or team in terms of financial and other resources. [0:23:56]
The largest sponsorship activations that Jim has been part of over the years. [0:26:30]
Due diligence and other efforts that were required to establish their partnership with Capital One. [0:27:06]
Serving their clients by tracking and reporting on ROIs and delivering on their promises. [0:30:32]
How the nature of sponsorships has shifted with the development of ROI tracking tools. [0:31:38]
Jim’s take on where the WNBA is headed and when sponsors are likely to start paying more attention. [0:34:39]
Hear about the new arena for the Washington Mystics and their ambitious goals for the future. [0:37:06]
How mentorship gives you a different perspective and develops your leadership style. [0:39:39]
Monumental Sports (all teams and properties)
Ted Leonsis on Twitter
Zach Leonsis on Twitter