By Bob Johnston
July 9, 2020

Monumental Sports President (Wizards & Capitals) – Jim Van Stone

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.

One of the things as leaders that we all have to be doing on a consistent basis is always have an appetite to learn new things.
— on the importance of keeping yourself fresh and not letting the moss grow
We will always look for people who are strong communicators and people who are open to new ideas, people who are creative in the process of the way they want to approach their responsibility.
— on always hiring A players who are internally motivated

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]