Executive Stories

Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.

Executive Spotlight - July 3, 2002

Declan Bolger


Senior Vice President, Business Operations, Washington Capitals


My family recently vacationed in London. Declan Bolger Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 50th Silver Jubilee with rock concerts and other parties. Sir Paul McCartney just recently remarried. AEG is renovating the Millennium Dome outside of London. Britain's favorite sport of "football" is finally making a World Cup dent onto the covers of America's sports pages. So, for a die-hard believer in the Colonists, the American flag and our national bird, the Eagle, should I fear a new British invasion?

Declan Bolger, better known as "Dec", a Brit, has been quietly building and leading a powerful team of executives who recently cleared top ten honors in Sports Team Web sites design, according to "Street & Smith's Sports Journal" and the best for the National Hockey League. In addition, although the Caps missed the playoffs, they had the highest season attendance on record with 710,990 fans. They posted 14 sellouts this past season; up from 11 last season and 7 the season before. And their average attendance has grown from 14,480 to 17,341(16%) in just three seasons. Finally, the Caps played before a capacity of 92% this season. G-O-A-L!

An honors graduate in education from the University of London, Dec applied for graduate school at the University of Massachusetts when Dr. Bernie Mullin, another Brit, headed the sports management department. When Bernie moved to head the marketing operations of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988, he brought along his protégé to head Broadcast Administration. Dec followed another Pirate employee, Dean Jordan, to Florida and headed promotions, marketing projects and ultimately became the head of Marketing and oversaw ticket sales, communications, community development, advertising, promotions, in-game presentations, broadcasting, and suite/club sales for the new National Car Rental Center, home to the Florida Panthers. With the success of that franchise, Declan was tapped by Ted Leonsis to lead the business operations for the Capitals when he bought them in 1999. It's then I shouted, "The British are coming! The British are coming!"

The British are noted for producing world ranked teams in "football." And Declan, a former "football" coach with his skinny upper body, muscular legs and shock of blond (not dyed) hair, has a resemblance in many ways to Britain's World Cup team leader, David Beckham.

Painstaking diligent in selecting his top players, Declan, like all team leaders, took time in recruiting his key teammates of Kevin Morgan, tickets; John Vidalin, marketing and Mark Tamar, game operations. Although John is a later addition, Kevin and Mark were key players in his team and have made goal after goal. Such is the mark of a great team captain.

It's not ironic in all media pictures of Declan, he's flanked by a stars and bars American Eagle going for his throat, " Ahhk! The British are coming! The British are coming!." Are they?....G-O-A-L!

- Buffy Filippell


"Dec is a master at combining detail with vision. He never forgets the big picture, while keeping an eye on the little things that make the Caps a leader in sports. He has built a great team that work together to achieve Ted's goal of maintaining that leadership position."

--John Vidalin, Senior Director of Marketing


What I do...

--John Vidalin, Senior Director of Marketing

HOW I GOT HERE...

WASHINGTON CAPITALS; Washington D.C.; 1999-present
Senior Vice President, Business Operations

FLORIDA PANTHERS; Ft. Lauderdale; 1993-1999
Vice President, Marketing

PITTSBUGH PIRATES; Pittsburgh PA.; 1988 -1993
Director, Broadcast Administration

TeamWork Innovators

Daryl Morey, General Manager, Houston Rockets

Daryl Morey brought some amazing talents to the sports industry. Upon graduating from Northwestern where he worked part-time while in school for Stats, Inc., before entering graduate school at MIT Daryl was hired as a Senior Knowledge Management Engineer and helped Mitre develop a computer program for NSA which could scan all the international videos and bring up clips of specific items - such as "Hussein" - and show just those clips across all international broadcasts. This technology was later developed for commercial use and marketed under the company, Virage. Mr. Morey wrote the code and algorithm. He could convert speech to text and frames and mark when a story started and ended on the video. Is it a surprise he has become the thought leader in advancing database analytics, algorithms and technology in the sports industry?

Learn more

Others Say

"Morey is the whiz-kid stats analyst who made news last month when he was hired from the Celtics, where he worked on the business side, to take over as (GM) Dawson's eventual replacement. With his background as a Bill James disciple, Morey's hiring was hailed as the NBA's first venture into "Moneyball."

- Marty Burns, Sports Illustrated