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 - April 3, 2003

Dr. Bill Sutton


Vice President, Team Marketing & Business Consulting, NBA


Weren't you taught, "birds of a feather flock together" Dr. Bill Sutton and "similarities attract"? I'm constantly reminded how these axioms help in making life transitions, such as finding a new job.

Professor Bill Sutton first met me on the back porch of my home in the summer of 1987. I was six months pregnant and was draping my swollen body with a giant white long sleeved shirt and expandable waist shorts. I sweltered in the 70ยบ heat. Bill had been teaching sports management at Ohio State University - two hours away from me - and wondered whether he should continue teaching or get a job in the sports business. He had done some consulting work with teams analyzing their ticketing schemes, and liked that work, agency work.

I listened to him talk about his career. After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a Masters in Physical Education (I have one of those as an undergraduate degree from Indiana!) he began teaching sports marketing at Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh. After completing his thesis from Oklahoma State, and a few more years at Robert Morris, he moved onto teach sports marketing at Ohio State. Concurrently, though, he served as a Commissioner for the Mid-Ohio Conference. That's what struck me. Larry Albus, then Senior Vice President and Partner with Del Wilber + Associates, a leading sports marketing agency at the time, also had some collegiate athletic background, and was a Commissioner of the Atlantic Conference, too. I encouraged the two to meet.

Bill and Larry connected. Bill became head of a new consulting division for Del Wilber + Associates working with sports teams and leagues on analyzing their ticket marketing programs and devising a computer program to collect and spit out all the data. From there he went back to teaching at a premier sports marketing school, the University of Massachusetts, and has since joined up with another "bird of a feather" former UMASS college professor, Dr. Bernie Mullin, in team services for the NBA. This is a flock of teachers with actual hands-on experience in the sports industry....still teaching.

So, besides similar jobs, I've heard Bill list other connection points his "students" can discover about a potential employer to help them make a transition:

  • Alma mater

  • Hometown

  • Friends in common

  • Summer camp

  • Similar sports participation, playing position, coaches

  • In 1967, Harvard University's social psychologist Stanley Milgram studied the "Small World Phenomena." He proved we can really unite with anyone in the world through a chain of merely six friends, six connection points; thus coining the phrase - "Six degrees of separation."

    We really are that close. Look for the connection points.

    - Buffy Filippell


    "Bill is one of the most creative minds in sports marketing. Nobody understands what the sports fan wants better than Bill Sutton. He has no peer."

    --Dr. Bernie Mullin, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Team Business Operations


    What I do...

    Bill works with a number of NBA teams in helping them increase their revenues, develop their brands, present the product, hire staff, and generally improving their business.

    HOW I GOT HERE...

    NBA; New York, NY; 2000-present
    Vice President, Team Marketing Services and Business Consulting

    UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS; Amherst, MA; 1993-present
    Professor/Sport Studies

    DEL WILBER + ASSOCIATES; St. Louis, MO; 1990-1993
    Vice President, Marketing and Information Services

    OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY; Columbus, OH; 1986-1990
    Assistant Professor/Coordinator Graduate Studies

    concurrently

    MID-OHIO CONFERENCE; Columbus, OH; 1989-1990
    Commissioner

    ROBERT MORRIS COLLEGE; Pittsburgh, PA; 1982-1986
    Assistant Professor and Sports Internship Coordinator

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