Les Otten, the man who engineered the 2002 purchase of the Boston Red Sox, will be an added featured speaker at the International Business Intelligence Series during The Super Show/ 2005 (January 17-19, 2005, Orlando, FL). Otten, the team’s Vice Chairman and a partner in the group headed by John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, helped to change the culture of a franchise that had gone without a World Series title since 1918-and produced a champion in just three seasons.
During his presentation (Tuesday, January 18, 3 p.m.), Otten will speak about topics ranging from the development of brand strategies to the art of risk-taking, and draw parallels between his experience as a baseball owner and key trends in the sports product world.
“We are extremely pleased to add Les Otten to our roster of presenters,” says Peter Haines, Show Director. “His experience with the Red Sox, as well as his status as a ski-industry pioneer, has tremendous relevance in today’s sports marketplace.”
Otten, Chairman and CEO of American Skiing Company during the 1990s, gained a reputation as a business innovator during the sport’s boom years. In 2001, he retired from the ski industry and set his sights on the Red Sox.
According to Otten, it was the ability to see assets where others saw liabilities that enabled his group to prevail and assume ownership of the ball club in February of 02.
“We saw great value in a brand that included a beloved team, a legendary ball park and a well-established regional sports network,” says Otten. “Our group brought in a new philosophy of how to win, and we were determined to stick with this plan as long as it took to achieve success. This helped us win the hearts and minds of the fans, and we were able to reward them with a long-awaited championship.”
Where the team itself was concerned, says Otten, the most significant fix was taking a club that had been run as a hobby and beginning to treat it more like a business. Among the strategies that put the Red Sox over the top, he maintains, was a commitment to spend to the value of the brand without overspending. The additions of players like Curt Schilling, David Ortiz and Keith Foulke-all key post-season performers-were part of this approach, which has tremendous relevance in the sports product world.
Now that the lovable losers are world champions, where does the franchise go from here? This will be one of the many questions Otten plans to address during his presentation.