Providing an Insider's Look
Life in the Front Office
By Andy Dolich

What really goes on behind the closed doors of sports teams and league offices? For many fans and those interested in starting a sports career, these questions often go begging. The business side of sport consistently interferes with or shines harsh lights on the leagues, owners, networks, and the games that make the American sports world tick. Is it sports or entertainment? Is it too much of a business to be a game or too much of a game to be a business?

Enter three veteran sports industry executives with incredibly diverse backgrounds. One spent 30 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers; another is one of the most respected marketing minds in sports, having worked for the San Francisco Giants for 32 years and helped turn Oracle Park from perception to magnificent reality and bring Super Bowl 50 to the San Francisco Bay Area; and the third is a former COO of the San Francisco 49ers and president of business operations for the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and marketing head of the Oakland A's during the BillyBall and Bash Brothers eras.

Fred Claire, Pat Gallagher and Andy Dolich have 140-combined years of executive experience working in the sports industry. They are the Go-To for interviews on local, regional and national sports business issues.

Their weekly blog, Life in the Front Office, features the three hosts and the latest sports business stories but allows them to call on their colleagues who are leading voices in all aspects of the business of sports. Their network of commissioners, general managers, player agents, union chiefs, media heads, sponsors, and fans is a sports industry digital encyclopedia.

The World of Sports
The Big Four sports leagues attracted 150 million fans to their venues in 2018. NCAA College basketball and football totaled an additional 80 million fans. Every level of digital media is increasing on a daily basis. The color of the fluid which runs through the veins of sports is green, as in millions and now billions of dollars that are spent on player salaries. Team values, new venue construction, and broadcast contracts are multi-billion dollar deals. There are 375 colleges and universities offering degree programs in the business of sports. Millions of Americans are wrapped up in every aspect of sports. Active interest in what the future will look like at every level of sports, from the local playing fields to the Super Bowl, is part of their DNA.

Why is America so interested in sports? Why do tens of millions follow it with a passion not seen in many other areas of their lives? It has morphed from a cottage industry to an addiction that can start at the local playground and mature to the fanaticism of the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals or seventh game of the Stanley Cup.
What will the future look like in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, colleges and youth sports? Delivery systems for the games are going through a digital revolution, changing the rules of fan engagement in every way, everyday.

The Sports Whisperies
These three highly respected industry leaders have decades of experience in the business of sports. They have won World Series, set attendance records, presented All-Star Games, built new ballparks and arenas, worked in NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB, pro soccer, lacrosse, college sports and theme parks. They worked at the first Super Bowl and led the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl. They have taught sports management at Caltech, Stanford, University of San Francisco, and Oregon.

Fred Claire
Fred Claire 
Fred Claire spent 30 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers' front office, serving as the team's publicity director; as vice president of public relations, promotions and marketing; executive vice president in charge of day-to-day operations; and general manager in charge of player personnel.
In 2017 Claire spearheaded the creation of the inaugural Fred Claire Celebrity Golf Classic, benefiting City of Hope in Duarte, CA. The tournament and dinner raised more than $200,000. (City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other
life-threatening diseases.)

A book on Claire's career with the Dodgers, Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue, was released in March of 2004 by Sports Publishing LLC. The book was co-authored by Claire and Steve Springer of the Los Angeles Times and it was recognized on the Times' Bestsellers List.

Pat Gallagher
Pat is best known as one of the longest serving and most influential executives in San Francisco Giants history during his over 30-year career with the franchise. As the team's first director of marketing, his memorable marketing campaigns sold cold and windy Candlestick Park with humor in the 1980s and his contributions as senior vice president of business operations in the 1990s and beyond re-invigorated the franchise.

He was a key contributor to the creation of the privately funded Pacific Bell (now Oracle) Park, regarded by many as one the best ballparks in the country. Gallagher has been credited as a creative force behind the Giants evolution from a struggling franchise to a billion-dollar, championship organization.

Gallagher was instrumental in the making of Super Bowl 50, first as a volunteer contributor in crafting the winning bid to bring the event to the San Francisco Bay Area and then as executive vice president of marketing. He co-authored Big Game Bigger Impact,  (Motivational Press, 2017), which chronicles the lessons learned from the purpose-driven effort which has been regarded by stakeholders and league officials as one of the most successful Super Bowls to date.

Gallagher is a frequent speaker and guest instructor at colleges and universities across the country. He currently is a management consultant, mentor, author, speaker, and authority in the sports, entertainment, and the special events industry.

Andy Dolich
The Ohio University Sports Management graduate was executive vice president of the Oakland A's during their run of success in the 1980s and 90s, president of business operations for the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies and COO of the San Francisco 49ers. He has held business operations positions in the NHL (Washington Capitals), soccer (NASL), pro lacrosse and collegiate sports marketing with IMG College.

Dolich runs a sports business consulting practice in Northern California. He is COO of FCFL (Fan Controlled Football League) which will debut in December as the first ever fan-run professional sports league. He was entrepreneur in residence at Menlo College and teaches sports business at Stanford's School of Continuing Studies. He was director of development for the University of San Francisco's Masters program in the Business of Collegiate Athletics and a Woodard Teaching Fellow at the University of Oregon's Warsaw School of Sports. He is co-author of 20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student Athletes Who Won't Go Pro.

4-8-19 - Andy
Long-time friends and associates Andy Dolich (left) and Pat Gallagher shared a recent lunch discussing the business of sports

Listen to these guests by visiting
March 11, 2019 -- Jeff Fellenzer, Associate Professor at USC, talks about the sports industry, and provides advice for students who are currently in school, trying to get into the industry.
March 5, 2019 -- Jim Kozimor, broadcaster of the NBC Sports Crew talks about his play-by-play career across the industry, and the various aspects of working in sports, and work-life balance.
February 25, 2019 -- John McDonough, President and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks, and former President of the Chicago Cubs talks about his career in Chicago and the various aspects that have lead to his accomplishments and decisions.
February 18, 2019 -- Pam Gardner, Former President of the Astros, joins Pat Gallagher as she talks about her career with the Astros, and women in baseball.
February 13, 2019 -- Dr. Janice Hilliard, former Vice President of Player Development of the NBA, talks about her career, female and diversity topics across working in sports.
February 11, 2019 -- Tod Leiweke, CEO of NHL Seattle expansion franchise, joins Pat Gallagher as they talk about customer service, culture, leadership, and communication.
February 5, 2019 -- Ron Seaver, Founder of the National Sports Forum joins Andy Dolich to talk about the upcoming 2019 NSF in Las Vegas and how it all got started!
February 4, 2019 -- Pete Paciorek, Athletics Director at Principia College joins Life in the Front Office to talk about character, life skills, and college athletics.
January 28, 2019 -- CEO Rose Bowl Darryl Dunn joins Fred Claire to talk careers, and dive into Darryl's experiences and the sports events business in Pasadena.
January 21, 2019 -- San Francisco Giants CIO Bill Schlough Joins Andy Dolich to talk about Giants, technology, careers, life, and the Bay Area.
January 21, 2019 -- Cooperstown President Jeff Idelson joins Pat Gallagher to talk baseball, the Hall of Fame, technology, public relations, and more
January 14, 2019 -- Steve Brener, President of BZA, joins Fred Claire to talk about their PR careers at the Dodgers, and what Public Relations and Communications looks like in today's day and age.
January 7, 2019 -- Andy Dolich takes over as the host to start 2019 off by and introduce the host of Life in the Front Office Jake Hirshman, and dive into his young career thus far.
January 6, 2019 -- Rick White, President of the Atlantic League, joins Fred Claire to talk about the landscape of baseball in parts people may not know about. They dive into how to get started in sport and what life lessons they've learned through their careers.
December 24, 2019 -- CRO of the 49ers, Brent Schoeb joins Andy Dolich as they talk sponsorships, technology, and work life balance.
December 20, 2018 -- Dr. Marissa Nichols, Director of Leadership and Career Development at Boston University Athletics and Dr. Nancy Lough from UNLV provide insights and advice to student-athletes, anyone wanting to work in college athletics and women wanting to work in sports.
December 12, 2018 -- San Francisco Giants EVP Staci Slaughter joins Pat Gallagher to talk about career paths, communications, work-life balance, and women in sports.
December 11, 2018 -- CEO of Athlete Network, Chris Smith, and VP of Partnerships Brett Fuller join Life in the Front Office as they talk about their business, student-athletes, networking, and what it's like to be entrepreneurs in the sports industry.
December 6, 2018 -- Fred Claire talks with guest Ari Kaplan who is entering his 31st year in Major League Baseball and has worked with more than two-thirds of the organizations around the league. Fred and Ari talk about the upcoming Winter Meetings, analytics, and where the game is heading in the future with the advancement of analytics in the game.
November 26, 2018 --  Rick Welts, President of the Golden State Warriors, joins Pat Gallagher as they talk about enjoying the journey and life lessons learned through sports.
November 11, 2018 -- CEO of Teamwork Online, Buffy Filippel joins Andy Dolich as they talk about various topics about the Landscape of the Sports Industry, getting into sports, and how the industry is changing rapidly
October 23, 2018 -- Bill Shumard joins the show with Fred Claire and the two dive into finding fulfillment in working in sports and how to network, including your advisory board, and circles of 12.

3-6-17 - Pops

Michael King (left), with an associate from USF (center), and Karla Granadino-King, are pictured at the Olympic Club in San Francisco,  proudly sharing with the world their  Pops Premium Rumpopo. A King family secret, Pops Premium Rumpopo is a  delicious rum cream liqueur recipe brewed in the family tradition.  The award winning recipe is a Belizean family favorite and now available at all Total Wine & More stores in California and Bay Area retailers.
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