It’s not the cover, nor is it Rolling Stone, but…

…It’s pretty good. It’s a Q/A in the latest issue of Sports Business Journal with our own Greg Brown, describing, among other things, the current lay of the land in collegiate sports marketing.


The publication’s selection of Greg as a resource and spokesman for the industry is a high compliment for our company, and for Greg personally. Download larger (readable) version (PDF)

Director’s Cup winners announced

The National
Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) has announced the final standings for the 2008-09 Learfield Sports Director’s Cup on Friday at the 44th annual NACDA Convention in Orlando. Learfield’s Greg Brown made brief remarks (after the jump).

[Read more…]

Texas Tech joins Learfield

Monday the trades will announce our association with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.  Greg Brown, Tim Cline and Tom Stevens were influential in getting this deal for us.  We're excited about it.  Read what the local paper wrote this weekend. It's our 50th property and the eighth in the Big-12 Conference.  Guns Up! 


History of Learfield: Iowa State Cyclones

IowaState Our new satellite technology enabled us to feed audio anywhere without the limitation of telephone circuits.  It just seemed natural to begin broadcasting the games of other Universities.  Missouri was our first; Iowa State our second.  Iowa has three state-wide universities:  Iowa, Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa.  Now we handle the marketing for all three.  Prior to 1984 only Iowa University had statewide radio coverage. Iowa State University, over in Ames, couldn't get the respect it deserved with much exposure at all.  Learfield's Robert Fowler convinced the school to let us set up a state-wide network; the bid process was a mere formality which we won in late 1983 for the season beginning in the fall of 1984.  There were two young guys I had in mind to run the new operation:  Roger Gardner and Greg Brown.

"GB and I opened the office in Des Moines on April 1, 1984–two April fools in one office." Roger says. "The office, in a strip mall/office area near the Val Air Ballroom on First Street in W Des Moines, was above a Chinese restaurant. (see picture)  Greg's job was sales, mine affiliate relations. We both pestered the athletic department.  Funny things happened…like the trip to the Iowa Broadcasters meeting at Lake Okoboji where we met and hung out with a young CBS affiliate dude named Mike Connolly.  He now heads up sales for ABC Radio Networks."

Greg recalls: "Roger and I drove to Des Moines in a U-Haul loaded with all of our wordly personal possessions and a couple of bad-ass Steelcase desks.  Our office was a small executive suite with a shared receptionist–a prim and proper lady named Irene Furtwangler who sported the tallest beehive hairdo I've ever seen.  Our office was so small we couldn't back our chairs up at the same time and talking on the phone at the same time was also a challenge.  Since neither of us had any clue what we were doing, we tended to double up a lot on each other's duties–I'd go on station calls with Roger and he'd go on sales calls with me.  Truth is, we needed each other."

Iowa State Brochure (PDF)   


History of Learfield: Interview with Roger and Greg (audio)

Roger Gardner and Greg Brown have been with Learfield for a long time and on Monday I talked about how they came to join the company and the contributions they made at an important time in our history.

There's more to their stories and I wanted you to hear it in their voices. This interview runs about 20 minutes and I think you'll enjoy it.

Download MP3 file


History of Learfield: Roger Gardner

Roger Gardner was in Future Farmers of America while in high school over in Harrisonville, where his dad taught vocational agriculture.  In February, 1982, Derry hired him to drive over from Mizzou to do farm reports, especially the early ones when Derry had returned late the night before from a speaking engagement.  Roger went full time in May of '83, after graduating from MU with an Ag-Education degree.  Naturally, I saw Roger as a strong addition to our farm broadcasting staff and the eventual successor to Derry. 

Until he came to me with an odd question in early 1984:  "How do you see my future here?" he asked.  I told him my vision.  "Well, I don't see myself being a farm broadcaster." he told me.  Eeeek!  Now what was I going to do?  I liked the guy, but…  So, I asked him if he'd move to Des Moines and along with Greg Brown run that new property (Iowa State).  He was only 22 and newly engaged.  Here's what he says today about revealing the news to his fiance', Cheri:

[Read more…]

History of Learfield: Greg Brown

Greg grew up in the small southwest Iowa town of Leon. He went to University, first at Iowa State and then Northeast Missouri State, now Truman State University.  While still a student, he had an internship for Missouri Attorney General, John Ashcroft that included driving Ashcroft to speeches and enduring his gospel singing as they drove along. So that's how he got to Jefferson City. He was originally hired at Learfield by Robert Fowler, who was an honorary member of his college fraternity.
Soon after he started at Learfield, I asked him to go with Roger up to Des Moines to manage the Iowa State property.  He was in charge of sales and Roger was in charge of affiliate relations, but they made joint calls.  As I mentioned in my post on Roger, Greg handled sales while Roger did affiliate relations but they made a lot of calls together.

[Read more…]

And they spelled his name right

If you read the sports section of the New York Times, you might have seen a quote by our own Greg Brown on Saturday. The story looked the possible impact of General Motors' financial troubles on the sports industry.

“With the bailout probably comes strings attached, and what those strings are, who knows?” said Greg Brown, the president of Learfield Sports, which handles marketing for 50 university athletic programs.

We're confident Greg had much more to offer than this brief quote but it's nice to see our company recognized as a leader in this space.


Watching Greg wash your car? Priceless!

As the winner of this year’s Sir Edmund Hillary Award (PW required) Jared Newland chose Greg Brown for his porter-for-a-day and yesterday was the day.

Greg was 15 minutes late but hit the ground running (to a local coffee shop). He worked off the morning chill by toting some concourse signage.

There were a few personal chores (pick up dry cleaning, car wash, etc) mixed in with a client meeting and some smile-and-dial cold calls. You can follow all the action on the new Sports Center blog (intranet password required).

Congratulations to Jared for wining the award, and to Greg for surviving his day as Sherpa porter.


Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup

As many of you know, athletic departments and their athletic directors strive each year to achieve the coveted "Directors’ Cup".  Now they’ll win the "Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup" as we’ve stepped up to sponsor this award.  Watch for national attention about this in USA Today and other media outlets. 

We all should be proud of Greg Brown who got this honor for our company.  USA Today and NACDA were the original partners in conceiving the Directors’ Cup back in 1993, and they continue to remain very involved partners to this day.  By gaining points for championship wins, schools in NCAA Divisions I, II and III and the NAIA will begin vying for the "Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup" beginning this November. 

Beau Stephens will be leading this national branding opportunity. Congratulations to Beau. And, good work to all who had a part in getting this accomplished.


PS: Here’s a short (2 min) video of this announcement in the Jefferson City office.