Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cleveland Cavaliers Interview

Here's my recent exclusive with Cavs representative Jeff Schaefer:

For you personally, what made you want to work for an NBA organization, specifically the Cavaliers?

I've always had a passion for sports. Growing up in the Cleveland area  and loving basketball, the Cavs were a great fit.

Is working in a professional sports organization all it's made out to be?
Why or why not?

I definitely enjoy my job. That being said, just like any other job, there is a lot of hard work that goes in to what we do. Our business is very emotionally driven and high profile, you have to be able to focus and keep things in perspective to perform well in that environment. If you can, then you can succeed.

As an insider, how frustrating is it for a small-market organization to keep the fans happy?

I wouldn't call it "frustrating." Keeping any team's fan base happy, whether large or small market, is a core part of what you're trying to accomplish and one certainly drives our organization. Putting a winning product on the court is our number one goal. By far. That is ultimately what makes fans happy, no matter what city you are in.

As far as your knowledge, do executives within the organization believe in upper-level competition? Or is it more about filling the seats?

As I mentioned in the last answer, the organization's number one goal is to win, and sustain winning at the highest level. Everything else follows behind that objective. There is a great deal of work that goes into everything else, though, and we pride ourselves in supporting the team and helping create a full environment for success.

Has anything within the organization changed since David Stern's departure as league commissioner, or has the transition had little effect on teams individually?

The game balls have changed with Commissioner Silver's signature on them! The organization has a great relationship with Commissioner Silver, just as it did with Commissioner Stern.

How big a part do the fans of a smaller-market play in not just the players on the court, but everybody in the organization?

We have some of the best fans in the world and they are a huge part of our success, both on and off the court. The organization is a part of Cleveland and the community is a huge part of us. We never take that for granted. We try to take a very personal approach with our fans. Our new "membership" approach to our season ticket program called Wine & Gold United is a great example of that. It is a program that offers a 365 day a year platform for the relationship with our most valued stakeholders. In others words, we want the relationship to be more than just about the season. We want to offer a year round relationship that goes beyond just season tickets. That can happen in any size market, but it can be even more meaningful here and with the level of passion our fans have for their team.

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