I was recently able to contact Orlando Magic representative Melanie Curtsinger. The following is the interview I shared with her:
For you personally, what made you want to work in a professional sports organization, particularly the Magic?
I grew up watching and playing basketball, so for me, I always knew I wanted my career to be center around my passions in life. Since my first love has always been the game of basketball, it just made sense to target the NBA. I worked in college with the women's basketball team at the University of Kentucky for four years and I have always loved Orlando, so as a sophomore I really made it my goal to one day work for the Orlando Magic. Thankfully, 10 years later I am still living out my dream job!
Do the Magic, as an organization, hold more importance to just maintaining income in a smaller market, or is winning a primary goal?
I believe to be a successful organization, you have to have both. Winning is always the No. 1 goal for any team each and every year, and to be honest, when you're winning, people want to spend more on tickets, invest more in season tickets, sponsors want to be associated with you and you get more attention. The 25 years of Magic basketball have seen great success for a relatively young franchise, including five division championships (1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2010), seven 50-plus win seasons and Eastern Conference titles in 1995 and 2009. In addition, we were also the second-fastest franchise in NBA history to make the NBA Finals when we reached it in 1995.
As an insider, what is one of the values the Orlando Magic organization prides itself on? Why?
We are focused on giving back to the community, and that comes from the top down. We have THE BEST ownership in professional sports in the DeVos family, and in addition to its on-the-court success, the team gives more than $2 million to the local community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise, scholarships and grants. Including more than $18 million distributed to local nonprofit community organizations through the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and the Orlando Magic Youth Fund (OMYF-MFF), a McCormick Foundation Fund since 1994. Orlando Magic community relations programs annually impact an estimated 100,000 kids each year, while the OMYF-MFF has positively impacted more than 1 million children. The Magic Volunteer Program (MVP), an organizational staff-wide initiative, provides more than 6,000 community volunteer hours per year. That always has been, and always will be, an organization-wide value. We are also big on having family values and our leadership team stresses importance of time with our families since we work so much as well as having a sense of family here at work.
Is it frustrating to work in an organization working in the shadows of a more lately successful team in the Miami Heat?
I don't think we have ever once compared ourselves to the Heat. We have had a lot of success on the court as well in our relatively short history. I personally have never been a believer in comparing yourself to anyone else, whether it be person to person or company to person. My philosophy is to try to make the Magic the most successful team and franchise it can be, no matter what other teams are doing. Comparing yourself or feeling as if you are in someone else's shadow is a losing battle.
How in touch are the Magic with their fan base?
I believe we are very in touch. We are very active on social media with over 1.1 million followers on Twitter and 2.2 million on Facebook. Every season ticket holder has a dedicated season ticket services executive, our two community ambassadors attend over 300 events around Central Florida each year, our players do over 200 team and personal appearances each year over the course of the season. Franchises live and die by their fan base, and I think the most successful NBA franchises today are the ones that are the most in tune with their fans.