Yes, baseball, along with all sport franchises, is a business. Now that we established that fact, we can move forward. When franchise owners invest in a franchise, they do so with the intent of a bottom line…making a profit. The best way to make a profit in any franchise is to have the best product or service...better than anyone else does (See McDonalds, Apple, Amazon, etc.). With sport franchises, this means winning games…winning more than any other of their competition.
This may seem like stating the obvious, but in order for a franchise to reach this goal, a solid, winning business franchise needs to be better than their competition. How? Follow these five ingredients:
1. Vision / Goal
A franchise owner and CEO (sometimes the same person) who have a clear goal/objective of being the best. These owners begin with a mission statement or purpose and then take time to make a strategic plan for the way to achieve this goal. Once the plan is complete, it is time for implementation.
The first wise step in implementing the plan is to put together a solid human resource department, those who know the business and have expertise in the particular venue. A good human resource department will first seek top-level management, men and women with leadership experience and a subject matter expertise in their field.
3. Selecting Leadership
If evaluated appropriately, these selected individuals (general managers, field managers, coaches) will have had experience with obtaining the franchise’s ultimate goal…a championship. These leaders will have no problem identifying and sharing with the franchise vision, because they have experienced this winning edge in the past. Since a business seeks to hire the best leadership personnel, it makes little sense to seek leaders who would have a difficult time sharing the franchise vision because of the fact that they had no experience with ever achieving the ultimate goal...ever. This mistake happens too often in the world of sports. The lack of quality leadership at the top becomes too predictable…sooner or later. Leadership who have the right experience and have already tasted the glory (Dave Dombrowski) are able to piece together the right personnel (Alex Cora) to combine for the winning ingredient to achieve the franchises goal.
4. The right personnel
Collecting the right personnel (David Price, Steve Pearce, J.D. Martinez, etc.) is carefully crafted by internal development (by more leadership with right credentials) and external availability (what the market has available outside the organization). This is where leadership skills come in…selecting the right personnel, both internally and externally to combine a mix who will come together as a team and perform as a cohesive unit to achieve the franchise’s goal. When good leadership can put together the right cohesive unit, the whole work atmosphere from top to bottom share with the franchise vision.
Another seemingly obvious piece of the puzzle (the elephant in the room) is salary. In order for a good owner/CEO who seriously wants to achieve the ultimate goal of winning everything, reaching the top, he/she has already realized that to obtain the best personnel for your team, you have to pay a good salary…what the quality individuals are worth (market value). Too often, poor quality personnel get paid too much and good quality personnel too little. This is another reason why having good management leadership at the top is a critical element.
The winning (champions) franchises in any sport have developed their business model with at least these five ingredients. There are many other intangibles involved as well, but if a franchise owner follows these five basic rules, they would have a better chance of being the Boston Red Sox or the Golden State Warriors. Clearly, the Baltimore Orioles should follow these guidelines for their future business model…please.
Scott Meehan has a Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems and a MBA in Business Administration. He is currently the Business Department Lead at City College in Altamonte Springs, Florida.