Ticats President Glenn Gibson Q & A

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2013/08/07/hamilton-ticats-president-gibson.html]http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2 ... ibson.html[/url]

[b]The new president of the Tiger Cats has Hamilton, and football, in his veins.

“Hamilton is in my D.N.A. I grew up in the city. I worked in the city. I can't walk anywhere in this city without running into someone who is an old friend,? said Glenn Gibson.

Earlier this week, Gibson, who grew up in the North End, was chosen to replace Scott Mitchell, who will take over as the Ticats' Chief Executive Officer.

As a youngster, Gibson was a running back for the Hamilton Hurricanes junior football team, and was part of the squad that won the national junior championships in 1972. Although labeling himself as “undersized,? he later played a year of collegiate ball with the Marauders at McMaster University.

After graduation, Gibson traded the gridiron for the boardroom, and embarked on a successful career in insurance that eventually led him to the role of CEO of Crawford and Company (Canada) Consulting Services, the insurance claims management giant.

Two years ago, the Ticats hired Gibson to help run the franchise's management team. Now he's been tapped to lead the club's business operations.

Glenn Gibson sat down with the CBC to answer questions about his role with the Tiger Cats, the acrimonious stadium debate and the future of soccer in Steel City.

What follows is a condensed, edited version of that conversation.

Q: Why should Ticat fans care that their team has a new president?

A: “I think I understand people in this city. I think that my friends that know me... [they know] I have very trusting relationships with people. They know that I speak straight, and I'm trust-worthy. If I say something to them, I think I've established enough credibility with people that they should believe in what I'm saying.

And believability is a big a part of it. I'm the front guy selling the Tiger-Cats to the community, so people need someone to believe in, in terms of leaders, so I hope I'm one of them.?

Q: Your target is to double the team's revenue. How will you accomplish that?

A: “I think part of it is integrated with the larger picture of what Scott Mitchell's doing. I think of the football team operations and what other operations - could there be soccer in the new stadium? Is there an avenue for putting in that kind of diversity? Is there an opportunity to run events at the stadium that could generate revenue and job opportunities?

But you've got to look at other places to grow your income. It's interesting to look at the Saskatchewan Rough Riders. I think everyone in Saskatchewan has a green Riders sweater. Their merchandising sales are incredible, so I'd like to look at what they're doing.

I think there's a number of ways to grow the revenue yet to be determined in some respects. The new stadium, the opportunities if you have more people, the ancillary stuff that goes on with merchandise, refreshments, beverages, and food services should all be on the upswing.?

Q: How big a part of your job is smoothing over the relationships in the community that were damaged by the stadium debate?

A: “I don't know if I have a solution to solving the issues that some people have. I know that some people are very emotional about it, and I get it. I sat in the bleachers and read the press and listened to the media like everyone in this city.

So it was amazing to see the emotional uplift that came from that and to me it showed that people care. You can argue about positions, but the fact is that people really cared deeply.

So it's not for me to pick away at your opinion versus my opinion and all that; there is no way to win in that kind of a debate. What I know is that down at the site right now, there is a building going up and I think that in life you have to accept what you can't change. I can't change what happened in the past, or who did what to who when. So I'm coming from a point where I'm hoping that people will give me a fresh start, and that they recognize that I wasn't a part of any of that debate.

And I think when you go on site and look at Tim Horton's Field, and you see the construction and the thought that went into this new building, there are a lot of really positive things there. I'd hate to see people remain stuck on things that they can't change. I'd rather see people take their energy and have a funeral and bury it and let's get on with it. I know that's easy for me to say, but that's what I'd like to see happen."

Q: What is your management style?

A: “If you look at the strengths that I do have, I've done an awful lot of presentations and lectures and teaching in Hamilton. Certainly as part of my relationship building, I'm going to be out in the community, and if someone needs someone to speak at a dinner or speak at a luncheon, I'll be there. I certainly I plan to be a vocal, physical presence in this city with anyone that's a stakeholder. Mainly because I see such a strong upside to it all. In the day of social media, the personal context seems to be lost sometimes.?

Q: What are the similarities and differences between the football business and the insurance business?

A: “I think that they're pretty similar. There's revenue, there's expenses and there's profit. Those are the three key drivers of any business that you're going to run.

I don't see a lot of differences. It's really all about creating a strategy, creating goals, breaking it down into objectives and micro tactics and those are the things that are hard-wired into me and those are the things that I will bring to the operation here.?

Q: Is a soccer team in the club's future?

A: “The Pan-Am Games are coming, and that stadium is going to be a FIFA soccer stadium. We're going to see Brazil and Mexico and the Canadian women's team, and it's going to be absolutely phenomenal.

I look at that and say 'Why couldn't Hamilton be the soccer capital of Canada? Why couldn't Hamilton take out a whole layer of buildings on Barton Street and build ten soccer pitches that integrate with the big stadium? Why couldn't we do something like that?'

I've heard a number of people in this city say 'We've got a brand new stadium, we've got all kinds of things going into the stadium. We've got a brand new high school presumably going onto the site. We've got a terrific college, Mohwak College, we've got McMaster University. Why couldn't we or why shouldn't we look into building a sports center of excellence that could surround this precinct?'

I certainly think it's a terrific idea.

Could Hamilton do that? Is this right?

Well, Bob Young [Ticats owner/caretaker] owned a professional soccer team in the United States. So I see some good days ahead with that.?[/b]

Thanks Grover. The more rectangular type fields in this city, the better, without all the fencing that baseball diamonds, as empty as they are from what I can see, require.

Soccer, while a fair bit foreign to me, seems to make a perfect brother to gridiron and this city might even be able to show other cities how to take this partnership to the next level.

Hey I loved the Expos (see there is a revival movement of some sort in Montreal to bring them back) and still am a Detroit Tigers fan but baseball is going to become less important in the future as soccer continues to rise in popularity among the masses. Gridiron along with soccer should work nicely using basically the same field.

With the club owning a soccer team too, they will have lower operating costs compared to other cities with soccer teams. One ownership means shared ticket sales, marketing, front office, shared CEO., makes a lot of business sense.

[b]mikem said,

"makes a lot of business sense."[/b]

I think this is exactly what this guy brings to the table and why he is here,
Business sense!

......and more importantly, a vision!

And a more intimate, if that's the word, connection to the community that people have expressed as a need for the TiCats administration to have with both Caretaker and Scott Mitchell not residing here. Some people are sensitive with that with the funding for the new stadium, well at least some of it, coming from the local Future Fund initially and I can appreciate that to an extent. They really want to see the day to day connection, to the community from the top, it seems, as defined by some of the top living here in Hamilton. That is probably more important for non-Ticats fans that are Hamilton residents, but I don't know to be honest.