During his time as a tight end for Oregon Ducks Football, Jarrod Dillon ’00 became more and more interested in the business side of sport, and the UO Warsaw Sports Marketing Center was his go-to resource. After continuing on to earn his MBA from Sonoma State University, Dillon held positions for the San Diego Padres, Oakland Raiders, and the San Francisco Giants. He currently serves as the executive vice president of Sales and Marketing at Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment (TBSE). He recently shared his path to success with us via a Q&A.
Describe your current position and role.
As executive vice president of sales and marketing, I oversee four business units for TBSE. These units include ticket sales, service and operations, marketing, retail merchandising, and business intelligence and analytics. TBSE encompasses the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team, the Tampa Bay Storm arena football team, and all events and concerts that take place at Amalie Arena, which we operate year-round.
How has your Warsaw Center experience shaped your professional career?
I wouldn’t trade my time at the University of Oregon for anything. It was amazing. My relationship with the Warsaw Center and the connections I made there have continued over the years. Although I wasn't a business minor (I was an English and history double major), the leaders at the Warsaw Center always let me attend guest lectures, sit in on classes, and pick their brains during office hours. The things I learned through the Warsaw Center inspired me to pursue a job in the sports industry, and the networking skills I developed there have done incredible things for my career.
What key business trends are you following right now?
There are a few things that keep my leadership team and me up at night. For example, what’s next in ticketing innovation—digital, mobile, or something else? How can we impact the fan experience and continue to make the live venue experience better than watching at home or elsewhere? Along the same lines, how can we use new and emerging technologies to measurably enhance the fan experience?
A local trend we’re currently watching is how our Channelside Arena district will transform over the next three to five years. The owner of TBSE is investing $2 billion into the project during that period of time, and our challenge will be to figure out how to best leverage that into the growth of both the arena and the teams we manage.
What is your favorite social media platform for personal use and which social media platform is best for your business purposes?
For business purposes I prefer Twitter, though it’s hard to keep up. Personally, like many non-millennials, I still enjoy using Facebook.
What do you miss most about Eugene?
Eugene had a real community vibe—what a great place to have gone to school. I miss college life in general (although not eating ramen noodles or eggs for most meals is a nice change), but I especially miss my time playing football for the university and the friends I made on the team. There aren’t many feelings that can ever replace running out on the field at Autzen under the lights.