THE SPORTS ENTREPRENEURS
Four Decades Across US Major Sports
Steve Patterson, a fellow YPOer and top US Sports Executive turned Entrepreneur with an incredible four decades of experience in the business, who learned the ropes working for his dad at the age of 10. Incredible stories and insights across the US sporting landscape from NBA, NFL, NHL to major Universities and working with several US billionaire owners over the decades. Tons of great facts and figures of record breaking deals and no end in sight for him.
- How it all started, through his dad, co-founder of Milwaukee Bucks, him answering the phone at 10 years old
- Background of his dad (Ray Patterson), All American Player, turned Coach and early investor in Bucks when they went public in 1968/69
- His dad drafting Kareem Abdul Jabbar and winning the Championship in 1971
- Moving to Houston and first major role with Houston Rockets as Director of Business Operations
- His Houston Rocket Days, breaking attendance records, doubling TV revenue, first NBA game in Mexico City, first Spanish Language TV show, great stories around them
- Building a Championship team, including Hakeem Olajuwon, creating the team that won the NBA title in 1993-94 – how it started and the role of Def Leppard ….
- Difference between a General Manager and the Coach – long term vs short term view
- Next stop, President & Partner in Houston Aeros (Ice) Hockey Team in the IHL and Compaq Center deal
- Helping to bring Houston Texans (NFL) to Houston in early 2000 – Chuck Watson and Bobby McNair https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_McNair (later Senior VP & Chief Development Officer)
- Massive numbers across the deal, including purchase price (US$ 750 million), deal terms revealed
- Building a stadium, hiring staff and team from scratch
- Over US$ 450 million of Contractual Obligated Income (COI) generated to create first investment grade sports franchise
- Learn about the Texas “Superbowl Bill” and its legacy to help bring major events to the state ever since
- From NFL to NBA – Paul Allen, owner of Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers – taking role as President/GM for Trail Blazers
- Comparing numbers between Rockets and Trail Blazers 20 years later, difference in media landscape, building set up, etc
- Team lost US$ 135mil the year he arrived, turned it around over four years – US$ 52 mil in “luxury tax” due on first day on the job
- Starting Pro Sports Consulting in 2007, providing services to companies, US governments, universities and individuals to seek, acquire, sell major/minor league sports properties, from design, finance, building to maximizing revenues
- Roles at Arizona State University – VP of Athletics and later Men’s Athletic Director at University of Texas, Austin
- Differences between Pro Sports and College Sports in the US – different stake holders
- UT has US$ 180 million budget, largest athletic budget in the country and how it’s spend
- NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) discussion and Steve’s interesting perspective
- Arizona Coyotes, NHL team, successfully positioned team for sale
- Most recent venture, Legend Labs – branding and crisis consulting firm, representing athletes to Universities, and other entities – Co-Chairman & Partner
- Pro Sports Consulting – working on Charlotte Hornets, new Stadium project & Executive Coaching role
Steve Patterson has served as an innovative and successful executive in the NFL, NBA, NHL, professional baseball, and college athletics for over 35 years. He has built championship teams and organizations, designed, financed, built, and run stadia, ballparks, and arenas with record setting revenues all over the United States. Patterson successfully led the effort to bring the Houston Texans NFL team and Super Bowl XXXVIII to Houston, Texas. As General Manager of the Houston Rockets, he built the 1994 NBA Championship team.
Patterson is currently the President of Pro Sports Consulting, which provides services to universities, companies, government entities, and individuals that operate or seek to acquire or sell sports properties, to design, finance, build and operate sports facilities and to maximize the revenue of these and related entities. He is also the Co-Chair of Legend Labs a brand and crisis communications consultancy.
Patterson is formerly the President, CEO and Alternate Governor of the Arizona Coyotes. He is also the former Director of Men’s Athletics for the University of Texas at Austin where he oversaw the largest athletic department budget in all of college sports while setting records for academic success, revenue generation, endowment growth and philanthropic giving to the athletic department.
Prior to UT, Patterson served as Managing Director of Sun Devil Sports Group, Vice President for Athletics and Athletic Director for Sun Devil Athletics at Arizona State University. In that capacity, Patterson was responsible for all ASU Athletic Department business and sports operations, acquisition, development, and operation of current and new sports facilities and assisted with the development of the 425-acre Sports Facilities District adjacent to the University in downtown Tempe.
As President of the Portland Trail Blazers, The Rose Garden and Rose City Radio. Patterson refined his skills as a turnaround specialist, while garnering national recognition for his player acquisitions when he took over the team’s General Manager duties.
As the Trail Blazers General Manager, Patterson engineered a record six draft day trades that resulted in the selection of NBA Rookie of the Year and three-time NBA All Star Brandon Roy and fellow All Rookie 1st team, seven-time NBA All Star and five time All NBA member LaMarcus Aldridge. Patterson also revamped the entire basketball operation, hiring then GM Kevin Pritchard and Head Coach Nate McMillan.
Patterson formerly served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of the Houston Texans NFL franchise where he led Bob McNair’s successful effort to acquire a National Football League franchise and Super Bowl XXXVIII for Houston, Texas. Patterson was responsible for the establishment of the team’s business, legal, media and political operations, as well as the development, design, finance, construction and operation of NRG Stadium and related facilities.
Prior to joining the Texans, Patterson was the President, General Manager and Governor of the Houston Aeros hockey team. For his efforts he was named the 1995 winner of the Andy Mulligan Trophy as the International Hockey League’s Executive of the Year.
In addition to his roles with the Aeros, Patterson also acquired and served as President and Partner in Arena Operating Company, which managed and operated Compaq Center, Houston’s home of the Rockets, Aeros and Comets.
While overseeing all the business and basketball operations of the Houston Rockets, Patterson was the chief architect of the 1993-1994 Houston Rockets squad that captured the first NBA World Championship in franchise history signing, drafting, or trading for all the team’s players and coaches. Patterson also led the club’s successful bid to host the 1989 NBA All-Star Game in The Astrodome, which held the all-time NBA All-Star Game attendance record of 44,735 for 21 years.
Born and raised in Beaver Dam, WI. Patterson attended the University of Texas, graduating with honors earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1980. He graduated from UT’s Law School in 1984. He is married to Yasmin Michael with whom he has three grown children.