|Mark Lamping - President, Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Profile of the week|
Sunday, 20 October 2013 21:02
Mark Lamping was named president of the Jacksonville Jaguars on February 13, 2012.
A veteran of more than 20 years as an executive in professional sports, Lamping became the Jaguars’ first president at the end of the 1996 season. His career highlights include 13 years as a marketing executive with Anheuser-Busch, 14 seasons as president of Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals and four years as CEO of New Meadowlands Stadium Company where he oversaw the construction and operation of MetLife Stadium.
The New York Giants’ 2012 Super Bowl victory enabled Lamping to become one of the few sports executives to have received both a Super Bowl ring and World Series Championship ring. Lamping earned his World Series ring as president of the St. Louis Cardinals following their 2006 championship season.
As president Lamping oversees all business operations for the Jaguars. Since arriving in Jacksonville he has directed a restructuring of the Jaguars front office, along with multiple initiatives designed to engage with fans, improve the in-stadium experience, increase ticket sales and grow business opportunities locally, regionally and internationally. In 2012 the Jaguars improved from 28th to 20th in the NFL in ticket sales. Beginning in 2013 and continuing through the 2016 season, the Jaguars will play one regular season home game each year at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Lamping played an integral role in Jaguars owner Shahid Khan’s July, 2013 purchase of the Fulham Football Club.
By Ismail Uddin
You were appointed President in February 2012 and are the first President since 1996. What were your initial thoughts when you secured the role and why did you think the Jaguars needed a President again?
My initial thought was I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to work for Shahid Khan. Shahid is a high quality individual and a very successful businessman. He has very high expectations and a very clear vision for what he wants the Jaguars to become. That was the first thing that excited me about the opportunity. The reality is Shahid has a multi-billion dollar international company he runs on a day to day basis and felt he needed someone in Jacksonville who would run the organisation on a day to day basis to manage his interest in the club and I guess that's where i come in.
You have a lot of experience in Baseball also working at Anheuser Busch and CEO of the New Meadowlands. How has that experience culminated in your career helped you in this role?
We have a lot of opportunities in Jacksonville and we have a number of challenges that are similar to a number of challenges I have faced in the past, so from that extent my prior experience has been of great value to me. As far as the Jaguars themselves, they are like the experience I faced in St Louis as they are not the largest market in the National Football League (NFL) and to be successful it is necessary to broaden the appeal of the Jaguars brand on a regional basis throughout northern central Florida and southern Georgia. We are also a relatively unknown club. We don't have the highest level of awareness and the city of Jacksonville and the Jaguars are working to increase that awareness nationally and internationally. That is why we are so excited about our commitment to play our games in London for the next four years and help boost the Jaguars franchise here in Jacksonville.
In the last year you have increased your ticket sales so far in fact you have moved from 28th in the NFL to 20th in the most tickets sold. What were the main initiatives behind that change and accounted for the increase and fan experience?
Really there were two things. First we applied more resources to our ticket sales effort. We have more people with more resources at their disposal who can effectively identify potential new purchasers and give our sales team the tools to aggressively all sales activities. We also worked really hard to eliminate any barriers that might exist that will keep people from attending Jaguar games so we have changed some policies as it relates to your ability, so for example if you have a young child that child can come to the game with you for no cost. We have had fans in the past who have complained about the cost of concessions including food and beverage. We allow our fans to bring in their food into the stadium now.
We have also developed customised ticket packages, as an example if we are developing a ticket offer for part of our market where it may be located an hour and a half drive from our stadium we're simply not selling tickets but we also recognising there is an incremental cost in attending the games so we put ticket packages together that includes gas cards where if you bought the tickets the Jaguars will help pay for gas for your automobile so you can attend the game. We are trying to create, add resources and trying to eliminate barriers that kept people attending in the past but we have kept people attending Jaguar games.
At the start of the season Jacksonville rebranded its logo, colour schemes and uniforms. Why did the Jaguars need a change in that department?
We have new ownership and that symbolises a new era for the franchise. An era that includes high expectations and international aspirations and our feeling was because of that it was the perfect time to update the image and branding of the Jaguars. That rebranding occurred this year and it has been very well received.