Sapphire Ventures’ Summer Sales Leader Event

On June 7th, Sapphire Ventures hosted our first Summer Sales Leader Event. At this event, VPs of Sales, Chief Revenue Officers, VPs of Business Development and CEOs from Fortune 500 and fast-growing venture-backed startups gathered at the private Connie Mack Club at the Oakland Athletics’ Coliseum.

Dave Kaval, the seventh and current President of the Oakland Athletics; author of The Summer That Save Baseball: A 38-Day Journey to Thirty Major League Ballparks; and lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in sports management; was our guest speaker.

Stadium Journey

Dave spoke openly and transparently with our sales leaders about the future of the stadium. He said his commitment to The Oakland Athletics is real. History and celebrating the past of the Athletics is very important to the club. Dave shared that on his third day with the Athletics, he had a staff meeting — the first staff meeting in 10 years. Dave learned that many of the employees had been with the Athletics for decades. He shared that he now has the unique challenge of honoring the people who have spent ten to forty years working for the club, and hiring new people who can take the club forward. Dave is creating a North Star for the Athletics, and ensuring everyone understands the vision and what he is trying to accomplish.

Dave and The Athletics are also charting a new course as they curate a great fan experience through a Ballpark Village with bars, night life and restaurants. Dave wants to build an intimate, authentic experience that is more like Wrigley or Fenway for Athletics’ fans. He is considering how fans travel to Oakland, competition and other factors, like age. He is focusing on engaging younger audiences and even putting promotions in place like receiving two child tickets when you buy one adult ticket. Dave believes both the stadium location options — one at the waterfront and the current coliseum location could work well. Owning the stadium vs. renting will increase their flexibility and become a higher revenue opportunity.

The Man of Steal

Rickey Henderson, left fielder who played MLB for nine teams from 1979 to 2003 including four stints with the Oakland Athletics, his original team, came to visit with our guests and sign autographs following Dave Kaval’s talk. Rickey holds the major league record for career stolen bases, runs, unintentional walks and leadoff home runs. Once asked by statistician, Bill James, if he thought that Henderson was a future Hall of Famer to which James replied, “If you could split him in two, you’d have two Hall of Famers.” In 2009, Rickey was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot appearance. The Athletics recently renamed the field Rickey Henderson Field in honor of this baseball all-time stolen base leader. Our guests were so incredibly honored to spend this time with Rickey!

Feeling Spirited

After Rickey stepped away, Oakland Athletics’ mascot, Stomper, stopped by to visit our sales leader guests. Surprisingly, many a guest took selfies with Stomper, their new favorite mascot.

Our Guests

Attendees of the event included sales leaders, business development vice presidents and CEOs from Abstract, Amazon AWS, Dwell Identity, Dynamic Signal, Folloze, Fresh Gravity, Google, LeanData, Microsoft, OnCue, Outreach.IO, Spectrum Labs and SnapLogic, to name a few. Guests were treated to barbeque fare and libations at the Connie Mack Lounge.

All in all, everyone had a great time learning from Dave, meeting a baseball legend and connecting while enjoying a baseball game (that the A’s won, no less) — we look forward to hosting similar events in the future.