Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Peter Schweitzer

Peter Schweitzer, Chairman of the Board of Directors



InStadium brings in advertising veteran as chairman

Peter Schweitzer joins InStadium as chairman of the board of directors after a successful career covering three decades with ad agency J. Walter Thompson. When Schweitzer took over at that well-established firm, it employed more than 8,500. In contrast, InStadium is a relatively new company with a much smaller work force. InStadium provides access to advertising and promotional opportunities in sporting venues nationwide. Its services are being used in more than 25 MLB and NFL stadiums.

Age: 66
New title: Chairman of the Board
Previous job title: President and CEO, J. Walter Thompson Co.
First job: Construction
College education: Bachelor of arts, sociology, University of Michigan (1961); MBA, Western Michigan University (1967)
Resides: Grosse Point, Mich., with wife Elaine
Grew up: Chicago and Battle Creek, Mich.
Executive most admired: Stephen King, with J. Walter Thompson London
Brand most admired: General Electric
Favorite vacation spot: Arizona
Last book read: “John Adams,” by David McCullough
Last movie seen: “Sideways”
Favorite movie: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”
Favorite musician: Dave Brubeck

What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?

Convincing clients that this is a legitimate medium. We will do this by showing them successful examples where we have been able to drive business for the client.

What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?

Moving from manufacturing into marketing. It was a whole new paradigm. Manufacturing is a very rational process where you are measured daily or hourly, depending on what your output is, and marketing is far more abstract and difficult to measure success in the short term.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?

Turning around Thompson’s relationship with Ford Motor Co. The relationship was on shaky ground in 1986 when I took it over, and through years of hard work by myself and other people we turned it around.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?

I was brought in as executive vice president of marketing at Burger King and I was out of there in about three years. I was disappointed with the whole situation because I was one of eight to be there in a period of 12 years.

What career advice do you have for people wanting into this industry?

Be flexible and don’t worry about things like career planning. Take advantage of opportunities as they come along.

What is one element that you would like to change about the sports industry?

I think it is a sad statement on society that athletes are paid the amount of money they are paid when you look at it in relation to teachers, congressmen, the president and others. Of course, it is true in business, too. I mean, a CEO’s pay is off the chart also. In a way it lessens the value of what they are contributing.

This career spotlight is courtesy of the SportsBusiness Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.

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