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.

Bill Uglow

Bill Uglow , Vice President of Consumer Products & Licensing

Professional Bull Riders


Consumer-products veteran saddles up for Professional Bull Riders

After working for Disney introducing Mouse merchandise and in Sin City producing products for the Mandalay Resort Group, Bill Uglow finds himself wrapped in the western world of Professional Bull Riders. He estimates that heís introduced more than 50,000 licensed products in his career, but Uglow will now try to mesh cowboys into the mainstream market.

Age: 61
New title: Vice president of consumer products and licensing, Professional Bull Riders
Previous title: Corporate vice president of retail for Mandalay Resort Groups
First job: JCPenney retail
College education: Bachelorís of science in business, Florida Atlantic University (1970); MBA, Florida Atlantic (1971)
Resides: Pueblo, Colo.
Grew up: My father was in the military, so we moved around a lot. But I mostly call California and Florida home.
Brand most admired: Disney, MGM, PBR and NASCAR
Favorite vacation spot: Maui
Last book read: My hobby is piano, so I do a lot of reading going back to Europe in the 1700 and 1800s, which was kind of the golden age of classical piano.
Favorite movie: Anything with Clint Eastwood or John Wayne
Favorite musician/band: The Eagles, Kenny G and classical piano

Have you ever ridden a bull?
No, the guys with all the courage, those are the real cowboys. My experience in sports entertainment management was primarily in boxing and MMA from MGM. When you go into a fight, we used to always say you could feel the tension in the air Ö you could cut it with a knife. You donít feel that too much in sports entertainment. But when you go to a PBR event, you feel it in the air.

What are some of your ideas for enhancing the product line?
I do a lot of transference work moving ideas and concepts from one industry to another. So we will be bringing sounds into our merchandise, for example, so you can imagine bull sounds. We are going to bring light into our merchandising. We are going to have some fun.

PBR could be viewed by some as a very western niche sport (cowhide koozies, trailer hitches, and bull bells). How do you counter that with more mainstream merchandise and licensing?
If you look at the sponsors, they are interested in the whole of America and the international marketplace. So itís not just your grandfatherís niche sport anymore. I have a great deal of interest in Wal-Mart and some of the traditional mass-market venues. Ö The fit might be infants, maybe a PBR baby bull rider or toddler PBR lilí bull rider. Another example: Most cowboys wear Oakley sunglasses. So you donít think of Oakley as just Western, but I will be talking to Oakley because there is a strong cultural relationship between the cowboys and Oakley. We will be looking to fill the category of beef jerky.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
I held the unofficial title of having the lowest cost of goods in the hospitality industry for many years. And the second would be doing a lot of product development. I am really a product guy. The count is over 50,000.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
When MGM Mirage purchased Mandalay Resort Group there was a group of us that wanted the reverse to happen.

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

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