|Tim Hinchey- President, Colorado Rapids|
|Profile of the week|
Friday, 02 March 2012 10:39
Tim Hinchey is the President of the Colorado Rapids.
Before coming to Colorado, Hinchey served as the Vice President of Commercial for English Football League Championship side Derby County for three years, where he oversaw a radical change in the club’s commercial approach, introducing a number of innovative ideas and policies that have brought great success and results off the field.
Before joining DCFC, Hinchey had spells with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats as their Executive Vice President of Business Operations and with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets as Senior Vice President of corporate development and Chief Marketing Officer.
Prior to joining the Hornets, he worked for Runyon, Saltzman & Einhorn as alliance Marketing Director, creating a new division where he developed new business relationships and served the firm’s sports and entertainment clients. Hinchey also served as vice president of brand development for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in Northern California.
His start in professional sports came began with the Los Angeles Kings in 1991 and continued as Vice President of marketing and corporate sales for the Utah Grizzlies and the E Center, senior vice president of business development for the Long Beach Ice Dogs and director of strategic alliances for Maloof Sports & Entertainment.
A native of northern California, Hinchey and his wife Mia are the proud parents of six children.
The challenging aspect is to continue to grow the game in a market that has seven professional sports teams. To get that share of voice for the Rapids and to continue to create capacity crowds has to be our focus. The most rewarding part thus far has to be helping change the culture and getting everyone on board. We’re working on an internal mantra about transparency; we call it ‘The One Club’. We are one club from the coaching staff, to the academy staff, to the front office, to the ticket sales people. All those are going to pull in the same direction. To see that on its initial flight is rewarding.
Although not quite yet on the same level of popularity as an NBA franchise, in many cases, the Colorado Rapids is part of an emerging sport that’s growing rapidly. It’s exciting to be a part of something where the athletes are accessible, articulate and excited about growing the sport, so from a partnership perspective, you feel like you can accomplish more. The NBA is a phenomenal product and one of the best run leagues in the world. I certainly enjoyed working in it. From an MLS perspective, we’re still working very hard to be at the same professional level that the NBA has achieved over their great history.
We’re in a unique environment. Mr. Kroenke is one of the single largest individuals that holds an NBA franchise, an NFL franchise, an MLS franchise and he’s the majority shareholder with Arsenal.
He’s a terrific sports fan, a very smart individual and incredibly loyal. If you look at his organisations and leadership groups- he’s involved in it, he knows everything that’s happening and he makes fantastic suggestions. It’s a shame that sometimes he gets negative press for not being as proactive in certain areas. As an executive of one of his teams, I really appreciate that he’s hired people to run teams and allows them to do that.
From my experience at Derby, one of the things that make it not as challenging is that from a commercial perspective, professional sport is truly a recognised industry category in the United States. Soft drinks companies, quick service restaurants or financial institutions are all accustomed to, and welcome, inquiries to partner sports in terms of sponsorship and hospitality. It wasn’t necessarily like that in the UK. Whether you look at an MLS franchise or an NBA franchise, those businesses understand what you’re trying to do and how they can get leverage for success in the community of professional sports organisation to benefit their businesses.
However, I think we have definitely got to work harder to get people to understand where soccer is and how quickly this league has grown in sixteen years. Last year the average attendance in MLS was higher than that of the NBA and NHL.