A Diverse and Non-Linear Career Background is Pivotal in the Making of Every Successful Sports Industry Leader

June 23, 2023
Patrick Rishe


The business landscape of sports is witnessing a transformation, brought on by shifts in technology, fan experience, and operational strategies. It’s why understanding the role of sports executives in this dynamic environment has never been more crucial. One of the major emerging themes revolves around the concept of a non-linear career trajectory, a notion embraced by many successful sports industry leaders, highlighting the value of a diversified professional background in tackling the unique challenges in the sports industry. 

According to a 2017 Harvard Business Review study, varied professional experiences can lead to innovative problem-solving approaches, a trait highly valued in today’s rapidly evolving business world.

But what does a non-linear career in the sports industry look like? How does such a journey affect one’s perspective and strategy towards the business of sports?

In this episode of “Suite Talk: The Business Behind Sports” host Patrick Rishe, interviewed special guest Matt Goodman, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. The discussion focused on Goodman’s career journey, the current focus of the Dallas Mavericks, his thoughts on operational excellence, and the significant role of employee experience in the sports industry.

During the course of the episode, Rishe and Goodman also discuss:

  • Goodman’s journey from an aspiring journalist to a sports business executive, demonstrating the value of diverse experiences.
  • His current responsibilities at the Dallas Mavericks, highlighting the operational challenges and his emphasis on operational excellence.
  • The importance of employee experience in the sports business landscape and how it intertwines with the overall business success.

Matt Goodman is a seasoned sports industry executive with a varied professional background. Starting his career with an aspiration to be a journalist, he navigated through various roles at organizations such as Mandalay, MSG, the Cleveland Browns, NYCFC, the WNBA, and the NBA before taking up his current role as the COO of the Dallas Mavericks. His diverse experience and innovative approach to the business of sports have made him one of the prominent leaders in the industry.

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