Entrepreneurship Prof Behind Celtics?

As an entrepreneur with a sports venture, I am excited to see that Profs and business schools view sports as a major growth industry and are tailoring entrepreneurship programs in response. We have covered the programs that schools are offering for pro athletes. This article, from the Economist, is full of great examples, including a campus entrepreneur in Nebraska and a Stanford Prof who helps manage the Celtics! (I had no idea, very cool) Mark Cuban, btw, created Broadcast.com so that he could watch his beloved Hoosiers after he had left Bloomington. From the Economist:

At American business schools, there are signs of faith in the sports business. One believer is Professor H. Irving Grousbeck, the director of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He juggles his academic duties with a role as managing partner of the Boston Celtics, a National Basketball Association (NBA) team.

Professor Grousbeck is part of Boston Basketball Partners LLC, a partnership that bought the Celtics in 2003. In the previous five decades, the Celtics had amassed 16 NBA championships, but a bad run in the 1990s and into the 21st century had tested the patience of their loyal following. Professor Grousbeck says he and his partners wanted to restore the team’s camaraderie and pride.

Not that sentiment caused them to forget the goal of profitability. Initially, the group considered buying a baseball team, but feared losing money. The Celtics’ asking price of $360m, says Professor Grousbeck, “felt fair”—although he stresses that, as a professor of entrepreneurship, he was aware the venture had its risks.


And some sports-loving MBAs are taking their enthusiasm beyond the classroom. One such is John Wirtz, who got his MBA at the University of Nebraska and is now chief operating officer of Agile Sports Technologies, a start-up. While at Nebraska, he developed what eventually became “Hudl”, a software package offered by Agile that combines videos, playbooks, presentations and evaluations for players and managers to view online. In vindication of Professor Shropshire’s faith, the project was initially funded through prize money from business-plan competitions. In three years, ten teams have signed up, including the New York Jets NFL team.

BTW, the Economist has another piece on how Sport as an industry performs in a downturn. Is it recession proof?


4 thoughts on “Entrepreneurship Prof Behind Celtics?

  1. thebostonentrepreneur

    It’s exciting to see sports entrepreneurship recognized. H. Irving Grousbeck pioneered the Search Fund concept, which is now taught at many MBA programs. His (and his son Wyc’s) involvement in sports entrepreneurship makes me believe the sporting industry is changing. I look forward to realizing Grousbeck’s contribution to sports entrepreneurship.

    Eric Shooman

  2. Hey Eric, thanks for your input / information on Grousbeck. I am super excited to learn more about him, what it means to the celtics, and what it means for stanford and its community. thanks for coming by.

  3. Hello,

    I recently wrote my thesis on sports entrepreneurship. After interviewing and researching a bunch of entrepreneurs, I developed a list of traits that I believed were evident in entrepreneurs in the sports industry–and also apply to “non-sports entrepreneurs”. I posted the list in my blog and would love to hear what you think: http://tiny.cc/hf9li



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s