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Matthew Higgins On The New York Jets, Social Media and Sports Business

I was recently introduced to Matthew Higgins by mutual friend Gary Vaynerchuk.  Gary and his team at VaynerMedia help manage the social media efforts of the New York Jets, where Matt is the Executive Vice President.  After connecting with Matt and doing our interview, I should probably send Gary some wine or a thank you gift as I’m really glad we were able to share ideas.

After our Skype interview (video below) we ended up talking about personal branding with sports professionals, where social media is headed in the future, the business of sports, and a number of other interesting topics.  It was fun connecting with Matt because we just seemed to have a similar opinion on a list of topics.  It doesn’t hurt that I used to play football and he works with and NFL team either.

I hope you enjoy this video as Matt goes into detail about a number of things the Jets are doing in regards to maximizing social media as an organization, but also how they are integrating it with the players as well.  He talks about measuring social media ROI, how to get a job and work in sports, and a number of other nuggets you will want to know about.  Make sure to watch this interview below, and follow him on Twitter @MHigginsJets.

I hope you enjoyed this video interview as much as I enjoyed connecting with Matthew.  Make sure to leave a comment about your thoughts from the video below, connect with Matt on Twitter, and Retweet or share this message on Facebook with your friends.

Don’t feel like watching this video?  Feel free to read the transcript instead below.

Lewis Howes: How’s it going everyone?  This is Lewis Howes here today.

I’ve got a special guest with us today: Matt Higgins of the New York Jets.

How are you doing, Matt?

Matthew Higgins: I’m great!  Thanks for having me.

Lewis:   Yeah, we’ve been trying to connect for a while now. So, it’s pretty fun to see that you’re right behind the practice field for the New York Jets.  It’s what you get to look at every day; it’s the field. It’s a tough life, huh?

Matt:  Yeah.  No. It’s not so bad you know.  But actually when they’re practicing we have this triple secret button that I push when I want.  And the screens come down the entire…

But, it’s pretty high tech.  But it’s not so bad.

Lewis:   That’s really sweet.

So tell us a little bit about, I guess, your position first for the New York Jets, and a little bit about how you got that position.

I know you worked with the mayor in New York for a while.  But tell us a little bit about how it came about.

Matt:  Yeah, you know, I think sports teams, in addition to obviously being in whatever sport you’re in football, baseball… every team has a pretty significant business operation.  And over the last several decades it’s become bigger and bigger, and more sophisticated.

So my job is to oversee all the business functions of the team.  Myself, Mike Tannenbaum, all of us report up to Woody Johnson.  So, I receive PR, marketing, sales, all the functions that you might expect on the business of the team.

Lewis:   Gotcha.  Very cool.

Now what were you doing before the Jets?  You were working for the mayor of New York, correct?

Matt:  Yeah.  I was born in Bayside, Queens.  I was actually born in Flushing, and grew up in Bayside, Queens. So I was Mets fan growing up.

And then I came of age in journalism and politics.  I was a reporter for a while.  I got a job when I was about 22, working for the mayor of New York in his research office.  I worked my way up.  Eventually I became a Press Secretary to the mayor when I was 26.

I left a couple of times to play around… I was going to be a millionaire in the first wave. In 1998 I went to  So, I don’t know if any of your fans will remember that, but K-O-Z-M-O. We delivered anything in under an hour.

That was a really cool job; delivering ice-cream and VCR tapes to folks on a bike, running corporate communications for Kozmo.  So that was a great job.  And in 2001 actually, they invited me to come back again. I was in law school at night to become his Press Secretary.  I was 26.

I had a bunch of jobs in politics and then, you know, the Jets needed somebody to help work on all their stadium issues.  And that was about seven years ago.

Lewis: So, I mean – politics and sports. How does that…had you worked in sports before the Jets?

Matt: No, I’d never worked in sports before.  But you know, Woody will tell you that they [politics and sports] are very similar.  Obviously they’re very partisan, right?

Lewis: Sure!

Matt: Like you kind of, you know, you’re in or you’re not. Obviously you’ve got to be very passionate.

Politics are on the front page of the newspaper.
Sports are on the back page.

So, they’re both…they have public enemies. Public opinion matters a lot, in terms of influencing sales and for influencing the direction of the team.

They’re not that dissimilar.

I was brought on, not because I had any particular insight into what Mike Tannenbaum does day in and day out.  I was really brought in to work on the politics and the PR involving getting our own stadium built.

Any sports team will tell you that, you know, the hardest thing to do is:

The Super Bowl
To build the stadium

And it’s the same thing with baseball:

Win a world series
Or build a stadium

It takes years.  The Mets and the Yankees were at it for years before they got it done.

And then, because of my skill set, my unique background, I got promoted a few different times.  And so, about a year ago, I was put in charge of the business.

I’m also a lawyer; I went to school at night.  Being a lawyer always helps.

Lewis: Sure.

Matt: Anything with my degree.  You know, I don’t practice but it’s a nice thing to have on the wall.

Lewis: It’s helped for sure.

Now, how do you think that… You haven’t grown up in the sports business, and you didn’t go to school for sports.  So:

How do you think that’s helped or hurt you, in the business?
Do you think you have more fresh ideas and you’re not so pigeon-holed into the old mindset of thinking in the sports industry?
Or, what do you thing that’s done for you, or for the Jets I guess?

Matt: I mean, I like to think that it most helps, although you don’t have to be one or the other. I think that what you do bring when you come from outside of sports is a fresh perspective.

You have to understand the power and passion of sports, but at the same time it’s a business at the end of the day.

So a lot of times I’ll talk to somebody and they’ll say, “Well, I’ve been a fan since I was 3”.

And I say, “Well, I have been too, but that’s not why they hired me.  You know, Johnson & Johnson doesn’t ask whether or not you use Q-tips for your entire life…”

You have to understand the business first.  While I do think it’s important to know the sport, I’ve had to study like everybody else.  You think you know it, so you come to work, then you realize how much you don’t know.

Lewis: Exactly.

Matt: So, I do think I bring fresh perspectives to it.

I get the question a lot, you know:

“How do I get a job in sports?”

It’s such a hard question to answer.  And the number one thing I tell everyone is, whether you’re a lawyer, or you have a background in marketing and what not, the number one way in is to sell.  If you can sell tickets, especially in this economy, you’ll always have a job in sports.

Lewis: Sure, because that’s like the easiest job to get though, right?  Because it’s mostly commission based, and things like that.  It’s the normal…

Matt: Yeah. It’s the easiest job to get. It’s the hardest job to keep.

Lewis: Right. Exactly!

Matt: The turnover is pretty high, but other than that there is no easy trajectory.

The problem is…and I always talk to kids or folks who are getting a degree of some sorts… a Masters Degree or a BA in Sports Management… you know, there are so few jobs.

So the odds of your getting in, in a typical trajectory of like, getting your degree, and then going to get a job fresh out of school are kind of unlikely.  Unlike in investment banking where you know, you go to a good school and you’re going to get a job at Goldman, or City, or JP Morgan.

Sports is not that way.  You’ve got to kind of earn it.  I was lucky because I had a specific skill set that they needed and so they needed to hire somebody.  That’s hard to replicate.

So, that’s why I say, I got a lot of folks that work in our ticketing operation, and they have advanced degrees, but they came and they started where they can sell.  And I will say, “You’ll always have a job, here or somewhere else”.

It’s not a glamorous path maybe, but it’s a really important one.  You know, Mike T and Eric Mangini, they were working the coffee machines… while, you know, Mike had a degree out of Tulane.

Lewis: Wow.

Matt: You’ve got to check your ego at the door around here if you want to have a long career.

Lewis: Exactly.

Let’s talk a little bit about the Jets and social media.  This is one of the main things I want to talk about today.

A lot of questions came in through Twitter when I asked people, “What questions would you ask Matt?”

And they asked about the Jets and social media, and the policies, and bringing all of these on board.

Why is it important for jets fans to be part of the social media community?

Go ahead and answer that one first.

Matt: Well, I think it’s important because…I’ll give you an example. When I was a kid… I grew up on Bayside, right?  I’d always want to go the game with my Dad-around 1986, and the years leading up to that, when they weren’t so great. I’d stand outside and wait for Keith Fernandez to fill out his card,you know, desperately try to have some contact with Fernandez because I was obsessed as a kid.

Lewis: Right.

Matt: That was my star.

Now, fast forward.  I just got a Mark Sanchez retweet.  You know, he said somebody tweeted him and said,

“Hey can you say hello and a Happy Birthday to my friend Ann Girardos”

And then, Sanchez sent it out.  And I emailed Mark directly, “Hey, how’s it going?  Stop by the office.”

It’s incredible that you can touch an athlete in the way that you can now through social media.  For me, that’s number one reason why everyone likes to be in contact; to communicate.

I think the second big reason is that through social media we really do take you closer than you’ve ever gone before.

We share little insights that news media might not find interesting enough to fill up ink in a newspaper, yet are great gold nuggets that sports fans want to get.

Back in the day, you wouldn’t really care if Nick Mangold went to Chipotle all the time for their nachos.  It certainly wouldn’t have been reported.  But that’s interesting, right?

You know, Nick is always up at like 7 in the morning, because I know he’s at the gym and we’re always having stupid banter over Twitter. But that is interesting, great content.

I think if you’re not in the conversation you’re going to miss a lot.

Lewis:   Sure.  For sure.

Now you guys teamed up with VaynerMedia and Gary Vaynerchuk, who’s a friend of mine and who’s kind of big in the social media world.  So, how did that partnership come about?  Did he approach you?  Did you guys approach him?  Or, what happened there?

Matt:  Now first of all, I’m long on Gary, Gary Vaynerchuk, he’s going to take over the world one way or another.  He’s absolutely crazy but one of the smartest guys I ever met.

Lewis: He’s going to be your boss soon probably, huh?

Matt: Yeah. Right. Exactly.

So. I tell you about two years ago, right?  We were coming out of period in our evolution where our media policies were 180 from where they are right now.

There was sort of a gentle philosophy on the football side that less is more.  It’s better not to communicate.  The definition of competitive advantage was very expensive.  You know, I’m not being critical; it’s just one view point. But that made it really difficult to be creative and aggressive on the social media side.

I think in the last two years we’ve completely transformed ourselves.  I sat down with Gary.  I remember I was actually pitching him to do a deal on his [company, ] Wine Library.  And by the end of the conversation, I was like, “Wow. I really need to know you. I need to understand what it is you’re doing.”

And, think about this, this was like two years ago.  We didn’t have a single player on Twitter.  And we said… Gary and I cooked up this experiment: let’s take one player who’s got the charismatic personality, who’s willing to be a legit and not just open an account and have a PR rep go ahead and send out updates, like, who really wants to do it.  Let’s make an experiment.

We reached out to Kerry Rhodes, the guy we call “Hollywood”.  He’s got a big personality.

I did it with Kerry over in Chatham and over steak, and a couple of us said, “We cooked this idea of Kerry really building a brand on Twitter”.

And I think if you go right now… I think Kerry’s got something like over 300,000 followers.  Very aggressive.

So that’s how it started.  And Gary and I had a shared vision. I always believed that we’re not the NSA here.  We’re not hiding nuclear weapons and what not. It’s important you’ve got to hide the competitive secrets, but ultimately we’re a sports team and we’re an entertainment company.  People want to now what we’re doing.

I want to embrace it.  The owner wanted to embrace it.  And when the opportunity presented itself, Gary really paved the way.

You know, he schooled me up and everybody else.

Lewis: Yeah.  And your fan page has really taken off because you’re doing things with sponsors, with Motorola.  You’ve got fans submitting pictures every day and every week to win tickets, I believe it is, or win some type of merchandise. So, you’re really getting the engagement from fans on both Facebook and Twitter.

Also, I saw that one of the athletes actually responded, he did a YouTube video responding to a fan on Twitter, just saying “Thanks so much for being a fan and for your messages on Twitter”.  I think that fan, it probably made it his life, he probably told all of his friends that the Jets players are amazing, and make sure you check this out.

Word of mouth marketing through the social media efforts you guys are doing, I believe is an amazing opportunity right now.  I think it’s great what you guys are doing.

What type of direction are you guys taking now?  You’ve kind of developed a great base I think.  I think you’re one of the leading teams in the NFL when it comes to social media, in my opinion, so what’s for next year?  What are you guys doing for the next year to take off with social media?  Are you guys bringing in…

Matt:  We’d like to shorten the year into about a 24-hour cycle.  So, it could be totally unrealistic initiatives and in a very short period of time.  So the question’s not “What’s in here for next year?” It’s “What’s for next week?”

So, you’re right.  I think we’ve got a great base in social media. It’s real.  It’s legitimate. We’ve got probably 18 guys on it.  I’m on it; on Twitter a lot.  I’m directly communicating.

Our Facebook presence is pretty robust but we can always get better.

But really, you know geolocation – Foursquare, Gowalla… that’s what we’re playing with right now.  Trying to figure out, is there enough interest and demand out there to make it compelling.  I think we’ve all concluded in fact that there is.

You know, I was up at the Bills game and I was checking in on Foursquare to see how many folks were on it. And at one point it had about 250 people, you know, checking in which for me, I thought was pretty significant out of an 80,000 seat stadium.  It’s in it’s infancy if you really think about it.

Lewis: Sure.

Matt:  So, within the…by the next game actually, we’re going to be up and running with one of those services. We’re still debating out which direction to go, Gowalla or Foursquare.

I want to do a lot of fun promotions with that.  For me, it gives me the ability to:

Push out special promotions in stadiums
Drive a product that I know is not doing well on any given day
Push out discounts

And just create more of a sense of community at the stadium.

The other thing that I think we were the first even on sports, is branded apps, branded Facebook applications.

For me, it was a… you know, a revelation I had about 9 months ago when I was reading an article on Business Week about Farmville and the success of Farmville. It’s going to generate a hundred million dollars a year.  And I realized, you know, that’s something someone came up with.  It’s just brilliant, right?

But you have to convince everyone about the rules of the game, and get engagement.  We are a game.  Baseball is a game. People are used to interacting with it in that context.  So, my thought was, branded Facebook applications on behalf sports teams are naturally going to have an advantage.  And so, we spent the last four months working diligently to develop this application.  The idea being all things that make our sport wonderful to the virtual world:

The competitiveness
The superstition
The passion

We launched that about three weeks ago, it’s called Ultimate Fan on Facebook and we’re up to 340,000 users.

Lewis: WOW!

Matt: Yeah!

Lewis: 3 weeks ago?

Matt: 340,000 users in three weeks.  It’s already exceeded our Facebook page.  You know, we’ve got Likes or Fans… and I’m used to “Fans” and I’m in protest of “Likes” so we… we have about 240,000 fans for 340,000 people using that app.

Lewis: Wow!

Matt: I think by the end of November it’s up to over…

Lewis: Oh, wow!

Matt: To me, that’s the future.  I think one year of you and I doing this interview from now, every team will have some version of the Facebook app that they’ve created.

They’re expensive, so, it might be some type of scalable solution that the whole league rolls out to the teams…but everyone will have one.

Lewis: But I mean, if they’re expensive, but if you can get a million fans in a couple of months, or a million users, what are the opportunities you can get from…?

Matt:  The opportunities are amazing, you know, the metrics, there are experts out there who know a lot more about this than I do, but let’s just say that 10 cents for a monthly active user.  You have a million playing; you’re generating, at 10 cents, a hundred grand a month.  It’s pretty amazing.

So the virtual goods are a big opportunity. The opportunity to do product placement… the way Farmville is done is a huge opportunity and I just, you know… typical sponsorship is great.

What I like about it is that it doesn’t matter if you’re talking to Pepsi, or the biggest brands in the world.  No one has got the solution of how to monetize social media practically, because the ground is shifting underneath my desk right now.  If I told you I’ve got it figured out, by the time we’re done here, I know I’m going to have to figure it out, because it changed.

Lewis: That’s Nick Mangold lifting weights right now.

Matt: Right! Right!  You know…

Lewis: Underneath you… that’s why it’s shaking.

Matt:  Yeah, well… I want to tell you something I…but no, it really does change so quickly.

I just think for us to always be at the cutting edge and demonstrate that to our sponsors is also a great value and to our fans. Right?

Lewis: Right.  Exactly.

OK.  A couple of last questions and we’ll let you get back to watching practice…

Matt: I like talking about this. I’m in no hurry.

Lewis: So…

What’s your opinion on Jets players using Twitter, YouTube, or any type of social media?
Do you have a strict policy for them?
Or do you encourage it, because it helps to sell more tickets?
What’s your opinion on that?

Matt:  It’s funny that you said that.  There’s actually…I love our evolution…it’s like two years ago there probably was a sign about all the things you shouldn’t say in the locker room.  Right?  All these rules about how to conform yourself… which are important, right?

You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot in any media, right?

But my motto is always that the medium is not the answer. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Twitter, or you’re talking to a reporter at a major media outlet.  The rules are generally the same.

Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want on the front page of a newspaper.
Don’t say anything you’re going to regret the next morning.
Certainly don’t drink and text.

The rules are pretty straight forward, but short of that, you know, let it go.

Our approach is:

Get on
Get engaged
Join the conversation

Be mindful of what you say, but make sure that it’s organic and it’s legitimate.

I don’t think there’s a point of having a player go on Twitter and then it’s an agent or a rep doing it for them.  It’s like, I think fans see right through that.  So our guys are definitely on board.

But we affirmatively encourage it.  We have an employee Laura Kolmethy who has done a great job.  Her sole purpose in life here is to ensure that players have the tools they need to go and get into the conversation.

We 100% encourage it. In the locker room there are the do’s and don’ts of Twitter.  We have them all sign.  It educates them about what to do.

Lewis: Really?

Matt:  What we find is that a lot of guys, they just need to be brought along a little bit.  As I told Wayne Chrebet a few minutes ago, I said, “Hey, I want you to open up a Twitter account.  You know, Joe Nameth is on here, he’s got 5000 followers. You’ve got to join the conversation”.

So he had a few questions. He was a little bit reluctant, but in the end he went, “Yeah, it sounds pretty cool”.

So we whole-heartedly, 100% endorse it and encourage it.

Lewis: Nice. Very cool.

Matt:  And by the way. We’re going to screw up sometimes.  Like, I think we had something happen about a year ago.  Look, I can’t even remember what it was.  But it was something that was in an article so to speak on Twitter.  And you know, so what?  Like, the benefit of being able to touch millions of fans all over the world is amazing.

For me personally, I can’t tell you how much I learned just from the relationships on Twitter. I’ve got a bunch of guys in Australia who follow me and they are light years ahead in some respects than we are in social media.  Last night they would email me back some things, and I was going back and forth.  I wouldn’t have those relationships were it not for Twitter.

Lewis: Wow. Yes, it’s pretty amazing and I’ve been using it for a few years. I piggy back what you’re saying.

So, you encourage all athletes on your team to use it.  You just encourage them to use it in moderation to make sure they wouldn’t say things they wouldn’t say to their mom basically, or something like that.

Matt: Right.  And you know, nobody does.

Lewis: Exactly.

What about other NFL teams, or other sports teams in general?  Are there any teams that you are seeing that they’re doing it really well?  And that you’re kind of like, “Hmm, I wish we could do more of that, or I wish we could implement some of those strategies.”

Are there any teams out there?  Or leagues that you’re inspired by?

Matt: Yes. By far, no question.

My view point here is: we’re in a golden era of the Jets.  Right?  It’s sort of hitting on all cylinders. Hard Knocks, Rex Ryan.

Lewis: Sure.

Matt: Things couldn’t be better. We’re built for this moment, I think.  We have a really specialized marketing group. We have lots of smart and talented people, but the key here is don’t rest on your laurels.  Success can be fleeting.  True success is sustained, if you continue to sort of double down constantly, and never take it for granted.

So, we’re behaving internally like we’ve got to fight for every fan, fight for every ticket sold.  So that always keeps us fresh.

Like the Redskins are a great example.  I think the Redskins do a great job. They’re using-I think it’s Fanfeedr, which is a company I just had in the other day. It’s pretty cool.

Lewis: Yes, I know those guys.

Matt: Yes, the Redskins are using Foursquare. They’re playing around with that. I think they’re really smart.

Look, any organization that has a million people following them on Facebook like the Cowboys is somebody you should pay attention to.

But you know where I always look for my ideas?  Who has to work the hardest?  You know, which team has to really fight for every sale?

You don’t rest on the annuity.  You’ve got to really work hard. That’s why I like talking to these folks in Australia. I just kind of like the feedback I’m getting.  That’s where I look for the best ideas.

You don’t find them at an entity like with money…they’re just pumping it out.  It’s not a recipe for creativity.

Lewis: Right.  Exactly.

So, what about… what stresses you out more: wondering what Jets players are going to say on Twitter, or wondering what Rex Ryan will say to the media?

Matt: You know, neither of them stresses me out.  You know what stresses me out more is that it’s always legitimate, like, we talk a big game on social media and that we’re really invested, but it’s important, myself included, that it’s real.  So, really honestly, that’s what I focus on.

You know, I want to make sure that, like we’re having a call in an hour, to question are we using Twitter most effectively.  Like I feel like, for example, you know, we push out a lot of the officialdom on our Twitter feed.  This transaction and so forth.  But you can get that from anywhere.

What we have here are kernels of insights that you can’t get anywhere else and that’s what I want to make sure that we have.  We have access to the locker room post game.

Here’s an observation: Rex Ryan gave a great speech, team is fired up.

I’d want to hear that.  That’s interesting to me. If I’m standing in the tunnel and I see Joe Nameth give a hug to Mark Sanchez and take a photo on TwitPic. That’s great stuff.

Lewis: That’s huge.

Matt: So, I want to make sure that we’re doing that.  I think we could do it more.  That question…that challenge is more to me being in the conversation.  And realizing, “well how am I using Twitter?”  You know, Darren Rovell over at CNBC? I think he’s great.  He schools me up and gives me advice.

The key here I think is like, yeah, we’re in a great place at the New York Jets.  A lot of people are interested in this team.  There’s lots of excitement. Let’s like, almost, you know, walk that out.  Let’s behave like two years ago when we were sort of fighting for everything.

Lewis: Right.  I like the mentality.

So, the last question.  Any advice I guess, and we’ve kind of talked about this briefly, any advice for college students looking to get a job in sports, besides sports sales?  Would you give advice on networking, or…?

Matt:  Yes.  I think that’s true.  I think networking only matters to a certain degree. You know, talent will always, you know, it’s like water… time will always find it, so you know it’s path, right?

Like you’ll get noticed.

But I think the best way to ensure it… I always tell folks this, I’m going to be less interested in your Ivy League pedigree on the resume than I am on the fact that you sweated for us during an entire summer.  And everybody who works for me reported back that this kid has real potential.  You know:

He takes leadership
He takes initiative
He never said no
He’s always willing to rise to the occasion
He showed good instincts and good judgment.

That’s going to matter to me much more than whether or not you went to Harvard or Yale.

We run what we call the Survivors Series because it’s so competitive, but we run basically like a national competition to hire our interns who work in our PR department.  Why these folks would ever do this job is beyond me.  That’s how I started out. But they kill themselves.  They work so hard doing clips at like 6 in the morning and then I’m emailing them, Mike is emailing them. Rex is emailing them.  But you know what, once they get that job, they always have a job in PR.

So, get your foot in the door first.  Get an internship. Like we have internships here that some folks might consider beneath them… you know they have to work in the hot summer and helping with the rides and so forth, ‘Jets Fest’ we call it,  or staffing player interviews… basically holding a recorder and then doing a transcript… but  to me that’s more important than anything else.

Maybe I’m biased because I went to a city college, it took me 7 years to graduate while working 2 jobs.  I went to law school at night.  So, I’m a little bit partial to this crappy hard worker.  But I think our business is sort of set up for that more so than anything else.

The degrees matter less than the experience. So, if anybody… I’m perfectly happy, if you want to forward me the resume, I’ll make sure our HR director gets it and then you out… we run a meritocracy here.  We don’t walk around the building and find patron attires and nepotism, like I believe in getting the smartest kid the chance.

But number one advice; take that internship even if you think it’s beneath you, even if it pays a dollar.  That’s the best way to get your foot in the door.

Lewis: I love it. It’s all about the grunt work.

Matt: Not a perfect answer, but this gets to Harvard or Yale, no disrespect to your great pedigree, but we’re looking for smart talent and hard working kids who have a track record more than anything else.

Lewis: I think its…I mean, if they’re from Harvard and they grind and hustle like anyone else then…

Matt:  That’s awesome. Even better.  But my point is, you can’t come out of school with a BA in sports management and think it’s really going to resonate on the team.

Lewis: It’s not.

Matt: It’s just, there aren’t enough jobs.  You know, like, relatively speaking for that to matter.

Lewis: And there are too many people who don’t work in sports with more experience who are trying to get into sports and still can’t get an internship. So, it’s…

Matt:  Yeah. It’s tough. I have a couple people right now downstairs in sales who are investment bankers, and you know, obviously the economy lets up, they wanted in, but like there is no place for an investment banker to start here.  You know, in general, in an interview for my job, unless like you’ve been around the industry for 10 or 15 years…now I got promoted within and that sometimes happens, but that’s the best way to do it.

Lewis: Well, where can we find you on Twitter, on Facebook, or where can people connect with you?

Matt:  The best way is MHigginsJets. You know, I use Facebook a bit less to be honest.  You know, I play around with it, but Twitter serves me well because I’m on the go constantly and I love the fan engagement.  I love being educated.  I love data.  My staff will tell you this. I like to sit in the stream.  So literally that’s the soul of this organization I get cc’d on.  Because those little pieces of data, I enjoy, so the fan conversation educates me.  That’s the best way to find me.

You can find me on Facebook too, but I…

Lewis:   @MHigginsJets?

Matt:  Yes.. @MHigginsJets.

Lewis:   OK. Awesome.  So, we’ll find you there and maybe we’ll do a…

Matt:  And also, I encourage anybody watching this, if you have any idea about the next wave in social media or how we should use Foursquare or Gowalla, or any other toy or tool that I’m not aware of, you know, definitely reach out to me.

Lewis: Awesome.  Maybe we’ll do a competition for interns and see who we can send over your way to take a look for you guys.  So…

Matt: There you go, now you just came up with another idea.

You know we just launched, real quick, for we go, we launched one that I’m really excited about on Facebook where, if you use your Facebook credits to purchase a blimp, we just created a blimp to put in your virtual tailgate.  Then you’re automatically entered into a sweepstakes where you can then come to Monday night football against the Vikings.

So we’re trying to blur the distinction between the virtual world and the real world…you build a bridge there, build a bridge back…

So, that’s the kind of stuff I like to do, is to sort of make it all meshed together.

Lewis: You guys are doing a great job and I’m glad that Vaynermedia is on board, because Gary and his team are amazing.  And I’m sure that they’re only helping you achieve your goals.

Matt, thanks so much for coming on.  Best of luck for the rest of the season.  Hope you guys get that Super Bowl and we’ll talk to you soon.

Matt: Great. Thanks for having me.  Take care.


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