Ted DellaVecchia, former senior vice president and CIO at Starbucks Coffee Co., had a different game plan in mind when he quit last year. He figured he’d stay in Seattle, become a consultant, and peddle his business and IT expertise to IT startups eager for the knowledge he’d gained at Blue Cross, IBM and Starbucks.
But then the bubble burst; DellaVecchia needed a new plan. That’s when it hit him: sports. Why couldn’t he sell this same consulting package to professional sports franchises? After all, sports teams need to run their finances efficiently, and they could benefit from CRM systems. And there’s a whole new generation of business-savvy young owners, such as Mark Cuban of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, eager to explore new ways of doing sports business.
Today, DellaVecchia is a self-employed business and IT consultant to the stars?the all-stars. Working initially with an NBA team (which prefers not to be identified for competitive reasons), DellaVecchia has crafted an approach that touches on IT infrastructure, investment, fan loyalty, CRM and corporate sponsorships. His focus is on helping teams maintain healthy profits even in losing seasons.
The upside of the new job is that DellaVecchia gets to play several positions at once?CIO, CEO, consultant and sports GM. The downside: risk of failure. What if sports isn’t as open to business and IT consulting as DellaVecchia thinks? “But hey,” he says, “if you don’t take risks, you shouldn’t expect rewards.”