Giants Come to Haas

The Giants will realize the financial upside from the World Series next year, but the team has to strike a balance between defending its championship and overpromising, Larry Baer, BA 80, the team's president, told Haas students Wednesday.

"We're putting out a product, and we don't necessarily know how it will perform," noted Baer, who visited NBC news anchor Diane Dwyer's Media Consulting course as a guest speaker just more than a week after the Giants won the World Series on Nov. 1. "Every year is a different unit."

Baer is among the dozens of business executives who come to Haas each year to help students connect their classroom learning to real, on-the-job situations. As part of his visit to Dwyer’s undergraduate class, Baer shared his views on the role of media in sports, including emerging social media.

“Media is a huge part of our business,” Baer said. For instance, one valuable, though probably lesser-known piece of the Giants franchise is its one-third ownership of a regional sports network with Comcast, noted Baer, who was a driving force in that partnership. Baer also previously has worked at CBS in New York, where he served as special assistant to the network's chairman, Laurence Tisch.

The team has tapped social media in unconventional ways, Baer said. In addition to its own Twitter feed, the team has helped a fan who has created a popular unofficial twitter account for the Giants. He also called Facebook “really powerful” and predicted there will be a completely new way of communicating in a couple of years that no one knows about today.

Baer, a fourth-generation San Franciscan and Cal graduate, also shared his views on sports marketing, noting it's about much more than just slogans. One important metric is how many seats the team can sell before the first pitch, Baer said.

"What's really important for people sitting in my seat … is how do you create the brand loyalty," Baer said. "It's all about psychology. It's all about memories, making your memories come to life."