Red Bulls name Erik Stover managing director

The New York Red Bulls have named Erik Stover as the team’s new managing director.

Who is Stover? He was named the team’s Vice President of Operations and General Manager of Red Bull Park in March. Before that he spent three years running Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Before that, Stover was vice president of operations of Giants Stadium.

In short, Red Bull has just hired a man whose entire resume consists of operating stadiums to run their soccer team.

The reaction to the hire by the first source I contacted about it? "He knows absolutely nothing about soccer."

Apparently that is a pre-requisite for the Red Bulls managing director position. Who knew?

The word emerging from Red Bulls sources is that the corporate HQ felt Stover was the best in-house candidate for the job. He will definitely get a chance to learn on the job. If the Red Bulls are lucky, perhaps Stover can develop into a good executive. That still doesn’t excuse the fact that Red Bull hired someone with no experience running a pro sports team.

The only word that comes to mind is brainless. Red Bull has just made it clear that A) it has no clue how to run the Red Bulls and B) it is focused solely on the opening of Red Bull Park in 2009.

That was my initial reaction. We will see if Stover can learn on the job and be an effective conduit between the team side and the suits in Salzburg. It is hard to defend a pro sports team hiring someone with no team management experience to run a pro team, but Red Bull has done it two times with Red Bull New York now.

What do you think of the news? Share your thoughts below.

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73 Responses to Red Bulls name Erik Stover managing director

  1. HerthaBerwyn says:

    At least your stadium wonk isnt replacing Peter Wilt.

  2. Confused says:

    What are the Red Bulls??

  3. Steve T. says:

    Let Osorio and Goos take care of the player personel, and Stover successfully launch the stadium. Very short sighted. It is clear what there objectives are. Maybe this ensures that RBP opens in 2009.

  4. jevanvoo says:

    oh.my.god.

  5. Javier says:

    funny thing is, Ives writes things like this and ignorant people will still insist that he’s a “front office mouthpiece”

  6. Graeme says:

    Sounds like another classic RBNY move. You wouldn’t expect anything else, would you?

  7. David Berger says:

    Lame.

  8. Greg says:

    Further proof Red Bull is a horrible owner. It’s not about the soccer, it never has been. HORRIBLE HIRING.

    I want my Metros back..NOW.

  9. EDB says:

    I guess it shows the only priority of the club to get thier own place so they can start making all the parking and concession revenue!

  10. nickmustgo says:

    this disaster has gone from laughing stock to just outright sad. what a joke

  11. Scott A says:

    Sounds like another poor decision. Prove me wrong Stover

  12. Scott A says:

    Oh, and note to Red Bull: Start promoting your team to the community!!!

  13. Done says:

    It makes perfect sense from a corporate standpoint. RB money is spending their money on & in the stadium to show off all of their products/events (RBNY, X-games, etc.) which ultimately generate their own revenue streams. On top of that, they continue to expand their drink sales.

    As for a pure soccer move, this is ridiculous. I’m done with them. Bring on the new NYC team ASAP. Mr. Wilpon, buy the Cosmos name – consider it a marketing expense that is well-worth the $10 million or so it would cost – build the new stadium and bring NYC a team they can cheer for.

    RIP – Metrostars….we miss ya

  14. JSquaredNY says:

    Ugh. Another disappointment. The Queens team can’t come soon enough.

  15. SF says:

    I’ll be positive and say that at least this may help get the stadium built at some point in 2009. I hear that Marc had pissed off everyone involved to the point that RBNY was getting resistance from other involved.

    And once the stadium is done, they should just give the job to a soccer guy on opening day. Give it to Franz as part of the halftime show.

  16. JSquaredNY says:

    On a side note, Red Bulls have reportedly offered a contract to Mexican U-21 Defender Diego Jiminez? Anyone know who this is?

  17. Tom says:

    So much for a better run facility than Giants Stadium. Guess we have more poor service, in-game promotions and long-winded announcements to look forward to: “LADIES AND GENTELEMEN, YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE. A YELLOW CAUTION CARD HAS BEEN AWARDED TO NUMBER 17, JOZY ALTIDORE, IN THE THIRTY-FOURTH MINUTE. (now en espanol)”

  18. Smith says:

    He’s there to handle the business end. Agoos & Osorio are there to handle the player personnel. Why did anyone expect anything different?

  19. Dick Mac says:

    As Smith said: “Why did anyone expect anything different?”

    I am concerned that someone who once worked at Giants Stadium (a venue that is incredibly hostile to soccer, or perhaps to everyone) has been hired. And here I was hoping they were to announce a Barcelona friendly!

  20. Smith says:

    Also, for all the people wanting a “soccer guy” let’s not forget that Charlie Stillitano was a very knowledgable soccer man & the worst GM in history. Agoos & Osorio are the soccer guys. This guy is here to run the business, especially getting the stadium done.

    Please stp whining.

  21. Ives says:

    Smith, the man they hired has NO experience running anything close to a sports franchise. NONE. What some, including me, were expecting was that Red Bull would hire someone with some sort of experience running a sports team, or at least some real experience in the world of soccer.

  22. Tim F. says:

    My initial reaction is No … way. I’ll withhold judgement until I meet him but …

    Anyone who can spend NINE years at NJSEA …. Yikes … I’m worried about what’s going to carry over to the new stadium.

  23. irishapple21 says:

    I don’t think that the managing director is supposed to have anything to do with the team on the field. That’s Agoos and Osorio’s job. If Stover can handle the business end, that’s fine with me. Who cares.

  24. Joe D says:

    Irish, the guy has NO business experience at all. He’s never run a team or even come close to running a team. it’s a joke of a hire. No other way to say it.

  25. Smith says:

    Ives – RB wants someone to market the stadium & run the “$$$ & cents” end of the show. That’s what they hired.

    Agoos & Osorio are essentially running the “team” (i.e. the sporting entity that steps on the field).

    I never doubted it would go this way & I can’t beleive anyone expected otherwise. I would have preferred Tom Neale, mind you, but this isn’t the end of the world. If he can run a business, he’s fine in this job. I don’t know the full extent of his job skills & wasn’t sitting in on the interview, so I’m gonna give him more than 10 minutes before I judge him.

    It’s not like he’s going to Aregentina to scout talent, for godness sake. If anything, there’s a PLUS to having a non-soccer guy in there. At least he doesn’t THINK his opinion is better than the coach or the GM (Agoos).

    Would you rather have Blanco or Giorgio or Diego Maradonna running the team? WHY NOT? They’re SOCCER GUYS!!!!!! How about letting Paul Gasciogne run the team? He’s a SOCCER GUY TOO!!!!!! What about my nephew? He’s SIX YEARS OLD, BUT HE PLAYS SOCCER!!!!!!!

    Ives, I think you’re the best soccerwriter in North America, but I think you’ve sort of lost it here.

    That said, I love the blog & think it’s anawesome fourm.

  26. EDB says:

    Call me crazy, but won’t this guy also be in charge of marketing the product and growing the brand? A guy who runs a stadium I’m not sure has any of that sort of expierence.

  27. inkedAG says:

    This was exactly what I thought it was going to be….sad and pathetic!!!!

    I agree, the Queens NYC team cannot come soon enough!!

  28. Ives says:

    Smith,

    Is it the end of the world (for the Red Bulls)? Maybe not, but it’s a bad move. Nobody is saying a word about the team failing to hire a “soccer guy” but how about somebody with some sort of experience running and marketing a sports team? Or even operating a sports business. There is a BIG difference between stadium operations and running a sports team.

    From what I hear Stover is a good person, and I know there were some other potential in-house hires that had people cringing. Stover is going to get his chance and, who knows, maybe Red Bull gets lucky, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the club essentially handed the keys to a sports team to someone with nothing close to experience running a sports team.

  29. Smith says:

    Re: “Call me crazy, but won’t this guy also be in charge of marketing the product and growing the brand? A guy who runs a stadium I’m not sure has any of that sort of expierence. ”

    Actually, he would probably hire an advertising agency.

    That’s what people aren’t getting. It’s not like he’s going to be painting signs saying, “Red Bulls today at 3pm…$20..come on in.” His job is basically to manage task-specific vendors.

    Haven’t any of you guys ever worked in the real world?

    Does al this really need explaining?

  30. chris says:

    I’m going to defend Ives here. I think the issue isnt that he’ll be scouting players but more about what does he know about marketing and selling tickets for a soccer team. You know like grassroots type marketing to connect with the adult soccer fan, the ethnic fan. DeGrandpre had no idea. This hire strikes me like it could be the same result.

  31. Smith says:

    Again…he hires staff or vendors!!!!

    Have any of you guys ever had a business class?

  32. Smith says:

    Ives, I love ya, but I think you’re overreacting. We’ll see in a year where we’re at.

    Just remember that it was the great Soccer Guy, Charlie Stillitano , who landed us in the Meadowlands in the first place and brought us such luminaries as Matt Knowles & Damian Silvera.

  33. Eugene says:

    I don’t think this is a bad hire on the face of it. The guy is a sports guy who has experience managing stadiums, which will probably be one of the largest revenue sources for the franchise.

    Getting the stadium right entails getting the marketing and team right. Its a soccer-specific stadium built in a European mold, so I think this fear of him being hostile to soccer is irrational. He’s there to manage a soccer stadium, not a football stadium.

    Stover is also an American and apparently has local ties (couldn’t confirm though). Here’s an article on him from San Diego: link to signonsandiego.com

    All in all, I’d say reserve your judgements, this guy could be really good.

  34. Matt says:

    Ives, one of the most troubling aspects of the RBNY organization has been its lack of communication with supporters. I hope you do everything in your power to get an interview with this guy and find out what his vision for the club is.

    I’ll withhold judgment, but it does seem like a strange appointment.

  35. JSquaredNY says:

    Smith – Having no experience on what it is needed to successfully run operations for a team how do you expect him to make the adequate decisions necessary in hiring capable staff/vendors? Sure he’s not going to be the one drafting up campaigns, but this should be a guy who knows what it takes. A guy with some sort of background. Just because he is not doing the job himself does not mean that he is capable of hiring someone who can do it successfully

  36. northzax says:

    Smith:

    see, here’s the major difference. you are thinking about NYRB as what it really is, a small arm of a large transnational business. Just like AEG, RB Corporate wants the revenue from a stadium, that’s it. So you appoint a businessman. and you make money.

    the only problem is, few teams run like businesses are successful as teams. as a fan, you don’t want your beloved team to be a profit center, you want it to be a successful team, the two do not always go together.

  37. Smith says:

    Re: “Just because he is not doing the job himself does not mean that he is capable of hiring someone who can do it successfully.”

    It also doesn’t mean he can’t.

    All I’m saying is that we should give the guy more than 20 minutes before we bury him.

    Also, I’m used to my fellow fans being whiners, that I think it’s Metro reflex.

    I swear, if we signed Christiano Ronaldo tomorrow, someone would post, “he’s already peaked. Terrible move!”

  38. Greg says:

    I second what Matt says. From an ESC perspective, this is a horrible hiring. This guy worked with NJSEA for 9 years.

    Ives, is there anyway you can find out how he’s going to treat us? His track record is less than stellar with the way his yellow shirted honchos have treated us for the past 14 years.

  39. Eugene says:

    I have to agree with Smith here. The issue will more likely be about the budget Stover gets to market the team in NY. NYC has many of the best ad agencies in the world and they know this market like the backs of their hands, its just a question paying the money to employ them.

    I don’t know that Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment had any idea how to run a soccer franchise when they started Toronto FC, and yet they have done a great job there.

    To me, de Grandpre had no idea what kind of experience a sports fan expects when he/she goes to a stadium. Stover likely does. If the managing of the stadium is good and the atmosphere there is great, I really believe all the other pieces will fall into place.

    If I could throw in another 2 cents, get rid of the crap food and cheap beer from Giant Stadium (and all the other local stadiums). Have a better menu (like Toronto FC) with European-influenced and Latin American-influenced food and premium beers like Carlsberg, Heineken or even microbrews and I think the experience will be MUCH MUCH better.

  40. EDB says:

    I agree with JsquaredNY , he will be hiring the vendors , leads etc.. He will be the final sign off on those type of things and he will not be do such from position of knowledge. In other industries you don’t see insurance companies bring in executives that have no insurance background.. same thing here.. running a venue is not running a team.

  41. Greg says:

    And by 14 I clearly meant 13.

  42. Eugene says:

    @northzax,

    do you seriously believe that all of the major clubs in the world are not run as serious businesses first? I think if you’re running the team well, you’re running the business well.

    Man United is loaded with debt, so I’m sure they have to run that business airtight and few could argue that they’re not the best team in the world right now.

  43. CD says:

    If NYRB is going to suck at least you can suck in a nice stadium soon.

  44. Tom says:

    And how about some beer vendors in the stands?

  45. ag nigrin says:

    Relax everybody… (ehmm..you too Ives) Let’s wait and see what happens before we condemn the new guy…

  46. irishapple21 says:

    I’m always willing to give someone a shot before I condemn them. Let’s see what he can do and if he’s a failure we can start our chants during matches. We at least owe him a chance to show us what he can do, though. Red Bull may make their share of mistakes, but they didn’t become a multibillion-dollar corporation by being stupid.

  47. JSquaredNY says:

    Ives – Any idea/news/background on Diego Jiminez. Have you gotten any word on whether they did in fact offer the guy a contract?

  48. Paul says:

    Let’s not jump to conclusions. What’s the most expensive, most eagerly awaited, most critical investment this franchise has ever made? Red Bull Park, right? So maybe, just maybe, this guy has the right qualifications for what the club needs now. And maybe it’s a good thing that Osorio and Agoos aren’t going to have somebody from Austria looking over their shoulders as they make player decisions. If Stover can hire the right people, and the corporate bigwigs give him the resources, this can work.

  49. Allegre says:

    I don’t get it. Although I like his credentials with Qualcom Stadium, his connection with NJSEA does not speak of someone who understands what the fans want in their pro soccer experience. This quote from RBR, “rising to the position of Assistant Vice President of Stadium Operations of Giants Stadium” ,brings chills to my spine. I understand that the new stadium experience holds a lot of weight with the parent company and is the primary reason for their choice but obviously they have not had the same NJSEA experiences that I have.

  50. Damn…maybe I should have applied for the job.

    Why me?

    I speak German and have lived in Salzburg. I understand the Salzburger arrogance and their love for schnullregen.

    I am a marketing and sales person. I know how to market on the Internets. (By the way Ives, why aren’t they running ads on your site?)

    I know soccer is played with a round ball.

    I have played soccer. I could be a back up forward when JPA isn’t getting the job done. The Roger Milla of the Red Bulls so to speak. I come on with 5 minutes, I score a goal, everybody loves me.

    Well maybe, he will improve your experience at Giants stadium.

  51. alex says:

    Sure..it makes perfect sense! You have Agoos and JCO without a clue running the team…now add in someone without a clue running the franchise!!! Philadelphia anyone?

  52. northzax says:

    @ Eugene. I’m sorry, were you confusing nyrb with manchester united? Really? Ok. Well how about some other teams run as a business first. Please be so kind as to name the last sports team owned by a large corporation to win a title. How are the Cubs doing? The Dodgers? The Mighty Ducks? The Angels? How many titles have they won lately? Heck, let’s talk about us sports teams run for profit. How do the redskins do? The marlins? The galaxy?

  53. irishapple21 says:

    northzax: The Angels won the World Series in 2004. The Ducks won the Stanley Cup last year. Maybe those weren’t good examples to make your point.

  54. Ted says:

    Let’s not bring the Ducks into this, they have beaks on their jerseys! You can’t hate that!

  55. ANTONIO MIGUEL says:

    AHHHHHHH… Just wait till DCUnited gets their new stadium in less than 5yrs…

  56. northzax says:

    so for a combined 80 years of limitless pocketed corporate ownership, you have two titles. Nice. How did both do the next year?

  57. Richard says:

    besides absolutely killing this guy, maybe the fans could do something about it…

    like offer to help make soccer-related decisions with a season-ticketholder meeting with the guy or something… at least to show that our input could be useful, no? to an extent??

  58. Dan D says:

    Even Cauthemoc is laughing!

  59. onionsack says:

    Its the “Red Bull way of Thinking” we are not susposed to understand it.

  60. Eugene says:

    @northzax, did you even read what I wrote? Seems like you missed the point completely. Forget American sports teams in baseball and football for a second and focus on soccer teams.

    Top European soccer teams ARE major corporations that are run as businesses. My example of Manchester United was one that has to satisfy the financial constraints of its debt holders and earn a return for the Glazer family, yet has been very successful on the field for years and is arguably the best team in the world at present. Before many were taken private, a number of EPL teams were publicly-traded on the London Stock Exchange. Tottenham still is — do you believe they could get away with not thinking of their shareholders first? Ajax trades publicly on Euronext — do you think their board of directors chooses their fans before their shareholders?

    Don’t be so naive. These teams are in business to make money and soccer has become incredibly lucrative as the brands have spread worldwide, particularly in Asia. The reason why teams can justify paying huge transfer fees for key players is because the financial returns in building the brand are significant. Good business and good team are aligned. There’s no reason why that couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t happen here in the US as well.

  61. kco says:

    And “They” fired The Bruce because he couldn’t win the MLS Cup with this club? At least now I know why nodoby goes to RBNY matches. When NY gets a 2nd club RB won’t have any fans left.

    Red Bull, YOU’RE FIRED!

    P.S. Is Trump available?

  62. Eugene says:

    Here you go northzax, school is in session:

    link to bestwaytoinvest.com

  63. 12th man says:

    Ives,

    Please ask him:

    1. Will the RBP stadium design and build out change in any way from the expectations that have already been conveyed to fans (e.g., grass field — no turf; seating surrounding entire field, i.e., not 3/4 around; stadium ambiance conducive to loud/pro-home team support; seating section fully covered overhead; being ready by summer 2009; no gridiron football lines; etc.)

    2. What learnings does he take from his NINE years at NJSEA and how will he apply them at RBP?

    3. Is it possible that NJSEA will be involved in running RBP or performaning any role at RBP in any capacity? If so, how might NJSEA or its employees be involved?

  64. Doug says:

    Yeah, this sounds like a horrible (and cheap) move. But I’ll point out that the GM in Columbus, McCullers, had a similar background when the Crew hired him to run the club. And, despite a lot of growing pains (he inherited a disaster if a club), he’s done well and is popular with both the fans and coach/players.

  65. redbull fan says:

    I am not suprised at all, it makes sense. Red Bull is only interested in the new park to generate mor $$ for their brand, the soccer portion is a write off, in fact so is the stadiums name, it is all about advertising the Red Bull brand. I am sure Franz told Red Bull that if your winning with talent the fans will come see the Cosmos after Pele, they sold out Giants statium on a regular basis. NY/NJ like winners, Red Bull does not need to win they just want to promote their brand name. $200 million of ads in thre years!!

    I have a partial season ticket plan and will give them the Galaxy game then I am done. Lets go FIRE!! OLE BLANCO (LOL)

  66. brett says:

    lol…. im laughing at the fact that there are so many redbull fans eager to jump ship for a non-existant NYC team…. NY’ers, show your true colors :D i guess you see it as a better chance of having success, but thats just sad…. NYCFC will start off with plastic fans :D

    my question is what’ll happen when/if NYC gets a team and then all these “fans” switch teams and then the redbulls start having success and NYC tanks??

  67. Simon McDermott says:

    Bring on the NY Cosmos, put them in Brooklyn, or on Randalls Island, Or at Icahn Stadium.

    They can be sponsored by RockStar and we can have a killer rivalry between two energy soft drink companies.

    I’ll be the managing director of the team. I have no experience running a stadium but I know a little bit about soccer. AND I’ve met Thierry Henri. Twice.

  68. kofi_x5 says:

    Not jumping ship but I do agree NYC should have its own team and I’ll keep saying it until it happens.

    I just think NYC teams should be in NYC

    NJ teams should be in NJ

  69. Paul says:

    Northzax said: “the only problem is, few teams run like businesses are successful as teams. as a fan, you don’t want your beloved team to be a profit center, you want it to be a successful team, the two do not always go together.”

    Wow. First of all, I’d like to see what facts you have to support your contention. Second of all, any team that doesn’t make a profit will either be run as a charity or won’t be around long enough to develop fans. If you’re saying you want someone with deep pockets to open up a charity to give you soccer, that’s fine, but let’s not confuse your desire with reality.

    Look, I would love a world class experienced manager to come in and run the team, and I’m surprised that Red Bull, with all they’ve invested in this team, didn’t choose a more qualified candidate. But let’s be realistic: all the real business decisions are made from Salzburg, all the real soccer decisions are made by Osario (as I like it), and the single biggest factor affecting the fan experience over the next 5 years(including mine) besides the quality of the soccer is going to be the sucessful launch of the new stadium. This guy worked for 2 staduim orgs over his career, and just because he worked for NJSEA doesn’t mean he’s a soccer-hater…he already works for a soccer team. I think I have to give this guy a chance. Get us out of the swamp and into RBP by June of next year and he will have my undying gratitude.

  70. inkedAG says:

    Perhaps some of the fans saying they want a NYC team is because there can’t be another team that will f**k up as bad and as consistently as Metro/RBNY has f**ked up. You can’t make the same mistake twice, can you?

  71. brett says:

    inkedAG- then they really couldnt claim themselves as redbull fans could they?? fair-weather fans that shift from one team to another based on success and failure… theres a popular name for them… they’re called plastic fans…

    i live in indy, directly wedge between CLB and CHI…if the fire were doing terrible, what you’re attempting to defend is no different then me saying “well the fire are doing bad, but look at CLB, ontop of the east and the league… GO CREW!!”

    if you consider yourself a fan of a team you stick through the good and the bad times

  72. BK says:

    Don’t get your feathers in a ruffle -the sky is not falling. I know & worked with Stover in SD and I think you will be surprised with what he brings to the table. He is a no BS, GET IT DONE person.

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