Sparks fans wondering who new team president Mike Levy is need only look at his resume. It is pretty long.
Most recently he ran the Cleveland Thunderbolts of the Arena Football League until the team folded. He worked in Major League Baseball for a decade in both Houston and Kansas City. He helped run the Memphis Grizzlies, the Cleveland Browns, and has worked for hockey and soccer teams.
Now Levy is taking on the goals of the Sparks owners: to increase attendance, sponsorship and the general fan base of the team.
“We aim to make the team financially viable for years to come and expand the fan base for years to come,” he said.
Levy has only been on the job since August 9, after the abrupt departure of former team president Kristin Bernert in early June. But it did not take him long to become impressed by the Sparks players.
“Some of us went to a Dodger game, and watching them do interviews and seeing the way they carried themselves-it makes a big difference when you’ve had four years of college,” Levy said. “They’re pretty darned impressive.”
This is Levy’s first job with a women’s professional team, but he’s not a stranger to the game.
“The women’s game isn’t that different from the men’s game, except it’s more fundamentals-based,” he said.
One of his main tasks is to increase walk-up ticket sales, and he plans to attack this through group sales promotions. Some of the main targets will be elementary, middle and high schools.
“We will be reaching out to schools immediately.”
Some of his ideas include working with schools to do fundraisers, and maybe even uniform subsidization or girl’s basketball teams.
Levy is aware that Los Angeles has a reputation for being a tough town in which to sell sports, and perhaps especially the WNBA. But he’s still optimistic.
“There’s a lot of opportunity in this city, because even if you take out the people that don’t like women’s basketball, you still have many more potential fans than in most other cities.”