Gordon Barfield: AMB Sports and Entertainment Director of Business Strategy - Work In Sports Podcast


Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content for WorkInSports.com and this is the Work In Sports podcast…

Right now I’m about to lead into this incredible podcast interview with Gordon Barfield, Director of Business Strategy for AMB Sports And Entertainment -- that’s the ownership group for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC. 

Gordon is incredible. He’s a West Point grad, got his MBA at Wharton and has been crushing it with AMB. We’re going to talk about how the Falcons look to the future of their business, the strategy behind cashless transactions inside the stadium and how they build their fan base and community. 

All extremely valuable conversations. 

We will not be talking about Coronavirus, because when I recorded this interview three weeks ago ...it hadn’t really happened yet. 

So take this as a break from all the chaos. Learn more about sports business, find out if this is a side of the industry that interests you...because we will get back to normal, hopefully sooner rather than later, and you want to be prepared.

Here’s Gordon Barfield!


Questions for Gordon Barfield, AMB Sports and Entertainment Director of Business Strategy


1: Before we get into your world in business strategy and all the steps you took to get there – I want to talk about your military background and the synergy you find between the military and sports.

You are a West Point grad and active duty in the Army until 2014 – we have many, many people with a military background who transition into the sports world – why do you think that is, and why was it that way for you?

2: Your background was in Mechanical Engineering, and then after the Army, you got your MBA from Wharton – why this step? Problem-solving traits

3: At this time had you figured out who you wanted to be when you grew up, or were you still searching for your long-term fit?

4: You joined AMB Sports and Entertainment just about two years ago, which is the parent company for the Falcons, Atlanta United, Mercedes Benz stadium and some of Arthur Blanks other ventures, you joined them as Director of Business Strategy.

This was your first true gig in sports – were there any eye-opening moments when you first got started with AMB?

5: What would you say is the main thrust of your role with the organization? What does it mean to be the Director of Business Strategy, seems like a pretty broad title…

6: I interviewed the talent acquisition lead for a Major League baseball team and she said the role that was in highest demand for their organization was business strategy and analysis. Since you are in this side of the industry – tell us, what traits or skills make someone successful in business analysis and strategy?

7:  I’ve worked with people throughout my career who are great at ideas, but not as strong in execution, and then others who were the opposite, no ideas, great at execution --- how important is it in your eyes to be able to balance both sides? To be able to come up with ideas that can help the organization and be able to execute on them?

8: You led the transition at Mercedes-Benz stadium to a cashless transaction model, which is truly groundbreaking.  Why was this important for the long-term goals of the operation?

9: What does success look like to you in this role?

10: In your background in both the military and a highly successful organization like AMB, you’ve been exposed to many different types of leaders… what makes a good leader?

Follow: Have you had to change your style of leadership from the military into the executive suite…or are there parallels?

11: We’ll finish up with this -- someone with a military background hasn’t had the time or ability to do internships or go about the “normal” process of transitioning to a career in sports or otherwise. What advice would you give someone who has served their country and is now trying to transition to a sports career?


Thanks to Gordon for coming on the show … so much great insight into the sports business world and transitioning from the military to the private sector. I know many of our veterans in the audience will appreciate all he shared!

Thanks for listening every one -- stay safe out there, stay quarantined, and listen to more podcasts.

By Brian Clapp | March 18, 2020
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