Wally Hayward, NORTHWESTERN 1990, is excited about being a part of the new, fresh attitude resonating within the Chicago Cubs organization, with good reason.
After being the first associate hired by the Cubs’ new ownership group, the Ricketts family, when it
bought the team in 2009, Hayward, the team’s executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, witnessed the team hire baseball savant and new team president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and new general manager Jed Hoyer.
Epstein and Hoyer helped end one World Series drought in 2004 when they were general manager and assistant to the general manager, respectively, of the Boston Red Sox baseball team that won its first title since 1918. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908 — that’s 104 years — and Hayward is a now part of a regime that aims to end that dubious distinction.
“We’re very excited about the direction the Cubs are headed both on and off the field,” Hayward said of the hopeful winning forecast in the coming years for the Cubs. “I can tell you from a marketing and a business standpoint, we’re very excited to have Theo, Jed and the rest of the team here because they are building a foundation for us to win consistently for a long period of time.”
Epstein and Hoyer are in charge of building a winning team. Hayward’s job is to market it and drive revenue to provide them the resources necessary on the field. He was hired in October of 2009 to be the chief revenue officer after working with Significant Sig Pat Ryan, NORTHWESTERN 1959, to help organize the city of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Since becoming the right-hand man to the Cubs’ president of business operations, Crane Kenney, Hayward has been in charge of finding new forms of revenue for the team, a challenge that he enjoys.
“We’re really looking at how we continue to drive incremental revenue without putting signs on our outfield ivy wall, so we have to be more innovative on coming up with those ideas,” Hayward says. “We rely on these funds to support our baseball operations function and preserve and improve historic Wrigley Field.”
The ideas Haywards speaks of include revenue-generating non-gameday events including concerts, such as the Roger Waters and Brad Paisley shows hosted in June; Groupon Movie Night featuring The Blues Brothers July 6, sporting events such as the Allstate Wrigleyville Classic college football game between Northwestern University and the University of Illinois in 2010, the international “Friendly at the Confines” soccer match July 22; Cubs Fantasy Camp at Wrigley Field; Wrigley Field Tours; private events with corporate partners; and much more.
Another form of revenue Hayward helped initiate was the new sponsored patio in the right field bleachers this season. The concept was to create a better corporate entertaining experience for groups of 50, 100 or 150 people with an all-inclusive food and beverage package. The new ballpark addition also features a 75-foot Panasonic LED board that displays highly-visible advertising from the team’s corporate partners and new baseball content and facts for fans throughout the ballpark.
The continuous strategizing to help bring in revenue for one of the most famous organizations in professional sports is why Hayward loves his job.
“No day is the same,” he says with a smile. “That’s what I love about this. We love creating new innovative ideas with our partners that will generate incremental revenue, enhancing the overall Cubs experience and creating lifelong memories for our fans.”