Tune in, as Djorn Buchholz, Executive Director for the National Soccer Hall of Fame joined our podcast to discuss the latest in marketing, promotions, operations, communications, sponsorship, partnerships, and a whole lot more in US soccer.
More about Djorn Buchholz, Executive Director, National Soccer Hall of Fame
Djorn Buchholz has spent the last 20+ years in upper management of professional soccer in all areas from marketing, operations, administration, communications, customer experience, promotions, sponsorship and partnerships, media relations, public relations, sales, general management, as well as CEO for the 2011 championship winning and 2012 runner-up North American Soccer League team, the Minnesota Stars FC/Minnesota United, Director of Fan Experience for the 2013 Major League Soccer Champions Sporting KC, President of Louisville City FC of the United Soccer Leagues, Chief Commercial Officer for the Austin Aztex of the USL, Venue Operations Manager for the 2016 Copa America Centenario at NRG Stadium in Houston, Venue Manager for 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Venue Manager for 2019 Gold Cup at NRG Stadium in Houston, Venue Manager for 2021 Gold Cup at AT&T Stadium and the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, as Owner/President of Djorn, S.O.S., a company which has provided emergency and traditional soccer operational needs to high-level matches and professional soccer clubs, and as Executive Director of the new National Soccer Hall of Fame.
PODCAST Transcript – Djorn Buchholz, Executive Director, National Soccer Hall of Fame
Hello. Welcome back, everyone. This is James Giglio with the MVP Interactive Podcast. Today, we have a great guest, Djorn Buchholz. He is the Executive Director of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and as we learn, we’ll hear about his extensive experience in soccer as well as other organizations.
He is a seasoned professional soccer executive with over 20 years Experience ranging from marketing, promotions, operations, communication, sponsorship, partnership, and a whole lot more. Djorn was the CEO of the 2011 championship winning 2012 runner up North American Soccer League, the Minnesota Stars FC, as well as the founder and president of Jorn SOS, a company which provides emergency Traditional soccer operational needs to high level matches, professional soccer clubs, Jordan.
Welcome! And I, my first question off the bat, have you been a janitor? I feel like you’ve done it all.
I actually was a janitor in college. I worked at a community college on the cleaning crew. So I’ve done my fair share of toilets and floors.
Unbelievable. Well, yeah, I always. Going into meetings, I sometimes joke to break the ice to say that I’m just the janitor of MVP interactive because as a leader, I guess sometimes if you have that mindset, it’s a positive one, right? You keep your hands dirty.
Sometimes you gotta do it all to get the job done.
Absolutely! Well, we’ll get right into it, Djorn. We really appreciate your time here. And, as your background indicated, I mean, for 20 years of experience, we like to start the podcast off with giving a little bit of background on you as an individual and an executive.
So if you could just walk, walk us through the journey of your career and the fact that it spans so many different roles and, and years.
Yeah. Well, I mean, you said this podcast was 20 to 40 minutes, but I could probably drone on for longer than that depending on the number of places I’ve been fortunately, um, you know, but I’m originally from Nebraska, grew up in a small town, Hastings, Nebraska.
My dad helped start the soccer program at the YMCA there. One of my earliest photos is of me with a soccer ball next to my head. So I think it was destined to happen and I played in high school there,played college at Hastings college. And then when I got done with college, I didn’t really know what I was going to do.
So, it was suggested, did you know that you could actually potentially work in sports? So I sent out a ton of resumes to soccer teams and ended up. My first job was in Indiana with the Indiana Blast, which is a minor league soccer team.I took the job of director of operations and media.
I had no idea what that meant. Just went out there and figured it out. Started to meet some people in the soccer world, went to Minnesota to be in marketing at the Minnesota Thunder, which was a second division team at that time. And the guy who was the general manager of the team by the name of Jim Frosled.
I’d gone into his office, one of my early days there and said, Hey, I want to be in your shoes someday. If you can keep me included in meetings that maybe you wouldn’t normally do and things like that. And he really, he put me under his wing and it was just a few years later at the ripe old age of 24 that he left and made me general manager of the Minnesota Thunder, which was quite a scary proposition and spent several years.
They’re left to go to Austin to work for a team there for a year, then move to Orlando. I went back to Minnesota, worked a few more years there. And so kind of been all over Kansas city, following that Louisville, Kentucky, after that back to Austin, Texas, short little stint in Oklahoma city. And now, got lucky enough in, in 2017 to take on this job at the national soccer hall of fame.
And I’m proud to say it’s the, just this last June, it became the longest place I’ve been in my career. And it actually has felt nice. So I’ve broken a record this year.
Yeah. Well, that’s phenomenal. Boy, a 24 year old GM. Now, uh, how close of age were you with the players at that most?
Most of them were older than me, you know?
So that was a very, that was an interesting role in one that I look back on it as one of my favorite roles, cause it really made you grow up fast, you know? Uh, from sales and marketing manager to literally sitting at a coffee shop and having the general manager telling me that he’s taking a new job and he’d like me to be the new GM.
And I just remember going back to my car and just staring at myself in the rearview mirror going what in the world is happening here? But just a fantastic opportunity. And like I said, I mean, small organization, right, four or five employees, but I mean, you’re running a giant soccer team. So it was a lot of fun, a lot of stress in minor league soccer at that time.
I mean, this is 2004, it was challenging, you would spend all week trying to figure out between doing camps, selling tickets, how in the world were you going to make payroll in two weeks? You’d get through payroll.
You’d celebrate and then all of a sudden you looked at yourself and went, wow, we got to do that again in two weeks and figure it out. It was fascinating.
Well, as you were speaking, I was thinking, boy, I mean, there’s a lot to relate as a small business owner and an entrepreneur. I mean, you had talked about wearing many hats and two weeks has never come quicker than running payroll, right?
There’s no break and bills have to be paid. And most importantly, your colleagues and your, um, your associates. And so, you know, that’s interesting. So we’re in and around different athletes here at MVP Interactive and whether we’re producing a photo shoot or some type of experience, maybe even recording a podcast, you don’t want to group athletes all together in sort of one bucket, but I’ve noticed certain trends in behavior characteristics within different athletes.
And I think right there with hockey players, you have soccer players as being generally some of the more polite and sort of friendly, professional athletes. And so I’m curious to know how they sort of handled and treated you as a 24 year old GM. Um, maybe they broke that stereotype and I mean, maybe some of the older vets, maybe razzed you a little bit, but talk to us a little bit.
We had great teams at that time from individual standpoints. I mean let’s be honest. I mean, it was minor league soccer at the time as well. So they weren’t making, Hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was as a professional soccer team that a lot of time was a bunch of blue collar soccer players, so it was kind of this group mentality of, Hey, we’re all in this together.
And you know what, there were times where payroll was a day late, you know, and you got to go out there and talk to the team and be like, Hey. It’s coming, you know, but it’s going to be tomorrow, not today, you know and I think, you know, there was, there was a lot of respect back and forth. You just got to be open and honest with them.
You know, they’re, they’re individuals, right? They got bills to pay. Uh, you just had to be, you had to be honest with them. And if you were up front, they were, they were on your team, you know? So it was fantastic. Those are some of the most, you know, proud moments of my career, really those early days of running the Minnesota Thunder.
And I’m sure you had said it really forced you to kind of grow up, but I think professionally, maybe as someone that hasn’t been in the corporate world right out of school, or you’re kind of getting your feet wet with your role or your position and trying to figure out where you want to go, but you don’t realize the importance or the significance of.
being thrown into the fire as a, as the best way to kind of learn. And, and if you have good colleagues and support that can kind of help mentor you and, um, it’s an invaluable experience, right?
It really was. I mean, it was like the first, I mean, it was March. I think it was 2005 when I got promoted to general manager and the season was.
A month away, you know, so it was, it was drinking from a fire hose, you know, right away, you know what I mean? Just things that I had never even thought about. I mean, workers comp, right. I’d never thought about that kind of stuff in my entire life, you know, and benefits for the entire organization and just payroll.
I mean, that’s what payroll taxes, what, you know? So it was just things that, you know, I hadn’t really dealt with before that you just had to kind of get thrown in and, and figure it out, you know, and get the right people around you from an accounting standpoint, from other managers in and around, you know, to, to really help you.
But yeah, it was again, really invaluable, you know, I mean, I feel lucky that that happened, um, because, you know, I think a lot of people in the sports world are tough, you know, and. It’s hard to move up. And a lot of times in order to move up, you got to move on, you know, and go somewhere else and which I’ve had to do as well, but, you know, I think in, in that happening in my career, I think it allowed me to take some steps, you know, from a sales and marketing manager to a general manager, and maybe skip some of those executive vice presidents, you know, and like things that you have to put in time with, you know, and just really get thrown into the fire. So I, I feel lucky, you know, that that kind of pushed my career, I think forward in a way that I don’t think a lot of people have the opportunity to have.
Yeah. You know, you see that a lot in sports with colleagues kind of going from organization to organization. And, um, not to say they’re as broad as your background in terms of, you know, switching departments and roles.
But, you know, we’ve seen many times that, uh, you know, sports executives, they sort of look to get to that particular. Ladder to achieve a certain title or level of executive, right. And, um, you know, interesting enough, we had another client or excuse me, a current client of ours that his background was fairly similar where he was involved in an upstart sports league, it was technically a professional league and, you know, as a GM or a CEO of that particular team, he had to handle those responsibilities, but when he went back to the, you know, the four or five major teams, you know, I think he, you know, his.
His sort of step back from a title or most people would see as a demotion. He was much more in his comfort level because of that experience. Right. And he’s excelling, even though that title isn’t as sort of glamorous as GM or CEO.
No, I mean I get that. I mean, I went from being really what was CEO of the Minnesota United in 2012 to, which was a second division team at that time to.
I took a role as director of fan experience at Sporting Kansas City, which was at a major league soccer team. Um, you know, but the title was clearly different, you know, but that’s sometimes what you got to do when you’re jumping into a league that’s a step up and it’s got a lot more individuals around it. So, yeah, I understand that.
Yeah, so interesting that you bring up sporting Casey because the nascent sort of popularity years, I would say, probably just about 10 years ago, right? The explosion of MLS here and the expansion of different teams. I do recall Kansas City being one of the more forward thinking organizations when it came to fan experience.
So this is a nice surprise that you were the guy behind the curtain there, right?
A little bit I mean, I was there for a little bit less than two years because I ended up taking a job in Louisville, Kentucky. But, when I went there in 20, pretty sure it was 2013, um, the fan experience there was great.
So I can’t take credit for building it. I just kind of put maybe some extra touches on top of it to make it just even better. Um, and that was really my goal there. They are, again, like I said, an amazing fan experience built by many people. Before my time there, but you know what I mean?
It helps when you’ve got a shiny brand new stadium, like they did. There was only a couple of years old in the sporting park at the time. And, um, but yeah, that was a fun opportunity for me and my first real opportunity in the big leagues.
Yeah. So of all the roles, I mean, you’ve had them all including janitor.
And again, you don’t have to speak to an organization to keep it fair and friendly, but putting you on the spot here of all the roles that you’ve held. I mean, would you be able to kind of rank them in terms of what was your, your most favorite to maybe your least favorite?
Yeah, well, yeah, a little bit. I think I hold near and dear to my heart all of my time I spent in Minnesota. It was a fantastic time. It was a challenging time at times and we had multiple different ownership groups. Uh, very infamously, we’ve got an ownership group that kind of disappeared at the end of 2009 and left the organization high and dry and many of us hadn’t been paid in months.
But then. I left in 2010 and I had an opportunity to go back there in 2011 when it was a league owned team. The league had come in to step in and take it over, but the league was like, Hey, we can’t do this forever. We need somebody to come in and help us run this ship.
Uh, I equated a little bit sometimes to like flipping a house like it was a team that was, struggling fan base, it was struggling and kind of, I felt like the team that we brought in kind of came in and we put new shutters on it, and we painted the house and we just kind of got lucky in the 2011 we won the championship, you know?
So I say we kind of won the best yard on the block award that put a lot of eyes on us. I mean, we were a league owned team in 2011 and had probably the smallest player budget and went out and won the league. Uh, and then the following year lost in penalty kicks in 2012.
And it was really that 2012 season that kind of got the eye of a gentleman by the name of Bill McGuire. He was the former CEO of UnitedHealthcare in Minneapolis. And he ended up purchasing the team, uh, that fall of 2012 and has brought it to where it is today, took it to major league soccer with other investors.
And I’m really fond of that experience in that, being able to, with the team that we brought in and the fans being able to kind of save that team, if you will, cause it was on the brink of going away. And to be able to ensure the long term viability of that organization is probably,I think you’ll talk to a lot of people that were involved at that time, probably one of our proudest moments.
Um, so that was, I’ve got a lot of fond memories from there. Um, I love my time in Kansas city. It was shorter than, you know, I maybe wanted it to be just because I got an opportunity in Louisville, Kentucky. And went there. But this one for me at the National Soccer Hall of Fame is probably ranked right up there with Minnesota as well.
Something completely out of my wheelhouse. You look at my resume. I’ve never worked at a museum, if you will, but this one really spoke to me, though, because the Hall of Fame had disappeared in 2010. It used to be up in Oneonta, New York, went away, and there were these discussions about bringing it back online, bringing back a brick and mortar building.
And I just thought, God, what a great opportunity to come in and put a stamp on something. And again, Try to ensure the long term viability of an organization. And I’m a soccer guy, and a lot of the people, the men and women that are enshrined in this building are my heroes so being able to, finally bring a Hall of Fame back online, a place for them to celebrate their careers and I mean, it’s a passion play as well, to be able to create something for them because at the end of the day.
Watching all those individuals play, uh, has brought me to where I am in my career. So I felt it was a way to, to really give back to those individuals as well. So this has been a really fun one. And like I said, something completely out of my wheelhouse, but it’s got a lot of great support in U.S. soccer, in the Hunt family, the city of Frisco. I don’t have to worry about payroll every two weeks. Be there, you know? So it’s mostly just focusing on making just a fantastic experience here at the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s fantastic and how fortunate, I guess we can say this for both of us on your behalf, but to be able to work in an industry, in a profession that you had mentioned passion points, not only as a fan, but bringing that pleasure and passion to the folks that attend the museum and if there’s anyone that knows soccer, it’s clearly you. So I can share your happiness if that makes sense.
Yeah. And I told people when I was interviewing for this job and there were a lot of them. A lot of people in the room use soccer. I mean, the hunt family, Jimmy Smith, who’s the CEO Dallas, and I give them a lot of credit and selfishly, I think they made the right decision, but they could have gone that path of, Hey, let’s hire a curator, executive director, somebody with a museum background, and then have them try to tell the story of soccer, teach them the soccer side, right? And what I loved about what they did is they actually did the opposite approach. They went out and found somebody who was passionate about the sport of soccer.
Then, hey, let’s have that person learn about the curating components of running a museum. And I give them a lot of credit for that because they could have gone the other way and I don’t know how that would have worked out, I mean, it could have been fine. but I think the passion for the sport and then learning the other pieces to make sure you can tell it correctly preserve things accurately. I think those are all things that can be learned. But I think it’s hard to find the right people with the right passion to tell the story.
Yeah, and I think that’s amazing to hear from, their hiring decision and that’s the approach they eventually went to, but I think that maybe give yourself a little bit of credit in the sense that your background from the executive standpoint and running a team even if they needed someone that kind of take a look at the museum from a P and L perspective or an operations perspective, like that’s not the quote easy part.
I mean, it’s arduous, it’s difficult and it’s a different part of your brain than being a fan or bringing in the passion. So I really actually love that story in terms of them kind of flipping the script on that.
Yeah, I thought it was really cool and I think they made the right decision and I think it plays out inside this building when you come in, you can tell that soccer people put it together and figured out how to do the museum part.
Yeah, you had mentioned a couple of ownership groups and it’s one of the things working in and around sports from. Once being a fan to now being a counterpart in the industry is that despite the player salaries, despite the, the billion dollar valuations, a lot of these organizations are really just family owned businesses.
Right? And some, some families are better than others. And so I think the passion of the ownership too, really comes to play with how successful organizations, not always, but if you look back and think of all of the owners that are in the news, or the ones that are famous or infamous, it’s because they did carry that level of passion and their organizations were successful.
I’m just calling back that experience in Minnesota where it sounded like ownership from that perspective disbanded the team, or I was not aware of that, but can maybe talk through us like that must’ve been very difficult and whatever happened, I mean, if they just kind of Hold the… The name is escaping me, but the guy that left the Browns and went to Baltimore, like in the middle, was Art Rooney.
Yeah. No, it was in Minnesota and we had several different ownership groups and we had an individual who was originally from St. Paul who lived in Belgium. A real estate developer came in and bought the team and was into it for about a year. And then I don’t think the financial backings were actually there behind the scenes, uh, which became very apparent and just kind of not, I wouldn’t say skip town, but just.
Stop. Hey, money’s coming to help pay for this. And it never did and I’ll tell you, I mean, this is out there, but in 2009, we had made the playoffs. Uh, we didn’t have money to pay for the playoff tickets. Uh, so guess who put 50, 000 on his credit card to pay for the team to go to Puerto Rico.
Uh, you’re looking at him just because I was like, I can’t be the general manager. They know that didn’t send his team to a playoff game. So I did it and never got that money back that’s been written about but that’s not a secret that’s out there, but that was tough times. To get through that and you learn from it, I’ll never do that again.
Well, I hope American Express or Chase or whomever Bank of America, whoever you work with was fair.
We settled, but it certainly hurt. So.
Yeah, I can imagine. Well I’m sorry that you went through that personal experience. I can certainly relate to it again, as a small business owner, but you definitely..
But then you come to a place like this, with FC Dallas, because of national soccer, and we’ll talk about this maybe a little bit. The national soccer hall of fame is built into the stadium where FC Dallas plays, we’re two different organizations.
But we take up the south end where the Hall of Fame is, so, the Hunt family, Dan and Clark Hunt, they also won the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt. I mean, one of the most famous sports people of all time. When you talk about that family business component, I mean, I remember my first month here.
I mean, I made it important to go around and just talk to employees that worked for FC Dallas and I’d go down and sit down and talk to some of you like, okay, so like, how long have you been here? And the numbers I was hearing were like 10 years, 12, 14, 25. And I was like, what is going on, that to me, that was completely abnormal in the sports world.
It really, and now that I’ve been here longer than any other place I’ve been in my career, I get it. It is a family organization over there. Dan Hunt is in the office every day. He’s a great guy to be around. You can pop into his office. So it’s been really great to see and just the passion they have for this sport, for the sport of football for really all sports is phenomenal to see. And, the support of the family has been nothing but astonishing. So I get it. And yes, family organization is this place through and through.
That’s fantastic. And, and let’s talk about the sport a little bit, in 20 plus years, you’ve seen a complete transformation of fledgling leagues to the growth of MLS and the popularity of, Olympic national teams and now women’s sports and women’s national team and the success that they’ve having, they’ve had maybe talk to us about what you’ve seen, the ebbs and flows in terms of trends, the growth of soccer, and then where you see the future.
Yeah, it’s been really interesting to watch, I mean, really, since MLS, I was in my college house watching the first MLS game, in 1996, I believe, and just seeing how it’s grown since then. I mean, you think back about, in 2000, I mean, this lead major league soccer had a major issue, owners wanted to fold the league because it wasn’t working. And the hunt families stepped up, Robert Kraft, I think the Cronkies,, a few other people stepped up and basically we’re each taken over like two or three teams a piece. And, you talk about the growth.
I mean, back then you and I could have in 2000 during that meeting, you and I could have bought a major league soccer franchise for 5 million. Wow. 5 million. And now what, we’re 23 years later and they’re selling for.. I don’t even remember what the last one was. 500 million. Yeah. Yeah. I’m thinking of LAFC, right?
Like even the newer teams, how many, just like crazy you and I could have sold our team. For quite a return. So that just right there shows you the amount of growth in the league. And then you’ve got the women’s league NWSL that has prior to that had gone through a lot of iterations, WPS and was struggling and now I think they’ve really found their foothold and been around for, for years and you think about the excitement that this country is going to have over the course of the next three years when it comes to soccer in this country. I mean, you’ve got a world cup at 26. You’ve got Copa America coming next year. You got the club world cup coming in 2025, maybe a women’s world cup coming here in 2027 or 2031.
I mean, the excitement is just out of control and there’s just so much opportunity for soccer in this country right now. It’s been phenomenal to see and it’s not going away. It’s only going to continue.
Yeah, and you’re thinking about this trend now I’m thinking of Messi and maybe other international players before him where understandably, they may be at the August of their career from a peak standpoint, and then they come to the MLS and they still are able to dominate.
And I think Messi is an outlier despite any of them. Right? But do you see that trend changing to where international players are more enticed because of the forefathers, if you will, of coming over to the MLS?
I think absolutely. I mean, I remember when Messi was signing here and people were saying, well, it’s the end of his career and this, that, and people have such short memories.
I mean, it was less than a year ago that he took his team and won the world cup and won the best player of the tournament. Less than a year ago. You can’t tell me that guy’s on the downward slide of his career. He’s got several good years left in him, but I do think that is a trend that’s going to start happening.
I mean, what better player to set the trend than, than messy? We’ve seen them over the years. I mean, David Beckham came, he was not at the end of his career. He played at the galaxy for five years and then went on to play at AC Milan for a couple so that wasn’t the end of his career.
And you’ve seen some other big names, Tyrion Rhee, he came here and played for several years. So, I think, now that, You look at the kind of money that is messy,is going to be making here. I think other players can look at that and go, wow, this league can now support players like that, uh, to come here in the prime of their career.
And I think teams are going to start going after them because you’re going to have to, to compete with your neighbor down the road.
Yeah, what’s smart too with that deal with Beckham and Messi with, as it relates to Miami is, maybe the younger generation as they are a little bit more business savvy than some are some other athletes, um, in the past where they can look at the opportunity as less of, okay, well, I can make a little bit more maybe for Saudi league or the premier league, but there’s real equity stake and there’s, there’s, whether it’s sponsorship, whether it’s real equity and ownership, I think that is, that’s something that from a business perspective, I think younger generation can really, really dig into.
Yep, I absolutely agree. And I think that that’s something that this league is innovative about, I mean, with Beckham, I mean, part of his deal for coming here was in the future, you’d have the ability to buy a franchise for 20 million. Well, how long has Miami been around now, like four years and he got it for 20 million.
And well, four years ago, franchises were going for hundreds of millions of dollars, what an investment for him, and, and his group in that, in that equity component. And then, yeah. You bring the best player in the world over, you know?
Yeah. And it’s crazy to think that a market like Miami wouldn’t have a popular team at one point, right?
Yeah. Right. Right.
So let’s talk about the museum a little bit. Admittedly, I, um, unfortunately I have not been to the museum personally. I think I mentioned before the show here that I do have family nearby, so it gives me another excuse to head down to Frisco and Check out the museum, but maybe talk us through what fans and visitors can expect by what that experience is?
Yeah. So as I mentioned, I mean, there used to be a hall of fame, uh, that closed down in 2010. But induction ceremonies were still happening. They would, U. S. soccer was running them. They would happen at a, in the parking lot of a San Jose Earthquakes game or something like that, but there wasn’t a home.
So it was really about 2015 that U. S. soccer, uh, the city of Frisco, the Frisco Independent School District and the Hunt family got together to figure out how to bring this thing back online. And what ended up happening was really a 60 million investment into the south end of Toyota Stadium. The stadium has been here since 2005.
This has given it kind of a new shiny front, if you will. Um, but there was an important piece, I know we keep using the word museum cause people relate to that, but I remember when I came into the stadium for the first time I’d gotten the job and I looked down at the South end.
I called it the National Soccer Hall of Fame at the time because it was just a big hole in the south end of the stadium, but it did say their future home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum on the south end. And I was just looking at it and I was like, God, I feel like we need to get rid of that word museum, because sometimes, to me, that seems like something I don’t want to do when my grandparents come to town is go to the museum. So we kind of got rid of that word and we’ve kind of taken it out and we call ourselves the National Soccer Hall of Fame Experience.
Now. You got to back that up, right? If you’re going to be experienced. So, certainly we’ve got over 400 artifacts in here that tell the history of the game. But I think one of the most important things we did, uh, as we partnered with a company by the name of NEC, uh, and NEC has gone in and provided us with facial recognition to use inside of the building.
So what that means is when people come in, we’ve got some tablets set up for them. We asked them if we could take their photo. Cause right when we brought this online. This old iPhone decided to come out with facial recognition, and it kind of became the norm. So the timing was perfect, but people come in, we take their photo, we ask them where they’re from, their favorite soccer teams in this country, their fan level, am I new to soccer, am I a super fan, and their favorite soccer positions.
And then based on that, when they go into the experience, There are 13 audio visual experiences that recognize them when they walk up to it and give them information that we think is going to be most interesting to them based on what they put into their registration. So at the end of the day, no two people have the same experience inside of the hall of fame, uh, which is why we’ve coined ourselves the most personalized experience in sports.
And I think we can back that up and people come in and if you go up to the Hall of Fame wall where all of the Hall of Famers live inside this AV, you walk up, your picture comes up, you push on your photo, uh, and hey, for me, like, it’ll, it’ll put a recommended list out of Hall of Famers that are from Nebraska and that played forward and, we’re playing on some of my favorite teams. It suggests all the things that we think are going to be most interesting to you. So it’s, it’s, it’s a fascinating building. The challenge is how do you keep pushing the envelope,on things and where do you get funding to push the envelope,which is a big discussion we’re having right now on what’s next for the hall of fame.
But yeah, it’s, it’s a really phenomenal building and I think it was so smart to build it inside of an active state, active stadium. Uh, I think a lot of times hall of fames are in standalone buildings in town and they probably at times I’m sure they struggle because, at the end of the day in the hall of fame.
We don’t pay rent, right? We’re included in the stadium bill, you know? Well, jeez, what a great number to not have to cover on a monthly basis. So we can think about what are really the things that are going to drive ticket revenue. So,
Yeah, that’s really great. We work with the Green Bay Packers and, and actually with their Hall of Fame division as well.
And so that’s one of the other few. Hall of fame or museums that are built into the stadium there, which is great. And so it’s great to hear that the technology piece was a driver for you guys. And that really does again, we see this from a very focused lens as a technology company.
And so it’s always nice to hear that, um, lifestyle centers, if you will really leverage that to the best of their ability. Capabilities. And when we talk to other halls of fame or museums, they’re nonprofit. And so budgeting and, and funding is always a particular issue when it comes to technology because granted it’s not the most, it comes with a price tag.
Right. And so how do you, how does your organization sort of handle, like what’s hot? Like w w where do you really say, okay, this is a nice to have versus a must have, and walk us through that.
Yeah. We’ve been open for almost five years now. From a technology standpoint, we haven’t made a ton of changes yet.
Um, from an actual, like, call it hardware perspective, right? We’re, we’re thinking about what’s next, looking at new technologies out there. So like I said, we haven’t made a ton of changes yet. We make our own, we’re very excited. We make our annual changes, things we need to do.
I mean, keeping current with new teams coming in and new inductees going in and things like that. But we’re really at the point right now where I’ve put together a strategic plan for the board last year to really make us look forward to the next 10 years. What does this place look like?
And then figuring out how to come up with the funding for that is it. A fundraising campaign. Do we come out with trying to push to get an endowment in place for the hall of fame? So we’ve got a budget on an annual basis to do things. So all real discussions that we’re having right now, um, and to think about really what’s next.
That’s right. Yeah. I mean, it was amazing to see that, Dallas or the greater Dallas area being next to the other incumbents in terms of where the committee was looking to put these games.
So that’s awesome. So on that note I think I was in Frisco maybe four or five years ago, maybe six years ago at the national sports forum. Um, and at that time there was. Just amazing construction going on there. It just seemed like, okay, something’s happening here. Not quite sure what it was, but there was a baseball stadium.
There was something else being there was an e sports facility being built.the hall of fame obviously is there. So talk to us about the growth of that area.
Yeah, I mean, even since the time that I’ve been here, which is six years now, I’ve just seen the incredible growth when the stadium went in, I mean, people tell me stories over there when this Toyota stadium went in, in 2005, I mean, it was, it was pastures.
There wasn’t a tollway. Uh, the road out front here that now sees like 250, 000 cars a day, was just a two lane kind of side road and think about what that is now to the north of us, I mean, Dallas is south of us, north of us. I mean, you just keep driving up the tollway and it’s like.
The communities never end. Uh, the PGA has moved right up the street. Uh, got a big giant facility up there. The Cowboys are just down the street with their, with the star, with their practice facility. It’s really just incredible to see my favorite grocery store, H E B, just moved in over here.
Uh, that’s never been this far north before. So, uh, it’s just really incredible to, to see
That sounds like a new sponsorship opportunity, right?
Well, they already sponsored the, I mentioned that, but, but truly like the greatest grocery store ever, by the way, but, um, but yeah, it’s just been, it’s been phenomenal to see the growth and, and, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.
I mean, Toyota’s down the street, right? I mean. It’s phenomenal and so I think about when Lamar decided to put the stadium here, people thought he was probably a little bit nuts, but now you look around and just like, it’s kind of its own city, and the other cities around it. I mean, the apartment buildings, I mean, there’s enough people probably within a.
A four mile radius to fill this stadium 10 times, so, it’s just, it’s, it’s incredible to see what’s going on.
It’s constantly Ray ranked pretty high in terms of quality of life, affordability, happiness, all of that good stuff. Although it’s funny, this is just pure anecdotal, but that trip that I made, I think I landed.
It was. It was, uh, 30 degrees. It was hail, but by the time I left, it was 90 degrees in February. That’s how, that’s how, that’s how we roll here right now. So yeah. Yeah. Well, Jordan, this was absolutely fascinating. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day. We like to give our listeners an opportunity to stay close with our guests.
So whatever you’re comfortable with in terms of social profiles or where people can reach out to you, please disclose that. And, um, I’ll let you get on your way here.
Yeah, of course! So if anybody wants to follow the National Soccer Hall of Fame, our handles across all platforms, Facebook, Instagram, all of us at soccer, H O F.
Uh, and then I’m also available on Twitter, which is just my full name. Jordan Beholds, D J O R N B U C H H O L Z. So come on out and give us a follow and come visit us here in Frisco.
All right. Fantastic. Well, that’s another episode, everyone. Thanks for listening until next time. Enjoy.
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