As the St. Louis Rams embark on a new year, the team can proudly reflect on the positive strides made on the field and within the community in 2013. Similarly, the Rams also made their presence known in the world of business as many companies benefitted from the team’s problem solving talents.
Leading the way on this particular front is Rams Director of Corporate Sales Chad Watson.
“My job consists of sponsorship sales, media, and suites,” Watson said. “My background was in marketing, so that’s what I specialize more in on the sales side – coming up with ideas that match what a company’s marketing objectives might be. Then I work within our world – our universe of assets with the Rams – to try to find a match that lines up with what the company is already doing.”
Now in his eighth season with the Rams, Watson leads a team that is responsible for marketing partnerships and by the conclusion of 2013, he helped contribute to a record-setting year in corporate sales.
“Our work is diverse, which is why I like it,” Watson said. “We get to talk to a lot of different companies who do a lot of different kinds of things. The most important thing we do is learn about the companies that we’re talking to. I like getting to know marketers that have an interest in sports and what we’re doing, try to be a problem solver, and offering solutions and new ideas to help drive their business.”
Through his work, he has spawned new relationships and nurtured existing ones with partners that directly affect the St. Louis Rams community. Many of the corporate partners that Watson and his team work with have community-centric objectives tied into their contracts. For example, the Rams partner with Ameren Missouri to develop a platform aimed at informing residents regarding the importance of storm preparedness, while Schnucks sponsors “Rams ReciPEs,” a youth initiative designed to teach kids about eating right and leading an active lifestyle.
In addition to his involvement in bridging the needs of the existing Rams partners during the 2013 calendar year, Watson also landed one of the team’s biggest deals in regard to new business. Success continues to follow him. However, they are a direct result of his preceding career experiences.
“I used to be the guy that was spending the money in order to set up the partnerships and promotional support focused on sports and event marketing,” Watson explained. “That’s where it was beneficial because I was there looking for those same kinds of partnerships.”
The Greenville, Ill. native held a multitude of positions in sales, marketing and public relations that helped prepared him for his current job with the Rams, however nothing was more influential than his first job in sports.
“I started as an intern with Fleishman-Hillard, a large PR firm headquartered in St. Louis,” Watson recalled. “My first project was working on the deal to bring the Rams to St. Louis, ironically enough, back in 1994 before the team moved here in 1995.”
After doing his part to help change the sports culture in the Gateway City, Watson transitioned to working with the Anheuser-Busch business in public relations and marketing promotions as an outside agency executive.
“Anheuser-Busch is so heavy in the sports domain and that’s been a passion of mine since I was a kid,” Watson said. “I always wanted to work in sports and I had that opportunity on the Anheuser-Busch business.”
Prior to joining the Rams staff, Watson was recruited by his former Fleishman-Hillard supervisor to work for the St. Louis Blues.
“I was on the marketing side for the Scottrade Center,” Watson explained. “I set up the media buys and promotions for the touring acts that came to the building. My boss also oversaw the sales side of the Blues business, the sponsorship sales side. So that’s how I got involved. She thought it’d be a good fit for me. They had an open position and I transitioned from the marketing side to the sales side with the Blues.”
Then, the Rams came knocking and his story came full circle.
“I’ve been attached to the Rams organization as a fan and as the intern that helped in a very small way to bring professional football back to St. Louis,” Watson said.
His attachment to the team is no understatement. Since moving to St. Louis in 1995, the Rams have played in 313 games, including 157 games as the home team. Of those 157 games, Watson has attended 156.
“I’ve only missed one home game since the team has been in St. Louis,” Watson said. “I was out of town on business and couldn’t get back in time.”
While he’s only broken one streak, he hopes to continue to drive businesses in St. Louis and across the country in preparation for 2014.
“We had a record-setting year in corporate sales,” Watson said. “We want to continue the trend and grow in the area of sponsorship – both locally and nationally. We’re setting our goals right now and we expect to have the best revenue season in the history of the franchise.”
Watson is a 1994 graduate of Bradley University and is surrounded by a loving family including his wife, Erin, and their young sons Brennan and Carter.