MARIA BARTIROMO, FBN HOST: I sat down with San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York ahead of his team’s battle for a sixth Super Bowl victory. Take a watch.
Congratulations to you and the 49ers going back to the big game, …JED YORK, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS CEO: Well, I mean, that’s what we’re focused on right now is you won the championship game a couple of weeks ago, and now we have to focus on winning one more. And it’s huge for the organization, but it’s certainly a big deal for the business side of things as well.
BARTIROMO: Well, tell me about that. I mean, the business of owning and running an NFL team, tell me about that and what’s most important in terms of your priorities.
YORK: To me, it’s winning. I mean, if we lose money, that doesn’t really matter to me at this point. We’re focused on getting a championship, but obviously as a business you want to make sure that you take advantage of being in this spot and take care of your partners, take care of your sponsors and suite holders and everything and continue to build and grow the business. And for us, it’s more of the surrounding businesses that my family is a part of in and around the team.
BARTIROMO: Well, I think this is a great point, and your career, you come from the business world, right? I mean, you were an analyst at Guggenheim Partners. You worked in New York and several other areas looking specifically at growth, so how do you apply that to owning a team and looking at revenue opportunities and making money at the end of the day?
YORK: I mean, for us it’s really about taking our expertise and running a sports franchise. We invested in Leeds United, a team in the English football league. We’ve looked at a lot of things in and around sports, and we’ve tried to build and grow business that either touch the 49ers or are outside the 49ers, and we’ve helped incubate some companies. We’ve invested in a lot of companies, and those are things that, to me, I would much rather make more money from those areas than try to focus just on the team itself where we try to put a lot of money back in and make sure that our coaches, our players, our entire staff has everything that they need to be successful.
BARTIROMO: And I know that you’re -- the team is also all in on that as well, having devoted so many hours to philanthropy as well as serving different companies. It’s all connected, isn’t it? Tells us about that. You’re going into the Super Bowl right now in Miami, and this has got to be the biggest event bar none right now.
Not only that, but you’ve got the Super Bowl in Miami. So you’ve got all these other things going on, musicians and tourism. It’s quite different than something like, I don’t know, Minneapolis or another city. Characterize that for us, how big Miami is in terms of the Super Bowl.
YORK: Well, Miami’s awesome. You know, we’ve been fortunate enough to win two Super Bowls in Miami in the past, and it’s such an amazing city. South Florida’s fantastic. They’ve done a great job of hosting. You know, I can’t tell you how many people are here, but the streets are packed, the restaurants are packed, and when you look at the economic impact that a Super Bowl brings, I mean, it’s hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, in economic impact, and there’s not many places you’d rather be than Miami right now.
BARTIROMO: Yes. I mean, but how did that differ than where you play normally? I mean, Levi Stadium, you know, is obviously iconic as well, but what are you expecting in terms of this weekend?
YORK: Well, I mean, I think you’re going to have fans from all across the league obviously. We have a lot of our fans here. The Chiefs will have a lot of fans here, but it’s so different to go from playing in your stadium where it’s all of your fans and everything is kind of set to -- I mean, this is -- this is much more of a made-for-TV show.
And trying to get our players to be able to focus on blocking out all that noise and knowing that, you know, there’s still 60 minutes of football to play, it’s no different than the first time you played in Pop Warner. You just have to get out there and get -- you know, get ready for playing the game, but the stage is just so huge when, you know, Fox thankfully is hosting this game. You guys will have, you know, 150 million people watching your network on Sunday. I mean, it’s just -- it’s a phenomenal experience.
BARTIROMO: You know, I’m glad you brought that up really, Jed, because the truth is is when you look at the broadcast experience, the pomp and circumstance, the pregame, the midgame, the, you know, half time, the post game. You know, broadcast brings a certain euphoria to the game that I wonder if it can be matched anywhere else. I mean, when you look -- as an owner, do you have an opinion in terms of this upcoming renewal, for example?
You’ve got the four major broadcasters obviously doing games, but you’ve struck deals with others as well. The NFL has certainly. You know Facebook wants in, Amazon wants in, all these, you know, online distributors want in. Characterize the difference in terms of Fox Broadcast versus some of these online players that would like to also distribute the game.
YORK: Well, I mean I think you still see TV as the largest medium. I mean, we are -- we're doing really well with sort of the -- the broadcasting and streaming and things like that, but TV is still where the vast majority of viewers watch.
And like anything, I think that's going to continue to change and evolve. But when you look at Fox, especially, you know, whether it's Troy and Joe who are doing the game on Sunday or, you know, the fifth or sixth crew, Fox always brings an unbelievable element to covering a live NFL game. And I don't think that that expertise is ever going to go away.
I mean, I always feel like those -- those traditional companies are going to be there and there's going to continue to be enhancements, whether it's from the Amazons of the world or Netflix or those types of things, but I think TV still has a huge, huge roll to play in broadcasting live sports, especially the NFL.
BARTIROMO: Yes, you've also got aiding all ticket and sweet sales for the 49er's this year and beyond was the introduction of this new 12-month membership plan for the 2019 season, that allows ticket holders to spread their payments out evenly throughout the year.
Give me the thinking behind that, you also produced another record breaking year by securing five-year renewals, right, with the -- with your four key partners?
YORK: For sure. I mean, I think the biggest thing with our season ticket members, we want to make sure that you have an unbelievable experience. You touched on it earlier. You have such a great viewing experience watching at home, we want to make sure that our fans have an unbelievable experience coming to Levi Stadium.
So, being able to have food options, you know, 25 to 30 menu items that are included in your season ticket price, and just make it a simpler more -- more pleasurable experience of coming to a game. That's what we're really trying to do.
And with our partners, you know, we have so many wonderful partners, but being able to capitalize on the success and, you know, know that we are on your network and others and doing unbelievable ratings, it helps us to be able to grow our business and be able to continue to extend our partnership agreements.
BARTIROMO: When you win a Super Bowl, does the value of the team go up?
YORK: Well, I'm a buyer of the team, I want my children to own the team, so I'm hoping that the value stays flat and it makes it a little easier to pass on to the next generation.
BARTIROMO: In terms of the terrible tragedy that we saw this week, poor Kobe Bryant and his daughter and seven others, and this right on top of David Stern also passing away. You've got some icons here that -- that have left us. Had that changed any of your plans? Is that -- how are you dealing with -- with the loss of these greats?
YORK: You know, I mean, when you look at Kobe and somebody that passes well before his time, and -- and his daughter and -- and the other young children that were on that -- that crash. I mean, I don't -- I don’t really have words. Like to say that you're heartbroken I don't even thing begins to cover it.
You know, I lost my brother, he died by suicide a little over a year ago, and that's something that's really stuck with me and it's something that our team has really looked at. And I think we always try to take it one day at a time and make the most of it.
And for a week like this when you're in the Super Bowl, to not at least take a moment to celebrate the accomplishments and acknowledge the sacrifices that you've made to get here, it's -- it's a shame if you can't do that and I think that's what our team is trying to do, is make the most of this moment and -- and hopefully make a moment that will last a lifetime on Sunday.
BARTIROMO: This is a different year also, because it's an election year, right, Jed? I mean, look at these advertisements that we're going to be talking about. I know the Trump Administration has an ad, Michael Bloomberg is going to have an ad. Again, underlying the big money that goes into the big game.
YORK: Well it's -- I mean, it's crazy how much money will be going into this game, and especially when you talk about the politics of it. There's -- there's so much in and around that for this game, and again, there's no place that has more eyeballs and better eyeballs than the Super Bowl.
You know, we're certainly trying to stay out of politics and -- and not let that affect us this week, but I know that -- that politics will be in and around this game, and certainly with the election coming up.
BARTIROMO: Right. Sure, because there's some big ads. All right, final question here Jed, what's the one piece of advice that you gave to your players as they approach Sunday? What is the most important thing you want all your players to be thinking about this weekend?
YORK: Just make the most of the moment and, you know, have all your focus, all your energy and attention on this. And if we take care of this, we'll be able to celebrate this moment for the rest of our lives.
BARTIROMO: All right, we love having you this morning, Jed. Thanks so much. We will be watching and we will be --
YORK: Thanks, Maria.
BARTIROMO: -- there. We’re so excited for you. Thank you very much And be sure to tune in this Friday. I’ll be live from Miami. We are going to be around the Super Bowl Friday and Monday, and of course, be sure to catch the Super Bowl on Fox Sunday evening, kicking off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
CREDIT: FOX BUSINESS NETWORK’S MORNINGS WITH MARIA