Brooklyn Bookbeat: Sports marketing expert Brandon Steiner credits his Brooklyn roots
The world knows Brooklyn is a special place, if only because devotion to the beloved Dodgers has endured decades after the team moved out west. But occasionally there are passionate writers who describe the Brooklyn spirit in other ways. One such author is Brandon Steiner, founder and CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing. In the opening chapter of his recent book, he tells his readers, “There’s something with the water in Brooklyn. I don’t know what it is, but growing up there lights a fire in some people.” Steiner is a successful businessman, but he pays homage to his humble beginnings. Even the title of his book — “You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire” — indicates his pride in his Brooklyn heritage.
Steiner was raised in Flatbush by his mother, who owned a beauty salon. He worked with her there on weekends and began to pick up some pointers; he recalls, “In the salon, I learned that relationships and trust are as important as anything else in business.” Steiner’s keen observations and tireless work ethic paid off: he eventually founded the most successful sports marketing brand in the industry, and even bought Yankee Stadium. Still, Steiner fondly recalls his first real job at Freddy the Fruitman, a neighborhood vegetable stand in Brooklyn. Reflecting on his motivations and ability to succeed, Steiner credits Brooklyn:
You had to have balls growing up there, but being part of such a diverse community of people — all trying to get by — also gave you a big heart. On a daily basis, I interacted with and relied upon so many people that it was impossible not to develop a strong sense of empathy. Now, kids can go on the web and discover hundreds of lives unlike their own. In Brooklyn, we got that experience every time we got on the subway. It was priceless preparation for adult life, and for my business.
Steiner’s book was released this past fall. His first book, “The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports,” was published in 2003. Steiner now lives in Scarsdale with his wife.
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