This year the Reese’s Senior Bowl is kicking off a high-profile leadership summit that executive producer Scott Tindle wants to eventually develop as the “South by Southwest” of sports — an annual event to complement the college football all-star game that has called the Port City home for nearly as long as a typical human lifespan.
“The Senior Bowl Leadership Summit is the first step in our attempt to grow the game into a week-long event, making it more than just about the game and giving people a reason to come to Mobile to stay longer. The summit is critical this year, because it really shows the Senior Bowl’s commitment to growing the event. Our goal is to make it be a staple of the week, just like the game,” said Tindle, co-owner of local entrepreneurial holding company “Think Bigger.”
Ticket sales for the summit have already attracted visitors from Baton Rouge, Tallahassee and Atlanta to reserve a seat inside downtown Mobile’s historic Saenger Theatre. For its inaugural year, the event is focusing on team building and will address a broad range of business-related subjects aside from sports-minded fare.
“The people who are involved in sports, they’re going to be telling us about the way they build teams, their strategies or tactics,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said. “It’s not about the X’s and O’s of football. It’s not about baseball. When Brandon Taubman talks about building the Houston Astros, he’s probably not going to talk about batting averages. Ozzie Newsome is not going to just talk about winning Super Bowls, but about the way that people work together when you’re constructing high-performance teams.”
Nagy also expressed a desire to see some carryover from Friday to Saturday at the game itself, hopefully to maximize attendance inside the 40,000-seat Ladd-Peebles Stadium. “The last couple years, we haven’t filled that stadium with just our Mobile and Baldwin county population,” he said.
Purely from a financial perspective, the closest metropolitan midmarket comparison Tindle and Nagy made to the sheer amount of tourism money flowing annually into the area was the U.S. Masters tournament, which takes place in April at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.
“Every year we credential over 900 NFL people. In essence the league descends on Mobile for that one week,” Nagy said. “If you just look at their salary structure, you’re talking upwards of 200 millionaires in the area in that time frame.”
He went on to say that the group encompasses head coaches and coordinators for each team, as well as general managers, front office executives, scouts and future first-round NFL prospects — all making (or soon to earn) a seven-plus figure salary annually.
“It’s the unofficial NFL convention every year as well as a big job fair,” Nagy said. “We will see a lot of college coaches from around the country that were let go this past December and are looking to make that jump into the NFL. Eight head coaches were also released in the NFL on ‘Black Monday’ recently that are looking for work.”
“From the hospitality and tourism side, what you see is this huge boon to the local businesses in the area,” said Tindle. “It’s obviously a big win for our hotels. It can make the month for a lot of small business owners. But what it also does is create this sense that Mobile can be a collision point for sports, business and innovation, and that’s an important part of what we’re trying to build out with the summit — that Mobile is this destination.”
Tindle didn’t pull any punches, however, when asked about area support for the 70-year-old game, noting an apparent local apathy regarding attendance.
“We take the game for granted because it’s always been here and that’s all we’ve ever known. If you have a ticket and it’s nice weather, you will go. If it isn’t nice weather, people stay home,” he said.
“But I think it’s important that Mobilians rally around this game and love it the same way that the NFL loves Mobile. We have to show that by making a serious effort to fill the stands, by supporting the people who come and put a lot of money into our economy. We have got to get into the stadium and actually see the game; only going to go to the tailgate doesn’t support the game the way it’s needed.”
More information about the inaugural Reese’s Senior Bowl Leadership Summit can be found at mobile.org.
Business moves, transactions
• Integrated Pain Management of Alabama (IPMA), located at 7860 Cottage Hill Road, was recently upgraded. Some 2,000 square feet of space in the building has been augmented to accommodate more alternative treatments for traumatic brain injury (TBI), wound care and administration. IPMA is reportedly the only private clinic on the Gulf Coast offering hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a viable treatment for TBI.
Additionally, Dr. Lloyd A Manchikes and hyperbaric technician Patrick O’Brien recently created Southern Brain Injury Clinic. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit will fund treatment of military veterans who may not have other sources of funding. The clinic is a VA health care contractor and currently treats veterans for a wide range of injuries including TBI, post-traumatic stress disorder, cerebral palsy, chronic migraines, severe burns and wounds from amputation. The clinic also institutes treatments to reduce the usage of opioids currently prescribed in by the VA health care system.
• DDS Dentures + Implants Solutions has leased some 4,560 square feet of retail space at Spanish Fort Town Center on Bass Pro Drive in Spanish Fort. The company currently has locations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. This marks its first location in Alabama. Angie McArthur, broker associate with Stirling Properties, represented the landlord in the transaction and is the commercial listing agent for the property.