A unique look at the Milwaukee Brewers and their recent business success will be the topic of Lakeland University's 18th annual Charlotte and Walter Kohler Distinguished Business Lecture.
Rick Schlesinger, Milwaukee Brewers president-business operations, will deliver a talk entitled "The Business of Major League Baseball" on Tuesday, March 5, in Lakeland's Bradley Theatre.
The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m.
The business of Major League Baseball in Milwaukee has become more complex as the Brewers near the club's 50th season in Milwaukee.
Schlesinger will discuss the challenges of fielding a competitive team in one of the game's smallest markets, noting the creative solutions the team has used to generate revenues to help fund player payroll and related player development needs.
Last year, the Brewers found great success in advancing to just one game short of the World Series. The goal is to field a competitive team every year, and Schlesinger will discuss how this can only be done when the baseball and business operations departments work together toward that singular goal.
He will also discuss how the Milwaukee Brewers have created a strategic approach to maximizing the opportunities presented and overcoming obstacles on the path to success.
Schlesinger in his 17th season with the Milwaukee Brewers and first as president of business operations after being promoted to his current position on Jan. 23, 2019. He previously served as executive vice president of business operations (2003-10) and spent the past eight seasons as chief operating officer (2011-18).
Schlesinger oversees the club's business affairs, including finance, human resources, information technology, legal, sponsorships, marketing, ticketing, communications, broadcasting and non-baseball special events. Additionally, he oversees the Phoenix Spring Training complex operation as well as the operations of the Brewers-owned Class-A Carolina Mudcats.
In nearly every aspect of the business, the Brewers have eclipsed records during Schlesinger's tenure. In 2018, more than 2.85 million fans attended games at Miller Park, representing the 11th time in the last 12 seasons that the organization has exceeded the 2.5 million attendance mark.
The team has sold in excess of 2.3 million tickets for 13 consecutive seasons, making the Brewers one of just eight Major League teams to reach that level each year since 2006.
Under Schlesinger's guidance, the club has enhanced the fan experience at Miller Park on numerous fronts. In 2017, the Brewers initiated a complete transformation of the food and beverage hospitality experience, which marked the largest club-funded project in the history of Miller Park. Those efforts were honored with the 2017 Ballpark Digest Award for Best New Concessions Experience.
The most significant investment for 2019 is the renovation and complete rebuild of the Arizona-based facility, Brewers Fields of Phoenix. The $60-plus million project includes a new clubhouse building with locker rooms and vastly improved facilities for all of the baseball operations functions. It also features a wide array of fan enhancements, including new concessions, retail stores, seating and scoreboard.
Prior to joining the Brewers, Schlesinger served as vice president, business and legal affairs/assistant general manager for the Anaheim Angels from 1998-2002 after previously working in motion picture development and production for Walt Disney Pictures and Television.