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Meet the Rising 25 Class of 2018: Stephen Anderson

1. Tell Us About Yourself and Your Current Role

I grew up in Louisville, KY and found my passion to work in the sports industry when I was a basketball manager in high school. I studied Marketing and Business Analytics in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. My previous internships in ticket sales, marketing and fan promotions, market research and corporate partnerships at the sports commission, collegiate, mid-major and professional league office levels prepared me well for my current position with the Minnesota Vikings.

In my time away from the office, I am passionate about volunteering in the area of youth education. I currently mentor three 9th grade students as a Graduation Coach at a local Minneapolis high school through the Achieve Minneapolis Program. Additionally, I volunteer with the 2019 Minneapolis Final Four Local Organizing Committee by setting up those involved in the Future Stars Internship Program with networking opportunities with leaders in the community that work in an industry or company they are interested in for their career.

I recently got married to my wife, Arielle, and we now reside in Inver Grove Heights, MN.

Working in Partnership Activation for the Vikings means I am a “promise keeper”. I fulfill all assets included in the contract with the corporate partner accounts that I oversee. Examples of these assets are TV and radio commercials, in-Stadium digital signage and video board features, social media and digital ad campaigns and events held at U.S. Bank Stadium or Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

I work with the Corporate Sales Manager on each account on up-sell opportunities and renewal of the partnerships.

Also, I oversee partner inventory in the following areas: preseason TV broadcasts and weekly Vikings TV shows, gameday and weekly radio broadcasts, Vikings.com (desktop and mobile website) and Vikings App digital ads and pre-roll videos, in-stadium IPTV and LED Ribbons and dedicated emails and weekly e-newsletters.

Lastly, I am the partnerships lead internally with our Vikings Rewards platform where partners can offer the most passionate Vikings fans unique experiences and prizes. I am also the partnerships lead on two of the Vikings’ yearly events: Taste of the Vikings presented by Land O’Lakes and the Minnesota High School Football Showcase presented by Andersen Windows and Doors.

2. Where do you see yourself in 15 years/dream job?

My career goal is to be the Chief Operating Officer of a professional team or organization. To get to this point in my career, I plan on returning to school to get my Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Juris Doctorate (JD) degrees.

3. Who is your mentor at this point?

The person that has been most influential in me pursuing my career goal of being a Chief Operating Officer of a professional sports team or organization is Mr. Kevin Warren, Chief Operating Officer of Minnesota Vikings. Kevin is the highest-ranking African American executive working on the business side of an NFL team. As an African-American myself, when I joined the Vikings, getting to know Kevin was something I very much looked for to.

I have met with Kevin numerous times and have discussed my personal and professional ambitions. Kevin has encouraged me to build personal relationships with my corporate partner contacts and to give back to those that have helped me get to my current position and those that want to be where I am for their career.

4. What’s one thing you’ve learned early in your career that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

I’ve learned that it is very important to have personal relationships with internal and external stakeholders at the team or company you work for. With my position at the Minnesota Vikings, I work with almost every internal department to fulfill the contractual partnership assets. Additionally, my colleagues are “subject matter experts” in their own areas and help me brainstorm different ways to activate my partners’ brands in a meaningful way and show a positive return on investment.

I am in regular contact with the corporate partner accounts, external stakeholders, that I oversee in both the offseason and during the NFL season. Having strong relationships with my partners has allowed us to build trust with one another and for them to know that I will do my best to exceed their expectations with their investment in the Vikings.

5. What does winning the Rising 25 Award mean to you?

I am honored to be selected to the Front Office Sports Rising 25 Class of 2018. Receiving this Award means that I am part of a prestigious group that will one day be the leaders in the sports and entertainment industries. The networking opportunities within this Class will allow me to build personal relationships with people across many different sports leagues and properties and stay on top of the newest trends in our industry.

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