The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.
Today, meet George Steinbrenner IV: co-owner and partner of Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Steinbrenner is the youngest IndyCar team owner in the history of the sport and the grandson of legendary New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner III. With that type of family legacy, a career in sports simply made sense.
“I envisioned myself being involved in sports business in some way,” Steinbrenner says. “It’s something I had a passion for just being around it and looking up to my grandfather and wanting to be like him. In a lot of ways I think that started my passion for sports business.”
2019 has already been quite good to Harding Steinbrenner Racing. On March 24th, the team picked up a win at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Not only was this Steinbrenner’s first professional win, it also made him the youngest owner to win a race in history of IndyCar. He describes this as his most exciting achievement to date.
In his time working in racing, Steinbrenner has found that the biggest misconception about working in the sport relates to the partnership side.
“I think a lot of people don’t have a full understanding of how difficult it is and how much time it takes to find commercial partnerships,” Steinbrenner says. “In the racing world, we’re working primarily on sponsorship money. We don’t get ticket revenues. We don’t really have many revenue streams independent of sponsorship money and prize money. So for us, how difficult it is and how much time it takes primarily to create that base for the partnership and how long a deal can take to make to bring sponsors onto the race team is just something you learn. It’s always a lot more difficult than people anticipate even coming from other sports in selling sponsorship.”
While there are plenty of other challenges that come with owning an IndyCar team, Steinbrenner’s confidence and abilities suggest that he is ready to face any more that may come his way. From his own personal experiences, his advice to aspiring sports professionals is to find ways to keep grinding through the busy or difficult times.
“When you work in the front office environment, there isn’t really much of an offseason,” Steinbrenner states. “What I learned is the offseason, for me, is the busiest time of the year because that’s where a lot of the money raising happens and all the hard work happens. When I feel like I’m getting overworked I have to remind myself to look toward the ultimate goal: winning the Indy 500 and winning IndyCar championships. That was a big factor in helping me sort of grind through the beginning of the team and the long off season.”
Meet the full class of 2019 here.