76ers CEO spoke to Penn about his career in management
Adam Aron spoke at the Institute for Law and Economics in its Law and Entrepreneurship lecture series
February 25, 2013, 11:59 pm·
Osama Ahmed | DP
In case you’re not one of Adam Aron’s more than 28,000 Twitter followers, the Philadlephia 76ers CEO and co-owner is not one to shy away from a challenge.
On Tuesday evening in Silverman Hall, Penn’s Institute for Law and Economics hosted Aron for the second part of their yearly Law and Entrepreneurship lecture series.
The Institute — a joint research center of the Law School, the Wharton School and the Department of Economics — strives to achieve an interdisciplinary approach to scholarship by highlighting the intersection of business, legal and judicial studies. In the same vein, it explores the impact of such laws on the global economy.
For that reason, Aron was invited to share his secrets to success, especially in reviving a suffering fan base for the Sixers.
The event was open to the public, and the audience ranged from undergraduates to Penn Law faculty.
College freshman Garrett Breeden was drawn to the lecture because he was “interested in sports and law and [wanted] to learn about how those fields combine.” Even Aron’s son, Wharton and College senior David Aron, attended the lecture.
The elder Aron, a Philadelphia native, has a resume that is nothing short of exciting. He began his career as a systems director for Pan-Am Airlines and created the company’s frequent flier program. He has successfully revived failing businesses during his tenures as president and CEO of the Norwegian Cruise Line and as vice president of Western Airlines.
“How do you choose what companies to run? Do your hobby, what makes you happy,” Aron said of his past experiences in business. “Apply yourself, and you will do better, and you will succeed. I was excited to take on the Sixers because I was going to be running my hometown team.”
Aron’s newest venture is the challenge of rejuvenating Philadelphia natives and boosting up a dead franchise. So far, he has worked to accomplish this by slashing ticket prices by more than 50 percent, communicating with fans via Twitter and other media outlets and reminding patrons of the glory days of legendary players like Julius Erving. He said that ticket sales have increased by 50 percent and TV ratings have doubled. He attributed these changes to making games more interesting to watch with dancers, confetti and American Idol finalists.
Despite the Sixers’ close loss to the Knicks on Sunday, Aron was lighthearted and engaging as he shared how he would continue the positive results of the new ownership’s marketing strategies. He stressed the importance of taking decisive action to resuscitate a product.
“You can’t just be cautious and careful,” he said. “You have to be brash and bold to make a difference.”
During a one-on-one interview with Aron, he revealed that he enjoys taking on “failing” products because he loves a challenge. “The success that comes from taking the risk to create something big stimulates you to do more,” he said.
Following the lecture, Alex Rosenthal and Mark Pereira — both second-year Law School students — shared their delight in Aron’s genuine love for the team and his ability to execute realistic and positive plans for improvement.
Impressed with Aron’s performance as the Sixers’ CEO, Pereira said, “He makes a real effort to give the players first-class treatment.”
Aron also noted that he hoped for the best in today’s game against the Orlando Magic.