Sports marketing business moving into high gear
Oconomowoc owner works to bring Packers, others to the area

By Kevin Passon - Special to The Freeman

Sept. 27, 2013

Mark Mayfield, left, and his wife, Kara, meet former Milwaukee Brewer Robin Yount.
Submitted photo

OCONOMOWOC - It’s been a year since Mark Mayfield left the security of a full-time job to work at getting his own sports marketing business off the ground. And in those 12 months, his expectations have been exceeded only by the level of interest from the groups he’s helped and the players he’s booked.

Nonprofit organizations are usually assured of raising more money at fundraisers if they have a celebrity in attendance. And large associations usually have higher attendance at conferences if the keynote speaker is a professional athlete.

“I am essentially a booking agency for professional athletes,” said Oconomowoc’s Mark Mayfield, owner of Mayfield Sports Marketing. “I need to make sure it’s a good fit for them (the group and the athlete). Mayfield Sports represents the best interests of the player.”

Rates for appearances by current and former Brewers or Packers range from $1,000 to $30,000 for a 90-minute appearance. Signing of autographs and a photo session can either be with an extra fee or built into the base price.

 

Strong, personal relationships

Mayfield has a direct relationship with the players or their agents, so when booking them, the response time is much faster than if a business or organization tries to book them alone.

Mark Mayfield, left, and former Green Bay Packer William Henderson, right, are joined by Bucky Badger.
Submitted photo

Recent bookings have included current Green Bay Packers Dujuan Harris, Nick Perry, Jerron McMillian, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, Datone Jones, Micah Hyde, Don Barclay, Josh Sitton, Bryan Bulaga, Chris Banjo, Jerel Worthy, Mike Daniels, John Kuhn, Sam Shields and Morgan Burnett; former Packers Gilbert Brown, William Henderson, Dorsey Levens, Santana Dotson, Mark Tauscher, Dave Robinson and Ahman Green; Packers President Mark Murphy; billiards world champion Allison Fisher; Olympic and World Champion gymnast Chellsie Memmel; and former Wisconsin Badger and New York Giants player Ron Dayne.

“Usually an association will call and either be very specific about a particular player they want or be very vague and say they just want a current member of the Packers,” Mayfield said. “I ask a bunch of questions to better figure out what they want - a celebrity appearance, autographs, a motivational speaker or whatever. I’m always very honest with the client. You get what you want, but we can guide you in the selection. I generally give the client a menu of options.”

Mayfield makes a point of being at nearly every one of the events for which he books a player or former player. Part of the reason for this is to oversee that everything goes as planned, but it’s also good business. The player becomes more familiar with him, which can lead to more bookings, and the organization meets him, which also can lead to bookings for future events.

About half of the bookings Mayfield sets up are in the Green Bay and Appleton areas, simply by default of being closer to the Packers. But, there are others in the Madison and Milwaukee areas. Waukesha Sports uses him quite often to help bring in players.

The Wisconsin American Legion Foundation’s second annual A Salute to Wisconsin’s Warriors golf event was held Sept. 11 in Madison. From left, are Mark Mayfield, former Milwaukee Brewer Jim Gantner, Brig. Gen. Mark E. Anderson, former Olympic gymnast Chelsie Memmel, former Green Bay Packer Gilbert Brown and Wisconsin American Legion Adjutant David Kurtz.
Submitted photo

“We have at least two signings every month,” said Robb Dobbratz, owner of Waukesha Sports. “He’s got a good relationship with a lot of players. He’s an up and coming guy, and he’s going to grow.”

Dobbratz also uses Mayfield to book players at autograph sessions in Green Bay.

The next big signing at Waukesha Sports will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 1, when current Packers Lacy, Perry and McMillian will be on hand. The latter two were booked by Mayfield.

 

A chance encounter

Mayfield’s business started a few years ago when he was an employee at Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc, and Gilbert Brown was there for a few days for a promotional event. After talking a few times over the next five days, Brown paid Mayfield to design a website for him.

“That’s where it started,” Mayfield said. “Now I talk to Gilbert three or four times every week.”

A lot of Mayfield’s business among current players is through word of mouth. When he has an inquiry about a player he’s not worked with before, Mayfield first calls one of his current clients for an introduction. It doesn’t take long after that to sign a deal.

“For me, it’s all about people, communicating with people,” he said. “I’m always very clear with them. I don’t leave any gray areas. I don’t want to let the client down.

“Gilbert Brown trained me on that. If he shakes your hand and says he’ll do something, he’ll do it. I want to be that same way.”

He said he’s glad he had the presence and the confidence to talk to Brown at the beginning. That chance meeting sparked his new career.

“It’s very rewarding, because I earned it,” he said. “It’s very humbling. I had some help along the way, but I’ve worked very hard to be where I am today.”
 

At a glance

Business name: Mayfield Sports Marketing
Owner: Mark Mayfield
Phone: 366-8188
Email: Mark@MayfieldSportsMarketing.com
Website: www.mayfieldsportsmarketing.com