Sean Flynn Rebrands the Marlins
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|Miami Marlins senior vice president of marketing, Sean Flynn, outside the team’s new stadium, slated to open on April 1|
|The Miami Marlins’ new logo|
Those colors have changed, as well: orange, black, yellow, blue, without a dash of the former teal. Although reception of the new uniforms has been mixed, there is no doubt that the look is bold and different, decidedly the start of a new era. On the field, too: The team has installed a veritable sound-bite volcano, Venezuelan Ozzie Guillen, as manager. Funds freed up by the new stadium’s construction (it’s still not clear to an outsider how the numbers all work out) are allowing the Marlins to step into the free agent market extending contract offers to some of the boldest names in the game.
The rebranding process took more than 18 months, and Flynn has been intimately involved from the get-go. Now that the team’s new identity is set, Flynn is managing any fallout, if there is any. He doubts the name change will alienate fans in Broward and Palm Beach, though he acknowledges that, for commuters from the northern counties, the stadium relocation 12 miles farther south is “the big issue.”
Flynn’s own commute has significantly shortened. He lives what is now only five minutes away, in Coconut Grove. A native of St. Louis, Flynn briefly considered a career in accounting before he came to Florida to study sports administration at St. Thomas University. He worked with the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey club for five years before joining the Marlins in 2002. “We were talking about the new stadium even then,” he recalls. “It was an absolute necessity.”
The new stadium will be the centerpiece for Flynn to change locals’ relationship to the team, and the game-time experience. There’s the retractable roof and the air-conditioning, a view of downtown, and aquariums stocked with tropical fish flanking the batter’s boxes. Most of the high-end seating has already sold out, Flynn says, pointing to a map of the stadium, specifically a section of seats that retail for $400 per game. Private lounges have been designed to echo the look of a South Beach boutique hotel. Flynn spends nights leading private tours of the stadium for bankers and lawyers from Brickell, Coral Gables, and the Beach—the foundation of the new fan base.
However attractive Marlins tickets ultimately prove to be, Flynn recognizes that the new stadium, and his responsibility to market it, is a once-in-a-career opportunity. Showcasing the building seems straightforward, but selling the Marlins will always pose a challenge. “It’s not like the job has become so much easier,” he says. “The pressure’s always there. It’s just what goals and what achievements you need to hit. Now, is it more exciting? Of course it is.”
photographs by Presscott McDonald