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You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire

ISBN: 978-1-118-17207-0
224 pages
September 2012
You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire (1118172078) cover image
A Brooklyn kid hustles his way to the top of a sports marketing and memorabilia empire

Brandon Steiner went from a kid who sat in the nosebleed seats at Yankee and Shea Stadiums to CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing Inc., one of the largest sports marketing and memorabilia companies in the United States, with an inventory of more than 10,000 collectibles. You Gotta Have Balls details Steiner's multiple entrepreneurial adventures, where he has both learned and taught others his fair share of "rules." Along the way, he developed some of the most innovative approaches to business—methods that many of today's companies would be wise to observe and employ themselves.

You Gotta Have Balls follows Steiner on his pathway to success by demonstrating the business philosophies that allowed him to become the powerful magnate that he is. These ideals include:

  • First to market is everything
  • Ask "What Else?" when working with clients to enhance relationships and elicit more business
  • Don't expand just for the sake of expanding; do it in areas and industries where your passion lies
  • How to train employees while they're in the minor leagues to prepare them for the majors

Learn to clearly identify ways to help others rather than sell to them, to align employees and partners with their strengths, and to discover a path where you're most likely to succeed.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix

PROLOGUE LAST CALL AT YANKEE STADIUM xi

INTRODUCTION BEING ALL IN xv

Chapter 1 WHAT’S WITH THE WATER IN BROOKLYN? 1

Chapter 2 THE SECRET OF ‘WHAT ELSE?’ 15

Chapter 3 LIFE, DEATH, AND SODA 23

DEWEY HIGH SCHOOL 23

SYRACUSE 30

Chapter 4 YES OR YES 41

IF IT ISN’T EASY, IT ISN’T POSSIBLE 51

Chapter 5 GETTING THE RAISE, THEN THE JOB 57

Chapter 6 THE ONLY SPORTS BAR IN NEW YORK 71

Chapter 7 WAITING TO BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING 77

MAKING CONNECTIONS 78

THE ‘86 GIANTS 81

MEETING MARA 83

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER 85

ON MY OWN 87

MAKING THE MARKET 90

DREAMING UP APPEARANCES 94

MEDICINE MEN 97

OUR FIRST MAJOR DEAL 102

YOU NEVER KNOW 105

Chapter 8 PLAY THE GAME, NOT THE SCORE 107

RELATIONSHIPS, NOT TRANSACTIONS 111

Chapter 9 TURNING MEMORIES INTO MONEY 115

EXPANDING OUR BUSINESS 115

MY FAVORITE COLLECTIBLE 120

Chapter 10 THE BIG BREAK: YANKEES-STEINER 125

Chapter 11 THE LIGHT IN THE OTHER ROOM 133

Chapter 12 TURNING DIRT INTO DOLLARS 139

Chapter 13 A JEWISH KID MEETS TOUCHDOWN JESUS 143

Chapter 14 THE FINAL DAYS OF YANKEE STADIUM 153

THE FRIEZE 164

THE ORIGINAL BRICKS 166

THE ‘‘I WANT TO THANK THE GOOD LORD FOR MAKING ME A YANKEE’’ SIGN 168

THE BLACK 168

THE FOUL POLES 170

THE CLUBHOUSE CARPET 170

Chapter 15 NOTHING BUT A DREAMER 171

Chapter 16 SANDLOT WISDOM 175

GET EVERYONE TO BUY IN 176

MAKE SURE INDIVIDUALS KNOW WHAT’S EXPECTED OF THEM 177

IF YOU CAN’T MOTIVATE, INCENTIVIZE 178

MAKE EVERYONE FEEL IMPORTANT 179

CONCLUSION WHAT MAKES YOU TICK? 183

INDEX 189

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BRANDON STEINER is the founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, the largest company of its kind in America. Considered a sports marketing guru, Brandon is a permanent fixture in the media as a regular on ESPN Radio 1050 and as co-host of Yankees-Steiner: Memories of the Game on the YES Network. He is also regularly featured on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and in newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The author of The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports, Brandon lives in Scarsdale, New York, with his wife, Mara.

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“Brandon Steiner is not only the biggest sports memorabilia collector on the planet, but he is also one of the best collectors of relationships and business contacts. You Gotta Have Balls is a must read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”—Larry King

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October 23, 2012
Brandon Steiner says "You Gotta Have Balls"

Growing up in a poor Brooklyn, NY neighborhood, Brandon Steiner came from humble beginnings. Now 25 years later, Steiner Sports Marketing is proud to be celebrating their 25th Anniversary as the most successful sports marketing and memorabilia brand in the industry.

Success didn’t come easy, and Steiner soldiered through countless peaks and valleys – both professionally and personally, forcing him to reinvent himself. Along the way, he developed into a bona fide sports marketing guru having created many innovative approaches to business. Steiner shares his journey and business lessons in, You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire (September 2012; ISBN: 9781118172070; Hardcover & E-Book; $24.95).

With his instinctive desire to learn, work hard, and dream big – every day is game day for Steiner. From his first job with the neighborhood fruit stand, to his paperboy duties for the New York Daily News - Steiner always finds himself asking, “What Else?”, as if there is always more to pursue. This mentality prepared Steiner for several successful partnerships including relationships with Notre Dame Football and the New York Yankees which led to the 2008 purchase and demolition of the Old Yankee Stadium.

Steiner will never forget his mother’s favorite phrase, “You gotta have balls”. Having much respect for her as a mother and mentor, those words have not only been rooted in his life but approach to business. Now as the title of his second book, You Gotta Have Balls teaches the philosophies that have allowed Steiner to become the industry force he is today, including:

  • Why being first to market is everything
  • The importance of aligning people with their strengths
  • Always ask “What Else?” when working with clients to enhance relationships
  • Don’t expand just to expand; do it within industries where your passion lies
  • Train employees while they’re in the minor leagues to prepare them for the majors
  • Find your passion through commitment, as opposed to the other way around

Throughout You Gotta Have Balls, Steiner includes stories and lessons from successful sports figures including Derek Jeter, Hank Aaron, Mariano Rivera and Mark Messier, and often compares those lessons to the game of sports. Steiner believes very strongly and advises readers, “to play the game, and not the score” – be committed, and stay passionate even if you’re losing.

Steiner is often asked how he got started. Although there is not a moment to answer that question, he typically replies “commitment”. Over the course of his life, Steiner has been committed to countless endeavors – all adding up to his success. If asked to sum up the business of Steiner Sports in one sentence, Steiner would reply, “Steiner Sports is the number-one collector of autographs in the world. In some 25 years, we have bought and sold almost 20 million autographs – and set up over 35,000 athlete appearances.”

Steiner’s career makes for a long conversation; You Gotta Have Balls is not only his attempt at making a personal introduction with his readers but hopes to lead them out of the nosebleed section.

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