Eric Edelstein ’00 Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Reno Aces
It took Eric Edelstein ’00 just two years to achieve the goal he set for himself after graduating from BGSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Organization Management: become general manager of a minor league baseball team.
Today, having managed not just one but three baseball teams - the Jamestown Jammers, the Wichita Wranglers and the Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Edelstein is on his next step up the career ladder. The BGSU alumnus is currently Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Reno Aces: a Triple-A team in Reno, Nevada, and an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Essentially I’m responsible for the overall business of the Reno Aces,” Edelstein said. “I’m responsible for making sure our revenues are where they need to be, our expenses are where they need to be, maintaining a relationship with the Diamondbacks …working out in the community, promoting the club, public relations, marketing. I mean, really if it happens here, ultimately I’ve got my hands in it.”
Edelstein took over leadership of the Aces in June after 13 years working for Rich Baseball Operations, a subdivision of food company Rich Products Corporation, which owns several baseball teams. His legacy at Rich Baseball includes overseeing a 300 percent boost in net profit for the Wichita Wranglers over his three years as general manager. Then, when the company decided to move the team to Springdale, Arkansas, in 2006, Edelstein moved with them. He masterminded the introduction of the renamed team – the Northwest Arkansas Naturals – to Springdale, oversaw design and construction of their new ballpark, and grew the business into one of the top-earning Double-A baseball franchises.
The baseball manager extraordinaire attributes his success partly to his willingness to move to take different jobs.
“Someone told me early on that if you really want to excel in the sports industry, if you want to move up, you’ve got to move around,” Edelstein said. “Wichita was not a city that a lot of people within Rich Baseball were thrilled about moving to, but I took the opportunity. I moved halfway across the country, I did a good job, and then when they moved the team and built a new stadium, I was their first choice. I’ve taken all the jobs nobody wanted and eventually I got the job everybody wanted.”
The Reno Aces are a logical progression from his previous job, Edelstein said. Although a step closer to the major leagues, the Aces are similar to the Naturals in that they are also new to their community, having played their first season in Reno in 2009. The ballpark is also new, built in 2008 as part of a major downtown revitalization project. Reno’s relatively small size compared with other Triple-A baseball towns means the community is especially excited about its team, Edelstein said.
“We are the smallest market for a triple-A ball club,” Edelstein indicated. “There’s a real pride and a rallying cry around the club because of that.”
One of Edelstein’s favorite job duties is finding new ways to connect the ballpark with what’s happening in the community. He enjoys creating marketing opportunities for outside businesses to use the ballpark, as well as coming up with fun and unexpected ideas to turn baseball games into a show.
The most challenging part of the job is managing all of the staff, keeping them focused and hiring the right people for his team, he said. In all, Edelstein oversees 30 full-time employees and more than 100 seasonal workers.
Edelstein said his studies at BGSU, the internships and a practicum with the Cleveland Indians that he did as part of his course, were instrumental in getting him started on the career of his dreams. He advised other students hoping to enter the sports field to take advantage of networking opportunities and gain experience while still at school.
“Get the experience, get it early, don’t wait until it’s required,” Edelstein said. “Internships, volunteer, anything you can do. Focus on where you want to end up, and start now. It’s never too early.”