Reliant Stadium and the Houston Texans join forces for the city
It’s hard not to be awe-struck by Reliant Stadium, even today. Building this monument to football and entertainment took skill, time, patience and teamwork; characteristics that are put to work daily at the Texans’ organization.
The success of the Texans’ start-up season is what professional sports teams dream about. Building and maintaining a first-class facility to handle the unique needs of the football team, as well as the rodeo, are just the beginning for President of Business Operations Jamey Rootes. The lessons from sports marketing carry over to the business world and the nonprofit world.
Living his passion every day, the focus is to maintain Reliant Stadium while constantly striving to improve the fan experience. From the tailgating to the cheerleaders, Budweiser Plaza to Toro, there is a master plan. “And then there’s the game,” says Rootes. “Watching a live sporting experience — there’s nothing like it.” The Texans work meticulously on planning and approach the game like a three-hour television program, where they orchestrate everything — like the Bull Pen Pub, which was introduced this year.
It’s more than a game
“We try to engage the fans 365 days a year and reward them for their loyalty,” says Rootes. From draft parties to Texans All Access parties, where season ticket holders meet the players, everything comes back to the owner, Bob McNair, and his high standards. When it comes to their connection with the Houston community, the Texans focus on six main objectives: football excellence, strong culture, great people, a world-class game experience, fiscal responsibility and being a good community citizen. To this end, the foundation has raised money that is donated to five (rotating) anchor charities. Future ideas include a mobile health care vehicle and a book truck to encourage kids to read.
“The things that we really have a passion for are youth, education, health care issues and character development,” states Rootes. As the Texans work to sharply define their goals; they make a difference in our community.
Rootes and his team also strive to bring new offerings to town. For instance, they were instrumental in bringing a new bowl, The Texas Bowl, to town. This bowl, featuring out-of-town teams, will benefit a local Houston charity. Being billed as a celebration of the culture, heritage and football tradition of the Lone Star State, “it’s rodeo collides with Texans, and I think that’s the type of celebration Houstonians will love,” he says.
Lessons from the home team
For the socially connected who work hard every day to raise money for good causes, Rootes has some advice. “Figure out, as sharply as you can define, the place that you can really make a difference,” he says. “Stay focused on that single point, and don’t deviate. It’s easy if you truly listen to your passion and what you are trying to accomplish.” Putting it on paper is usually the easy part. “What’s hard is maintaining consistency,” he says, “especially with the distractions of everyday life.”
This is what separates organizations that are really able to make a difference and ones that aren’t. Once you are fully committed, people will love your passion and energy. That’s when you’ll make an impact. “Once you do, people see you as a winner, and then all of the resources and support will come,” he concludes.
This season’s tagline is “I’m a Texan.” “We’re trying to re-instill that pride in being a Texan,” he says. And he waits anxiously for a winning season. “I can’t wait to see where this community is when our team does win big things … that’s going to be exciting.”
Above all else, this high-energy executive has a passion to create a memorable sports experience that has a dramatic impact on people’s lives. “People tell us this is the friendliest stadium they go to all year.” That’s worth a lot of points.