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Red Bulls name Erik Stover managing director

The New York Red Bulls have named Erik Stover as the team’s new managing director.

Who is Stover? He was named the team’s Vice President of Operations and General Manager of Red Bull Park in March. Before that he spent three years running Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Before that, Stover was vice president of operations of Giants Stadium.

In short, Red Bull has just hired a man whose entire resume consists of operating stadiums to run their soccer team.

The reaction to the hire by the first source I contacted about it? "He knows absolutely nothing about soccer."

Apparently that is a pre-requisite for the Red Bulls managing director position. Who knew?

The word emerging from Red Bulls sources is that the corporate HQ felt Stover was the best in-house candidate for the job. He will definitely get a chance to learn on the job. If the Red Bulls are lucky, perhaps Stover can develop into a good executive. That still doesn’t excuse the fact that Red Bull hired someone with no experience running a pro sports team.

The only word that comes to mind is brainless. Red Bull has just made it clear that A) it has no clue how to run the Red Bulls and B) it is focused solely on the opening of Red Bull Park in 2009.

That was my initial reaction. We will see if Stover can learn on the job and be an effective conduit between the team side and the suits in Salzburg. It is hard to defend a pro sports team hiring someone with no team management experience to run a pro team, but Red Bull has done it two times with Red Bull New York now.

What do you think of the news? Share your thoughts below.


  1. Don’t get your feathers in a ruffle -the sky is not falling. I know & worked with Stover in SD and I think you will be surprised with what he brings to the table. He is a no BS, GET IT DONE person.

  2. inkedAG- then they really couldnt claim themselves as redbull fans could they?? fair-weather fans that shift from one team to another based on success and failure… theres a popular name for them… they’re called plastic fans…

    i live in indy, directly wedge between CLB and CHI…if the fire were doing terrible, what you’re attempting to defend is no different then me saying “well the fire are doing bad, but look at CLB, ontop of the east and the league… GO CREW!!”

    if you consider yourself a fan of a team you stick through the good and the bad times

  3. Perhaps some of the fans saying they want a NYC team is because there can’t be another team that will f**k up as bad and as consistently as Metro/RBNY has f**ked up. You can’t make the same mistake twice, can you?

  4. Northzax said: “the only problem is, few teams run like businesses are successful as teams. as a fan, you don’t want your beloved team to be a profit center, you want it to be a successful team, the two do not always go together.”

    Wow. First of all, I’d like to see what facts you have to support your contention. Second of all, any team that doesn’t make a profit will either be run as a charity or won’t be around long enough to develop fans. If you’re saying you want someone with deep pockets to open up a charity to give you soccer, that’s fine, but let’s not confuse your desire with reality.

    Look, I would love a world class experienced manager to come in and run the team, and I’m surprised that Red Bull, with all they’ve invested in this team, didn’t choose a more qualified candidate. But let’s be realistic: all the real business decisions are made from Salzburg, all the real soccer decisions are made by Osario (as I like it), and the single biggest factor affecting the fan experience over the next 5 years(including mine) besides the quality of the soccer is going to be the sucessful launch of the new stadium. This guy worked for 2 staduim orgs over his career, and just because he worked for NJSEA doesn’t mean he’s a soccer-hater…he already works for a soccer team. I think I have to give this guy a chance. Get us out of the swamp and into RBP by June of next year and he will have my undying gratitude.

  5. Not jumping ship but I do agree NYC should have its own team and I’ll keep saying it until it happens.

    I just think NYC teams should be in NYC

    NJ teams should be in NJ

  6. Bring on the NY Cosmos, put them in Brooklyn, or on Randalls Island, Or at Icahn Stadium.

    They can be sponsored by RockStar and we can have a killer rivalry between two energy soft drink companies.

    I’ll be the managing director of the team. I have no experience running a stadium but I know a little bit about soccer. AND I’ve met Thierry Henri. Twice.

  7. lol…. im laughing at the fact that there are so many redbull fans eager to jump ship for a non-existant NYC team…. NY’ers, show your true colors 😀 i guess you see it as a better chance of having success, but thats just sad…. NYCFC will start off with plastic fans 😀

    my question is what’ll happen when/if NYC gets a team and then all these “fans” switch teams and then the redbulls start having success and NYC tanks??

  8. I am not suprised at all, it makes sense. Red Bull is only interested in the new park to generate mor $$ for their brand, the soccer portion is a write off, in fact so is the stadiums name, it is all about advertising the Red Bull brand. I am sure Franz told Red Bull that if your winning with talent the fans will come see the Cosmos after Pele, they sold out Giants statium on a regular basis. NY/NJ like winners, Red Bull does not need to win they just want to promote their brand name. $200 million of ads in thre years!!

    I have a partial season ticket plan and will give them the Galaxy game then I am done. Lets go FIRE!! OLE BLANCO (LOL)

  9. Yeah, this sounds like a horrible (and cheap) move. But I’ll point out that the GM in Columbus, McCullers, had a similar background when the Crew hired him to run the club. And, despite a lot of growing pains (he inherited a disaster if a club), he’s done well and is popular with both the fans and coach/players.

  10. Ives,

    Please ask him:

    1. Will the RBP stadium design and build out change in any way from the expectations that have already been conveyed to fans (e.g., grass field — no turf; seating surrounding entire field, i.e., not 3/4 around; stadium ambiance conducive to loud/pro-home team support; seating section fully covered overhead; being ready by summer 2009; no gridiron football lines; etc.)

    2. What learnings does he take from his NINE years at NJSEA and how will he apply them at RBP?

    3. Is it possible that NJSEA will be involved in running RBP or performaning any role at RBP in any capacity? If so, how might NJSEA or its employees be involved?

  11. And “They” fired The Bruce because he couldn’t win the MLS Cup with this club? At least now I know why nodoby goes to RBNY matches. When NY gets a 2nd club RB won’t have any fans left.

    Red Bull, YOU’RE FIRED!

    P.S. Is Trump available?

  12. @northzax, did you even read what I wrote? Seems like you missed the point completely. Forget American sports teams in baseball and football for a second and focus on soccer teams.

    Top European soccer teams ARE major corporations that are run as businesses. My example of Manchester United was one that has to satisfy the financial constraints of its debt holders and earn a return for the Glazer family, yet has been very successful on the field for years and is arguably the best team in the world at present. Before many were taken private, a number of EPL teams were publicly-traded on the London Stock Exchange. Tottenham still is — do you believe they could get away with not thinking of their shareholders first? Ajax trades publicly on Euronext — do you think their board of directors chooses their fans before their shareholders?

    Don’t be so naive. These teams are in business to make money and soccer has become incredibly lucrative as the brands have spread worldwide, particularly in Asia. The reason why teams can justify paying huge transfer fees for key players is because the financial returns in building the brand are significant. Good business and good team are aligned. There’s no reason why that couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t happen here in the US as well.

  13. besides absolutely killing this guy, maybe the fans could do something about it…

    like offer to help make soccer-related decisions with a season-ticketholder meeting with the guy or something… at least to show that our input could be useful, no? to an extent??

  14. so for a combined 80 years of limitless pocketed corporate ownership, you have two titles. Nice. How did both do the next year?

  15. northzax: The Angels won the World Series in 2004. The Ducks won the Stanley Cup last year. Maybe those weren’t good examples to make your point.

  16. @ Eugene. I’m sorry, were you confusing nyrb with manchester united? Really? Ok. Well how about some other teams run as a business first. Please be so kind as to name the last sports team owned by a large corporation to win a title. How are the Cubs doing? The Dodgers? The Mighty Ducks? The Angels? How many titles have they won lately? Heck, let’s talk about us sports teams run for profit. How do the redskins do? The marlins? The galaxy?

  17. makes perfect sense! You have Agoos and JCO without a clue running the team…now add in someone without a clue running the franchise!!! Philadelphia anyone?


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