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Sharks tap Two Circles to sell jersey patch

Published July 12, 2022 by  Sports Business Journal

The Sharks will become the latest North American team hiring Two Circles to sell a 3-by-3.5-inch jersey ad patch, which the NHL is allowing next season for the first time. Sharks President Jonathan Becher said Two Circles was selected from an initial field of five or six agencies, winning out because “they were all about the data, which really fits our culture … and they have enough experience outside of North America to bring in business from there.”

The Sharks hope to attract a buyer based on, among other factors, diversity. The team recently hired Mike Gr

ier as the NHL’s first Black GM, and Becher maintains that the Sharks fan base is also notably diverse. He cited stats showing a season-ticket base with a high percentage of women (48% women vs. 40% general sports fans) and a fan base that is 47% non-white vs. 37% for all hockey fans. The Sharks also have 71% of fans in the 18-49 age demo vs. 51% of general sports fans.

“Whomever ends up as our partner on this will choose us because of that or because we’re one of the most tech-savvy teams, with a tech owner (SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner) and we’re in Silicon Valley,” said Becher, who also served as chief digital officer and CMO at SAP before joining the Sharks.

San Jose Sharks hunt for potential multimillion-dollar jersey-patch sponsor

Published July 12, 2022 by  Silicon Valley Business  Journal

In S.F., Ron Leuty wrote the Sharks could “have a jersey patch ready for the team’s home opener Oct. 14.” But Becher said that there is “not a deadline for getting a deal done.” Leuty wrote a deal could “run five to seven years.” Because of the team’s location in Silicon Valley, Becher, who worked at multiple tech companies, including SAP, added that the deal could “appeal to a tech company or a company interested in reaching the tech business community.” Becher: “We’re not limiting ourselves to tech, but tech is a target-rich environment”

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Sharks hire Mike Grier as NHL’s first Black General manager

Published July 9, 2022 by Afro New (via AP)

The San Jose Sharks’ three-month search for a general manager ended with a barrier-breaking hire as the team made longtime NHL forward, Mike Grier, the first Black General manager in league history.

Team President Jonathan Becher said Grier emerged from a pool of dozens of candidates because of his experience as a player, scout, coach, and executive over the last few decades and his commitment to building a winning culture in San Jose.

But he acknowledged the history-making nature of the hire as well.

“I hope you do serve as an inspiration to lots of people. You’re the first and I certainly hope not the last,” Becher told Grier.

Grier spent three of his 14 seasons in the NHL with the Sharks from 2006-09. He retired in 2011 after playing 1,060 career games and has spent time as a scout in Chicago, an assistant coach in New Jersey, and most recently the hockey operations advisor for the New York Rangers, where he was given many of the responsibilities of an assistant general manager.

Read the full article here.

San Jose Sharks hire Mike Grier as first Black GM in NHL history

Published July 5, 2022 by  ESPN

Mike Grier made history as the NHL’s first Black general manager when the San Jose Sharks announced his appointment to the position Tuesday.

“We hired the best general manager available,” Becher said. “Mike just happens to be Black. The focus was on finding the best candidate for the job.

“Having said that, it’s great. It’s part of our pioneering spirit, which is get the most out of everybody and expand the sport. San Jose is a very culturally diverse area as well. So I hope you do serve as an inspiration of lots of people.”

Read the full article here.

“There is no frontrunner so far”: Becher Talks Sharks GM Search

Published May 11, 2022 by San Jose Hockey Now

San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher characterized the organization’s search for a new GM as in the first period, but well beyond the first shift yesterday.

“There is no frontrunner so far,” he said of a list that currently includes roughly 20-25 candidates.

Becher shared that the San Jose Sharks have had preliminary phone or Zoom conversations with 10-12 candidates, with more to follow.

He noted that playoff results could affect the search too. Some potential GM candidates are currently working for NHL teams in the playoffs, and some of those organizations have asked those candidates not to interview until the off-season.

Becher indicated that the Sharks expect to have two to four conversations with the most intriguing candidates.

Read the full article here.

Top Sharks exec gives update on search for next general manager

Published May 11, 2022 by San Jose Mercury News

The Sharks could still be a couple of months away from hiring a full-time general manager although in-person interviews will begin soon, team president Jonathan Becher said.

Becher said the Sharks, who started with a list of more than 50 people, have narrowed the number of candidates to between 20 and 25. The team has had calls with approximately 10 to 12 people already and has scheduled times to talk to other candidates via Zoom.

Based on those video calls, the Sharks will start to schedule in-person interviews in waves, perhaps two or three per week.

Read the full article here.

San Jose mayoral candidates discuss future of SAP Center

Published April 28, 2022 by San Jose SpotlightSan

San Jose’s leading mayoral candidates gathered at the SAP Center to take questions about the future of the arena amid downtown’s burgeoning developments.

Becher says the team is on board with the plans around the arena—mostly.

“Somehow the narrative has been us versus them, that the future of SAP Center can only happen at the expense of these properties,” Becher said, dismissing this as a false dichotomy. “We can have both… not as the plans are right now, but with modest changes.”

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The business of the NHL Global Series and the league’s push for international brand recognition

Published April 22, 2022 by The Athletic

It’s why NHL teams line up and aggressively pursue opportunities to play internationally, like the Colorado AvalancheColumbus Blue JacketsSan Jose Sharks and Predators will next season. The Avalanche and Blue Jackets will play in Tampere, Finland, while the Sharks and Predators will play a pair of regular-season games in Prague, Czechia after holding preseason games in Germany and Switzerland, respectively.

“As much as the benefit is talked about for players and teams on the ice, there is an equally or even more important impact of getting selected for these games for the business,” said Jonathan Becher, the president of Sharks Sports & Entertainment. “And I mean that in a good way.”

While Sharks players will be using a preseason tour of Germany and Czechia as a team-building activity and a chance to open the season with a pair of wins in Prague, Becher and his staff will be boosting the Sharks’ business efforts in Europe.

Some of the Sharks’ largest and closest corporate partners, a group called the Teal Inner Circle, will be making the trip to Europe. The Sharks are also an extension of owner Hasso Plattner’s larger technology business — he’s the chairman of SAP — and a hockey game turns into an entry point into Silicon Valley.

“A lot of companies are not based here and would love to have relationships with firms and some of the most iconic technology companies headquarter within a few miles of our building,” Becher said. “So this is an opportunity for us to reconnect or detect for the first time with international brands that know about the valley and embrace technology, but don’t have those relationships. So you should expect us to be the matchmaker if you will.”

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What Sharks are seeking in new GM role after Wilson steps down

Published April 7, 2022 by NBC Sports

Sharks president Jonathan Becher and interim GM Joe Will spoke to the media following the announcement.

“Obviously this is a sad day and the end of a milestone,” Becher said. “But it’s also a chance to acknowledge and celebrate Doug Wilson’s incredible legacy. That legacy is probably most obvious on the ice. A period of almost 19 years of sustained success.”

But Becher said they aren’t rushing the process.

“We’re starting immediately a search for the next general manager of the franchise,” Becher told reporters. “At this point, that search is for external candidates. We don’t have a defined timeline. We care more about the person than when exactly it happens. If it works out and takes us a small amount of months, that’s great. If it takes a bit longer than that, we’ll wait for the right person.”

Read the full article here.

Takeaways from Doug Wilson stepping down as Sharks’ GM

Published April 6, 2022 by NBC Sports

“Since Doug’s been out, there’s always that question of when will he be ready to come back? It was always when will he be ready, not if,” Becher said. “Doug has definitely improved over the last couple of months. But he took the decision that he needs to concentrate on his health full time. So it’s really only in the last couple of days. This is late-breaking more than anything else.”

“Whoever that GM is, we’ll build on the incredible legacy that Doug has built over the last 19 years. Clearly, we want to get back to repeatable playoff hockey. That’s the goal of this franchise,” Becher said. “You’ve seen over the season, we have some world-class players and some incredible talent in this organization. But openly, we do need a few more pieces which will be part of both Joe’s job and the GM’s as well.”

Read the full article here.