For this sit-down we speak with Dustin Toms, the Vice President of Business Operations for the Stockton Kings
What is an average day like for you as VP of Business Operations? How is that different in terms of offseason versus prime basketball time?
Oh man, that is a hard question to answer. My day-to-day as Vice President of Business Operations for the Stockton Kings changes every single day. I oversee the business. So, all aspects from public relations to sales marketing to tickets, community, entertainment. So, my time is really spent where my staff tells me to spend it. I really do what my staff asks me to do because we do wear a lot of hats. We have a lot going on where we move very quickly. We react a lot of the times, but we get it done. We have a phenomenal team. We have the best staff in the entire G-league – so, I’m confident in them. But really to answer your question it changes every day. During the offseason it’s much more sales focused and making sure that we have the right campaigns up and running.
How did you get started in the sports industry?
I got started when I was young. I’ve always been a sports fan. I grew up knowing that no matter what I did I would want to be involved in sports – and I love to write, it was something that I did as a hobby. So, when I went to college I figured I’d go into journalism, and become a sports writer. I had a major in broadcasting thinking, you know, like I can do the whole SportsCenter thing. I guess my experience and opportunities I had, led me to the business side rather than the media side of the world. I just fell in love, so I started as a journalist and eventually went into public relations for a sports team. That led into a sales job where I was selling partnerships for a baseball team. The next thing I knew I was working with the [Sacramento] Kings and finding some success, and when they purchased the Reno Bighorns, it was an opportunity to oversee the whole operation and something I didn’t want to pass up.
What would you tell someone who’s never been to a Stockton basketball game before?
What would I tell them? Oh, I would tell them that they have to come.
How would you describe the game?
I would describe the experience of a Stockton Kings game to be something like you’ve really never experienced before. We are a miniature amusement park. It’s an affordable family night to come out and have a good time. You know, we have a standing promotion every single Friday called our “Friday Family Feast.” You can bring your entire family of four and buy four tickets, four drinks, four hot dogs, a tub of popcorn and you’ve not even spent $100 yet. So, we make sure that it’s a very cost-effective way for you to spend time with your family, your friends, your clients – whatever that may be – and it’s in such a relaxed atmosphere.
What’s a piece of advice that you could give to someone looking to get started in the Sports World?
If you really want to work in sports, I highly recommend getting an internship with a minor league sports team because you’re going to do so many random tasks. You’ll really understand what goes into running a franchise and running an organization from moving boxes of t-shirts around in promotional storage, to actually executing the promotion on the field, to renewing that promotion with the corporate partner at the end of the season. I mean, you just learn everything because you wear multiple hats. So, if you really want to get into the sports industry, you should look for an internship and be aggressive in getting that because everybody wants to work in sports. It’s a matter of what you’re going to do to separate yourself.
What are you looking forward to during the upcoming season?
I’m just looking forward to Season Two, you know, last year was an awesome season myself and our team had an absolute blast. We didn’t just have a season, you know, we launched a team from the ground up. I mean, we walked into Stockton with nothing but a name and by the end of the season, we were one of the top 10 teams in the entire G-league, that knows how to how to operate from a business and basketball perspective. We were 7th in the league and to do that in five months – I mean, no one’s ever going to be able to take that from our tiny little full-time staff of 12, right? So that’s something that we’re always going to hold to our chest this year. We’re excited to see what more we can do.