President of Business Operations, Seattle Mariners; former VP of Business Operations, Atlanta United Football Club
Culture and environment have always been critical for me. I’m very focused on the people I surround myself with. At Tuck, I knew I’d be surrounded by smart, hard-working individuals.
Growing up in North Carolina, Catie Griggs D’03, T’09 was a goalkeeper for her soccer team. She loved the sport but she never imagined that one day, she’d have a career on the business side of professional soccer. Today, she’s the vice president of business operations for Atlanta United FC, one of Major League Soccer’s newest franchises.
She started the job in August 2017, in the midst of Atlanta United FC’s first season. As an expansion team, there was skepticism about how the city of Atlanta would embrace the new club. But, in its first season, the experiment proved successful. Ticket sales skyrocketed, breaking attendance records in a brand new stadium, with some 70,000 people at a late-season game.
The fact that the team was new and that Griggs would have an opportunity to spearhead its growth was part of the appeal for her. “I’m in love with growing businesses,” Griggs says. “This was an opportunity to come into a job in my field, in my city, early enough that I could be part of the meaningful growth and development of the business.”
After graduating from Dartmouth College in 2003, she moved to New York City to work for IBM doing strategy and consulting, then worked for a boutique marketing firm in the media and entertainment space.
She loved the city, but she missed the rural land-scape of New Hampshire and the close-knit community at Dartmouth. So when she decided to attend business school, Tuck was the only one she applied to. “It was an easy decision,” Griggs says. “Culture and environment have always been critical for me. I’m very focused on the people I surround myself with. At Tuck, I knew I’d be surrounded by smart, hard-working individuals.”
While at Tuck, she interned at a sports marketing agency called Octagon, and after graduating in 2009, she took a job at sports-broadcasting powerhouse Turner Sports in Atlanta, doing strategy and business development. She’s gained many of her job leads through Tuck’s network of alums. “These aren’t just people who are here for two years, then move on,” she says. “They're people who remain active participants and remain connected.”
In 2015, Griggs took a new job with a media and sponsorships analytics consultancy company called Futures Sport + Entertainment, where she was responsible for growing the American side of the business from scratch. In just over two years, she helped expand the company from zero to retaining 30 clients across every major sport in America, from horse racing to surfing to the NFL. When a headhunter called her about the Atlanta United FC job, it was too good to pass up.
“I love the business of sports,” Griggs says. “The passion people have and the way it influences their decisions and behavior is remarkable. To be part of that and to understand how you can leverage that passion for business results, that’s really interesting to me.”
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