Express Alumni Update: Spencer Larson
In today’s Express Alumni Update presented by Lakeland University, we connected with former Express GM Spencer Larson. Larson Started with the Express in 2014 as the Director of Tickets Sales, and after one season in that position was elevated to General Manager, a role that Larson held for three seasons. Larson recently left the organization in 2018 to continue his professional development, taking a position with the Xcel Energy Center and the Minnesota Wild.
Eau Claire Express: When did you realize that you wanted a career in the sports industry?
Spencer Larson: Growing up all I ever wanted to be was a professional baseball player. During high school, I found a love for business and marketing. I thought working in the front office for a sports team would be the perfect way to combine these passions. Once I completed a few internships in baseball, I knew I wanted to work in the sports/entertainment industry for the rest of my career.
ECE: When you reflect on your time spent in Eau Claire, what were the best moments for you?
SP: I have so many great memories of my time in Eau Claire. One of my favorite memories will always be making it to the NWL Championship during the 2016 season. Watching Daulton Varsho and that team compete every day all summer was a lot of fun. What truly made my experience in Eau Claire so special though was all the people I worked with. I still stay in close contact with so many staff members, sponsors, interns, group outing contacts, players, and host families today. The community of Eau Claire is unlike any other I have ever been a part of. The community support and the desire to help the team succeed is remarkable.
On a non-baseball specific note, I also have many great memories from my involvement with the Chamber and specifically Young Professionals. Being on the board for Young Professionals and planning community events is something I’ll always remember. I always get some good nostalgia every year when I see photos posted from events such as the bean bag tournament.
ECE: Making your transition, what were the determining factors in your move to Minnesota?
SP: The biggest determining factor for me was taking a step professionally in my career. Working for the Xcel Energy Center and Minnesota Wild gives me the chance to play a role in large scale concerts, games, political events, and more. It was such a great opportunity for me to advance professionally in my career; I just couldn’t pass it up. On a personal level, I enjoy the Twin Cities area and all the entertainment options outside of work.
ECE: What roles do you perform in your current position?
SP: In my current position as Manager of Guest Experience, I am the manager on duty for events at the Xcel Energy Center, RiverCentre, Roy Wilkins Auditorium, and TRIA Rink at Treasure Island. I hire, train, and work with the usher staff to ensure we are offering a world-class guest service experience for every person who enters one of our facilities. During events, I respond to calls and represent the building in making resolution decisions. Some examples include intoxicated guests, ADA issues, or guest questions. Some of the office work includes scheduling staffing for events, preparing event game day information sheets for staff, writing event recaps, and attending meetings for upcoming events.
ECE: What are the biggest differences and similarities for you in the positions that you have held in the industry?
SP: The biggest difference is in the day-to-day duties of the position. When I was in Eau Claire as the GM, I was responsible for essentially every piece of the business operation. This ranged from sales calls to organizing meals for the visiting teams to supervising all interns/full-time staff. Now with my current position, I am focused entirely on the guest experience side of things. I still get to wear a number of different hats each day and have lots of variety though which I love. The biggest similarity is the motivation to create an unforgettable experience for fans and leave them with the desire to return.
ECE: Any advice you would give interns in sport or young professionals starting out?
- Be the first person in the door and the last person to leave the building
- Network with every person you meet and take a genuine interest in getting to know them
- Ask lots of questions
- Be willing to do things no one else is willing to do or wants to do
- The long days and long hours are all worth it
- Don’t be afraid to take a chance and do something you’ve never been done before
- Bring a positive attitude every day
- Shadow someone who does your dream job for a day
- Wear sunscreen
- Have fun!
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Express as your favorite team.