Brad Sims took up his new role as New York City FC’s Chief Executive Officer on January 7, 2019, following nearly seven years with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bringing a wealth of experience to the role, as well as a deep-seated passion for the beautiful game, Brad caught up with NYCFC’s Digital Team, to explain why he took up this new position and what he hopes to bring to New York City’s Football Club…
Welcome to the Club, how does it feel to take up your new position as CEO of NYCFC?
It’s exciting to be on the ground and to be back in New York. I had a very positive experience living in New York previously and it’s great to be back and working with a respected organization like NYCFC. For me, it’s as close to a dream job as it can be – getting to work in a sport that I’m extremely passionate about and with such a fantastic Club in arguably the best city in the world.
Could you tell us about your relationship with soccer?
I played soccer my whole life. From as young as when I could I stand, I was dribbling a soccer ball. I played through high school competitively and played more recreationally in college and as an adult. I attended matches during the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. and that got me much more excited about watching soccer live and supporting and following the game.
I grew up in California and I was living there when MLS started in 1996. I was at the first LA Galaxy match at the Rose Bowl with a record crowd for the MLS that stood for almost 20 years. That was a match I’ll never forget. I continued to follow soccer and was also at the Rose Bowl when the U.S. Women won the World Cup in 1999.
I’ve attended matches in Europe and in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s something that I’ve been passionate about for a long time. MLS is a league that is definitely on the rise and it’s been amazing to see the growth, especially in new markets.
Talk us through the decision-making process in taking up this new role with NYCFC after almost seven years with the Cavs? What attracted you?
I have spent 15 years of my career in the NBA, the last 11 between the Cavs and the NBA league office here in New York. I also had a prior stint with the 76ers before that.
The things that attracted me to the NBA are many of the same things that are present in soccer, especially in terms of the passion and the fanbase. The overall passion for soccer probably surpasses any other sport.
I’ve been very particular in the jobs that I’ve had and the places I’ve gone to try to align myself with great organizations and great people. I’ve also always looked to go to places geographically where I knew sports were going to be very meaningful to the fans of that Club and the people in that city or region.
This was definitely the case in Cleveland. Professional sports are a huge part of the identity of Clevelanders and in Northeast Ohio. When the Cavs won the NBA Championship in 2016, it was the first professional sports championship in Cleveland in 52 years and that really felt like you were part of something much bigger than one team or one sport. It was something that really lifted the entire city and region up and that was incredibly gratifying to be a part of.
It’s now less than two months until the new season begins – how do you plan to spend this time?
The two most important constituents that I have are our employees and our fans. For me, my priority is getting to know our team members and understanding what drives them and motivates them and why they love this Club.
On the other side, I want to spend time getting to know our City Members, our supporters, our supporter groups and our partners. And just learning.
I would say, borrowing a term that really stuck with me, “I’m on a listening tour” for the next few months. I’ll be meeting with all the people that I think are the most connected with our Club and listening and learning. That’s what I think is most important for me in the first few months on the job.
Do you have a message for the fans?
My first message is “thank you”. Thank you for supporting this Club. Your support is extremely important. You are the lifeblood of our Club and the foundation on which it’s built upon. I look forward to meeting you all and learning from you and serving you in the best capacity that I possibly can.