October 27, 2020
The most recognized team operations director in sports is getting some help.
During the Golden State Warriors’ run of three titles in four years, Eric Housen received shout-outs from Steph Curry at an MVP ceremony and a banner unveiling to go with a New York Times profile of the team’s Go-to Guy.
Now, as the Warriors prepare to reload ahead of the 2020-2021 season, the franchise has inked a deal with sports-specific travel agency Pivot to help Housen manage the increasingly complex issue of travel whenever NBA teams return to the road.
Pivot will be responsible for booking the team’s hotel stays, in coordination with Housen. The two-year-old group is led by former San Antonio Spurs operations manager Travis Wade as a division of Pivot, a full-service marketing agency.
Warriors CRO Brandon Schneider said the franchise’s annual travel costs can run into the seven figures, and everyone from trainers to accountants might have an interest in how the team manages its trips.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is the continuity between our business side and our basketball side,” Schneider said. “I’d argue that is part of our secret sauce, and it makes conversations like this one easy because we function like this routinely.” Now the erstwhile super team has added some additional muscle behind the scenes.
“[Housen] is the equipment guy and the travel guy and he’s dealing with operations and players… It’s a juggling act,” Wade said, recalling his own days in San Antonio. The Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, and Brooklyn Nets are among the other clients that have turned to Pivot to lighten the in-house load—and find savings.
Pivot will only capitalize on the deal once Golden State travels again, earning a commission on bookings while offering its clients lower rates through group negotiations. Hotels will likely be especially eager to host large groups after a catastrophic 2020 that could cost nearly 200 travel million jobs worldwide. “The hospitality industry is hurting,” Wade said. “I owe it to myself to try and get this going again as best as we can.”