You’ve probably heard of the television show called “Undercover Boss,” but if you haven’t it’s where a President or CEO of a company goes undercover to find out how things really work in the different departments of the company.
No, this isn’t going where you think it is... David Tepper did not do an “undercover boss” at Tepper Sports & Entertainment, but Charlotte FC President Nick Kelly did do something along those lines.
In preparation for the inaugural season of Charlotte FC, Kelly took some time to step aside from being president to become an intern once again. This time, to learn all the ins and out of operating Bank of America Stadium.
“I wanted to better understand the full operations and scope of running an event at Bank of America Stadium,” Kelly said. “Many times, it’s the little things that you don’t notice on the surface that can cause you the most trouble or be the biggest assets.”
He shadowed across the seven different departments that make games and events at the stadium possible: Ticket Operations, Concessions, Security, Guest Relations, Gameday Entertainment, Gameday Production, and Gameday Operations.
"This was really unique to see. He was in the weeds with our team in every aspect of the business, and it was clear to see that he was learning along the way with everyone there," said Joe LaBue, Vice President of Ticket Sales & Services. "The shift in the ticketing department was from 5:30 am until we shut down at 7:30 pm and Nick was with us every step of the way. And the next week he would do it again in a different department. Everyone in the Panthers organization benefited from it."
Like “Undercover Boss” most people that were introduced to Kelly had no idea who he was and genuinely believed he was just an intern. That was no problem for Kelly because he approached the experience with the mentality of one.
“People truly thought I was an intern, I went in just wanting to learn as much as I could so I would ask a lot of questions and do whatever I could to help, whether it was lifting boxes or fetching stuff,” Kelly said laughing.
It was an eye-opening experience for Kelly as well. One that reinforced what he had already known but never truly saw up close until now.
“My biggest takeaway from the experience is that we have really talented people working at Bank of America Stadium,” said Kelly. “We have some of the best in the country who are not only excellent at what they do but take so much pride in it.”
Kelly got to know the faces behind the scenes that gave him an even greater appreciation of the hands and minds that would help make Charlotte FC’s gamedays possible. It’s this, the people, that are what make Tepper Sports and Entertainment so special.
“It’s the superb people that we have that allows us to not have to worry about the basics,” conveyed Kelly. “We as a Club can fully focus on the product on the pitch and making the gameday experience unique and unlike anything else in MLS for our fans.”
That is the true value of Charlotte FC being under the umbrella of Tepper Sports & Entertainment. Already having an organization with established systems and processes in place that is willing to help in every way, a luxury many other expansion sides never had.