In sales, you need to figure out what works, and then repeat it over and over again. That’s discipline. Joining Lance Tyson today is Michael Forde, the CSO of the Orlando Magic. Listen to this episode and you’ll hear discipline running throughout it. Michael’s sales philosophy, work ethic, and career are built on discipline. It’s how he built his sales teams, his businesses, and his career. You’ll also hear his insight into building and managing a remote team, ideas on his leadership strategy, and the 3 key ingredients people need to move a deal forward. The insights in this episode are well worth your time. Check it out!
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Sales Discipline: Figuring Out What Works With Michael Forde
I’m excited about our episode of this show. We are here talking to Michael Forde, a Chief Sales Officer of the Orlando Magic. Michael, welcome to the show. Thanks for being on.
Thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve been looking forward to this one. We have a wide swath of audience sales folks and exects. Talk about your role at Orlando as it relates to being Chief Sales Officer. The reporting and structure, what’s that look like?
You need to always look at the long game, not the short game.
I’m the Chief Sales Officer. I oversee all revenue that flows through the organization. You start with tickets, have our premium and retail products, and then the retail support team, tickets, and premium. I also have global and corporate partnerships. Lastly, I have ticket operations.
It’s anything that supports revenue coming through the door reports to you. How many people direct reports to you in terms of direct managers?
I have two direct reports, somebody that oversees global partnerships and ticket premium and ticket operations. Below them, there is another layer with each of those areas.
Coming out of the pandemic and I know you’re in Florida, not that it exists in Florida, keep tongue in cheek there, what side of the business have you been more focused on? Has it been the event side or partnership?
It depends on where we were in the process. Early on, we spent a lot of time in global partnerships. We were about 80% through the season. We had to work with our partners to fulfill and deliver on the remaining 20%. We did our best to maintain the revenue that was associated with it. It’s a make-good or substitution strategy. That carried through while simultaneously driving my ticket and premium team to do nothing more than build relationships.
We didn’t know when we were selling something. I preached to them like, “You’re going to come out of the pandemic different. It’s up to you whether you come out better or worse. Your goal today and every day should be building rapport and relationships with your customer base, not to sell them anything, but simply to check in on
It’s almost like a holding pattern. That’s what they’re in. I have two questions as we dig into this. You’ve got a vast organization underneath you and a lot of frontline managers and directors. How do you think the sales leadership philosophy of Orlando Magic changed over the pandemic for the good or worse?
We all learned where the management style has conflicted or crossed friction with the staff incentives. We were machine like a lot of organizations are, especially on the ticket and premium side where it was a lot of at-bats that drove a lot of opportunities. We had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Early on, the managers were unbelievably uncomfortable. They felt like they needed to check in with every sales rep at least once a day, if not twice a day.
It’s almost like babysitting a little bit.
I finally pulled them aside and I said, “If our staff is at home and they’re spending their day watching Netflix and you call, chances are they’re going to act like they were working. There is nothing you can do that’s going to be able to manage their behavior. Their behavior will be managed. Ultimately, the outcome will be based on statistical things like how many outreaches and sales they had.” That lasts about 2 or 3 weeks. They finally got the message and they backed off. It came to being available when they needed to be available, counsel and coach, and then the reverse happened. All of a sudden, the sales reps started calling their managers once or twice a day to check-in.
It was almost like they had to justify their existence and they don’t measure on sales anymore. What I’ve learned through the process is by working from home and not being face-to-face with your team, you don’t pick up the small little hustle things that may frame how you think about a person. “Joey shows up early. Sally stays late. They’re always the first one in the office or the last one, or they’re making the most phone calls.” That didn’t matter during the pandemic. All of a sudden, there was simply one measurement, a scoreboard. You either make the sale or don’t. Everything else is noise.
What I know about the organization and some of the work experience I have working with you a little bit is that I always felt if I had to use one word that describes the culture from sales. I thought it was very entrepreneurial. It’s one word that the salespeople had. Being entrepreneurial is being opportunistic. If you had to define your culture on that side of the business because that’s where you have a critical mass of salespeople, typically in sports entertainment, how would you define the culture from sales?
Where they were given independence, they were given even more independence at this point. I said, “They are their own brand and company, and there are no limits.” If you think about it in our world, there are no limits on revenue or income generation. The more you sell, the more you get paid. We’ve had some people that did a good job of nurturing the relationships, building their pipeline and they are seeing the dividends that we’re coming out of the pandemic. Others that didn’t and they’re struggling to restart and figure out, “How do I get back to where I was?”
When you and I had breakfast at a hotel, I remember you saying being very adamant that your salespeople had to have their own brand. That’s why I say entrepreneurial. It’s interesting. It’s more than that. Let’s go backward. A lot of people look at somebody like you and go, “How do you get from here to here?” You just didn’t land as the chief sales officer for a global brand like the Orlando Magic right in the middle of Disney, the resorts and all the money that flows down there. Where did you start off? What was the inception of might before?
Sometimes you have to meet the customer where they are.
My background has nothing to do with sales. I went to college. I like to say I was a failed Physical Therapist wannabe. I went to college at the University of Delaware to become a Physical Therapist. They accept about 100 kids into the program. After your sophomore year, because they only had 30 positions in the lab that you were cut down to 30 people that continued the last two years. I learned that I liked beer in college, girls, going out and a lot more than I like studying.
I quickly realized I was not going to be in that top 30. I shifted my degree over to Exercise Physiology. It’s similar but not the same, and I came out. My first job was working with the Orlando Magic for a third-party company. We did all the rehab and conditioning of the players. I was able to work with the original Magic team, but I sat a much different role. I sat behind the bench, so it was a completely different experience.
First of all, Paper Mill Apartments and Stone Blownstill there, the only female mascot in all pro sports. I used to live right next to the Christiana Mall and we might have a friend in common because we’re probably pretty close in age. I don’t know if you know Bob, my buddy, Bob Henry, but he lives down in Florida. He went to Penn State for two years with me then transferred to UD. I remember him talking about how competitive their physical therapy is. You wanted to go to UD for physical therapy, but I remember telling me how that is. Dewey Beach, the bottom court.
Dewey and Rehoboth Beach. We both have probably some scars in those areas.
That’s our explicit episode there. You land in Orlando in a much different position. What firm were you with? Out of curiosity.
I was with a company called Sports Physical Therapists, Sports PT. It was owned by a guy by the name of Pat Croce.
That’s the impetus of NovaCare.
I worked with Pat when it was a private company. I joined when we were about facility number 15 or 16 and we were in the high 40s when he rolled up with NovaCare.
That’s a hell of an education right there. He is getting involved in his organization.
I need to talk about my career paths. I’ll give you the quick pivot. About two years into it, I’m working with athletes in the afternoons and nights. During the day, I’m taking care of little old ladies with hip replacements and things like that. I realized I was at the pinnacle of dealing with these professional athletes. I kiddingly say years ago, they were there on God-given talent, not on hard work and physical fitness. A lot of things have changed in the sports world. I was fortunate to work with the players but realized this is not what my calling was.
For those who don’t know Pat, he is a pretty straight shooter out of Philadelphia. I went to Pat and said, “Pat, I’m not feeling this. I don’t know that this is what I want to do. What should I do?” He looked at me and he said, “It’s not my problem to figure out. It’s yours. Come back to me tomorrow with what your solution is.” I was like, “It’s not necessarily as empathetic as I would have hoped, but it was the medicine I needed at the time.” I came back to Pat the next day. I said, “There is a business to be had here.”
We talked to some doctors and hope that they send us patients. We were getting into the managed care environment, HMOs, Medicare. In essence, I went out and I drummed up new business. I talked because I had product knowledge. I could go talk with the insurance companies, nurses, doctors. The ironic thing was, though, Pat said, “I love it. Great idea. I can’t afford you to do that. As long as you still give me the eight hours a day working the patient floor, you can do whatever else you want.” I went home and talked to my wife.
I said, “I’m going to give this 90 days. I would wake up. I’d go to work. From 8:00 to 12:00, I would treat patients. Go back in the locker room, throw a suit on. From 12:00 to 4:00, I go see insurance companies, doctors and nurses. 4:00 I come back and get back on the patient floor and treat patients.” I was committed to figure out. About 30 days in, he comes back to town, calls me in his office. He goes, “Good for you. You figured this out. You can give up the patient’s floor and throw on a suit every day. Go drum up business for us.” That was my first true sales and business development job.
First of all, Pat Croce was on the front of Success Magazine. I followed his career all over. Now I get that entrepreneurial niche that you have. That all makes sense to me. That guy is one of my heroes. I have his book up here.
He’s a huge influence and mentor to me and his brother, Joe, to whom I reported directly to. Both of them ended up in sports. Pat as an owner of the Sixers and Joe ran all the revenue for, at that time, was the Sixers and Flyers first union center.
How long did you stay with Croce’s firm?
I was there probably about eight years. It was two early years and then another six. Pat sold. I went with the sales process and joined NovaCare. I found myself overseeing 70 facilities up and down the East Coast.
We both know Ray Pennacchia.
Of course, good, old Ray.
I did not know we had this in common. You D right through. I used to do business with Ray in Philly back in the day. I took a trip with them to Puerto Rico one time with a group from the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
A lot of good people came out of Pat’s organization.
You’re in NovaCare. One thing I know about NovaCare, their organization is a sales machine. They weren’t waiting for the incoming. They were going out to get it.
The biggest challenge I had was we were in acquisition mode at the time. You were taking a lot of diverse cultures of private physical therapists who were selling their clinics, cashing out, making their payday, and then working for the corporation. No disrespect to any of them, but they got their payday, so they were put in their 9:00 to 5:00.
What all we say and I use this as a story with my sales team, especially my managers. What made a great physical therapist doesn’t mean you’re a great manager of a physical therapy facility. You had a technical skill and ability to relate to a customer that didn’t mean you know how to run a P&L or operate a business. Oftentimes, salespeople in general go, “I want to be a manager.” Sometimes the skills of a salesperson don’t necessarily translate to being the skills of a manager.
You’re there for about eight years in total. Where is that next transition? Is it in sports?
It came to a life transition where I had to make a decision to say, “Am I going to stay on this ride or am I going to adjust my strategy?” I’ve done this twice in my career. I made a conscious decision to take a step back in order to pursue a new vertical. I was on the road virtually, five days a week, every week. I probably logged 200 days on the road, on the course of every year. I had three young kids at the time and realized I didn’t want to wake up one day, get to the high school graduation and my kids go, “Who is the old guy in the back of the room?” I felt like I made it a life decision to be more part of my kids growing up.
I opened up my own shop, an event marketing and management firm. We ran a lot of business in the SMERF market. The participatory sports that the youth kids are running around playing and hoop it up for soccer or gymnastics events. I formed a company that did that on behalf of nonprofits. Every soccer or basketball group out there was run by a board of volunteers, but they needed the revenue that these tournaments or events would throw off, but they didn’t know how to do it. When Johnny became the board member, he’d want to go in one direction.
Sally would come in and she’d take it in another direction. We were that middle ground that they hired us. We ran the event for them and they cashed the check as a percentage of whatever we generated. I did that for about a dozen years. I learned the hard way that there is hone a business and be self-employed. I was self-employed for twelve years. I had employees, an office, overhead, but I was still self-employed. Whatever I killed, I ate.
Happiness is exterior, but joy is internal. To find your joy, you need to find your passion.
That’s the tough transition because the transition from self-employed to a business owner to an investor, you got to transition the company. I always measure in my company, how long can I go on vacation before it becomes Lord of the flies? You did that for a dozen years. Does that next conscious decision come into play after that dozen years?
A dozen years and you had to decide whether I was going to go out, raise some capital, try to scale this and go beyond a regional approach. We tested a couple of waters, went into a couple of other states, hosted some events and realized it was a big lift. Could I have pulled it off? Probably, but I was at the place where my kids were about to head off to college and the security of a paycheck became more important. I sunset the business. I put it to the side. My wife continued to run it for a number of years. We eventually sold it.
I got back into the Corporate World, called up my old friends at the Magic and ironically, I had an old mentor, an individual I knew back in the days when I was in the physical therapy space because we handled all the Magic scare. He reached out to me and said, “We’re looking for a corporate seller. I know what you’re doing in your business. You have the contacts. You’re selling sponsorships into these events. What do you think?” My wife and I made a decision that we were going to make a three-year run.
I certainly didn’t show up for what they paid me. I showed up for what I could earn and taught that to my young sales rep. It’s not about the money that you’re paid to show up. It’s about the money that you can make based on what you produce. I always looked at it, “You’re paying me to show up. I make my money based on what I can sell.” I became a seller. I started out in the Corporate World and sold.
You talk about making assumptions. I’m starting to see this theme because starting with Croce, a very entrepreneurial company and NovaCare, a very entrepreneurial acquisition mode, then you go for a decade-plus to run your business and eat what you kill. The ladder is high, but there is no net. You make another conscious decision on the third phase of your career to come over into something corporate, but you leverage the relationship you have. They bring you in as what?
I was a PDM, Partnership Development Manager. I was a baseline, entry-level, and salesperson on the corporate side.
The edge you have is you have a hell of a lot more experience coming into that PDM role.
I was more senior than most, not significantly more. I came in when I was in my mid-30s at that point. Most of the other individuals were in their early 30s, but I had a lifetime or two of experiences that were brought to the table before I stepped into the door.
You had a lot of good behaviors, habits and a certain skillset. What would you say was your strongest skillset coming into that partnership role?
Discipline. It’s about figuring out what works and then repeating it over and over again. I’m a structured person. I live by discipline and routine. I applied that to the sales position. It took me a number of months to figure out what was working and what wasn’t. I never lost hope. I always look for the long game. I never looked at the short game. It was a great example that the first year, again, a more senior person coming in, it took me nine months to sell my very first deal. I was working for the organization for nine months before I got a deal.
That deal was a whopping $18,000 and a pool table and trade because we had a space, not for me, but for the building that needed to be jazzed up a little bit. I work with a local billiards company. To this day, I remember that deal going, “Finally, I’ve got the monkey off my back. I finally closed the deal.” That year I pumped out maybe $50,000 or $60,000 in the new business. Not enough to take a nice vacation for sure. The next year I did $1.4 million. People ask me, “What was different?” Nothing was different.
Sometimes you got to meet the customer where they are and the customers weren’t ready to buy. Especially on the corporate side, it wasn’t like, “Mike called me, I got this $500,000 of marketing budget. I don’t know what to do with it. Thank God you called. I’m going to spend it with you.” That’s not how it works. You got to work through the budgeting cycle and identify what their needs are. Can you fulfill a need? What are their pain points? How do you help them? That takes time. It doesn’t happen in small doses of a week or so. It takes, oftentimes, months or years to nurture that.
You’ve got the discipline to prep, repeatable, scalable process, customer-facing, strong negotiator, strong with asking questions. Where did your heart lean?
It lends to the question piece of the puzzle.
The biggest thing that I would advise any salesperson is you can’t find a solution if you don’t understand the problem. The problem may not hit you right in the face, but you have to identify. You have to almost tell the customer that you have a problem that you may not realize. It might be simple as, “You’re not spending enough time with your kids. Season tickets will help you solve that problem.” It may be, “Your business needs to reach such and such audience and you’re not able to reach them. I can help you reach them.”
You got to at least have a certain understanding of the business and what their objectives are. You also have to deal with the curiosity of the individual. Where does Lance sit in the organization? What role does he have? What influence does he have? Is he the juice? Is he not the juice? All those things are important because I always say the three things that you need to have a deal happen are, 1) You have to have a decision-maker, 2) You have to have money and, 3) You have to have a need that needs to be fulfilled. If those three things don’t exist, a deal does not happen.
I like how you said that because I was on a show and this one person kept saying, “You got to ask open-ended questions.” I go, “What if open-ended questions ain’t got to them? What if it’s a close-ended question?” I like how you said it because you’re outcome-based. I’m curious. I want to make sure we’re in the right spot and fit. What I heard you say is like, “In my first year, sales is about timing too.” Some will people buy from me now, in the future, they will never buy for me. He was trying to sell him $1.90 with that disciplined approach, then all of a sudden, you become a hunter farmer. It does one or the other. I love that. You’re in that role for how many years?
I’ve been with the organization for years. I’d say probably the first four years or thereabouts. I turned the corner in year two and was driving opportunities for several years following that.
You then went to what position?
I moved up to an Assistant Director. I had a small team on the global partnership side that reported to me. I still was an active seller and a book of business that I chased. I also supported other people. I moved into a director’s role where I simply supported the process that I certainly was in meetings and making sales, but I wasn’t necessarily carrying a book of business going forward.
After about 3 or 4 years, you start propelling yourself into a leadership position. From that point, that’s the next big transition. How do you start to develop your leadership strategy? What pulled you from your previous life because you had a dozen years as your own company, so obviously, you had a philosophy? What did you bring over? I’m going to help you with one because I know you’re going to say, “I want my people disciplined.” All the way through your career, everything that you’ve done. What else did you bring to the table with your leadership philosophy that was missing before you got there?
You can’t find a solution if you don’t understand the problem.
The three things I operate on are the three Ps, People, Process, and Product. You’ve got to hire the right people. That’s not easy and not a given. Oftentimes, in the sports world, you have an entry-level person that’s excited and enamored by the fact that they’re working in sports. Let’s be honest with you. It’s not like we’re rubbing shoulders with our players every day, high five and playing pickup on the court. That’s not what we do. The people are an important part of the process. I always believe that you give people some parameters. It’s like when you’re bowling and you’ve got the bumpers in the gutters.
I always gave you the bumpers. Anything you did in the middle, that’s for you to figure out how to solve and here are the bumpers or the limitations that I’m going to put around that box. Lastly for me is the product. How do you create the best and adjust the product to meet the needs of your customer? Those are the three that I’ve taken with me in all of my positions with the organization. I spend my time focused on those.
I can tell you live by it because it’s so easy for you to describe and there is not a lot of distance between my question and your answer. I love that. From that director role, what happens?
I get elevated overseeing partnerships. Thereafter, I picked up premium. The belief was that premium and corporate partnerships were similar because you were selling to businesses. The difference is, in partnerships, you often lead with ideas. We sell you the idea and we charge you for the asset. In premium, you had some limitations because the product is the product.
You can position and solve a lot of different things with the product, but ultimately it’s still sixteen seats at such and such row at this location and these are the benefits that come with it. That transition was identifying the say, “How do we solve for those problems in the premium space that was uniquely different than hospitality could be a solution to one of their pain points?
If a sponsorship partnership has seen the idea and charged the asset, what’s the clear phrase of premium?
Similarly, you’ve got to understand the pain point of the value proposition of why buying a premium product will solve their problem. In many cases, it might be an employee, client, or prospect problem, or it can simply be a place for them to drive new revenue.
I don’t know your feelings on this. I got scorched a couple of years ago. I was interviewed in a sports business journal. One of the toughest sales, if not the toughest sales in sports, is selling, not even these club seats sell boxes, not to sell because the group is so finite. It’s expensive real estate at the end of the day. It’s limited, too. It’s not like a country club membership where you can pick a lot of days ago. It’s 50, 60, or 70 times a year. Assuming you’re getting the job done there, how does it evolve to you? We’ve started bringing this down for landing that you land as the chief sales officer.
The three other places that I picked up shortly thereafter were tickets, retail, and ticket operations. I’ve always felt this way where I’ve made the most impact is probably the first 12 to 18 months. If there are opportunities to improve people process our product, I focus on that in the first eighteen months and they get all of me during that time. Usually, you’re in a position either because of your managers, talent or staff’s talent, that I don’t want to say it’s on autopilot, but it can be run and I don’t have to spend as much of my day working on it. Tickets, similarly, where I tell my staff, “I’m not going to sell any tickets this year.” Yet I’m responsible for the ticket number.
How does that work? My job is to make it possible for you to be successful. I always believe and I know it’s a cliché and it’s probably said very often, which is I work for them. They don’t work for me. I truly believe that because I have to understand their pain points and challenges, what is it? Oftentimes it becomes you come so myopic, you’re focused so much on what you’re doing and StubHub is a great example. Teams used to sell tickets three ways. There is a full season ticket, then we introduced years ago, a half a season ticket.
Beyond that, I’m old enough to remember when they stood in line at the box office for the on-sale day to buy your tickets. StubHub comes along and they go, “This isn’t going to be how the team sells it. We’re going to sell it the way the customer wants to buy it.” They offered the customer the ability to buy it the way they wanted to buy it in the package. They may have paid more, but now the teams, all of a sudden, had to respond and go, “Somebody else is selling our product because we’re not selling it.” I’m always at the belief that you’ve got to adjust your product to meet the customer where they are and that changes every day. We’re certainly going to see that change in a post-pandemic world.
It’s crystal clear of analogy. I think about it like a hot knife through butter were some of your answers. I interview a lot of the C-suite and you have a clear plan. I keep going back to those themes. If you’re entrepreneurial, you understand opportunity, but if you’ve come up where you’ve had to spend your own money, you’re looking for the least amount of distance to make money.
I know coaching was that way. You run in your business, so you think that way. I get what I opened with, which was that entrepreneurial mindset. I always felt Orlando had when we first met. Last few questions. If you were going to define to a 6, 7 or 8-year-old, let’s say it was your niece or nephew, and they said, “What’s the definition of success?” You would say what?
Maybe it doesn’t apply to an eight-year-old. Maybe I’d say it differently, but I will tell you what I’ve shared with my kids as they’ve gone from kids to prospering adults is find your joy. Specifically to find your joy, which is different than happiness. Happiness is exterior. It can be in a moment where you’re happy and laughing in a moment, but joy is more internal. It’s peace of mind. It’s a state of being where you’re enjoying what you’re at. For me, joy is driven by passion. You have to be passionate about something to find your joy in that something. For an eight-year-old, I’d probably have to dumb it down a little bit, but you get the point.
When you were saying, “Find your joy,” it dawned on me. This is interesting because I put people in categories. There is that successful person that is so competitive with the field. I also find a bucket maybe 30% of the time, very competitive people with themselves. Dr. Seuss said, “Of all the places you’ll go, you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win because you’ll be against you.” I sense you’re very competitive with yourself.
I am. That’s where the discipline comes in. I believe that you have to hold yourself accountable to a high standard. When you let yourself down, that’s probably the worst feeling in the world.
I’m so glad you said that because one time did I hear you compare Orlando against yourself. You compare what you do against yourself. It’s interesting. Throw yourself back because you’ve done big deals or you know big deals that are going on inside of your business all the time. I remember you said you’re into music. If you’re playing any song in your head before a big deal or you’re in your car, you crank something up, or you got your AirPods in, what do you play?
It might be a song that you may or may not be familiar with, but I am into EDM, Electric Dance. The DJ music. There is a song called Let’s Get Down to Business by Tiësto. We had what I call ticket-palooza where I brought all my staff together and we kicked off ticket sales for the 21 and 22 seasons. That was my walkout song.
Before the pandemic broke out, there was a big EDM festival in Columbus. I wasn’t on to that culture, what that was all about. I hop on a plane from LA to Columbus and I read the back of somebody’s jacket, this brand, then all of a sudden on the plane, the whole time I’m researching this whole EDM movement. I go, “This is the whole thing. I got you.” If you had to gift a book, what book do you gift the most?
There are probably two. One is called The 4-Hour Workweek. The simplicity of trying to simplify your life is what spoke to me about that book. My second one is sitting on my desk because I’ve re-read it probably half a dozen times. It’s called Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, who was an FBI negotiator. He had some very practical, simple negotiating techniques and skills. It’s a little bit different than sales because sales is in and of itself getting willing buyers to the table. Chris’s book takes it when you have individuals that will work together negotiating.
I don’t know if you’re familiar with that app Clubhouse. I was on a panel with Voss and Steven Kotler who wrote the book called Flow. Kotler and I shared the same publicist. Should Steven Kotler Have A Reality TV Show? That was the name of the thing. I get up there and I go, “Let’s test to see if Kotler sold. It sounds like since you’re on this Clubhouse room that you’re at least 20% there or it feels like that. Voss, I how did do?” “You did good.” I wanted to make sure I was applying. It’s very practical and a win-win way to negotiate. There’s not a lot of voodoo there.
Some simple techniques, even if you take 1 or 2 away from it. It’s well-written in the sense that it’s grounded in some real-life stories.
It’s probably stuff you’ve done in the past. Michael. I appreciate your time. Thanks for being on.
Thanks for having me. I enjoyed the time.
About Michael Forde
Michael Forde has been with the Orlando Magic in 2004 and was most recently promoted to chief sales officer in August 2017.
Forde has executive leadership responsibilities for the corporate, ticket, premium and retail sales units of the organization. His responsibilities include the oversight for all sales including tickets, hospitality, ICON suite membership, tourism and retail for both the Orlando Magic and Amway Center.
His corporate team is instrumental in developing marketing solutions for local, regional and national companies seeking an affiliation with the Orlando Magic brand and the Amway Center. Forde also overseas ticket sales, premium sales, corporate sales and retail department.
In addition to his current responsibilities, Forde provides strategic sales support for Orlando Solar Bears, Lakeland Magic, Magic Gaming and the Sports & Entertainment District.
Forde began with the Magic as a partnership development manager and was later promoted to assistant director of corporate partnerships during the summer of 2008. He was then promoted to director of corporate partnerships in August 2009, vice president of corporate partnership sales in July 2012 and senior vice president of corporate partnerships and premium sales in March 2014.
Prior to joining the Magic, Forde and his wife owned and operated Players Sports Marketing, an event management and marketing firm specializing in youth sports.
Forde currently serves on the board of the Florida Sports Foundation. He formerly served as the Chairman of the board of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, as well as the Chair of the Local Organizing committee of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 2017.
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Forde earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware. He and his wife, Vivian, reside in Lake Mary, Fla. and have three children and three grandchildren.