THE EARLY YEARS
As a poor kid in Brooklyn, Brandon Steiner lived for the summer days when he could scrounge together enough change to make the subway trip to Yankee Stadium, buy the cheapest ticket available, and bask in the aura of his favorite baseball team for a few hours. Little could Brandon have known then that one day his name would be linked with the team in an exclusive memorabilia partnership and he’d own that very stadium.
Raised in Flatbush with his two brothers by a single mother, Brandon attended John Dewey High School in Coney Island, NY and went on to Syracuse University, graduating in 1981 with an accounting degree. Throughout Brandon’s Odyssean career, he continually reinvented himself as he capitalized on his two sharpest skills: managing people and providing services.
Brandon started out in food service and hospitality in Baltimore, managing a hospital cafeteria and high-end hotel restaurants. Returning to his native New York, he managed the Hard Rock Café in the late 80s, when it was one of the most popular restaurants in the city. During his time at the Hard Rock Café and later at the Sporting Club, Brandon met many of the athletes he would later represent. At the Sporting Club, New York City’s first full-service sports bar, Brandon made his foray into sports marketing – hiring athletes as “guest bartenders” for charity events, and as “guests of honor” for “Fight Night” broadcasts of big-time boxing matches.
As Brandon met and got to know athletes, he learned that most did not have anyone to represent them for speaking engagements and corporate appearances, and recognized the opportunity. In 1987, to fill that void, Brandon established Steiner Associates (later renamed Steiner Sports) with only $4,000, a one-room office, and an intern.
By the late 90s, Steiner Sports had dozens of employees and represented most of the big-name athletes in New York. The company also expanded its business focus to collectibles as the athletes Brandon represented signed memorabilia he used for corporate gifts and to help acquire new clients for Steiner. In time, Brandon’s partners were requesting autographed items almost as much as the appearances of the athlete themselves.
Brandon’s unprecedented partnership with the New York Yankees, announced in 2004, provided a way to offer fans authentic Yankees memorabilia and one-of-a-kind fantasy experiences at Yankee Stadium.
Steiner Sports developed similar partnerships with Notre Dame Football, Syracuse Athletics, and Madison Square Garden to bring fans closer to the games and athletes through meet-and-greets, speaking appearances, signed memorabilia including game-used jerseys and equipment, and countless other products and services.
In 2008, Steiner Sports created yet another unique market, by buying the exclusive rights to the disassembled Old Yankee Stadium to develop an entire, authentic Stadium product line, giving fans the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take home seats, signs, bricks from Monument Park, and hundreds of other unique pieces which give the old stadium new life.
Today, Steiner Sports generates $40 million in annual revenue, and employs 100 people.
AUTHOR, SPEAKER, MEDIA PERSONALITY
In 2003, Brandon published his first book, The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports. The Business Playbook was supported by a national book tour, as a result of which Brandon was invited to be a guest lecturer at some of the top business schools in the country, including The Harvard Business School, The Kellogg School of Business, Columbia and Yale. Brandon became a motivational speaker, invited to speak to Fortune 500 companies across many industries.
In 2012, Wiley & Sons published Brandon’s second book, You Gotta Have Balls, which chronicles his long career, and the life and business lessons he learned therein.
Brandon has become a media personality as a regular guest on 98.7 FM ESPN-NY Radio and co-host on YES Network’s Yankees-Steiner: Memories of the Game. He is frequently utilized as an expert commentator on sports and marketing on national news networks including CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, and ESPN, and in newspapers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He also made several appearances on the MLB Network while promoting the MLB Fan Cave.
Brandon was instrumental in creating the David Falk Sports Management Program at Syracuse University and is a Founding Member. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Syracuse Athletics. Through his business speaking events, Brandon supports a Syracuse University scholarship at the Falk College.
Brandon devotes time to and supports several charities, including Family Services of Westchester, an organization that helps provide quality social and mental health services. With Brandon’s help, Family Services of Westchester has been able to open two group homes for teenage boys and girls with no place to call home.
Brandon resides in Scarsdale, NY with his wife Mara and their two children. He bleeds Syracuse Orange. Every week, Brandon hosts weekly a basketball game for his employees and friends at his home.