Sharks’ President Jonathan Becher on Silicon Valley, Gritty, and the Future of Fan Engagement

An inside look at how NHL teams are innovating in the front office.

On the third episode of ‘Forward Progress’, host Gord Randall speaks with Jonathan Becher, co-president of the San Jose Sharks, about how Silicon Valley’s hockey team is using tech to enhance the fan experience, how the Sharks are cultivating a fanbase in one of America’s most crowded sports markets, and the viral sensation that is Gritty. 

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Show Notes:

  • The role of the president of an NHL team [3:06]
  • The popularity of Gritty and SJ Sharkie [4:00]
  • On the early success of the Vegas Golden Knights [5:20]
  • On the power of data in an NHL front office [7:22]
  • On whether or not a president needs to be a fan first [10:25]
  • On Silicon Valley’s views of the sports and entertainment industry [13:02]
  • Geofencing and innovations in fan engagement [17:02]
  • Hockey is for everybody and encouraging fans to express their identities [18:45]
  • How teams can use technology appropriately and effectively [22:04]
  • On why you need a strategy and not a social media strategy [24:15]
  • Bringing in the corporate audience while keeping hockey accessible [30:15]
  • Why regular seat turnover is actually a positive [30:15]
  • The addition of Erik Karlsson and the buzz around the San Jose Sharks [33:15]
  • Creating a fan experience that delivers both sports and entertainment [37:12]
  • New twists on traditional in-stadium experiences [40:15]
  • On making incremental changes to the SAP Center [41:04]
  • On competing for attention in a crowded sports landscape [46:38]


Notable Mentions: 

Erik KarlssonHasso Plattner | Golden State Warriors | Joe Pavelski

Additional reading:

Grandstand End Content Logo

Gord Randall
Gord Randall
Gord Randall is a senior writer and podcast host for Grandstand Central, who is a high school teacher by trade. He is also the lead analyst on “Krown Countdown U” on CHCH TV and In his spare time, he also is the head coach of a high school football program in Vancouver, BC.


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