Swartz Delivers $7.5 Million, And More, For Extension of MSHSL TV Contract
Swartz Tames Media For Wild
Swartz Inks Largest High School Deal in History
Swartz Scores for KSHSAA
Three New States in League with Swartz
Seahawks Flying With Swartz
Business Journal Profile:
Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal - March 24, 2006
by Andrew Tellijohn
It was October 2001 and Stuart Swartz was in Rancho Mirage, Calif., playing
a lot of golf. He had just left KMSP-TV UPN 9, a Twin Cities station which
had been bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Swartz started his career at
KMSP in sales in 1962 and worked his way up to general manager, helping make
it one of the country's most successful unaffiliated stations. "It was time
for me to move on," Swartz said. But golf "wasn't enough to keep me going."
Swartz teamed up with potential business partners and backers. They kicked
the tires on several television stations and even a newspaper, but nothing
came together. Then, an old contact showed up out of the blue, and that led
to Stu Swartz Sports Media Consulting.
Swartz heard from Dave Stead, executive director of the Minnesota State High
School League (MSHSL). Stead and Swartz had worked together over the years
when KMSP aired several high-school league tournaments. Stead wondered if
Swartz's knowledge of the industry could help the league with its television
The result was a stunning, first-of-its-kind contract worth more than $20
million in cash and in-kind advertising, activities and promotion for the
league. Swartz, who met with the stations interested in bidding on the
contract, has a combination of insight about the industry and the ability to
see benefits for both sides.
"There were things beyond just the cash that would benefit not only the
stations, but the high schools," Stead said. "There is no other state in the
country that has the kind of television contract we have. Stu orchestrated
the whole thing."
Shortly after, the Minnesota Wild called Swartz to help work on the hockey
team's radio and broadcast television deals. Bill Robertson, vice president
of broadcasting and communication with the team, said Swartz helped plot the
team's strategy and was involved at every level of negotiations. "We're
very, very happy with our current agreements" with KSTC-TV and WCCO radio,
Swartz, who gets an upfront fee and a percentage of revenue gained or money
saved from contracts, is helping the Seattle Seahawks analyze their media
contracts. That job grew from his relationship with Tod Leiweke, former
president and chief operating officer with the Wild. Leiweke is now CEO of
the Seattle Seahawks. He, Stead and Robertson all said they will help Swartz
in any way they can.
"The biggest compliment I can give Stu is that he gets it," Leiweke said.
Meanwhile, Swartz' company, with headquarters in both Plymouth and Rancho
Mirage, hired Bloomington-based Cuneo Advertising to establish a Web site
and collateral materials. Swartz has had preliminary conversations with
three high-school leagues around the country as well as another NHL team and
two television stations.
"It's been fun. I'm actually having a blast," he said.