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Andrew Patterson Jumped At Chance To Join Jomboy Media

“I think the idea of taking the communities we have and bringing them to their content [creates] a mutually-beneficial relationship,” Patterson said.

Derek Futterman

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Until June 2022, Jomboy Media operated without a chief executive officer, but as time went on, it was determined that the company needed to add someone to help lead planning, operations, strategy and development across multiple media platforms. Andrew Patterson was selected to help lead Jomboy Media into the future and now three months into the job, he recognizes the power of the company in its ability to innovate within the world of sports media.

Jomboy Media is a digital sports media brand that has experienced exponential growth over the last several years. The company was started by Jimmy O’Brien and his friend Jake Storiale, and it initially became widely known due to video breakdowns O’Brien created of prominent moments in baseball, such as ejections and evidence of sign-stealing following initial reports of the Houston Astros illicitly engaging in the practice during the organization’s 2017 championship season.

First centered around the Talkin’ Yanks podcast started by avid New York Yankees fans O’Brien and Storiale in 2017, Jomboy Media eventually reached a point where it was beginning to grow so quickly that it required a larger time commitment. That growth has hardly slowed with the brand attaining $5 million in a recent funding round led by Connect Ventures featuring athletes such as Dwayne Wade, C.C. Sabathia and Karl-Anthony Towns, along with other renowned celebrities.

Major League Baseball is the oldest professional sports league in the world and while it has been criticized for being behind the curve in various facets of its game ranging from pace of play to the promotion of its athletes, it was at the forefront of the proliferation in social media usage at the start of the last decade. Patterson was hired by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the league’s interactive division, as the senior director of new media.

In fact, he was the first employee hired with a focus on social media altogether. Now working as a manager for the first time in his professional career, Patterson built the new media division with the addition of 85 employees and enlarged the league’s social media following by over 4300%.

“I think it’s better to be lucky than to be smart, but even better to be smart not knowing you’re getting lucky,” Patterson said. “It was just the right timing and the right place there. I found myself at MLBAM and that kind of started my career in sports at this point.”

Following a stint of over eight years with MLBAM, Patterson joined Greenfly, a digital media asset management and distribution platform co-founded by former Major League Baseball all-star outfielder Shawn Green. Patterson initially served as its vice president of partnerships and strategy before being promoted to senior vice president and, eventually, chief strategy officer.

Coinciding with Patterson’s time at Greenfly was the rapid evolution of Jomboy Media from an independent start-up cultivated out of a passion for baseball and love for the Yankees to a brand at the forefront of the growing digital sector in sports media. As a Yankees fan himself, Patterson noticed what O’Brien was building and once it was announced that the company was looking to hire its first CEO, was excited to explore the opportunity.

“There was a tangential kind of familitary there and then being a Yankees fan, you see [the] content,” Patterson said. “It was one of those interesting things where there’s a lot more under the hood when you start to get into it.”

An important value ingrained within the culture of Jomboy Media is its people-first mentality, and it is one of the reasons the brand has attracted fans of baseball and sports as a whole to its various pieces of multiplatform content, such as podcasts, tournaments and YouTube breakdown videos. It is a facet of the company that impressed Patterson during the interview process and has given him further motivation to help the brand soar to new heights as one of its newest members.

“As you kind of start to unpack understanding a little bit more about me [and] quite frankly understanding about the business and them and where they’re going and where they’re headed and how they think – there’s kind of an alignment [in] vision and direction,” Patterson expressed, “and that’s why I was excited to come on…. It’s definitely been eye-opening just kind of the pendulum the business has and all the places that they’re going and the opportunities that fit there.”

The world has undoubtedly been forever changed by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the business world, that means the diminishing practice of reporting to work in an office for five days a week. Jomboy Media recently moved its headquarters from the Bronx to Manhattan, which was announced in the form of a YouTube video, and features various podcasting studios and workspaces to ensure maximum comfort and productivity.

Nonetheless, the company is operating in a hybrid format, meaning that people are not required to come to the office every day of the work week, but still maintains a tight-knit, congenial atmosphere.

“People are happy,” Patterson said. “They’re excited about it. I think it pervades… the work that they do and the relationship they have…. It’s just a fun place to be, and having worked in a lot of places that I really enjoyed; even when I’ve left places… one of the biggest parts that I missed was the people, and that’s one of the parts I’m most excited about here.”

While emerging technologies have made the effectuation of stellar and engaging content more facile than ever, it can be argued that the synergy and chemistry between people lacks when working in separate locations. A massive adaptation in lifestyle due to changing global conditions evinced feelings of dis-ease experienced through difficult times, nor did the adaptation represent one of permanence to some company leaders. Patterson believes it is ultimately the decision of each individual company to determine the future of working in-person among colleagues – and subsequently establish means of collaboration.

“I think there’s a balance to it,” Patterson said. “….Given the first two years of the pandemic where remote work in some way, shape or form is here to stay, I think that what we’ve also found from the office is that there’s a gravity and a reason people come together. When we are filming and we have talent working from one place or another or just kind of cross-sharing ideas; just the small things. People walking to lunch together, bumping into each other and having conversations. I think that aspect of it – just the community aspect of it – is a real piece of it.”

Consumers value authenticity in today’s media world and it is embedded in the fabric of Jomboy Media, a company with a podcast network consisting of over 20 shows and a YouTube subscriber count of nearly 1.7 million people. The authenticity comes from an amalgamation of perspectives garnering unparalleled ethos including directly from fans, established commentators and professional athletes. The company values people who possess a good work ethic and are driven to find new ways to grow the platform, along with having a presence behind the microphone and/or in front of the camera and being sincere in their opinions.

“I think the business is not about takes; it’s about storytelling [and] I think that’s the difference,” Patterson said regarding Jomboy Media’s approach towards its content. “[Our talent] is not looking for shocking and aweing; they’re having an authentic and probably more than authentic I’d say a genuine experience in how they enjoy the game and how they talk about that.”

Storytelling is the foundation of journalism in all contexts, as its premise is one’s ability to gather information, ensure its accuracy and communicate a message to an audience both clearly and concisely. In evaluating talent both internally and externally, Patterson looks for a sustained level of curiosity, willingness to improve each day and, as O’Brien puts it, people who are able to be “fun, not funny” and assimilate into the culture.

“You can find very talented people, but for a team I think even more special than [it] is the kind of atmosphere and environment that people have here,” Patterson said. “It’s something that’s very special and it’s a hard thing to kind of keep over time. I quite frankly think it comes through in the content that we produce which is why people very much enjoy it.”

Being able to place oneself into a conversation with content creators and fans encompasses consumers within a brand, and Jomboy Media leverages that effect of social media to its advantage. When he worked at MLBAM, Twitter was the primary platform for interaction and while it remains prevalent today, other competitors such as Instagram, Snapchat and BeReal are competing for people’s attention and engagement.

The congested landscape of social media platforms requires employees accruing new knowledge or companies bringing on new people with relevant knowledge and, when applicable, experience, in order to safeguard that it does not fall behind. For example, Lorenzo DeMalia and Jack Doyle – co-hosts of the We Got Ice Show and content creators at Jomboy Media – are trying to help the company expand its reach on TikTok.

“Technology creates a new way to have a new spin on existing conversations, and then it’s just finding new ways to leverage that,” Patterson explained. “We’re constantly looking at what our fans are doing, how we can tell our stories in different ways and how we can push those and in some cases where we can find people who can do an even better job.”

One thing that is not always instantaneous is the cultivation of new ideas since the creative process varies in duration for different people. There is often an incessant need to produce new content – especially in today’s day and age –  but ensuring the quality of that content meets and/or exceeds standards has a considerable impact on long-term growth. Putting out meager content that fails to adequately tell a story can sometimes be counterintuitive to brands akin to Jomboy Media, but being willing to fail and try new things often facilitates improvement and eventual success.

“We see people who have ideas coming to the table consistently just bringing new things and pushing it,” Patterson said. “[Try] one idea and if that doesn’t work, let’s try another remix or let’s try a derivative of that and keep on going there. I think when we find something that works, we’re patient enough to kind of keep on trying until we find a way to [make it] work and then we can build on what we’ve done.”

There are a myriad of similarities between traditional radio and podcasts, primarily their bases in aural communication; however, the growing prevalence of podcasts in the marketplace is depictive of shortcomings traditional radio as a medium has yet to significantly overcome. For one thing, podcasts are designed to be consumed from wherever and at whenever consumers see best fit rather than scheduled radio shows, some of which are posted in full or in smaller segments in an on-demand format soon after their initial debuts over the airwaves.

“The accessibility of podcasting as a format and just kind of how it’s ubiquitous and no matter where you’re listening you probably have an opportunity there,” Patterson said. “That’s the biggest difference, I think, between podcasts and radio – where you can do appointment viewing, but in addition to appointment viewing, on the platform of your choosing.”

Jomboy Media, while it is a digital company at its core, also works with traditional sports media outlets including regional sports networks. The company struck a deal with YES Network prior to the start of the baseball season to produce exclusive content for the television home of the Yankees, including podcasts and digital series.

A few months later, the company partnered with NESN, which serves as the television home of the rival Boston Red Sox, similarly producing original content for the NESN 360 direct-to-consumer subscription-based streaming service.

“I think the idea of taking the communities we have and bringing them to their content [creates] a mutually-beneficial relationship,” Patterson said. “To be able to work with YES and NESN and learn from all that’s worked well with traditional media but also being able to bring our spin, our distribution [and] our approach to content is something different. I think that those two things are where you get one plus one equals five, which I think has been really different.”

Another aspect of the YES Network deal specifically is the production of an alternate broadcast available exclusively on the network’s app. Tilted the Watchin’ Yanks Jomboy-Cast, the broadcast follows a similar model to ESPN’s production of Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod, except it is built on a partnership between a regional sports network and digital sports media brand. The alternate show features longtime hosts O’Brien and Storiale and gives fans a new way to watch the game and exposure to perspectives rooted in zealous fandom.

“As we find new partnerships and new ways to innovate, I think that’s just part of the nature of the business,” Patterson said. “You can’t sit still; you have to be always looking at what the next frontier is and how we can push forward.”

In fact, the alternate broadcast was featured for several nights during the final games of Aaron Judge’s quest to break the American League single-season home run record (61) set in 1961 by former Yankees outfielder Roger Maris.

Judge blasted his 62nd home run earlier this week, 61 years later in Arlington against the Texas Rangers, prompting jubilation from baseball fans around the world including those at Jomboy Media. The next day, O’Brien put out a video breakdown of the historic moment on the company’s YouTube channel, and it has already received over 500,000 views.

“He has a very unique perspective and interesting way of approaching content because at his core and [in] his heart, he’s a storyteller,” Patterson said of O’Brien. “He finds stories in ways of thinking and seeing things in ways that I think are extremely unique…. There’s an ingenuity in what he does that is extremely interesting, and I’m excited to learn from him.”

The average age of a baseball fan in a recent survey by Sports Business Journal was found to be 57, the oldest among all professional sports. As a result, Major League Baseball has prioritized growing its game among younger demographics – and content coming from digital brands such as Jomboy Media certainly help further its mission.

Patterson does not believe Jomboy Media as a company facilitates the growth of baseball though; instead, he attributes the somewhat-contrived role of a catalyst for the expansion of the game to an understanding of the audience and what kind of content people are interested in consuming.

“The constant is that we’re fans and we enjoy the game,” he said, “and when you’re having fun, people are often having fun with you. If what we do is highlighting the fun parts that we love about the game and that lets other folks that are baseball fans or new fans or otherwise also see what we see and they love the game, then that’s the purpose that we serve. I don’t think that it’s an intentional one on our part. It really is just to enjoy and to show people what we love and what we’re passionate about.”

There is a positive growth trajectory for the company as it looks to continue to produce multiplatform content about baseball and professional sports as a whole, and Patterson looks to ensure its sustained success. As long as everyone involved looks to keep creating and discovering new ideas for content, the future of the business is bright.

“There’s a lot of directions that we can go; how we decide where our core strengths are and where the business’ core strengths are and how we leverage and double-down on those; that’s the challenge,” Patterson said. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity out there and remaining kind of focused on what we do special and what works for us particularly I think is the important part and that’s challenging and fun.”

It is essential to innovate and remain at the forefront of changes in the industry, and being adaptable and versatile are commodities many employers look for in today’s job market. For Andrew Patterson and Jomboy Media, staying tenacious in content creation and continuing to push boundaries is what they hope will allow for the company to soar to new heights.

“A lot of this is just working and doubling down on it; being dedicated to kind of pushing it,” Patterson said. “I don’t really know if I have a secret per se. It really is just kind of finding something you’re passionate about and then just being curious about expanding that, learning and growing.”

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