History Memoir Non-fiction

Sports marketing expert Brandon Steiner credits his Brooklyn roots

Brandon Steiner
photo by Anthony Causi

Brooklyn Eagle recently featured a former Brooklynite with an exciting success story. Brandon Steiner, writer and founder and CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing, grew up in our beloved borough and makes clear his affinity for the neighborhood; he tells his readers, “There’s something with the water in Brooklyn. I don’t know what it is, but growing up there lights a fire in some people.”  Steiner is a successful businessman, but he pays homage to his humble beginnings. Even the title of his book — “You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire” — indicates his pride in his Brooklyn heritage.

Steiner was raised in Flatbush by his mother, who owned a beauty salon. He worked with her there on weekends and began to pick up some pointers; he recalls, “In the salon, I learned that relationships and trust are as important as anything else in business.” Steiner’s keen observations and tireless work ethic paid off: he eventually founded the most successful sports marketing brand in the industry, and even bought Yankee Stadium. Still, Steiner fondly recalls his first real job at Freddy the Fruitman, a neighborhood vegetable stand in Brooklyn.  Reflecting on his motivations and ability to succeed, Steiner credits Brooklyn:

You had to have balls growing up there, but being part of such a diverse community of people — all trying to get by — also gave you a big heart. On a daily basis, I interacted with and relied upon so many people that it was impossible not to develop a strong sense of empathy. Now, kids can go on the web and discover hundreds of lives unlike their own. In Brooklyn, we got that experience every time we got on the subway. It was priceless preparation for adult life, and for my business.

Steiner’s book was released this past fall. His first book, “The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports,” was published in 2003. Steiner now lives in Scarsdale with his wife.