Q&A With Mercury President Jason Rowley

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: December 16, 2013

PhoenixMercury.com introduced you to new Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello earlier this offseason, and with last week’s announcement of new executive leadership, PhoenixMercury.com today provides one-of-a-kind access to new Mercury President Jason Rowley.

A senior executive with the Phoenix Suns for more than seven years, Rowley has directed the Suns' business operations as president since 2012. His oversight includes the club’s interests in the management of US Airways Center, the Legends Entertainment District and now the Mercury.

Rowley previously served as the Suns’ Chief Operating Officer, as well as its Senior Vice President and General Counsel. He is a former member of the United States Navy and earned his law degree in 2001 from the University of Arizona.

Get to know Jason Rowley a little bit more through our exclusive Q&A below.

PhoenixMercury.com: You’ve been a fan and supporter of the Mercury for years, and attended countless games in person. Before we get to the business side of things, what is it about the team and organization that you love the most?

Jason Rowley: Without question, the fact that they bring their energy, effort and excitement every night. Watching how they play, the level of physicality and the overall skill set they bring is second to none.

To be there with a crowd that is as engaged as any set of fans you can be around is wonderful to watch.

PhoenixMercury.com: You touched on briefly, but the environment inside US Airways Center during Mercury games is unlike any other. What do you think it is that makes it so special?

Rowley: The X-Factor. They are passionate every single play. Like the players, they never take a play off. That’s fun to watch and be a part of. It’s not always easy to travel to the games in the summer with the heat, but everyone who makes the trip is smiling and having the best time – it’s incredible.

The fans are engaged in every single shot from tipoff until the end of the game.

PhoenixMercury.com: What can Mercury fans expect to see from you as president?

Rowley: Accessibility. From my perspective and Jim Pitman’s [General Manager], this was a way to integrate both organizations that can bring the resources to bear on the Mercury in order to make the organization even more successful.

I’m intent on giving the Mercury the same attention as I give the Suns.

PhoenixMercury.com: Delving into that a bit more, how will further integration of the Mercury and Suns benefit both organizations?

Rowley: I think if we have the mindset that the Suns organization is its own entity separate from the Mercury, things can get lost in translation; there isn’t as much cohesion as you’d like to have. We’re all in the same building, all looking to showcase the best basketball we can and provide the best in-game experience possible. Having the resources of the Suns more closely aligned with the resources and needs of the Mercury will certainly make it to where both organizations benefit.

Anytime you can break down silos and enhance the cohesion in an organization, the better it’s going to operate.

PhoenixMercury.com: What part about your new leadership role is most exciting for you?

Rowley: Being able to see what we can do to take it to the next level. We’ve obviously had some real success both on and off the court. From a business standpoint, the Mercury has been a very well-run organization and that’s not going to change. We want to get back to that championship level, making sure we’re doing everything we possibly can so that our fans know how appreciated they are and how important they are to our success.

More than anything, I think that having that opportunity to take it to the next level is something I’m really looking forward to.

PhoenixMercury.com: If you could look into a crystal ball, what would have to happen in the next few years for you to consider the integration a success?

Rowley: Our attendance has been increasing along with interest from a sponsorship standpoint; I’d like to see that continue to unfold in a positive manner. I’d also like to get larger crowds out and grow our already amazing fanbase. On the basketball side, as I mentioned before, we want to get back to that championship level. We have such a solid core of players right now and we want to continue to build on that.

I’m looking forward to Sandy Brondello coming in and seeing where she can take this team.

PhoenixMercury.com: Finally, what would you say to someone who, for lack of a better term, is skeptical and never been to a Mercury or WNBA game?

Rowley: That’s easy. You shouldn’t even be focusing on the fact that it is “women’s” basketball; you should focus on the fact that it’s basketball played at the highest level. Watching how the team plays – tough, physical and aggressive – is an incredible thing. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but I do think sometimes seeing that physicality up close is surprising to people. They usually walk away with a different viewpoint. We want to get as many people to experience that as we can.

Once they do, they’ll come back.