Five Questions: David Rovine

By Beau Denton January 28, 2014

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David Rovine's theatrical-booking background holds him in good stead as vice president of Orioles-Sarasota, which he joined last January. As an employee of the international entertainment management company, SMG, Rovine booked musical, comedy and theatrical acts at a historic theater in Waukegan, Ill., from 2004 to 2007, and at St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theatre from 2007 to 2011. “All SMG-managed facilities are government owned,” he says, “so I have an understanding that when a government puts millions into a building they want to see it lit up most nights of the year.”


What’s the Orioles’ economic impact on Sarasota? “The state of Florida will tell you spring training brings $30 million to $50 million a year in economic impact [to a host community]. Over 120,000 fans attended spring training at Ed Smith Stadium last year, a 96-year record for Sarasota spring training, and an all-time record for the Orioles. The Orioles pay $1.5 million for room nights in Sarasota County just for athletes, trainers, scouts and management. At the stadium, we employ 22 off-season and 140 during spring training—box office, ushers, ticket takers, concessionaires, etc.”

What are your plans for utilizing Ed Smith Stadium beyond spring training? “I’m renting the venue to third-party promoters. We’ve had a home show, a concert, a bar mitzvah, weddings, a tabletop display show presented by Sherwin Williams. We will do 50 or 60 rentals next year, and it will continue to grow.

“And we’ve started to present public events. I developed Arts in the Ballpark in September to celebrate the Any Given Child initiative between Sarasota County public schools and the Kennedy Center; coincidentally, both Baltimore and Sarasota are Any Given Child partner cities.  About 2,000 people attended. We were overwhelmed by the response.

“In December we presented a nationally touring ice show, Ice on the Diamond. We built a stage on third base, then a synthetic ice topping on the stage. We priced it family friendly, tickets starting at $5, so that everybody could attend.

“You just can’t sit on the outside and come in for 45 days and be a part of the community. You have to be creative, think outside the box.”

Are concerts in the stadium’s future? “As director of marketing for nine years at Gulfstream Park [the thoroughbred racetrack in Hallandale Beach, Fla.], I started the Gulfstream Park concert series. We had free weekend concerts in order to attract different demographics. I will do stand-alone concerts at Ed Smith Stadium. The goal is to utilize the venue to the utmost.”

How else do the Orioles support the community? “Since 2010, we’ve donated $1.3 million in cash or in-kind donations, including donating parts of the venue to charities. We support the Mayor’s Feed the Hungry campaign, the Boys & Girls Clubs, and we helped construct the Miracle League ball fields along with the [Pittsburgh] Pirates. We pledged $150,000 to the Sarasota Chamber’s Tomorrow Next initiative.”

Is baseball your favorite sport? “It is now. I was born and raised in Baltimore and went to games as a kid with my family. It’s a great irony in this stage of my career to come back to a beautiful community like Sarasota and work for my hometown team.”  -Interview by Ilene Denton

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