Al Guido ’03 was not supposed to be copied on the email. It was 2007, and Guido was the senior director of ticket sales for the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League. He’d just returned from interviewing for a job as sales manager with the Dallas Cowboys, one of the most gilded franchises in American sport. But Guido left the meeting disappointed. “I didn’t attack the interview the way I think an interview should be attacked,” he says.
So he was taken aback the following morning when he saw the email from Chad Estis, then the Cowboys’ vice president of sales and marketing. Estis had sent the note to Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ owner, and to other members of the team’s front office. Guido knew immediately it was not intended for his eyes. According to Guido, Estis wrote something like this: “Obviously Al’s a very polished guy and he could do the job at a very high level. But I’m not sure he’s passionate enough to want to do the job.” Guido stewed for about 30 minutes. He knew at this point he was not getting the job. So he sat down and crafted a response to Estis, CC’ing everyone who had received the original note. “If you don’t hire me,” Guido concluded, “it will be the worst mistake the Cowboys ever made.”
When he got into his office later that day, he took a call from Steven Jones, the Cowboys’ chief operating officer. “Son,” Jones said, “that took a lot of balls, which I appreciate. Do you want to do this?”
“I absolutely want to do this,” Guido told Jones. “I meant what I said. I’m in if you want me.”
In Dallas, Guido directed the premium seat department at the newly opened Cowboys Stadium (now AT&T Stadium). Three years later, Guido went to work for Legends, a new sales and marketing firm aimed at college and professional teams and founded jointly by the Cowboys, the New York Yankees, and Goldman Sachs. Guido was hired as the senior vice president of global sales. His first client was the San Francisco 49ers, who were hoping to build a new stadium of their own. He worked hand in hand with Jed York, the 49ers CEO, and helped advocate for the stadium. He then led a sales campaign for 49ers personal seat licenses and private suites generating nearly $1 billion and nearly covering the $1.3 billion construction cost.
In January 2014, as Levi’s Stadium neared completion, York asked Guido to join the 49ers as chief operating officer. In February 2016, a week after Super Bowl 50, Guido was named president of the 49ers, charged with overseeing the business side of a franchise that Forbes has valued at $2.7 billion.
Hear Guido speak about his journey to the top of a national football franchise on campus later this month.
Tackling Careers in Sports with guests Al Guido ’03 and Luis Perez ’86
Moderated by Tom McCarthy ’90
Monday, November 28, 5–6:30 p.m.
Kendall Hall Main Stage
The College of New Jersey
Al Guido ’03 was named President of the San Francisco 49ers in February 2016; he previously served as the team’s Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the construction and year-one operations of Levi’s Stadium, site of Super Bowl 50.
Luis Perez ’86 is former EVP, COO of Palace Sports & Entertainment, where he oversaw finance, business strategy, data and analytics, information technology and corporate partnership operations for the Detroit Pistons organization.
Tom McCarthy ’90 is the play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies and also broadcasts NFL games for CBS and baseball for FOX.