Some people intend to get in the sports and entertainment world, while others just sort of fall into the job. For Joe Sheridan, it was an opportunity coupled with a lifelong desire to work in the industry that eventually brought him into the business.
“I always wanted to work in sports but I kind of fell into this career,” explained Sheridan, who’s now the General Manager for Spectra at the Liacouras Center in Philly.
After graduating from Penn State University with a degree in criminal law, Sheridan had every intention of going to law school and becoming a sports and entertainment lawyer, and even took a job inside the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
But when the sport comes calling, you answer, and for Joe, the job of Flyers Fan Development Coordinator was ready for the taking. He moved back to Philly and soon met Peter Luukko, who was President of Comcast-Spectacor at the time.
“He was instrumental in my early career,” Sheridan said. “Peter was definitely a mentor, as well as Tim Murphy, who was the first GM that I worked for and who is still my boss today. I have to mention Matt Homan too. All three of those guys taught me a tremendous amount about the business and I am extremely grateful for everything they’ve done for me.”
After six months with the Flyers, Sheridan was promoted to Event Manager of the Wells Fargo Center and the now demolished Spectrum. He worked his way up to Assistant General Manager before moving to the Liacouras Center as General Manager.
His favorite part of the job — the people.
“I have met so many good people in this industry, and many of those co-workers and colleagues are lifelong friends,” he said. “I was extremely lucky to learn from the best in the business at the Wells Fargo Center, and now I have a great staff at the Liacouras Center. When everyone works as a team and treats each other like family, it makes your job easier.”
We recently caught up with Sheridan to talk about the five most important shows that have influenced his career so far.
Pearl Jam at The Spectrum, Philadelphia
October 31, 2009
My favorite show is an easy choice. Pearl Jam closed the Spectrum with four incredible performances. The finale was Halloween night. The Phillies were in the World Series across the street and Eddie was giving score updates to the crowd. I was making the rounds and my old boss told me to go sit down and enjoy the moment. I watched the better part of the show with my future wife. The never-ending balloon drop at the end of the show was the icing. It marked the end of a long Spectrum celebration and a lot of hard work. The entire band embraced the honor of closing down the legendary arena and they did not disappoint. When your set-up man is Bruce Springsteen with four shows of his own the week before, it is a tough act to follow, but they killed it. Pearl Jam flat out gets it, in every way possible, and it was awesome to be a part of that epic event. I will never forget it.
Dave Matthews Band at the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
December 22, 2012
This was the last stop of the Fall 2012 arena tour for the road warriors and the best word to describe the night was happy. It was just days before Christmas and everyone was in a good mood. The building crew could sense the “last show” excitement and relief of the tour crew — when the tour crew is happy then everyone is happy on show day. I met Dave before the show and he was genuinely nice and laid-back. It was a memorable experience for me.
The Lumineers at the FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, Ontario
April 30, 2013
The up and coming Lumineers sold out two other venues in Hamilton before moving the show to the Copps Coliseum (now FirstOntario Centre) – the biggest play in town. It was their first arena show as a headliner and it sold out in the “club” setup. The club set was something I had never seen before, the stage was in the middle of the floor playing to the wide side of the arena, but it worked out perfectly for this show. Spectra had recently assumed management of the facilities there and I was lucky enough to be there supporting the staff during the transition. It was refreshing to see the energy of the band and the crowd. Both were truly thrilled to be there.
Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
August 13, 2013
Two of the best performers in the business produced the ultimate concert experience and I’m pretty certain that everyone had a good time that night. I was in a support role for this show so fortunately I was able to stand on the floor and appreciate most of the show and production. It’s always impressive to see a stadium show come together. It makes the arena shows look easy. Both of these artists are world-class and are surrounded by the best teams. I remember looking up at all 35,000 people hopping and waving their arms and it was one of those moments that remind you of why you are in the business.
Green Day at the Liacouras Center, Philadelphia
April 3, 2013
Green Day stopped by the Liacouras Center for the second time and delivered another spirited sold out show. This was my first event working at the Liacouras Center and it was a huge success. Not unlike any other show, we had a couple challenges, such as holding doors for over an hour due to barricade issues, but once the band hit the stage all of those stresses seemed to evaporate into the haze. The Liacouras Center is a great venue for a rock show, and it was an unforgettable experience.