Building from the ground up is the
specialty of Birmingham Thunderbolts general manager Tim Berryman.
Twice he has ventured into uncharted waters and twice he has
successfully built sports franchises from scratch.
In 1995, Berryman and Entertainment Ventures Associates brought
ice hockey to Louisiana. By 1998 Berryman and company had
done what no one thought possible. They had not only brought
ice hockey to Louisiana, but had successfully brought ice
hockey to Louisiana.
As co-founder, co-owner and vice president, Berryman helped
lead the Louisiana IceGators to numerous East Coast Hockey
attendance records. The IceGators averaged 9,775 fans in the
first season and followed that with an average of 11,443 the
second year. In that second year 28 of 35 home dates were
sellouts. Year three saw an average of over 11,000 IceGator
fans in hot and steamy Louisiana, not exactly a place previously
considered a hockey hotbed.
Succeeding in the sports business requires more than just
the game itself, Berryman said. Game presentation and fan
entertainment are critical components to our success. We need
to entertain not only when the ball is in play, but between
plays, in pre and post game, as well as at the half.
Not one to rest on his laurels in Louisiana, Berryman set
sail in search of a fresh challenge. This time it was hockey
and arena football in Arkansas. Again, it was a huge success
As co-founder, co-owner and general manager, Berryman wrote
the business plan for the Arkansas RiverBlades hockey team
and then put a plan and personnel in place for the Arkansas
Twisters to average almost 14,000 fans per game and lead all
arenafootball2 teams in attendance.
Berryman now brings his expertise and startup experience to
Birmingham for the inaugural campaign for the XFL Birmingham
Thunderbolts. Berryman has put together a crack staff in the
Magic City, drawing some of the top professionals from major
league, minor league and collegiate sports.
Berryman possesses the perfect mix for a general manager of
Birminghams only major league professional sports team. His
business background, coupled with seven years as a professional
football player in the Canadian Football League, gives him
a unique insight into both the front office and football operations
aspects of running a pro football organization.
I dont think it is essential that a general manager in the
XFL have a football background based on the way the league
is structured as a single entity, but I dont believe it hurts
either, Berryman said. In the XFL, general managers are
like branch managers of a big corporation, each charged with
implementing the business plan of the league in our respective
Having a football background does help in Alabama where football
is king, to be able to talk the game to the person on the
street, Berryman said. It assists in explaining how the
XFL brings real football with some basic rule changes to speed
up the game and make it more entertaining for fans in Birmingham.
A native Canadian, Berryman earned a bachelor of administration
degree from the University of Ottawa in 1981, majoring in
accounting. After winning a Canadian national title at the
University of Ottawa, Berryman went on to play seven years
in the CFL.
The first player selected in the 1976 CFL entry draft by the
Edmonton Eskimos, Berryman went on to receive various awards
during his professional career while starting at linebacker
for both the Ottawa Rough Riders and Toronto Argonauts for
six years. He was a starting linebacker on the 1982 Argonauts
Grey Cup team.
I really enjoyed the mental and physical challenges that
football presented, and I believe much of my success in business
and as an owner-operator of minor league sports teams comes
from those character-building traits learned in football,
Following his playing career Berryman began his professional
business career as a stockbroker. From there, he made his
move to Xerox Corporation.
As a corporate sales/finance manager for Xerox Corporation
in both Ottawa and Greensboro, N.C., Berryman consistently
ranked among the top sales producers in both countries. He
was the number-one ranked Xerox representative in the Southeast
in 1992, as well as the number two rated account representative
in the entire United States.
From Xerox, Berryman moved to Americas Research Group as
vice president. He was responsible for marketing the companys
consumer research services with an emphasis on manufacturing
and retail distribution. During his tenure Americas Research
Group was named among the top 100 consumer research firms
Berryman and his wife, Cynthia, are the parents of two children,
Pete (4) and Sarah (2).