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XFL Birmingham Bolts Personnel: Tim Berryman
Personnel: Tim Berryman
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Tim Berryman
General Manager

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 story.

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 markets.

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, Berryman said.

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 in America.

Berryman and his wife, Cynthia, are the parents of two children, Pete (4) and Sarah (2).

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