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Decision to take Celtics job was a slam-dunk for longtime fan

Barror oversees sales and service

Sean Barror, a senior vice president with the Boston Celtics, says he has a dream job. 'Sometimes I just can't believe it.' Sean Barror, a senior vice president with the Boston Celtics, says he has a dream job. "Sometimes I just can't believe it." (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
Email|Print| Text size + By Jeremy Gottlieb
Globe Correspondent / January 31, 2008

An hour before tipoff, the executive offices of the Boston Celtics on the fourth floor of 226 Causeway St., just steps from the TD Banknorth Garden, are quiet.

Through the giant glass doors and down the long hallway lined with larger-than-life photos of Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, and Paul Pierce, Sean Barror is busy at work, making sure that the needs and comforts of the team's business partners and any potential clients are set for the evening's matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The 41-year-old Beverly native is right at home. And as the Celtics' senior vice president of corporate sponsorships and business development, he is determined to make sure that the team's partners feel the same way.

"I think it would be fair to say that this is a dream job," said Barror, who grew up rooting for the Green.

"I say to my wife [Annie] in the morning every once in a while, 'I can't believe that I'm on my way to work for the Celtics.' When I hear people say that it's important to love what you do, I truly believe that."

Growing up with nine siblings, all sports nuts, according to Barror, he excelled on the gridiron and the baseball diamond and later played both sports at Tufts.

"It was great playing in college, but I knew that what was most important was getting an education," said Barror "I knew I wasn't going to be able to make a living playing sports, but I always hoped to be involved in some capacity."

His first two jobs, though, were in software. Then he pursued a sales track, leading him to a position with Waltham-based Lycos in 1997, where his boss was Rich Gotham, now the Celtics' team president.

They were together at Lycos for five years before Gotham moved to Causeway Street. A few months later, Gotham asked Barror if he was interested in joining the team's front office.

"It was a pretty easy decision," said Barror. "It allowed me to work for someone I knew and worked for before and was comfortable with. And also, not only was it a job working in sports, it was a job working for my hometown team."

Gotham said Barror has increased the team's corporate partnership business three times in three years "in the face of a less-than-spectacular performance on the court."

"The business needs to run independent of our winning percentage," said Gotham. "This business is interpersonally driven, and Sean has a unique skill set of being able to put together deals and partnerships that work as well as having excellent interpersonal skills. Prior to this year, Sean helped us weather the storm and grow despite the team's performance, and this year we're realizing the fruits of his labor. It's a real credit to him."

Gliding comfortably throughout the Garden during a game, from a party thrown for a longtime business partner on the top level of the arena - "the halo" - to a halftime meeting with executives in the Lexus Courtside Club, Barror plies his trade.

He oversees a staff of 13 in sales and service and checks in with them periodically during the game. The morning of a game, the night's activities are mapped in a script, one that Barror likens to a Broadway play.

From a planning perspective, his staff is already looking out six months in the future, eyeing potential partners and renewing existing relationships.

"We're always trying to find ways to generate revenue as well as implement strategies to make sure our partners stay happy and satisfied," said Barror. "We're always looking to connect with the client on a personal level and to create bonds. And when the team is playing well, like now, it helps in all regards. We have an ownership group that takes these things very seriously and very personally, and they are instrumental in all that we do and how we do it."

His name is not Allen, Garnett, or Pierce. But Sean Barror is a vital cog in the Celtics' operation, a position he does not take for granted.

"I was fortunate to be in the circumstance where I was able to get this kind of opportunity," he said. "I kind of fell into it, for sure. But the fact that I am in it, well, like I said, sometimes I just can't believe it."

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