“I’m a dinosaur,” says Rory Davis, who was named Senior Manager Sports and Entertainment Sales at San Francisco Travel Association in April 2019. “Almost every conversation starts with ‘Where are you from?’ When I say ‘San Francisco,’ no one can believe it.”
Davis grew up on the west side of town in the Sunset District, where he went to Lowell High School, the same alma mater of Larry Baer, the CEO and president of the San Francisco Giants, among other notables.
While in high school, Davis got a nudge from his mom that the Giants were hiring for guest service positions. After attending a job fair with a few friends, Davis got a job with the Giants in 2002 taking tickets at the gate, passing out giveaways and pressing elevator buttons, working his way up to the club level. “Getting paid to watch baseball was a dream come true,” Davis says. “It was a great first foray into the sports industry.”
Davis spent his college years working in the athletics media relations department at the University of California Santa Barbara while majoring in business economics with a minor in sports management in 2008. During the summers, he’d come home to work with the Giants.
Eventually, after taking a position as the assistant director of marketing and communications at the University of San Francisco, Davis landed back with the Giants working as a sales and marketing coordinator, later as a marketing manager who promoted non-game day public and private events within the ballpark before moving to his current role with the San Francisco Travel Association.
Here are a few things about Davis you should know.
1. Davis is the first person to be in his position.
Davis says he wasn’t looking for the job when a friend of his flagged the position and suggested he apply for the newly created role. The position was created, Davis says, because San Francisco doesn’t have a sports commission as many other big cities do.
When a Super Bowl, all-star game or Rugby World Cup Sevens came to town, Davis says, “it was a fractured process where the Giants and Giants Enterprises—my two former bosses—would spearhead any bid processes and work hand-in-hand with San Francisco Travel and San Francisco’s City Hall with the mayor’s office.”
That created a triangular relationship for any major citywide sporting event being held in San Francisco.
2. Before applying for, Davis approached his bosses at the Giants.
“It was a delicate tightrope. My [former] bosses at the Giants know everyone here at San Francisco Travel Association and helped lobby to get this position created. So I had to first get their approval. Luckily, they were very supportive.”
3. There are two things Davis says he loves more than his family.
The first is sports, more specifically Bay area teams like the Giants, 49ers and Warriors. “Second to that is this city that I grew up and love dearly,” Davis says. “The fact that I could combine both of those passions and market the city, and attract sports and entertainment events back to the city is a dream job.”
4. Think of him as a lone wolf.
There’s still no San Francisco sports commission, so Davis is the singular sports representative at San Francisco Travel Association. His role falls under the convention sales team.
5. He’s looking to go bigger.
Davis says he’s looking at trying to attract cricket to San Francisco as well as international soccer matches and mobile gaming companies.
“We have to go after large to international events that have the budget that can afford this city,” Davis says.
6. He’s a foodie who lives in North Beach.
Davis go-to neighborhood spots for food include Italian classic restaurant Original Joe’s and Tommaso’s for pizza as well as nearby Hunan Home’s Restaurant in Chinatown. His favorite bar is Blackthorn, an Irish sports bar in Inner Sunset.