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when he made Jordan a partner.
When it comes to business, conservatism has its place. You can’t give the store away. On the other hand, bold decisions and creative thinking can enlarge and enhance the coffers. It is obvious that Phil Knight didn’t care if Michael Jordan made as many millions as he did.
The sporting goods arena was a fruitful experience for Stokan, getting to know coaches and athletes who found his gentlemanly manner, integrity and square dealing refreshing. There is something else that sets Stokan apart. He has an indefatigable work ethic. In his early days at Converse, he was given to sleeping in his office. He would work past midnight into the wee hours, nap on a cot briefly, arise and take a shower which enabled him to get a couple of hours of uninterrupted work completed before his staff arrived.
This is what has happened on Stokan’s watch since 1999: Under his management, Peach Bowl, Inc. events have generated an economic impact of 1.25 billion dollars and 72.84 million in direct government tax revenue for the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia; positioned the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl as one of the best bowl game organizations in the country, making the game one of the New Year’s Six Bowl games in the College Football Playoff; inked contracts with Mercedes-Benz Stadium though 2025 with Chick-fil-A to continue its title sponsorship of both the bowl and the Kickoff Classic. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has experienced sellouts in 23 or the past 25 years and has distributed $251.3 million dollars in team payouts and has seen the bowl donate a record $57.9 million to charity. In 2019, Peach Bowl, Inc. donated a record $20 million to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, creating the Peach Bowl LegACy Fund to find cures for childhood cancer.
It was Stokan who originated the Kickoff Classic, which has capitalized on the football passion in the Southeast, matching top teams to start the football season which quickly got network attention. With schools, such as Alabama and Georgia, playing brand named teams to begin the season brought healthy ratings as opposed to traditional openers with no-name directional schools and depressing ratings.
By the time of the Georgia-Oregon kickoff, it is likely that he will have generated another idea or initiative that will enhance the sports financial health of Atlanta and the state, to say nothing of the acclaim that supports the notion that Atlanta is truly the football capital of the world.