Sankey's Sports Roots Run Deep


Laura Sankey has a genuine passion for sports that became firmly rooted in her youth.

When she was 5 years old, Sankey's parents took her to the Cincinnati Reds' final baseball game at Crosley Field in the middle of the 1970 season, before the team moved into Riverfront Stadium. Then, heading into her teenage years, she and a friend got their own season tickets to Reds games, and she went to every single home contest during one season in the late 1970s, just after the championship run of the "Big Red Machine."

That Sankey now finds herself as the new senior vice president of marketing and sales for the Green Bay Packers, where she can apply her passion for sports and business knowledge on a daily basis, is practically a dream come true.

"It's amazing," Sankey said. "Holy cow, this is an ideal job. If I could write and put together all the different things I want in a job, this would be it."

Sankey is particularly excited about getting to know the Packers' well-renowned fans. She's had two memorable introductions to them in the past, the first coming in 1996, when she and her husband Kevin traveled from Denver to Green Bay to attend a game at Lambeau Field for the first time.

"Kevin was really driven by the history of the Packers and the significance of Lambeau Field," Sankey said. "When we came through the gate and handed the ticket-taker our ticket, he welled up with tears and got misty-eyed. It was a big deal for us. It was truly a pilgrimage to Green Bay."

Sankey also saw the Packers and Broncos meet in San Diego the following year in Super Bowl XXXII. Though at the time she was a Denver fan sitting in a Green Bay section, Sankey's strongest recollections from the game are of the true sporting spirit she felt from the Packers fans.

"There's something unique in Green Bay fans that says they're really about character and the passion for the game, not just a passion for their team winning," Sankey said. "The Packers fans are much less individualistic and more about the bigger picture."

Sankey always has appreciated that bigger picture while attending many significant sporting events in addition to that Super Bowl. She was in attendance at the Colorado Rockies' first baseball game in 1993 and at the Colorado Avalanche's first hockey game in 1995 after the franchise moved to Denver from Quebec, Canada.

{sportsad300}She also witnessed the Avalanche's Stanley Cup-clinching victory in 2001 when veteran hockey great Ray Bourque won his first championship.

"I think it was my family," Sankey said of the genesis of her sports passion. "My parents had season tickets to the Bengals and season tickets to the Reds, and they cared about things like the last game at Crosley Field. That was important to them to get tickets to that and take me to that. The link to sports and the passion came from them."

Sankey has done her best to pass that along to her own children, taking each of the three to either a Rockies or Broncos game before officially reaching one week of age.

Her appreciation for the fans' perspective should serve her well in her new position, which will in part focus on the fan experience at Lambeau Field and any opportunities that exist to enhance it.

"The fans here are so enthusiastic about the team, care about the sport and are so engaged," Sankey said. "Ensuring fans have great experiences is a key focus for me."

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