Jesse is the Owner of Fans First Entertainment, who owns and operates the Savannah Bananas and the Gastonia Grizzlies. The teams have welcomed more than 1 million fans to their ballparks and have been featured on MSNBC, CNN, and ESPN. Cole’s teams have been awarded Organization of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Business of the Year and have won three CPL Championships.
The Savannah Bananas currently have sold out 32 straight games and have a waiting list in the thousands for tickets. Cole believes to be successful you need to Stand Out and Be Different. He is passionate about creating attention, loving your customers more than your product and loving your employees more than your customers. Cole’s mantra is “Whatever’s normal, do the exact opposite.”
Cole’s greatest mentors are Bill Veeck, PT Barnum and Walt Disney. All three share a wall in his office on custom-made posters that display the words Innovation, Showmanship, and Vision.
- Contrary to what he is fond of doing now, Jesse as a child had never thought of owning baseball teams. It only started when he was in college. “…baseball is long, slow, and boring” as he would think about it before. He wanted to make a change about it, so he applied as an intern in a baseball team, and at the age of 23, he was offered to be the general manager.
The Savannah Bananas
- It was launched the on February 25, 2016. Immediately receiving national recognition. Trending on Twitter, shoutouts on Sportscenter, and Good Morning America all came within the first 24 hours.
- The Savannah Bananas is a member of the Coastal Plain League, consisting of 16 teams throughout North and South Carolina featuring the top college players from around the country. The Coastal Plain League has been in existence for more than 20 years.