The view from the office of Shamrock Sports & Entertainment overlooks Portland’s Commercial Street, this time of year filled with tourists looking for the perfect lobster roll or perhaps souvenirs.

It’s easy enough to walk past the office without noticing it.

But outside of Maine, people know exactly where Shamrock is. Over the last five years, under the leadership of founder and president Brian Corcoran, the sports marketing firm has built a strong reputation across the nation.

Walk out of the elevator into the company’s lobby and you immediately see plaques of the clients Shamrock has landed – including the Professional Bowlers Association, World Series of Poker, the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and America East, a nine-team NCAA conference that includes the University of Maine. Local clients include the TD Beach to Beacon 10K and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.

Shamrock’s job is to join these clients with corporate sponsors. To do that, Shamrock is often competing against national firms like IMG (New York), CAA (Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles) and the Wasserman Media Group (New York and Los Angeles).

Corcoran, a 46-year-old Old Orchard Beach native, almost laughs when asked how his company has been able to pull together this roster against those heavy hitters.

“I think we have an unfair advantage of being based in Portland, Maine,” he said. “There was maybe a short-term disadvantage when we launched. But once we built our book of business and got over that three-year hump it was different.

“It’s all about what you do, it has nothing to do with where you do it from. Yeah, it might require an extra (airline) connection to go to an event or to see a prospect but that’s well worth the price of admission.”

Then, he added, “And any time we can bring someone for a lobster dinner to recruit them in June, July or August, there’s a pretty high ratio of bringing them on board.”

Last year, Corcoran persuaded the Professional Bowlers Association to host one of its tour events at Bayside Bowl in Portland, guaranteeing $100,000 in corporate sponsorship sales and then delivering it. The PBA was so thrilled with the results of the March 2015 event, it’s coming back next year.

“If anyone was part of it … they want to go back,” said Tom Clark, the PBA commissioner. “If not, they want to become part of it. Maine has become a destination.”


Corcoran ran cross country and track at Old Orchard Beach High. He was good enough to compete at the NCAA level at Eastern Kentucky University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology in 1991 and a master’s degree in sports administration two years later.

He worked for the Olympic Organizing Committee in Atlanta in 1996. Then, after a stop in Dallas, he landed in Washington, D.C., where he worked for SFX Sports Group. That led to a job as a managing director of corporate sponsors for NASCAR, where his cold call led to NASCAR signing its signature sponsor, Nextel Communications, to a 10-year deal.

Eventually he landed in Boston, working as an executive vice president for the Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of the Red Sox and NESN. Corcoran was the head of Fenway Sports Group’s NASCAR division, which included Roush Fenway Racing. But in 2009, Corcoran said the group was told by Larry Lucchino that it would play a lesser role in Rousch Fenway, and a larger role in marketing the baseball team and the ballpark.

“It was about getting back to their roots,” said Corcoran. “It made sense.”

Corcoran didn’t want to abandon the relationships he had formed with some of the clients at FSG, such as Goulian Aerosports and Red Bull Air Race and the Professional Bull Riders Association. So he decided it was time to look elsewhere. Although he had a year left on his contract, Lucchino allowed Corcoran to leave – and to take some of the clients.

Instead of staying in a big city, Corcoran set up shop in Portland’s Old Port in March 2010 and put together a team of five employees. “I think there’s a quality of life trade-off,” he said.

Shamrock’s roster of clients started to build, thanks to his reputation.

“Brian’s strength is that he is a very trustworthy and solid individual, where people are going to believe what he says to them,” said the PBA’s Clark. “He’s not going to give them information that is inaccurate, or try to over-sell or under-sell anything. He’s going to tell you exactly what you’re going to get and he’s going to follow through on producing what he says he’s going to produce.”

Clark said the PBA had worked with larger marketing firms, including IMG, but wanted one that was smaller. Corcoran came highly recommended.

“We were looking for more personal attention,” said Clark, “more of a passion for representing our brand, where we were not just a small piece in a larger machine.”

Mike Goulian, the owner of Goulian Aerosports, has been with Corcoran since the beginning because of the trust they have formed. Shamrock joined Goulian with two major sponsors – Goodyear and Whelen Engineering, which manufactures emergency sirens and lights.

“When you’re out trying to build relationships with corporate sponsors, you want someone you know is going to be trustworthy,” said Goulian. “To know that Brian sets an honest understanding of what we can do for a sponsor means a lot to us.”

Amy Huchthausen, commissioner of America East, was immediately impressed by Corcoran’s knowledge and experience.

“He’s been doing this a long time and I think the projection of that confidence was reassuring with us,” she said. “We had not worked with a (marketing) agency before and to have that calming – yet confident – influence, to know that we were entrusting the league with someone who shared our values, was important.”

In the first year, Shamrock negotiated deals with Under Armour (a sports apparel company) and (a travel agency) for America East.


Shamrock now has grown to 15 employees. Corcoran refused to reveal the company’s annual revenues, only that they are now in seven figures and that “we’ve had some healthy year-over-year growth, double-digit year-over-year growth.”

While Shamrock has been successful, Corcoran says he had a three-year plan that is being met only in the company’s fifth year. He is the only one left from the original staff, and the client roster has changed. Gone is the Arena Football League, one of the original clients, and Sea World, which joined in 2011 and left when its two-year contract expired – but not, Corcoran said, before Shamrock negotiated a multi-million dollar deal with Coca-Cola.

It took time for Shamrock to find its foundation. Now it has a stable client roster and has prospects for more – many on referrals from his current clients. Corcoran wants to expand – but carefully.

“Not that we don’t want to grow, but we’ve got to meet and exceed the expectations of our current clients before we could take on more,” he said.

He figures he could take on perhaps two more clients. Currently, Shamrock is one of the two firms that are bidding to secure new naming rights for the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. They’ll know by Sept. 1 if they won that contract.

He looks at the acquisition of the Circuit of the Americas – a motorsports facility in Austin, Texas, that hosts the only Formula 1 race in America – as a pivotal move for Shamrock. “I don’t think anyone understands the magnitude of how big that is for our business,” he said.

He recently negotiated a deal for World Series of Poker with DraftKings, the fantasy sports website, another major deal. In every negotiation, he and his team are looking to create a perfect match between client and sponsor.

“We listen to, what are the things that are keeping Geico up at night,” he said. “Where are they not currently served in their investments in sports and entertainment? What demographics are they trying to reach? What media metrics do they use – TV, live events – that touch their fan base.”


Corcoran has never forgotten where he came from. And now that he has a family, he is trying to strike that balance between work and family. He and his wife, Melissa Smith (president and CEO of South Portland-based WEX Inc.), live in Falmouth with their 10-month-old son, Baxter.

Corcoran won’t let his staff forget about Maine, either, despite the company’s roster of national clients.

“We call our national and global stuff our profit and the way by which we grow our business,” he said. “But the local stuff is our heart, our soul and our pride.”

That’s why the PBA came to Portland last year.

“When we first told everyone we were going to Maine for this event, they said, ‘Are you crazy?’ ” said Clark, the PBA commissioner. “Now that everyone’s been there, they can’t wait to go back. They understand where it is, what it is, what the people are like, what Portland, in particular, is like.”

Corcoran hopes to make the PBA event in Maine even bigger next year, adding a corporate challenge that will benefit a local charity.

Shamrock worked with the Portland Pirates last season, helping the American Hockey League franchise recover from a lost year in Lewiston. Pirates CEO Ron Cain said the two are no longer together but that it was a successful union. “(Shamrock) got the message out to both our fans and our sponsors,” he said.

Those who know Corcoran aren’t surprised by his local commitments.

“He brings a passionate sense to everything he does,” said Russell Walters, the chairman of the Maine Sports Commission, which brings sporting events to the state.

“He wants to give something back to Maine. He’s very genuine about sharing his knowledge and experience to try to make this idea of sports and Maine come together.”