2 Minutes With … Dan LaTorraca, VP of Marketing and Branding Strategy for the Carolina Hurricanes
Dan oversees digital media, advertising, branding and creative services for the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. Previously, he led digital and social strategy for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment and the Carolina Panthers. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the sports administration program at Canisius University. Earlier in his career, Dan held posts at Universal McCann and Acronym Media.
We spent two minutes with Dan to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.
Dan, tell us …
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I was born and raised in northern New Jersey and currently live in Raleigh, N.C.
Your earliest sports memory.
My dad took me to Yankee Stadium when I was 9 years old. Just walking from the concourse to our seats and seeing the field for the first time was breathtaking. Darryl Strawberry ended up hitting a walk-off home run to beat Kansas City and it was an amazing experience from start to finish—a very special memory for me and my dad—and it started my passion for baseball.
Your favorite sports team(s).
I am a diehard Yankees fan. It was a family tradition, but you also really had no choice when growing up in Jersey in the 1990s and 2000s. Nowadays, my family and I spend many Sundays in the fall watching the Carolina Panthers. I also consider myself a Huge Caniac, bias aside.
Your favorite athlete(s).
I always idolized Phil Rizzuto when growing up. There was something appealing about an undersized, scrappy Italian kid playing shortstop for the Yankees. I loved when my grandfather would tell me stories about how good he was at defense and bunting. He always seemed like a player who put his team first and did the little things right. Later in life, I've come to really respect former NFL linebacker Sam Mills, who created the phrase "keep pounding." Those words have inspired a ton of people even beyond sports. I also have immense appreciation for Hurricanes' head coach Rod Brind'Amour. He's a tremendous leader who means a ton to the Raleigh community and Canes fans.
Your favorite sports show or podcast.
Your favorite sports movie and/or video game.
A recent project you're proud of.
I'm extremely proud of the content and creative strategy our marketing team at the Canes built around the 2023 Stadium Series. The event was important for the community in Raleigh. It illustrated how passionate our fans are and how popular hockey has become in a non-traditional region. The storytelling was remarkable, especially considering that we had recently restructured our creative team and added a new CD, photographer, designers and video producers. For them to come in and align perfectly with our digital and brand team and capitalize on this event was very special.
Someone else's project that you admired recently.
I absolutely loved the throwback uniforms produced by several NFL teams. The Seahawks, Buccaneers and Titans come to mind. They all did a fantastic job of producing engaging and dynamic content that leaned on nostalgia and style. Throwback uniforms are always a home run, but telling the right story the right way makes the fan engagement and revenue generation even more impactful.
What sports can do that nothing else can.
Sports can create identity, connection and community—sometimes all at once.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the sports world.
I would likely be teaching and possibly consulting for other B2C brands.