Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 54 of MSBA 2013: Closing Ceremony, The Power Of Genuine Relationships

Post by Aaron Malave for July 25, 2013

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If there was one theme that resonated throughout the summer — through speakers, mentors, field trips, and MSBA staff — it’s the value of genuine relationships.

It obviously isn’t a groundbreaking concept, especially in the sports industry, that having people that can vouch for your abilities as well as authentically care for your personal well being is crucial in being able to find success.

As I took the short cab ride with my roommates to The Gin Mill for our Closing Ceremonies I reflected on just that, the invaluable relationships I have been able to foster during my time at the Manhattan Sports Business Academy.

When we first walked into the EHS dorms two months ago, we entered as complete strangers who happened to share a passion for the business of sports. Throughout this eight-week journey, however, we’ve learned, networked, shared best practices, experienced New York, and most importantly, created an incredible bond that we can eternally thank this program for.

The ability to both work hard and play hard with this group of young professionals provided a dynamic that was unique to any of my previous experiences. The Gin Mill quickly filled up as students, staff, mentors, and employers filled the party room to celebrate our successes this summer. We got drinks, reminisced, and even did a little networking with professionals we have yet to meet. We were each presented with a Certificate of Completion while a short bio was read in what was a special moment in our “graduation.”

The real emotional part came when the music was shut off and everyone was instructed to direct their attention to the TV screens. On the screens was a nine-minute picture slideshow that showcased the many memories of our summer. There was a lot of laughter and a couple of tears shed as we looked back upon on the summer of a lifetime. The founders of the Manhattan Sports Business Academy, Ben Sturner and David Oestreicher, ended the evening by saying that this group of students was closer than any of the staff could have imagined and I’d have to agree.

I was hesitant to believe that 22 students from around the country, all from different backgrounds, different experiences, and different aspirations, would come together to form this extremely tight knit group. But we did. We all haven’t even left New York yet, but we’re already planning our reunion. See you guys in Michigan!

Sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane back to my hometown of Miami gave me an opportunity to once again reflect. I’ve learned so much this summer about the industry and myself alike. Leaving New York I now have an overall better understanding and confidence of myself and where I fit in the business. Talks with David taught me to “control what I can control” as well as to “take advantage of every opportunity”. Knowing that I have someone like him behind me leaves me no choice but to find success. I’m ready and motivated to take all that I’ve learned back to the University of Central Florida and apply it to all of my future ventures.

The greatest aspect of MSBA is quite possibly the simplest in nature: the people. I’ve gained a group of not only colleagues, but friends, who have challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and genuinely want me to succeed. (Special shout out to the “new mafia”, I love y’all).

There’s no doubt in my mind that I will always cherish beers and burgers at Merrion Square, Sundays in Central Park, and late night bro talks. Relationships- quite possibly the most overused word in business was undoubtedly the most phenomenal facet of the Manhattan Sports Business Academy. We’re headed back to our individual cities and schools but we will forever be bound by the fact that we experienced this program and all it has to offer together, as an MSBA family.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 53 of MSBA 2013: Surprise Visit To See America's Got Talent

Post by Myles Robinson for July 24, 2013

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As the summer comes to a close I can’t help but marvel at the incredible people involved in the MSBA.

We have had many surprises during our eight-week stint together but no surprise was better than the one we were treated with by Stacy Bradley (one of our program coordinators): free tickets to a live showing of America’s Got Talent at Radio City Music Hall!

To quote Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”“ New York really has made me feel brand new, and the bright lights of Radio City were quite inspiring.

As we all traveled from the Leverage Agency office I took the time to speak with my fellow MSBAers and gauge how their last week of work was going. I learned one of my friends received a welcoming email from an NFL executive earlier in the day, another was making mental preparations for the Sochi Winter Olympics and another was putting together yet another article about Brett Yormark, Brooklyn Nets, and Barclays Center CEO.

There was so much energy outside the building as we made our way inside. As we all gathered in the lobby we were ushered to the music hall doors where we were shown our seats, which were amazingly on the lower level. I don’t think Nick Cannon’s candy red suit would have looked any worse had we been sitting in the nosebleeds, but that’s neither here nor there. From Howie’s constant yet unmerited make-up requests or Mel B and Heidi taking Instagram pictures off air, the show was quite entertaining.

I was of course blown away by the talent of the performers, but something else I observed that night was even more poignant. The old saying is true: we are who are friends are. This summer has given me a 360ยบ inside scope into the sports industry; it has also afforded me the opportunity to get inside the minds of some of the most talented individuals I have ever come across. I have taken pride in having individual conversations with all my MSBA classmates, be it for three minutes or three hours. Interestingly enough, each and every one of them has a unique quality about them that leaves me no doubt that he/she will make an immediate impact on the sports industry in years to come.

To me, that has been the beauty of a program like MSBA. As we all seek to build off the new connections we’ve all made during our eight week experiences while cultivating the ones we had prior to this summer, we have all also become like a family in the process. I came to New York with high hopes and very few friends north of the Mason Dixon line. I now leave with 21 people I can call future business partners and, more importantly, lifelong friends. Cheers to an amazing summer experience full of nights I’ll always remember with people I will never forget.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day 51 of MSBA 2013: Yankees Sales Panel Shares Sports Business Knowledge With MSBA

Post by Chris Stathos for July 22, 2013

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As someone looking to enter the world of sports sales, last Monday night was a special treat as we heard from a panel from the 27-time World Series Champion New York Yankees.

Dan Rosenthal, Manager of Inside Sales; Jose Duverge, Premium Sales and Service Specialist; and Rose Barre, Senior Premium Sales and Service Specialist joined MSBA for the last speaker series at the EHS dorms, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

All three executives had interesting backgrounds, with Jose originally starting out on the player development side with the Philadelphia Phillies; Dan rising through the Cleveland Cavaliers organization; and Rose coming over from the New York Islanders.

After telling us their respective stories, MSBA Co-Founder David Oestreicher moderated the panel before we showered them with our own questions. Having interned in both the ticket sales and premium departments of two professional sports franchises in my native Kansas City, I have so much respect for what Dan, Jose, and Rose do day in and day out. Selling season tickets or a luxury suite at Yankee Stadium may seem like something that sells itself — after all, it is Yankee Stadium — but sports sales isn’t about selling a ticket. It’s about selling an experience, a piece of premium real estate, a certain share of ownership in the team — both its successes and failures.

Dan, Jose, and Rose have worked hard to get to where they are today. They’ve learned the art of storytelling and how to best connect both individuals and companies alike with the Yankees brand. Having been to Yankee Stadium five or six times this summer to take in some baseball games, a friendly between Spain and Ireland, and a Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert, I’ve been a part of that brand first-hand.

With this being my last blog post before we finish up the MSBA program later this week, I wanted to take a moment to thank Ben Sturner, David Oestreicher, and the rest of the MSBA staff for making this summer possible. Another thank you to my MSBA classmates for your part in making my summer what it was. Perhaps the only thing better than experiencing New York for the summer was experiencing New York for the summer with all of you. I’m proud to call you all friends.

A special thanks to Jared Schoenfeld. In you, I found a mentor not only for this summer but for life. Finally, thank you to everyone at the National Football League who personally invested in my success: Chris Terranova, Toni Schutte, Cate Hefele, Agaja Reddy, Natara Holloway, Tracey Bleczinski, Don Brown, Leo Kane, Bobby Gallo, Laura Lefton, Johanna Faries, Bernie Gutierrez, Peter O’Reilly, Chris Parsons, Mark Waller, Pete Abitante, and the list could go on. This summer has been one I will always treasure throughout my life.

I’ll close with a quote shared with me by Jose Duverge: “When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

To my classmates, here’s to pounding the rock every day until we reach every goal we aspire to attain.

Stay hungry. Stay foolish. #MSBA13

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 49 of MSBA 2013: An Olympic History, Power Of Networking While In MSBA

Post by Mary Somma for July 20, 2013

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Working at Fireworks Sports and Entertainment this summer has provided me with great insights on many different fronts of sports marketing.

From writing a one page marketing presentation regarding the athlete that would best align with companies to researching organizations that athletes could partner with, my experiences at Fireworks have been outstanding.

Analyzing and matching athletes was at first a challenge; however, it was fun to identify a new company with a great fit. I couldn’t believe I was actually a part of an agency team brainstorming new ideas for athletes. Many times top athletes would come in the door, and the face time with those Olympians was unbelievable. Fireworks was a great team who gave me an inside look at agency life.

This past Wednesday, we visited GlideSlope and spoke with one of their founding partners, Eric Guthoff. Eric provided us firsthand how their marketing agency lives their tagline - “The Power of Sports Meets the Power of Brand”. His diverse background through working for IMG's Olympics division and collaborating with Johnson & Johnson during the 2008 games has certainly helped shape their business foundation. What really stood out to me was their involvement with the Olympics. Olympic torches filled the room and provided an added charge to the conversation. Eric guided us through a history of the Olympic and pointed out how the rules and regulations had changed throughout the years.

As he detailed Olympic case studies, he helped me realize the many complex and diverse marketing opportunities offered by the games. Being introduced to a panel that works intimately with the Olympics was an unbelievable personal opportunity since the games have always been a passion of mine. Gaining firsthand insight was not only captivating but it further underscored my desire to pursue avenues within that segment.

What really excited me was that I knew people in the industry who lived my dream on a daily basis. Both Fireworks and GlideSlope were no longer faceless companies but people I knew who I could now network with to make my dream a reality. Learning to live in the city has been an experience in itself this summer. NYC is the ultimate urban environment for restaurants and events. Being able to learn more about the city from being a resident was an experience I will never forget.

What truly made the MSBA summer internship unforgettable was the chance to experience it with new friends just as passionate about sports as myself. Never would I have dreamed the opportunity to sit with executives from the NFL, NBC Sports, and NBA. Just the exhilaration of walking through their doors to the head office for a meeting were once in a lifetime moments but having these executives as future contacts is career changing.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 48 of MSBA 2013: MSBA Visits Two Of Most Powerful Brands In North America, Bonding Time

Post by Daniel Kaplan for July 19, 2013

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The past week or so of MSBA events have been some of the most rewarding experiences so far this summer. It has been a much needed exciting period after the 4th of July holiday stretch.

July 12 will be a day I’m sure the MSBA leadership staff will market to prospective students as a MAIN REASON to go all-in with MSBA next summer. And for good reason.

We were able to immerse ourselves in two of the most powerful brands in North American sport: The NFL and the New York Yankees. Our NFL visit included an interactive panel discussion with CMO Mark Waller, VP Fan Strategy Peter O’Reilly and VP International Chris Parsons. It would be an understatement to say these NFL executives put on a show for MSBA. Let’s just say after leaving the NFL offices on Friday afternoon, everyone had a firm understanding as to why the NFL is and will be America’s sport for quite some time.

After our NFL visit, we all booked it to the Stadium in the Bronx to pick up some free Field level tickets (with Mohegan-Sun Bar access) from Kris Haynes’ mentor, Jose Duverge. Jose has really been a great asset to MSBA this summer as one of the mentors that has embraced the unique MSBA experience. Jose previoiusly hooked us up with Spain v. Ireland tickets. Before the game, we toured the stadium, Monument Park and the Yankee Museum to get a sense of the history that goes into the development of an iconic sports brand. As a die-hard Mets fan, I had to refuse the free Yankee hat. But as a baseball and sports fan, it was a necessary experience to check off the bucket list.

The next morning I was up bright and early at 5:30 A.M. with a few other brave souls to make the hour trek down to Brooklyn for the MLB All-Star 5K Run for Sandy Relief. While my legs are still a little sore from the run, it was worth it to experience Brooklyn with everyone. The bonding and watching MSBA Co-Founder Ben Sturner run, made it worth the 5:30 wake-up call.

My Sunday, I believe, represents the core of what the MSBA leadership staff absolutely knocks out of the park with the concept of MSBA. And they still don’t even know what I did on Sunday. I took my roommates, Chris Stathos and Aaron Malave, to my hometown of Tarrytown, NY to get out of the unbearable NYC heat for a day and experience all the things Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow provided to me and my friends growing up. While this may seem like a nondescript thing to do when MSBA only provides 8 fleeting weeks to be in NYC, what the trip represented was the relationships developed when you throw twenty-two young, eager, ambitious and open-minded 20-somethings into the same NYC building for 8 weeks: straight bonding.

The memories we all make together in NYC, whether it be a Tuesday night drinking at Merrion Sqaure Bar, late night chats about career, life and personal goals, or a Friday night out in the Big Apple, are far and away why MSBA has the potential to be a really great program.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day 47 of MSBA 2013: Doug Smoyer, NY Giants VP Of Business Development, Inspires MSBA

Post by Ethan Shibutani for July 18, 2013

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In the middle of the hottest week of the summer, we had the pleasure of hearing from Doug Smoyer, the Vice President of Business Development for the New York Giants.

Gathered in Leverage Agency's conference room, Doug asked us to start by telling him our favorite sports team as we introduced ourselves, a nice change of pace from our typical introductions.
Surprisingly, nobody said the New York Giants (Let’s Go Eagles!).

Being a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, it was hard for me to get over the fact that Doug opened by telling us that he was a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan.

The Penguins are also where Doug got his start in the industry, first as an intern and then as an account executive. Doug’s experience as an intern is extremely relevant to all of us at MSBA, and he stressed (like many others have) just how important it is to make a good impression at your internship every single day.

One thing that Doug said that really resonated with me was that it is easy to get into a groove as an intern after getting comfortable with your coworkers. However, it is important to remember that we are constantly being evaluated, whether we know it or not. With three weeks to go in my internship with Foot Locker, this is something that I will keep in mind in order to finish strong and leave a lasting impression on my bosses and coworkers.

Doug also spoke about his role as the VP of Business Development with the Giants, explaining it as a combination of sales and relationship management. This was interesting to me because I have had two “Business Development” internships in the past and have always thought that this area was extremely vague. Doug’s description of his area of the business was excellent, and it allowed me to look back on my past internships and really grasp the meaning of the work that I did.

With the Giants, Doug works to find new “partners,” an important distinction because the Giants believe in a closer relationship than a typical “sponsor” relationship. It is his job to foster relationships with brands such as MillerCoors and Walgreens and make sure that the partnership is working for both sides, oftentimes getting to know the parties on the other side of the deal on a personal level. With only a week left in MSBA, the speaker series continues to impress. While I’m sad that we’re down to the last week or so here, I’m excited to see what’s still to come in a busy final week.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 46 of MSBA 2013: Visit To The Midsummer Classic at Citi Field

Post by Adam Daroff for July 17, 2013

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As a big sports fan, I am always looking for an opportunity to attend as many games as I can. One of my goals this summer was to visit a few ballparks I had never been to. Before coming to New York, I was able to visit Nationals Park in Washington, DC.

I had been to both old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium last time I was in New York but since I hadn’t been to New York in over 10 years, I was going to make sure I visited new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field while I was here.

Yankee Stadium was checked off the list the second day I was in New York and have now been there three times this summer. I had the opportunity to attend the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field on Tuesday night with fellow MSBA-er Aaron Bartko. Realizing I could kill two birds with one stone in attending an All-Star Game AND going to Citi Field made it even better.

I had gone to the All-Star Parade down 42nd Street earlier in the day which allowed me to get within ten feet of all the participants in the game and it was quite a spectacle. Being at the game was almost indescribable. The excitement and energy in the ballpark during the announcement of the lineups and during the national anthem was phenomenal. 

As a Cleveland Indians fan, it made it even better to have two Indians players, Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson, representing Cleveland for the American League. Not that I wouldn’t be cheering for the American League and have a rooting interest regardless, but it was definitely more enjoyable getting to see some of your own players in the Midsummer Classic. Aaron and I made sure to take advantage of the awesome memorabilia shops as this was certainly an event we wanted to remember forever. In addition to having great seats and access to one of the most high-profile events in sports, we also got to hang out with MSBA Founder Ben Sturner for a few innings, as he was at the game with a colleague. We were able to take a few pictures of us all at the game which was certainly an awesome MSBA moment.

Having the chance to attend such a marquee event is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and because I am fortunate enough to be in MSBA, I was able to come to New York and thus had the ability to go the game. It is something I will certainly remember for the rest of my life and was absolutely an unforgettable experience.