Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Yes Man

Knowing that my stay in New York could be limited to the eight weeks that MSBA has scheduled for me, my goal was to take advantage of every opportunity that arose. With that, I’m proud to say that I did not miss a guest speaker or a trip to a company during the entire MSBA program. 

Outside all of the programming that MSBA has given me, as mentioned in my previous posts, I work at Platinum Rye Entertainment doing any and every type of research possible. I’ve done my best to seize every opportunity to be on the phone calls and email chains that come in and out of my office on a daily basis. Since the month of July, I have had the opportunity to sit down with my boss on a daily basis to review what he has done during the day, so I can see the day to day business from a higher level.

To take advantage of something is to not only doing the task, but to execute that task to its fullest extent and get the most out of it possible. As stated, I’ve done my best to do that with MSBA’s activities and with my internship, but I’ve tried to do it on another level that all of our speakers have talked about: relationships. From the day we moved into the dorms, I made sure to create long lasting relationships with everyone apart of MSBA. Going out in New York with my new friends has been a must every chance I could to make sure that I got 24 hours out of my day. Mech, MB, Brandon, and I even made it to a taping of the Daily Show with John Stewart last week.

Erik Zelman
The reason the title of this blog is The Yes Man is not because I seized every opportunity that came about. The Yes Man is a tribute. Last night, a friend of mine passed away at the age of 25 from Marfan Syndrome after his father had passed away from the same disease a year ago at the age of 61. The disease has an average life expectancy of 35 years old. Although Erik was not a very close friend of mine, any time you would go near him, there would be an amazingly positive aura. Erik was a Yes Man. If you were moving, he was there helping. If the lady in front of him at the grocery store was $3.00 short, he’d give her $5.00. If you had an idea, he would have already thought of three ways of going about doing it. Erik in general was a kind-hearted person who wouldn't say no, even if that was the answer you thought you'd get.

Being a Yes Man isn’t about saying yes all the time, it’s about taking advantage of every opportunity presented because there is never a good answer to the question why not. New York, MSBA, and friends it’s been an incredible eight weeks.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Special Sunday Night Speaker - Lon Rosen (7/23/12)

As the Manhattan Sports Business Academy enters its final week, it becomes quite clear just how impactful this program has been to all of us. From meeting industry executives to experiencing once in a lifetime opportunities to visit different venues, MSBA has been an incredible journey. The overall effervescent personalities of the students in our program not only helped make this summer unforgettable, but it also, led to a future filled with new lifelong friends. I can say with a great deal of candor that this was an adventure of a lifetime. As we get ready to present our “Think Tank” projects and conclude MSBA, we will definitely be making the most of our last week in New York City.

This past Sunday night was a very special treat for us, as Lon Rosen, Executive Vice President of Magic Johnson Enterprises and longtime agent of Magic Johnson, was able to speak to us via Skype. Lon spoke about a variety of topics, ranging from his early days interning for the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings, to his present day endeavors with Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Most interestingly, Lon told us that him and Magic became close friends before they began working with one another, and he used to take Magic to his college parties! He was incredibly open and straightforward when responding to questions, and even allowed students to ask personal questions about the darker days of Magic’s playing career. Lon was our first guest to speaker via Skype, and it went incredibly well. Those were able to attend his talk came away incredibly impressed and intrigued at what they had heard, and instantly grew affection for Lon’s mix of seriousness and humor. To go along with Lon’s speech, we also touched on his son Brian’s goals to create a country-wide sports business club that will be innovative, interactive, and extremely beneficial. If your school is interested in creating or updating your sports business club, definitely speak to Brian!

Having spoken to Lon after Magic Johnson and Guggenheim partners purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.15 billion, it was intriguing to learn about the process the Guggenheim group went through to create a bid and then ultimately purchase the team. Having excelled both on the court during his playing days and off the court through business ventures such as bringing Starbucks and movie theaters to inner cities, Lon was able to give us great insight into the admirable character traits of Magic Johnson. Concluding his talk, Lon recommended that aspiring sports business professionals not just look at the representation side of sports, but also the various aspects of sports, such as sponsorship sales, digital and social media, public relations, and other areas with room for growth.

Lon's speech was fantastic, and was a great segway into our final week, which, per usual, is incredibly jam-packed. On Monday night, we will be participating in a formal rehearsal for our presentations on Wednesday. Tuesday will our last opportunity to meet as a group and lay the finishing touches on our group projects. On Wednesday, our mentors, peers, and some of the guest speakers will join us at the Core Club as we present our “Think Tank” projects to the executives of our official sponsors: Mission Athletecare, Deuce Brand, Gatorade, and Fila. Thursday, all students will partake in an exit interview, which will lead up to our closing ceremonies on Friday night. This program was a wonderful experience, and helped us realize the pursuit to our dream job is more attainable than we thought.

Friday, July 20, 2012

One More Week and an afternoon at FILA

We are now coming up to the last week of the MSBA program and an internship for me with Ben at Leverage. I have really enjoyed my experience here and it has been fascinating how my works seem to have 3 distinct phases to it. The first third of the program I focused quite a lot on sponsorship sales; making presentations, sitting in calls. Then Calisthenics came and Josh and I suddenly were working full time on a essentially a start up initiative, in everything from finance and accounting to event management. The past few weeks, I have shifted gear more onto different project works, including how Leverage can 'leverage' its intellectual capital and form a consulting practice. It has definitely been a very fun journey and I have learnt a great deal, both in sales, start-up management and marketing.

Athena and David at FILA office
This Friday is also the last in the office visit series. Our FILA partners were kind enough to invite us to the FILA headquarter and gave us a lot of fascinating talks around both the marketing and design aspects of the brand.

First up, Jennifer Estabrook, Executive Vice President of Business Operations, talked to us about her journey from the law world into marketing. It shows me that even if you have not learnt marketing before, as long as you have creativity and work ethics, you can make it in the industry. Afterwards, Mar Eggert, FILA's VP of Footwear Design & Advanced Concept, gave us a very unique look into the design and development world. We have never had any speakers on this before so it is fun to pick his brain on the creative and design process of producing a shoes we see in stores. Lastly, Marjorie Levy, VP of Social Media, gave us a very interactive session on the social media initiatives at FILA and she even asked us feedbacks and opinions about her next campaign she is planning!

@ Ben's house
In the evening, Ben invited me and a few of us to his apartment for a very nice dinner. Thank you Ben and Kim for being amazing hosts. It was a nice end to a very productive day!

The last week should prove to be very busy as I am finishing off a few projects for Leverage and also preparing for the group project presentation this coming Wednesday. This last seven weeks have really flown by and I will be sad to leave the program and everyone I have met at the end of the week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PowerShares Series countdown & Panel Night

Today was a big day for my office at InsideOut Sports & Entertainment – there are exactly 7 days until we release the dates for our PowerShares Series champions tennis tour.  Part of my job is to help run our social media sites, so I posted a countdown to our official press release, and it got a lot of positive feedback on Facebook.  Hopefully we can keep the momentum going for the rest of the week!

Tonight at Leverage we had the opportunity to talk to a panel of three professionals, and learn their stories before having a Q&A session.  The first person to speak was Doug Smoyer, VP of business development for the Giants.  I would say the two most intriguing things he told us were that 1) having an in-house agency is actually the best option (because media agencies don’t view impressions of American Idol and Giants games the same way), and 2) at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if your team is 14-2 or 2-14, the brand is what’s constant, and ultimately you want people to want equity in the name regardless of season score.

The next to speak was Dana Fabrikant (now Weinbach), VP of corporate partnerships  for the NewJersey Devils and the Prudential Center.  The one thing she said that really struck me (and gave me hope) was that sports business is not like finance, where there is an incoming class, or “new crop” of students every year.  Jobs open and close very quickly, so I definitely hope this helps us MSBA students out as we venture on into the workforce.

The third person on our team panel was Chris Insolera, Manager of corporate sales and sponsorships for the Yankees.   I felt like I could relate to Chris the most because he started off in ticket sales, and worked his way up to corporate ticket sales, and then into sponsorship managing.  While I had never thought that working at the athletic ticketing office in college my senior year would actually help me in regards to getting into sportsbiz, I realized that it may have been the best decision I ever made! After listening to these 3 wonderful speakers, I realized that I would really love to try working at a large venue somewhere for a big team.  Perhaps with the help of MSBA, it could work out :)

After our team panel had ended, we all sat around the Leverage conference table and watched the ESPYS.  While most of the time I was busy eating Subway sandwiches, I think the only thing I ended up caring about anyway was this:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jeffrey Hayzlett - CEO at Hayzlett Group

Monday was my first day in the office in over a week.  The National Lacrosse League had the past week off, but they still gave me an assignment for the week, which was to update their entire media guide with statistics from 2012.  Fortunately, I did not have to go in to work and I was allowed to do the work from my dorm room.  The NLL is in their off-season so some days are busier than others, and today was one of those quiet days.  I did absolutely nothing at work regarding to the National Lacrosse League, but I did keep myself busy with LinkedIn, sportsnetworker.com, and researching information for my next blog post, which was about the average height of every position in baseball.

That night, our speaker for the evening was Jeffrey Hayzlett, who is the CEO of the Hayzlett Group, and was once the Chief Marketing Officer of Kodak.  Mr. Hayzlett talked a lot about marketing and told us some of the projects that he had employed when he was at Kodak.  The most successful project was the “Kodak Challenge”, which is still an on-going venture on the PGA Tour.  Kodak picks a hole on each golf course on the PGA Tour, and over the course of the year the player with the lowest score, relative to par, on the Kodak Challenge holes wins $1 million.  Kodak patented and trademarked the Challenge, so there activation costs were very low.  It cost them around $2 million, as opposed to the $10 million it would cost to be the title sponsor of a PGA Tour event.

Another thing that Jeffrey talked about was the fact that he has never stayed at a job for more than 4 years.  He told us that he has 3 things that are required for him to stay at a job.  They are:  Build wealth, grow professionally, and have fun.  He told us that he left Kodak because he was not having fun and he was not building wealth.  The company was moving in the wrong direction.

I really enjoyed Mr. Hayzlett’s speech and so did everyone else that I asked.  He was very up-front and went into lots of depth about marketing and some of the marketing projects that he has employed in the past.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Around the World - Food Edition

Today was one of the few Saturdays without an MSBA event.  Everyone took the day to sleep in as much as possible.  After a late night of talking and watching television, I woke up around noon.  Mike, Tee, and I sat in the common room of our suite and talked about the previous night and the sports news that was being talked about on ESPN, such as Bryce Harper being named as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game in Kansas City.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to go get pizza from this place that Brandon recommended called Artichoke Basille’s.  This place struck a note with me because there used to be a pizza place on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where I go to school, that was called Artichoke and Basil Pizza.  The place was sued by a pizza place in New York for trademark reasons.  I had the seen this place earlier in the summer and immediately thought to myself that this must be the place that sued one of my favorites places on Franklin Street.  I will admit that Artichoke Basille’s was very good!  The pizza may have been $5 a slice, but the slices were massive and 1 slice is plenty for a meal.

That night, Tee invited me to go to Korea Town, which is really 1 street (32nd Street between 4th and 5th Avenue).  I have had Korean food before not very much, so I trusted Tee’s decision for where to go.  We ended up going to this Korean buffet, where you paid by the pound.  The food was very good and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes Korean food or even someone who has never had Korean food before.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Coney Island Calisthenics Invitational

All of a sudden, we are now in our fifth week of the program. Working at Leverage has kept me busy during the day and the program still manages to give us many good speakers and sites to visit. I loved the trip to the NFL Headquarters last Friday, especially.

Ben's mini birthday get-together at Leverage Office
TUESDAY July 3rd: Josh (my Calisthenics partner-in-crime) and I were really busy wrapping up all the logistics for the July 4th Coney Island Calisthenics Invitational. We started off working on various sponsorship deals, but over the last two weeks, both of us have worked full-time on this event. We ended up having to do everything from booking the car service for the staff, to ordering radio sets and trophies, to working on the event's finances and assembling the pull-up bar. It is certainly a very different experience! How many people can say that they have helped a new sports league grow from scratch as their internship:)

Today was also Ben's Birthday. Have a great year ahead! We had a surprise birthday celebration at our office too, with food and birthday cards signed by everyone (Thanks Ashley and Rebecca for leading the charge on that).

Calisthenics Competition @ Coney Island Boardwalk
WEDNESDAY July 4th: This day was the biggest day of my internship so far. Josh and I started our day at 7 a.m. The sky was grey and it looked like it would rain, but when we got to Coney Island at 10 a.m., it cleared up and we had only terrific sunshine for the rest of the day. We were running around all day carrying stuff and sorting out the logistics. The event went rather smoothly, which was great. The sound system for the beach event was missing, but we were able to improvise and make it work, allowing all the athletes to show off their best moves and personalities to the general public. We had a good crowd come to watch the whole event on the beach from 3 to 5 p.m. We then moved on to stage the Finals at the Brooklyn Cyclones MCU Park, where the crowd was treated to man-up displays from Abs and D-Real. Congratulations to the winners of the first ICF event, POWERHOUSE for freestyle and best trick championships and JUICE for Man-up championship. Now I cannot wait to see the feature that will be produced from the different video cameras filming the whole competition throughout the day! Thank you also to the MSBA and Leverage people who came out to for the show (Jacob and Athena especially for hanging around until the end to help out). Your support was very much appreciated by all.

Awesome July 4th fireworks
We finished the day off watching the July 4th Fireworks at our colleague's, Hal, place. This was the first Independence Day Fireworks that I had seen and it really was quite a display. We had a really good view right in the middle of the four sets of fireworks that went off at the same time. It was a nice way to wrap up the day:)

It was very gratifying to see an event that I was a part of from the beginning come into fruition. I imagine that the first Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest also must have started out equally small, if not smaller. Look where it is now, with thousands of people attending. Calisthenics has the potential to generate that kind of crowd, or even bigger. I cannot wait for the day that it breaks into the mainstream, so I can say that I was there for its very first event! Here is to the success of ICF and the calisthenics movement from today onward.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Boat Basin Birthday Bash!

Ben has pushed fitness as a major portion of this program.  We have been doing workouts from this book called 7 Weeks to Getting Ripped.  I anticipated getting up this morning at 6:30 to workout with everyone else, but I did not hear my roommate’s alarm this morning and I ended up waking up at 8:00 rather than 6:30. 

The National Lacrosse League is off this week, but to honor my internship they are still giving me work to do while I stay at the dorm.  They sent me an email around 11:00 with my assignment for the week.  I have to update their entire media guide for each team, since it is only updated through 2011.  I know what this meant, more spreadsheet work.  I spent about 4 hours researching and writing down the information for one team.  One down, eight more to go.  Fortunately, the rest of the work will not take as long because I now know where to find all of the information, and I will not be watching Wimbledon all week while I am doing my work.

Ben had his birthday bash at the Boat Basin Café tonight.  The event started at 5:30, but in typical party fashion, there were a few stragglers who came a little after 6:00 or so.  Anyway, the bash was a lot of fun.  Everyone talked and drank the whole night and had a great time.  The café was right on the water and there was a wonderful view of the Hudson River.  A few of us left the bash a little after 9:00 because we were really hungry and wanted to get food from our favorite place in town, the Chelsea Food Mart, right across the street from the New School Dorms.

On the subway ride back to the dorms, Marcelo, a student from NYU, thought he knew a faster route home and hopped off the subway at the 1st stop so he could catch the express subway in hopes of making it to the Food Mart before everyone else.  A couple others got off on 8th Avenue and 23rd Street, while Matt Mascolo and I got off at 8th Avenue and 18th Street.  Matt and I did not know that the 18th Street stop had an exit on 19th Street, so we were in luck and we beat everyone else to the Food Mart.

It took a while to get our food, but as always, the food was very good and was definitely worth the wait.  We got back around 10 or so and just spent the rest of the night watching T.V. and talking about whatever was on our minds.  The end of another great day at MSBA!