Saturday, August 3, 2013

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

Post by Aaron Malave for July 25, 2013

Connect with Aaron on Twitter and Linkedin.

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

Connect with Myles on Twitter and Linkedin.

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 360º 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

Connect with Chris on Twitter and Linkedin.

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

Connect with Mary on Linkedin.

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

Connect with Daniel on Twitter and Linkedin.

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

Connect with Ethan on Twitter and Linkedin.

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

Connect with Adam on Twitter and Linkedin.

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.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 45 of MSBA 2013: Cosmos Copa Soccer Tournament Hits Randall's Island

Post by Dan Forstot for July 16, 2013

Connect with Dan on Twitter and Linkedin.

As a part of my internship with the New York Cosmos, one event I have been heavily involved with has been a tournament called ‘Cosmos Copa.’ Cosmos Copa, or Copa for short, is a grass-roots tournament for locally based national teams that the Cosmos host every summer.

For two of the past four weekends, I have been working long hours at this tournament, mainly on Randall’s Island. I have had to arrive at the fields to set up by around 7 or 8 each morning and do not get finished until around 4 or 5.

Almost as hot as the sun beating down on us each day is the passion displayed by the players and fans of the different countries in attendance. This fire is definitely my favorite aspect of the tournament, mainly because there is a full-time security staff on hand at all times; when a fight breaks out, I have been told not to interfere, which is fine by me. There have been multiple players sent to the hospital this year; some caught a high spike to the ankle, others a flying fist to the face. When it comes to national pride, people certainly hold nothing back. There are players of all skill levels participating, including a couple current and former Olympique Marseille players, a former Spanish national team striker and the younger brother of Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso to name a few.

Aside from enjoying watching the action, I have been able to learn many valuable skills about how to help organize an event of this magnitude. As one of the few staff members involved, I have a multitude of responsibilities, ranging from keeping stats and refilling water to organizing the teams and communicating with the referees. It has been a great learning experience for me, as I have put so much effort into it. It was great to see the final product turn out so well. My internship has been a great experience for me this summer, and it has kept me extremely busy.

When I haven’t been occupied by the Cosmos, MSBA has had a jam-packed schedule, with events nearly every night in the second half of the program thus far. Just this past Monday, we got to hear from Dana Fabrikant, VP of Corporate Development with the NJ Devils, and Tammy Ross, the VP of HBO Sports. Not only was it great to hear from two fascinating speakers in the same night, but also both were very relevant for me personally. As a New Jersey native and long-time Devils fan, it was a real pleasure to hear from someone so high up in the organization. The Prudential Center is one of my favorite places to watch a sporting event, and I have attended many Devils games at the beautiful arena. Dana was a key figure in the arena’s maturity, as she was instrumental in the naming rights deal. Hearing how she got to where she is was nothing short of incredible.

One of the reasons why I want to get into the world of sports is that I love being behind the scenes. When it comes to feeling this through a television, no one does it better than HBO Sports. One thing that Tammy explained to us was what separates HBO Sports from other similar programming. Hard Knocks and 24/7 are two of my favorite shows and I was able to learn a lot from her about why the network makes some of the decisions that it does. Both of these speakers went to show how hard work pays off and it was intriguing to hear about their journeys.

With the program already winding down, my MSBA classmates and I are looking to make the most of the time we have left. Looking at the schedule we have ahead of us, I am sure that the final two weeks will be as good as any we have had here. Hard to believe, but there are only a handful of days remaining for me in the best city on Earth, and in the best summer of my life.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 44 of MSBA 2013: Summer Speaker Series Continues With HBO Sports, New Jersey Devils

Post by Ryan McKenna for July 15, 2013

Connect with Ryan on Linkedin.

Week 7 of the MSBA program has arrived, and it sure is going to be an exciting one. With the end of the summer in sight, the MSBA staff has provided us with a jam-packed final two weeks of the program.

On Monday, it was a very hot day in Manhattan as we finished up our respective internship duties around 5 p.m. and made our ways back to the dorms for a very exciting night of guest speakers. We got spoiled and had the opportunity to hear two amazing speakers back-to-back.

The first speaker we heard from was Dana Weinbach who is the Vice President of Corporate Development for the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center. Dana is one of the best young sports professionals in the business as she has worked in many different aspects in her career. Dana started off her talk by telling us about her journey and how she got to where she is today. After growing up in South Florida, Dana attended Duke University where she majored in Public Policy. For a long time, she assumed that she would follow in her father’s footsteps and attend law school to become a lawyer. Yet, Dana knew that she wanted to work in sports and pursued that to the fullest.

After working two great internships with HBO and Madison Square Garden, Dana weighed her options and accepted a position to work for HBO as an editor and publicist in the media relations department. She worked there for several years until 2006. A unique opportunity presented itself when the Prudential Center and New Jersey Devils organization were looking for leaders to help them promote and run the operation as it was getting ready to be built in Newark, New Jersey. Dana saw this as a great chance and took a leap of faith with this career move to the Devils.

In Dana’s current role, she is responsible for bringing in new sponsorship and premium seating revenue, overseeing client relationships, and creating unique partner marketing events for both the Devils and the Prudential Center. Dana also serves as a special liaison to the ownership group to help in strategy and execution of business development projects. Dana wrapped up her speech by presenting all of the MSBA students with a brief packet of notes on “How Do Successful People Get That Way”, which was distributed by renowned New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamariello to all of his employees. Overall, hearing Dana speak was a great educational experience for all MSBA students and staff to learn more about what it takes to make it in this great industry.

Our second speaker of the night was also a very special one. We had the opportunity to hear Tammy Ross, who is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Integrated Marketing for HBO Sports. Tammy is one of the few professionals in the industry who has spent a large majority of her working career with the same organization. After attending undergraduate school, Tammy moved onto law school. During that time she had the opportunity to work an internship with HBO. After receiving her law degree, Tammy had the opportunity to start working full time with HBO, where she worked as in house counsel in the areas of advertising, marketing, and trademark licensing.

Following several for several years and a brief stint with Tommy Hilfiger companies and World Cup USA 1994, she made a return to HBO to work as a legal advisor to HBO Pay Per View. In Tammy’s current role, she is responsible for identifying and implementing strategic initiatives for Production and Programming for the development and execution of integrated marketing support for all sports programming. She is also responsible for the acquisition and distribution of sports and entertainment programming through the pay-per-view platform. HBO is one of the leaders in bringing sports and sporting events to television viewers. Tammy gave us an inside and behind-the-scenes look on how popular programs like Hard Knocks, Boxing 24/7 and Road to the Winter Classic come about. It was a very special night for MSBA to have the opportunity to hear two amazing female sports business professionals who have been incredibly successful throughout their respective careers.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day 43 of MSBA 2013: MSBA Team Descends On Brooklyn For MLB All-Star 5K

Post by Alexandria Bernard for July 14, 2013

Connect with Alexandria on Twitter and Linkedin.

This past Saturday morning, thousands of runners of all ages descended on Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to participate in the MLB All-Star 5K Benefiting Sandy Relief.

Individuals could either participate in the 3.1 mile run or the 1.5 mile fun run to show support and raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief.

Our day started at 5:30 a.m. as I met up with other members of MSBA to go run. It was cold and rainy that morning, and I was tempted to hit snooze on my alarm.

Knowing my efforts that day were for a greater cause helped me get out of bed and realize that the rainy morning was going to turn into a good day.

Our team arrived in Brooklyn at 7 a.m. The energy from others at the park brought life into the otherwise cloudy atmosphere. The race began at 8 a.m. and our team was at the starting line together. At the beginning of the race we ran by mascots and baseball legends. As soon as we got to the 1 mile check point everyone was displaced among the crowd. I chose to run the 3.1 mile-long race and, as I was running, people lined around the course cheering and clapping for various runners. It made me proud to participate in an event in support of a worthy cause. Passing the finish line felt like an accomplishment that went beyond just running a race.

After the race, our team met back together and enjoyed the post-race festivities. Nike had a booth playing music and encouraging dance offs while Kellogg’s was passing out nutrition bars as the announcers declared the male and female winners of the race. Afterwards, MSBA Co-Founder Ben Sturner took the group to Doughnuts and Diner Café for a quick meal. There we had a great time laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

The laughs did not end there. As we were leaving Brooklyn, Ben was late to the subway and the doors closed before he could make it onto the train. Rather than simply wait for the next train, Ben decided to run alongside the train for what felt like forever. It may be a “you had to be there” moment, but it was very funny and I wish I had my camera ready to capture the moment. We all laughed for five minutes nonstop at Ben running while we were on the train. Though I was unable to capture a picture of Ben’s face while he was chasing our train, I will remember that day as a great time with my fellow MSBA members, the chance to support a worthy cause, and the opportunity to fit in a morning workout! It’s a good thing that the rain and cold did not prevent me from having a fulfilling and unforgettable day.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 41 of MSBA 2013: The Adventure Continues at NFL League Offices, Yankee Stadium

Post by Matt Hittinger for July 12, 2013

Connect with Matt on Twitter and Linkedin.

I can safely speak for many of my classmates that today was the best day of our MSBA summer so far. As a group, we experienced something many people can only dream of and enjoyed every second of it. Today was a pure example of why we all were interested in starting this adventure six weeks ago.

It was truly an aspiring sports business professional’s dream. After the workday concluded, we all made our way to the National Football League’s headquarters for a private tour of their offices on Park Avenue. Just walking into their beautiful man cave of a lobby was worth the trip.

Their headquarters gave of us all chills as we reflected on all of the significant business that has taken place in the conference rooms. We had incredibly intriguing discussions with some of the brightest leaders that the NFL has to offer. Chris Parsons, Vice President of International, Peter O’Reilly, Vice President of Fan Strategy, and Mark Waller, Chief Marketing Officer, were all very honest and open with their talks and answers to our questions. We learned a lot regarding marketing techniques, short term and long-term strategies, and potential international expansion ideas. We were all very involved and hanging onto every word. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and it was only made possible because of my involvement with MSBA.

The NFL experience alone was thrilling enough for one day but things just kept getting better. Our next stop was Yankee Stadium where we met Jose Duverge, Premium Sales and Service Specialist, who gave us an exclusive tour of Monument Park and the New York Yankees Museum. Not only was Mr. Duverge kind enough to show us around Yankee Stadium but he also set our entire group up with great Yankees’ seats later that night. We had a blast at the game, and it was a great bonding experience for the entire program. It was an extremely eventful and rewarding day. Once again, MSBA has created a memory and experience that I’ll remember and reflect on forever.

Although the summer is winding down and we approach the two-week warning, there is still plenty of time to make the most out of the time we have left. I know the last two weeks will be busy, exciting, and eventually emotional. I personally have had the best summer of my life and know many of my classmates and friends feel the same way. After days like today with incredible experiences with the NFL and New York Yankees, I wish the summer would never end. In the words of one of our guest speakers, Ed Tseng, after this summer there will be no reason for any of us to walk ever again because now we all know how to fly.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 40 of MSBA 2013: Thursday Field Trip to Brooklyn, High School of Sports Management

Post by Cam Cullman for July 11, 2013

Connect with Cam on Twitter and Linkedin.

This past Thursday was a jam-packed day here at the MSBA. The day started with our regular internship placements and then half of our group traveled to Brooklyn to the High School of Sports Management to speak to their incoming freshman class.

We spoke to about 25 students and shared our stories about how we ended up on a career path towards sports business.

The students asked many insightful questions and listened intently, something I’m not sure I would have been capable of during summer school before high school.

It was nice to mentor these students and pass on the favor, having mentors ourselves in the sports business world through our program. Another group of students will head back to the HSSM next week to continue our mentorship. That night we were lucky enough to hear from our own David Oestreicher, Co-Founder of MSBA. David shared his story, starting with is his passion for basketball and experience after almost playing for IU’s basketball team, and his vow to succeed in the classroom in one of the hardest business tracks Indiana offered.

He then told us his personal story and his career choices, starting at Octagon, then at American Collegiate Intramural Sports, the NBA as a Global Business Developer, and now as a consultant on brand and property development. David explained all of his decisions and injected advice for us at every turning point, giving our group an amazing story of growing up with his father and brother-in-law while he pursued his passion in the ever-changing world of sports business.

The best part of David’s talk, though, was how he talked to us. It was not a lecture, or speech of some sort. It was a story followed by a conversation, showing that he was talking to us purely to help us along our journey. It was appreciated by the whole group. There are only a few more weeks left here at MSBA, and we all look forward to finishing strong and taking advantage of every last opportunity.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 38 of MSBA 2013: Achieving Peak Performance On and Off the Field with Sports Psychologist, Ed Tseng

Post by Aaron Bartko for July 9, 2013

Connect with Aaron on Twitter and Linkedin.

The last couple of nights, the MSBA Class had the opportunity to hear Joe Favorito, the PR guru who has had experience working with the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Fordham University athletic department and Ed Tseng, the peak performance and mental toughness expert speak.

Having the opportunity to listen to both men speak was amazing. After listening to Joe speak, the main point I got out of it was that working in any industry is about relationships. Joe spoke about how many of his experiences were possible through the relationships he made along the way. 

In addition, having the opportunity to listen Ed speak was truly captivating because everything he was saying was from personal experience and his personal journey. Ed touched a lot on achieving peak performance, with your way of thinking being one of the main ways this can be done. He cited that more often than not, people are not successful at obtaining their goals because of a negative way of thinking. This negative way of thinking can stop you from achieving your goals, even before you can get started. In addition, he discussed the fact that people often over think things, thus allowing the negative thoughts to control our actions, leading to be unsuccessful.

One major thing that I took away was that when someone tells you to focus and that focus is not directed at the correct task, are you really focusing? This way of thinking is similar to the adage that perfect practice makes perfect. In addition, he taught us that your way of thinking is the most important thing you can control. He shared with us that many thoughts come into your mind but are often forgotten very quickly. Heck, I’ve had about 20 different thoughts come through my brain just while writing this blog post, but couldn’t tell you a single one of them if you wanted me to.

To make it in the sports business industry, or any industry for that matter, you’re going to have to persevere through adversity. Growing up, I’ve always had a positive attitude and been one of those “glass half full” kind of people and learning from the best of the best only reinforced my thinking. If I were to sum up the rest of the points that Ed made, we would be here for days. If you want to learn more about Ed Tseng, check out his website:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 37 of MSBA 2013: Speakers Series Highlights from MSBA

Post by Kris Haynes for July 8, 2013

Connect with Kris on Twitter and Linkedin.

As I write this blog, our summer with the Manhattan Sports Business Academy has surpassed the mid-way point.

On one hand this fact is upsetting because with everything we’ve experienced and learned thus far, I really don’t want the program to end.

On the other hand, I’m enthusiastic and motivated for the final stretch of our MSBA experience, knowing that we have another month of amazing opportunities to continue this educational process.

I truly look forward to developing more as a sports business professional and putting to work some of the knowledge we’ve acquired in these next few weeks.

We continue to have an incredible Speaker Series and each guest has provided great insight. With all of our speakers I try to find similar qualities these people have in common as a way to outline a general guide for “success”. A couple of our recent guests both expressed the same idea which resonated with me and that is the necessity of risk-taking. After listening to Andy Krafsur, Co-Founder and CEO of Spira Footwear, he really inspired me with his willingness to step completely out of his comfort zone in an effort to pursue a passion. Despite being a successful founding partner of a law firm, Andy ventured into the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship with the desire to revolutionize the athletic footwear industry. Andy assured us that this enthusiasm and vision must accompany any serious risk, and that the challenge that comes from it motivates him every day.

Another one of our speakers, Jeffrey Hayzlett, the self-titled “Global Business Celebrity” and former CMO of Kodak, imparted a similar view on risk. He told us that some of his most significant professional accomplishments came when he tried new things and took educated risks. Jeff guaranteed us that if you take a risk and it doesn’t work out, “no one will die”. This simplified perspective clicked with me because it really exposed how irrational fear can inhibit personal and business development. I took away from Jeff the notion that assertive and bold choice will be rewarded, and if not, continue with that same passion with each new opportunity.

One of my favorite experiences of the summer was our trip to Brooklyn to meet Brett Yormark, CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center. A day after probably the biggest trade in Nets history, Brett still took the time to share his story and some of his core values, something we all appreciated. My biggest takeaway from Mr. Yormark was his insistence that success hinges on a vision of where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. He described his initial employment with the Nets and how he envisioned being CEO one day and the necessary steps it would take along the way to reach that goal. Brett helped me understand that vision is essential and that goal setting is vital in the process of turning a vision into reality.

These final weeks of MSBA will be equally, if not more enriching, to our development; I look forward to applying what I’ve learned to these upcoming events. This last month will also be a time to strengthen and create new relationships, a key part of the MSBA experience. I know that soon enough we’ll be down to our final days and I’m eager to make the most of the time we have together.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 36 of MSBA 2013: The 4th of July in New York City

Post by D'Bria Bradshaw for July 7, 2013

Connect with D'Bria on Twitter and Linkedin.

Fourth of July weekend was a time of relaxation and family time for MSBA. While some students ventured home for the break, I stayed in New York City for the holiday watching the Nathan's Hot Dog Contest July 4th morning and the Macy's Fireworks show that night.

During the short break, I ventured to the 9/11 Memorial with fellow MSBA member, Ally Bernard, to take in one of the more symbolic New York tourist attractions. We both reminisced about where we were when this horrific event took place almost 12 years ago.

Going to the Memorial reminded me of all the sports teams that rallied together in remembrance of those who lost their lives that day, athletes paying their respects wearing special patches on their jerseys or red, white, and blue cleats. Dr. Richard Lapchick, who serves as the chair of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida where I attend is noted for his phrase: “There is something about sport” came to mind as I looked back. Sports has the power to unite Yankee and Red Sox fans or Dolphins and Jets fans during a time of tragedy and I believe it is the only platform that can do so.
With three weeks left in the Manhattan Sports Business Academy I am ready to hear more insight from sport business industry leaders, attend more Friday Field Trips to New York’s finest sport venues, bond and learn with my fellow classmates, and see more of what New York City has to offer.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 35 of MSBA 2013: A Saturday For Relaxation

Post by Isaac Rosner for July 6, 2013

Connect with Isaac on Twitter and Linkedin.

As the title of this post suggests, we had nothing scheduled this past Saturday, one of the few days in what has been a jam-packed and eventful summer.

This weekend happens to follow July 4th so many people go away and use this opportunity to relax with family and friends. Others use the opportunity to explore the streets in NYC and visit all the sites they have been wishing to see. 

For me, having grown up in NYC, I wanted to take this time to write about some great places in NYC that are not known to everyone.

I want to start out with a place right by our MSBA Dorms on 92ndst and 1st avenue called Blue Moon Deli. There is one item that is not on their menu, but it is so greasy and delicious that even Darren Rovell might tweet about it. The Chopped Cheese is one of the most delicious and affordable sandwiches there is. Consisting of a bunch of chopped up burger meat and some delicious American cheese, this sandwich is sure to not disappoint. For the extra hungry people out there make it a double! 

The next place I want to salivate over is on 53rd and 6th Avenue, known as The Halal Guys. Some MSBA members were there just a few weeks ago but for those who weren’t, you were surely missing out. There are thousands of Halal stands in NYC and a couple even across the street from this famous location but for some reason this place is the only one with a line halfway down the block. I don’t know if it’s the chicken, the lamb, the rice or the sauces but one of those ingredients makes this the best tasting Halal in NYC. The platter is huge, and their t-shirts are awesome. The Halal Guys did a wonderful job of branding themselves to differentiate from all other vendors in NYC. I highly recommend the white sauce and barbeque sauce.

If the disgusting but delicious food above doesn’t do it for you then how about some great summer basketball? Head down to Baruch College to watch some great basketball games in a league known as Pro City. Twice a week, this venue features a crazy crowd and sometimes some NBA superstars. Last year, I went and saw Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest. Thankfully he didn’t come into the crowd throwing punches. The city is a great place with many wonderful places, but it's up to you to find them!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 30 of MSBA 2013: MSBA Class Sits Down With SBJ's Terry Lefton & Bryan Harris of PR Firm, Taylor

Post by David Page for July 1, 2013

Connect with David on Twitter and Linkedin.

My experience thus far at the Manhattan Sports Business Academy has been everything I was hoping for and more. I am working for one of the premiere sports marketing companies in the world, Leverage Agency.

I am building relationships that will surely last a lifetime. I have listened to some of the best speakers in the industry, such as top sports marketing agent, Carlos Fleming, and the CEO of my beloved Brooklyn Nets, Brett Yormark.

However, this past Monday felt different for me. We were going to hear two speakers from industries I had mixed feelings about: journalism and public relations. On the one hand, I was very excited to hear from one of the best sports journalists in the world, Terry Lefton. I have admired Mr. Lefton’s work ever since I started reading the Sports Business Journal several years ago.

On the other hand, I never had a great interest in public relations. I was under the impression that public relations primarily issued press releases and publicity pieces. Although this did not really appeal to me, I was prepared to listen with an open mind to one of the top PR executives in the country, Bryan Harris, who is the COO and Managing Partner for the public relations firm Taylor.

Listening to Mr. Lefton speak was a great experience. Learning how he worked his way up from the New York Daily News to the Editor-in-Chief at the Sports Business Journal was very interesting. Following this, Mr. Harris discussed his experiences working at Taylor. He stated that his goal by the end of his speech was to give us a different view of the field of public relations. He wanted to show us how far this sector of the sports industry has expanded over the past 30 years. For me, he accomplished his goal.

According to Mr. Harris, the main skill that used to be involved with public relations was salesmanship: having the ability to persuade someone to buy what you are selling. Today, PR firms experience many of the same challenges that marketing professionals experience on a daily basis.

Now, public relations is much more focused on brand planning than it use to be. Mr. Harris understands that one of the key aspects of client-agent relations is that different businesses have different needs. To address this differing client need, his company has brought on professionals with more diverse backgrounds. Making this decision was very beneficial for Taylor, as they have been able to use many different perspectives to help build campaigns for their clients. Being able to best “tell engaging stories” has allowed Taylor to become one of the top PR firms in the world.

This past Monday reinforced to me what MSBA is all about. It is a program that offers us a wide variety of exposure to all areas directly related to the field of sports. I now understand the true benefits of the 360–degree approach. Before today, I never would have considered a career in public relations. Now PR seems like something I might be very interested in. Having the opportunity to learn about all aspects of this industry will most definitely allow me to best hone in on where my passion truly lies.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day 29 of MSBA 2013: Sunday Adventures with MSBA Founder Ben Sturner & Company

Post by Myles Robinson for June 30, 2013

Connect with Myles Robinson on Twitter and Linkedin.

“Live each day to the fullest. Get the most from each hour, each day, and each age of your life. Then you can look forward with confidence, and back without regrets…When you are faced with decision, make that decision as wisely as possible…The moment of absolute certainty never arrives.” 

The words above come from SH Payer’s Live Each Day to the Fullest. This summer I have been chasing my dreams and pursuing something adventure. In the words of Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, I’m a storyteller.

What I thought would be an ordinary Sunday in the Manhattan turned out to be a great journey…a story if you will. Anyone that knows Ben Sturner knows he’s one for impromptu, BIG ideas.

This short story begins with a missed yoga lesson at Luluemon Lincoln Square. Waking up late for the 9:30 session I quickly realized Lulumon was not only 30 blocks away but also on the west side of town. Because I was so excited for yoga class, I put on my Nike Free Runs and ran for 36 minutes toward what I hoped would be a new adventure. Arriving at exactly 9:36 a.m. I was of course pushed away from the already full class. With plans to run back home and begin my day this picture caught my attention.

I must have been looking at it for 10 minutes when Ben walked up. Moments later one of our MSBA coordinators, Athena, arrived as well. Eager to not waste the morning, Ben invited Athena and me to breakfast. This initial plan quickly turned into a new idea to rent bikes and ride around downtown Manhattan. Throughout MSBA we’ve had what we like to call “active networking” sessions. The basic premise is to create a dually beneficial situation of getting to know someone new while engaging in a healthy workout session. Sunday proved to be my favorite networking activity so far. What I thought would be a mindless adventure turned into a five-hour journey through Central Park with Ben and Athena.

After Ben treated us to snow cones and popsicles we noticed a big crowd of people gearing up for what looked like a performance in the middle of the park. The performers, known as the Afrobats, are a renowned group in New York famous for their acrobatic displays in Central Park. Appealing to the emotions and hearts of those watching them perform, the Afrobats put on not only an entertaining show but a marketing strategy for the world to see. I encourage anyone reading this post to check out the AfroBats on YouTube; my description below doesn’t do them justice. Before beginning their finale of flips and tricks the team decided to collect donations, for they knew people would leave if they asked for money at the end. The conversation went something like this:

AfroBats: “Hey, I just got $20 from Australia. Everybody give this woman a hand.” (claps by the audience followed by another AfroBat collecting money in the crowd).

AfroBats: “Hey, I just got $20 from New York. Everybody give this man a hand. New Jersey you ‘gon let New York show you up?” (claps by the audience)

And this continued for at least 10 minutes. In the end people were more willing to give money just to say they were last to give. Whenever it seemed the show would end, someone would raise their hand to give more money.

It was like watching an auctioneer and a chess game all in one. I was blown away by what I was watching. In sales and marketing we’re taught to always ask for the deal. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and the Afrobats clearly were in class for the lesson. The AfroBats must have made an easy $300 in a span of 30 minutes, all while providing value and fulfilling a need. I personally thought the whole ordeal was a genius tactic executed to perfection. It all was done in the spirit of entertainment yet everyone felt special at the end, including the Afrobats. I guess understanding consumer psychology truly does lead to greater returns.

We then ended our afternoon with a stop at a local deli. It was great to wind down and connect with Ben and Athena on a personal level in a relaxed environment. I love days like this past Sunday because they are filled with spontaneous adventures that turn out to be learning lessons. Through MSBA I’m learning the best journeys produce stories we didn’t even think to write.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 27 of MSBA 2013: Brooklyn — The Brand of a Borough

Post by Chris Stathos for June 28, 2013

Connect with Chris on Twitter and Linkedin.

For most, Brooklyn is just one of the five boroughs that make up the City of New York. For Brett Yormark, CEO of the Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn is more than that — it is a brand.

Mr. Yormark was kind enough to spend some time with the MSBA class at the Nets’ MetroTech offices this past Friday, the day after the NBA Draft was held at Barclays Center as well as the day after a blockbuster trade sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to his team (although the deal cannot be official until later this month).

A native New Jerseyan, Yormark began his career in 1988 with the New Jersey Nets, where he was given a pad, pen, phone and told, “Go make some money.”

After stops with the Detroit Pistons and a second stint with the Nets, Yormark moved on to NASCAR, a sport unfamiliar to him but one in which he achieved great success. In 2003, as NASCAR’s Vice President of Corporate Marketing, he was “presented with a moment” and negotiated a $750 million deal with Nextel in what was, at that time, the largest sponsorship deal in the history of American sports. After six years at NASCAR, Yormark returned to the Nets once again to become CEO of the team and lead the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn. This decision was not one he made lightly, as Yormark reached out to trusted mentors and friends such as then-University of Memphis head basketball coach John Calipari. Calipari told him that if you cannot reinvent your current job, then it is time to move on. Yormark shared the same advice with us, and added, “Be sure you’re put in a position where you can bring about change.”

When the Nets moved across the state line, Yormark realized the great opportunity to tell a compelling story through the powerful brand that is Brooklyn. As he pointed out to us, the Nets are not a performance brand but rather a lifestyle brand. “We want to give people as many reasons to like us as possible,” Yormark explained. From the timeless black and white color scheme, proudly wearing BROOKLYN both at home and away, an unprecedented partnership with Disney that is redefining the guest experience, and simply having a good team with likeable players, the Nets have elevated themselves to a premium brand in sports and entertainment. When asked to summarize his feelings on the team’s first year in Brooklyn, Yormark likes to say, “I’m happy but not satisfied.”

It’s that discontent and fear of failure that keeps him going and drives him to be up in the early hours of the morning every day so he can turn on the lights and get to work to make Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment the premier property in the industry. In his closing thoughts to MSBA, Yormark urged the class, “If you do what you love with great conviction, you’ll be successful.”

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 26 of MSBA 2013: Relationship-Building 101, Trip to Barclays Center & the NBA Draft

Post by Aaron Malave for June 27, 2013

Connect with Aaron on Twitter and Linkedin.

As the week winds down, it is beginning to hit me that the end of this week means the end of the first half of this summer’s Manhattan Sports Business Academy.

The MSBA staff warned us that the summer would fly by and with a month of the program complete, I wish they were wrong.

 With that in mind, I set a personal goal for myself to maximize the remaining month I have left in New York City. Since so much in the business world is about relationships, I began reaching out to professionals that I felt I couldn’t leave without speaking to.

This week I had the opportunity to meet with the Vice President of Marketing for Madison Square Garden, Adam Thier, who was one of the members on the panel for our first Friday Field Trip. We met up after work and I was fortunate enough to hear him speak in depth about the events he has put on for Madison Square Garden and the ins and outs of his 14-year career with MSG. More importantly, he allowed me to express both my professional and personal goals and gave me advice on how to achieve them. I am truly appreciative of the time Adam took to speak with me and I know this connection could not have been made had it not been for MSBA.
This summer I am interning at Catch-New York, working on the AND1 account. Yesterday, my boss asked me to sit in on a conference call regarding the social media plan going forward for the brand. After that conversation it was revealed to me that I will be running the company’s twitter handle for the rest of the summer. Being the social media/twitter junkie I am, I came away from the meeting extremely excited. Furthermore, I now expect all MSBA affiliates to follow @AND1basketball. This past Thursday night we were free from speakers and field trips so a couple of us decided to attend the NBA Draft at Barclays Center.

As a Heat fan, I was more than happy to sacrifice seeing my team make a draft pick live for last week’s Championship win. But still, I decided to tag along. It was the first time for all of us at a draft so we were all excited to see the workings of something we could previously only see on TV. I was especially excited for Chris Stathos, a Cavaliers fan, who had the once in a lifetime opportunity to see his favorite team make the first overall pick (even if no one has ever heard of him). We picked the right year for our first draft, because it was full of surprises. The Barclays Center was definitely on my list of must-sees this summer and it didn’t disappoint. When we got there I was astonished at the architecture of the newest arena in the NBA.

The buzz in the arena was unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of; with fans checking twitter for all the latest trade news and speculation and sharing it with other fans. All in all, it was an electrifying atmosphere and I’m glad I got to bare witness on a night that young men’s dreams of playing in the National Basketball Association were realized. Four weeks down, four to go. As Dr. Seuss once pondered, “How did it get so late so soon?” Here’s to making the second half of MSBA more memorable than the first.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 25 of MSBA 2013: Moving Without The Ball

Post by Justin Vine for June 26, 2013

Connect with Justin on Twitter and Linkedin.

Move without the ball.

They are four words that I haven’t forgotten since they came out of ESPN Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell’s mouth on opening night. I understood the metaphor.

Being an avid basketball fan, I took the few short words upon myself and for three weeks straight I tried to live those words. Do more to separate from the clutter. Make yourself open so when the ball is passed to you, then you are free for an easy dunk.

This past Wednesday, I was nonstop busy — reviewing contracts, filling out applications and playing phone tag, trying to put together a proposal on an issue that that had us bogged down. After several hours, they were done. And it was lunchtime.

A fellow MSBA’er and I popped out of the office to get some fresh air. We got back sat down and I got on the Internet to see what I had missed all morning. Aaron Hernandez had been arrested and released by the New England Patriots. Someone on Twitter had posted a link to watch the Aaron Hernandez arraignment proceeding, which we decided to upload and follow along. At this time my employer and mentor, Jason Belzer (Founder of GAME Inc., and Forbes Contributing writer) questioned our productivity in watching videos on the Internet, only later to find out the significance of what we were watching.

Under a sense of urgency, Jason instructed me to drop everything I had been working on and focus solely on the arraignment. I was to write an article for Forbes on the legal ramifications of Hernandez being charged with first-degree murder. A morning of nonstop turned into an afternoon of nonstop, which culminated in a published article on Forbes. An opportunity like this doesn’t fall into everyone’s lap. But this opportunity wasn’t granted out of left field. It was built on trust. All of the small and unnoticed tasks over time allowed me to build a relationship with my mentor that revolves around trust, a trust that credits its support from moving without the ball. I took 20 minutes to enjoy this achievement, but had I achieved? I co-authored an article that was being reported by every major news outlet across the world. That’s nice but that’s not the kind of accolade or success that I have my dreams set on. Stay humble and hungry.

After work, the MSBA group met at Platinum Rye to hear from Senior Director of Marketing, Mark Zablow. To be blunt, I didn’t have the slightest clue what Platinum Rye or Mark were about. But to be frank, I walked away from his speech more moved and impressed than I was with any other speaker. Mark had a form of passion and enthusiasm about his job that I hadn’t noticed with other speakers. He discussed a similar path that we have all experienced in MSBA thus far in our lives. Mark had been the full time intern just like any one of us except he had proven his net worth was worth more being paid.

He had broken through with a certain level of that PHD mentality that embodies the best; the desire to learn and build a recognized brand name not because he is the first born son of XYZ but rather with his own two hands. Mark had swagger; he knew what he was doing and was confident that he was good at it but never displayed any arrogance. This brings me to one of the prophecies he lives by — “Eat your own shit.” Be proud of what you do and wear it on your shirt. It clung to me. When I originally joined MSBA, I had my doubts. All in all, I was paying money to be provided a free internship. Let me repeat that; I was paying tuition and receiving an unpaid internship. Obviously there were other benefits that came with the program as well, but this stuck out. 

However, looking back at the four weeks I have been involved in this program, I can gladly say “I eat my own shit.” To start, I may have even paid more money for the jumpstart in my career MSBA has provided. In that time, I have written articles for Forbes, had two unbelievable experiences working for the Nets and Game Inc, and met a great group of peers that I will one day call my colleagues. I eat my own shit. If hearing Mark speak wasn’t enjoyable enough, Mark left us with Duracell Powermat’s that would be attached to all NBA draftees phones on Friday night. The hashtag is #takecharge. It sure seems suitable for what I took away from Mark’s speech.

Day 24 of MSBA 2013: Grand Opening of Prince Tennis Store in Wimbledon Village, Trip to Arthur Ashe Stadium

Post by Nicole Cho for June 25, 2013

Connect with Nicole on Linkedin.

Week 3 was a complete whirlwind for me, especially since I’m lucky enough to have two internships this summer with NPM | PR and Harlem Junior Tennis. Throughout the week, I continued my work with Natalie from NPM | PR for Prince Tennis.

With the grand opening of their retail store in Wimbledon Village approaching (took place this past weekend), right before Day 1 of Wimbledon, Natalie and I were completely wrapped up with contacting media outlets in London to alert them of the event. Considering my passion for PR, MSBA couldn’t have placed me in a more perfect internship than with NPM | PR.

I’ve quickly realized that one of the main benefits of interning with a smaller independent company is that I’m able to be part of a process from start to finish rather than being one of the countless assisting hands on a given project and not being able to see the end product or result. Regarding the grand opening of Prince Tennis’ store in Wimbledon Village, I got to see firsthand how publicists such as Natalie reach out to major media outlets and organize for reporters to make an appearance at a given event, resulting in valuable media coverage and publicity for the company/brand.

One of the major British media outlets I contacted on behalf of Natalie was Sky Sports, who responded that they were interested in sending one of their reporters to the event. It was really interesting seeing Natalie arrange for the Sky Sports reporter to have a private interview with renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri of the Bollettieri Tennis Academy, as he was making a guest appearance at the grand opening along with John Isner and the Bryan brothers. Monday was an extremely rewarding day as lots of positive media coverage was published about the opening of Prince Tennis’ Wimbledon Village Store by major media outlets, such as Sports Business Daily’s Global Edition.

With Prince Tennis looking to generate new excitement and global attention around their brand and determined to stay a step ahead of their competitors, I could see how crucial it was to have a PR team or publicist who could ensure that the rest of the world heard and took notice of the company’s latest endeavors. As for my internship at Harlem Junior Tennis, I got the unbelievable opportunity to work at their 41st Anniversary Celebration gala and Celebrity Pro-AM tennis tournament. At the gala, I got to check in influential individuals such as Patrick McEnroe and Herb Williams; it was amazing being in the presence of people such as them and to hear personal stories from the students of Harlem Junior Tennis about what the program has done to improve their lives on and off the court.

The day after the gala was Harlem Junior Tennis’ Celebrity tennis tournament, which took place at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center out in Flushing Meadows. The best moment of working the tennis tournament was having the once in a lifetime experience of standing on Arthur Ashe Stadium, right in the middle of center court. Since I idolize players such as Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova that have played and won the U.S. Open on the very court I got the opportunity to stand on, it was a moment that I knew I’d never forget. I can easily say after my first three weeks in MSBA that each new week continues to top the last.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 23 of MSBA 2013: Networking 101 with MSBA Founder, Ben Sturner

Post by Alex Mise for June 24, 2013

Connect with Alex on Twitter and Linkedin.

Before starting my summer with the MSBA, the one skill I had already resolved to improve upon was my networking abilities. I’ve never been particularly good at juggling all sorts of contacts, staying in touch with people, or actively seeking out individuals I knew could help me get where I wanted to go.

With all the people I was going to meet over the summer, whether through my job, the various speakers, or my fellow MSBA class members, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to finally start making an effort to be better at networking.

At the start of our 4th week (can’t believe it’s going so quickly) we got a lesson in networking from the man himself, Ben Sturner, the Founder of Leverage Agency and the MSBA. Ben invited the whole MSBA crew down to Leverage and gave us a presentation on some of the finer points of networking. When Ben showed us his binders full of business cards from various industry leaders, it was clear that he knows a thing or two about making connections and utilizing them to their fullest potential.

The biggest thing that I took away from Ben’s presentation, which covered topics from researching someone before meeting them to avoiding becoming the person at a conference that people can’t stand, was the networking is not just some activity that you do every once in awhile. It is a constant activity, with opportunities springing up all the time.

You have to be able to keep an eye out for your chance to connect with and make an impression upon someone. Ben talked about having an “elevator pitch” ready at all times. He meant that, given just 30 seconds or so, would you be able to pitch who you are and leave a good impression on someone? It was a level of preparation and anticipation that I hadn’t even thought of; I now realize that it takes that level of dedication to succeed and stand out from the clutter.

Finally, I liked the fact that Ben told us to stay away from treating networking like some cold exercise. He urged us to be genuinely interested in people and to take the time to build a real relationship. All in all it was a lot of great information and tips for how I can get the most out of my MSBA experience. I’m excited to expand my horizons using all the connections I make this summer through networking.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 22 of MSBA 2013: Inside Access to the National Lacrosse League

Post by Adam Daroff for June 23, 2013

Connect with Adam on Twitter and Linkedin.

Although it feels like we just arrived, MSBA is now heading into its fourth week. The time has flown by but I have done as much networking in these three weeks as I’ve probably done in the last year. We have a very busy schedule in the program and that is allowing us to maximize our eight week stay in NYC. I am interning with the National Lacrosse League, the premier North American men’s professional indoor lacrosse league.

The league headquarters are at 36th Street and 6th Avenue. The league currently has nine teams in the United States and Canada and unlike most lacrosse leagues, the NLL plays in the winter and spring. Because there are only four employees and three interns in the office, I have been able to wear a few different “hats” thus far.

I am primarily working for Brian Lemon, VP of Lacrosse Operations, but he works in Florida so most of my work with him is surrounding NLL conference calls with owners, general managers, and head coaches. Since it is the NLL’s off-season, I am spending a lot of time working on preparations for the league’s fall entry draft. The NLL’s draft is similar to those in other leagues and I am currently preparing a list of all the graduating college seniors that played NCAA lacrosse for distribution to the teams. This will serve as part of their list of draft-eligible players.

Additionally, I have and am working on some competitive analyses for Justin Rubino, Director of Business and Administrative Operations. Two examples have been comparing the NLL’s attendance versus that of NCAA lacrosse at the Division I level and Major League Lacrosse, which is an outdoor summer professional league. Lastly, I worked on an assignment which required me to put together a list of all the players that participate in both the NLL and MLL. Because the league schedules do not overlap (except for maybe two weeks), many players participate in the NLL and then the MLL in the summer. My experience at the NLL has been fantastic so far and I look forward to spending the rest of my summer there.

When not interning or participating in the awesome MSBA speakers and events, I’ve been able to network and either meet up or talk with some fantastic people in sports. I’ve had the chance to speak with some of our MSBA speakers a few days after they spoke and have arranged to meet up with a few others in the coming weeks. With networking being such a vital part of the industry, I have really taken Ben’s motivation to do so to heart. Additionally, I was able to meet my MSBA mentor, Matt Lacks, for the first time last week, as we met for lunch and discussed my interests, his career, and some of the advice he had for me.

I look forward to meeting and talking with him more the coming weeks and hopefully months and years as he is a wealth of knowledge and seemed extremely interested in helping me as I hopefully soon enter the industry. With five more weeks to go, I cannot wait to see what else Ben, David and the rest of the MSBA staff have in store for us. I’m most looking forward to the diverse speakers and our usual Friday field trips as they both give us an experience that no one outside of MSBA may ever have the chance to be a part of.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Contagious: Why Wharton Marketing Professor, Jonah Berger, Catches On

Post by Myles Robinson

Connect with Myles on Twitter and Linkedin.

When I initially received the email that our MSBA group would be traveling to the MLB Fan Cave I was pretty happy. Then I saw we would be hearing from the renowned Jonah Berger and I suddenly couldn’t control my excitement. Have you ever read a great article, watched an interesting YouTube video, or seen an inspirational tweet you just had to share?

I vividly remember sitting on my bed back home in Birmingham, AL watching this video as I was preparing to come up to NYC for the summer. I was so inspired by what I saw that I naturally shared it on my Facebook page. I also began to watch the video every day for a week. I would have it playing as I was doing mindless tasks like brushing my teeth, browsing the Internet during the day, etc. I could almost quote the first half of the video by the time I arrived for MSBA.

Little did I know that I was learning my first lesson in marketing 101: top of mind means tip of tongue. Meeting Jonah in person was quite an experience. The MLB Fan Cave, located in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village on 4th Street and Broadway, was very elaborately decorated and a haven for baseball fans. Instead of a traditional speech about his background, Jonah gave a presentation about his New York Times Best Seller: Contagious: Why Things Catch On. In the book he talks about how to get more word of mouth using these key six STEPPS: social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories.

A Wharton Marketing Professor by profession, Jonah gave all of us a lesson of why things catch on and go viral. I found it interesting that through Jonah’s extensive research more things go viral through word of mouth than traditional advertising.

For the marketing nerds like myself in the audience, Jonah challenged us to understand the psychology rather than the technology of what makes things “remarkable.” With the example of this Panda Cheese commercial we also learned the “currency of conversation” is stories. I finally realized why I like certain commercials more than others. Like the Panda Cheese example, great marketing messages, Jonah explained, have a moral hidden inside the story that takes the brand along for the ride.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jonah. The visit to the MLB Fan Cave was easily one of my top three experiences thus far this summer. I’m learning that sports business is just that…business. Knowing the nuances behind sports is a great, but when one begins to explore other avenues outside of the industry, it makes it fun to “connect the dots” back to sports later. As Jonah mentioned after his presentation, what makes sports so great is that its principles are applicable to many subjects.

I recommend the below articles by Jonah for all aspiring sports business professionals seeking to learn more about viral marketing.

Jonah Berger: Twitter Therapist (via Fast Company)
Viral’s Secret Formula (via the Huffington Post)
How to Make Your Personal Brand Sizzle (via LinkedIn)

Day 21 of MSBA 2013: In-Depth Look at the '360-Degree' MSBA Experience

Post by Daniel Kaplan for June 22, 2013

Connect with Daniel on Twitter and Linkedin.

Before entering MSBA this summer, I had a feeling the best part of the program would be the impressive line-up of guest speakers. We are three weeks in and that premonition has come true. The diversity of perspectives we have been exposed to from Rob Simmelkjaer, Erik Martin, Jonathan Blue, Carlos Fleming, the guys at MSG, and others has been unbelievable. That access is simply something you can’t get anywhere else.

It may be cliché, but sometimes the best way to learn is to be a sponge and absorb everything around you. For me, so far, so good on that front. Last Monday, after a long day of research and meetings at Lagardère Unlimited, former CMO of Eastman Kodak Jeffrey Hayzlett came to the EHS Library to discuss all things business. We were all fortunate enough to receive a copy of Hayzlett’s latest book Running the Gauntlet. Hayzlett was as much a motivational speaker as a seasoned business professional.

It was impossible not to feel motivated after Hayzlett described the dizzying array of appearances, book signings, speeches, meetings, and consulting ventures his team schedules on a daily basis. Hayzlett has quite literally created a business empire solely around his self-dubbed moniker as a “Global Business Celebrity”. In many ways, Hayzlett is a living example of what tireless work, coupled with a strong vision, can achieve. The Hayzlett Group’s appearance at EHS hammered home the desire of the MSBA leadership team to offer a wide range of experiences to the students. Quite simply, MSBA does not pigeonhole the student experience into just sports business.

We gain insight from speakers that have experience in all areas of business, marketing, broadcasting, sports, social media, and entrepreneurship. That is what a “360 degree” experience refers to. After only 3 chapters of Hayzlett’s book, I have gained an entirely new perspective on business, leadership, and decision-making. The rumor is some people in the MSBA program even put 4 pages of notes from Running the Gauntlet in their “important things folder”. I cannot stress enough how candid Hayzlett, and almost all other speakers, are during our conversations.

The investment these accomplished professionals seem to have in our program has been one of the pleasant surprises of MSBA. On Wednesday night, Spira CEO Andy Krafsur, an old friend of Ben's, came in to talk to MSBA about the challenges of entrepreneurship. Andy’s plight in the industry is unique because of the radical change he made in his career at a time when most wouldn’t have had the courage. After founding a successful law firm of 20 attorneys, Andy suddenly quit his law practice to start a shoe company utilizing revolutionary “WaveSpring” technology developed by his brother, David Krafsur. Andy did not sugar-coat the struggles of entrepreneurship. His stories about trying to break into an ultra-competitive footwear business dominated by powerhouse brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Asics illuminated just how difficult it is for a start-up to gain a loyal base of customers. Andy is well on his way, though, towards gaining 22 more loyal customers after providing the entire MSBA team with free Stinger XLT running shoes.

This Friday afternoon we took a little bit of a different approach to our Friday Field Trip. The MSBA team headed all the way down to Basketball City in Pier 36 to play ball with the High School of Sports Management. While this was technically supposed to be a mentor-mentee event, it just turned into a bunch of sports fans enjoying good times, laughs, and basketball. Even though we are supposed to be the mentors in this case, on the basketball court, the High School of Sports Management was able to teach MSBA a thing or two. After three weeks of constant work, internships, speakers, and networking, it was nice to finally be able to catch our collective breath. Looking back at the end of MSBA, I think our trips to Basketball City to unwind and link up with the High School of Sports Management will be up there among my favorite memories.