NYC Top Ten from Sports Marketing MBA Visit

10. Glideslope

Agency visits were at a minimum during this trip, but Glideslope is a regular stop for our Sports Marketing MBA group. The agency’s founding partner, David Fuller and senior associate Jamie Rocha shared some great information about how companies can leverage global sports to create a long-lasting and positive effect on people around the world. In a competitive landscape where a lot of sports marketing agencies are trying to do everything, it was refreshing to see the specialized space that Glideslope has carved out for itself. The visit was capped by a panel that included Oregon alum Matt Geshke from Lareus Sport for Good Foundation and Paul Teeple, the Sport for Development Director at Partners for the Americas. Sports has a powerful influence and it’s clear that some companies are doing a fantastic job at using it to help develop other nations.

9. Major League Soccer

UO Alumnus Ian Campbell was our primary host at the MLS league office. His job is associated with supporting individual team’s business operations around the league. In addition to Ian, we were privileged to talk with Greg Lalas, the editor-in-chief for MLS Digital and CMO and good friend to our program, Howard Handler. I really enjoyed Howard’s presentation on the re-branding effort the league recently undertook. The background and reasoning behind the effort was interesting to hear straight from the CMO. This is the type of experience one can expect as part of this program!

8. National Basketball Association

Hearing stories and seeing pictures of previous visits with David Stern at the NBA raised our hopes for the possibility to spend some time with Commissioner Silver, but schedules did not align this year… However, the visit was far from a downer. We were treated to lunch and the company of a four person panel with a representative from Global Partnerships, Merchandising, Digital Marketing and Digital Media. From a business perspective, the NBA does a lot of things really well and I’m glad we were able to hear about a lot of their efforts first hand. I hope the commissioner knows he is welcome to visit us in Eugene anytime!

7. Alumni Networking Event

Food and drink provided by the program + visiting with alumni who are killing it in NYC and other northeast cities = Awesome! (that’s what this program is all about)

6. Bloomberg Sports

We know that data and analytics have become buzzwords in sports. However, I don’t think any of us really understood how much data is being collected and the amazing tools available to synthesize and recall that data to answer a question. Bill Squadron played host at Bloomberg Sports and humored the fantasy nerds and stat heads in our group. To show the power of some of the tools they have developed, he pulled up pitch information about a well known pitcher, restricted parameters to curveball location on 3-2 counts. What we saw were a few dots scattered around a box to simulate a strike zone, which indicated that this pitcher doesn’t trust his curveball as much deep into the count. What truly impressed us though was Bill proceeded to click on one of the dots and the game video popped up of that exact pitch! After picking up our jaws from off the table I think we all knew what tools we would want to use the next time we fill out our fantasy roster.

5. 9/11 Memorial

A number of members of the group had never been to New York before this trip and a larger number of those who had, this was their first opportunity to see the memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center site on 9/11. You can’t help but be awestruck as you first approach the sunken waterfall. Viewing the names that surround the memorial of those who died clearly communicates that this is hallowed ground. A lot of us shared where we were that fateful morning, how old we were and whether we knew anyone directly affected by the event. But the truth is, we were all affected. It was moving to be able to pay respects to mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren who died too soon.

4. ESPN

Who wouldn’t be excited to visit the worldwide leader is sports television! Other than seeing and hearing from a few program alumni (Kelly Johnson, David Hobbie and Gil Beverly), I felt like the highlight of this visit was listening to Barry Blyn from ESPN’s consumer insights group. He spoke about the ESPN brand and how they strive to communicate that to viewers. “Sports with authority and personality.”

3. Madison Square Garden

The mecca of all NBA arenas. From top to bottom the arena is amazing and since it’s remodel in 2013 the premium seating options offer a lot of variety and are regularly sold out. Wait, but how good are the Knicks this year? Apparently that doesn’t matter because in a market like New York people  are willing to pay during a down year to hold on to their spot for a good year. Premium seating inventory expanded in two areas I wouldn’t expect. The first is the sky bridge seats. Almost unnoticeable from the court/ice, fans are able to watch the game from a catwalk-like platform that extends along both sidelines, so you are literally right over the action! The second is the suite bunkers located under the court/ice. That’s right, you can’t even see the live action from these suites! These bunker suites are custom built and are meant to provide a space where people can talk or conduct business in a quiet and private setting. They’re all sold, so I guess the “if you build it, they will come” mantra works at the Garden. Big thanks to Andy Renmeester for arranging the tour!

2. Galatioto Sports Partners

There are few individuals in the sports finance world that are so well connected that they know everyone personally and regularly play an integral role in team dispositions and acquisitions. Sal Galatioto is one of those individuals. To be honest, I don’t think there is a member of our group who really understood who Sal is and what he has accomplished. But that wasn’t the case when we left! He and his firm have consulted with and helped finance dozens of sports franchise transactions. Any sale of a team within the past 20 years, Sal was either involved or new specific details of the deal. However, it wasn’t his resume that impressed us the most and made our visit to his office so special. He is a great storyteller and the passion infused in his telling of the story communicated that this guy loves what he does and he has built relationships in the business by being true to who he is and taking risks. Stories like his are an inspiration to a bunch of MBA students who are anxious to make their own mark in the industry. Thanks for sitting back and telling us how it is, Sal! We’ll always remember your thoughts about MLS…

1. Spending time with the cohort and not having canceled flights

We spent eight unforgettable days in New York City visiting companies and meeting executives in the industry we love. Flights were on-time (enough) to get us where we needed to go and growing closer as a cohort outside of Eugene created memories that will last a lifetime. Here’s to our last experiential trip on this two-year roller coaster!

Written by Seth Bohne

Seth is a second year MBA in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. He is planning to go into strategic planning and business development for a sports property or brand.