Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Entrepreneurship Presentations

Professor DeNoble's Entrepreneurship came to an end today, but not before eight groups of SMBA '11 students presented their 3-month long projects. The eight projects were:

#1. A full-service consultation for retired athletes
#2. A triathlete social network
#3. A tennis social network -
#4. Green consultation for sporting events
#5. Team 180 - Lacrosse club
#6. Mancaves
#7. MMA Reality show
#8. French-fries only food truck

The class projects encompassed finances, potential customers, trends, and other items that helped to assess the market viability of the idea. A few of the groups plan to pursue their entrepreneurship ideas outside of class, so stay tuned for updates.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guest Speaker: Fay Wells

Tana Prosper (SMBA '11) brought in today's speaker, Fay Wells, who works in the business development department for ESPN's X Games. Fay spoke about her career path in sports business and how her MBA has helped her in her current role at ESPN in New York City.

Besides telling us about some of the projects she's working on, Fay answered questions regarding ESPN's business structure, being a woman in sports, working for the Houston Rockets, balancing her career and personal life, as well as a number of other topics.
The SMBA '11 class thanks Fay for stopping by and all the best for this week's Summer X Games.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Del Mar Racetracks Opening Day

In return for such a great class effort at the Cal State Games, the SMBA '11 class was given a day off of classes to participate in opening day at the Del Mar Racetracks. 45,309 people showed up to take in the horse races and the Kentucky Derby-esque atmosphere and the class tried their best to fit in.

Thank you, Scott Minto, for allowing the class to experience this event.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pony's Vegas Party

By Ryan King (SMBA '11)

How do you re-launch a shoe brand? Throw a party in Las Vegas at a hot nightclub and have an emerging rapper perform as his new show is released. This past Friday that is exactly what Pony International did with their release of a limited edition Nipsey Hussle Top Star at Jet Nightclub.

I had the opportunity to attend the co-sponsored event between Pony and Red Bull as part of my new internship. To market the event, up-and-coming rapper Nipsey Hussle did radio interviews and had a brief meet and greet with fans at Revolution nightclub, where his shoe was on display before he headed over to Jet. Nipsey did such a good job promoting the event and shoe at the radio station that he gave his shoes away to the DJ. I had to retrieve a new pair for him before he went on stage.

Once on stage, he performed several songs and shouted out sponsors Pony and Red Bull for the event and the shoe. After his performance, he posed for pictures with fans and the shoe. Fifty pairs of the limited edition shoe were also given to lucky partygoers. Overall, the event was a success and Pony got its product in front of many people that probably wouldn’t have seen the brand otherwise.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Jr. World Golf Championships: A Global Event

By Luke Epp (SMBA '11)

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Jr. World Golf Championships held here in beautiful San Diego. The event, which started in 1968, is played over eight different local golf courses, one of which is Torrey Pines. The tournament is one of the most prestigious in junior golf and is truly a global event. This year’s field included over 1,100 participants who represented over 50 different countries and close to all 50 U.S. States. The leaderboard looked more like a UN meeting than a golf event. Just to give you an example the Top 10 in the girls 15-17 division went: Mexico, Hawaii, CA, Hawaii, Canada, Philippines, Argentina, Japan, Hawaii, Philippines, Singapore. The boys 15-17 division had the same international feel as well, with 5 different countries represented in the Top 10.

The Jr. World’s are a breeding ground for future talent on the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour. The likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, David Toms, Corey Pavin, Lorena Ochoa, Amy Alcott, and Jennifer Rosales have all won titles at the Jr. World’s. Where there is young talent there will be college coaches lurking close behind. I hope these coaches brushed up on their geography before coming!

A former college teammate of mine is now the assistant women’s coach for Northwestern University, so I tagged along with her as she scouted for her 2011 class and beyond. It was a great experience to see what type of attributes and skills coaches look for in young players. It was also interesting to hear how she “brands” her school in hopes of attracting the best student-athletes. I couldn’t believe the skill level of these young players. The girl who won the 15-17 age division, Gabriela Lopez of Mexico, shot 14 under par over 4 rounds! I think Mexico might have found its next Lorena Ochoa.

Speaking of young talent, my friend Norman Xiong, tied for 1st place in the boys 11-12 age division this year (he also won his age division last year). Norman has schooled me numerous times down at the Pro Kids’ course. It is great to see him doing so well. Coaches…you might want to keep an eye on him for your 2017 class.

Overall, it was a great experience for me to: 1) witness just how global the game of golf is becoming 2) observe how to run a successful junior golf event and 3) get a behind the scenes glimpse into college recruiting.

Bill Walton and the 6 Degrees Breakfast

The SMBA ’11 chance was invited to the 6 Degrees Speaker Series courtesy of Mike Kitts (SMBA ’09) and the San Diego Hall of Champions. The topic for this morning’s breakfast was ‘The Business of Sports and the Impact on the Local Economy.’ The panel consisted of Andy Laats, co-founder and President of Nixon, Inc., Dave Alberga, CEO of Active Network, and Bill Walton, NBA Hall of Famer and Executive Director of CONNECT.

As guests, the SMBA ’11 class ate breakfast while listening to the panel discuss the topic. Audience members asked questions that ranged from how to further stimulate the local economy and the issue of students attending local colleges and then moving to another city.

Walton specifically mentioned the Sports MBA program at SDSU and even complimented Director Scott Minto for his work.

After the panel discussion, the SMBA ’11 class was able to have a private discussion with Bill Walton before he caught his plane to New York City. Among the wisdom he imparted:

1) “Learn how to learn and learn how to compete.”
2) “Make your competitor worry…make him lose sleep at night, because they know you’re going to outthink them.”
3) “Go for it all; don’t be afraid to fail.”
4) “Leadership is giving up your life, so that others’ dreams come true.”
5) “Don’t wait for the ball to fall in your lap, just get out there and get it.”

All-Star FanFest

By Matti Abramson (SMBA '11)

Amidst 500,000 square feet of attractions and exhibits, the 2010 MLB All-Star FanFest at the Anaheim Convention Center had everything a baseball fan could dream of: batting and fielding practice, autograph signings from Angel greats and baseball Hall of Famers, an opportunity to be the announcer for an iconic moment in baseball, a chance to participate in a home run derby (watch out, Ortiz!), and over a dozen other attractions and displays of important moments in baseball history. Along with classmates Lawren Wolf, Greg Moore, and Aileen Berran, I spent nine days in Anaheim training for and then working as an Attraction Manager at FanFest. We were teamed up with other students and young professionals, and spent a few days honing our leadership and team-working skills that indeed proved to be valuable when running this large event. We were there to open and close each of the five days of the actual event, and acted as the hosts and hostesses to a large crowd of enthusiastic and excited baseball fans each and every day.

I spent the entire event at the 'You Call the Play' attraction, where fans put on the headsets and announced the Angels becoming World Series Champions in 2002, Jackie Robinson stealing home in Game One of the 1955 World Series, or another famous moment in baseball history. It was special for some fans who were in the stadiums when some of these moments occurred, or recalled watching them on television and have been practicing announcing them on their own ever since. I heard a plethora of renditions of Jack Buck's "I don't believe what I just saw," as Kirk Gibson hit the walk-off home run for the Dodgers in Game One of the 1988 World Series. It was so powerful that a few times I truly felt as though I were in stands at Dodger Stadium witnessing that amazing moment. It was certainly an incredible opportunity to work alongside other baseball lovers to provide a unique experience for the fans, that most would never forget.

It did not matter whether you had on an Angels cap or a Dodgers jersey, because at FanFest, everyone associated themselves as a fan of the good ol' game of baseball.

Monday, July 19, 2010

2010 ESPY Awards

By Jessica Ceresino (SMBA '11)

"Hello (Insert any professional athlete's name here), welcome to the W, let me get you checked in upstairs and into VIP hospitality."

This was my "go-to" phrase as I welcomed athletes and celebrities to the brand new W hotel in Hollywood. For the second year, I was given the opportunity to work as part of the ESPN team for the ESPY awards. As I arrived at the hotel, I felt like I was walking into the latest edition of Sports Illustrated. Terrell Owens, Drew Brees, Lindsey Vonn, Evan Longoria, and Lisa Leslie are among the dozens of elite athletes that were in town to attend the award show.

While the entire week was noteworthy, perhaps the climax of the experience for me was on Wednesday, the day of the ESPYs. As the limo busses pulled up to the red carpet, I knew that I was in for a very special evening. Quickly the Nokia Theater filled up with anxious athletes and their fans. Seth Meyers hosted the show with ease and kept everyone laughing throughout the night. After the show ended, the athletes flooded the VIP lounge where I was posted during the show. They socialized, snacked and gave interviews before moving on to the after parties.

As the lounge emptied there were still a few familiar faces hanging out and before I could finish recognizing them, they formed a conga line and began singing as they exited the room. I followed behind to close up the lounge and eventually make my way back to the busses. Then, as I entered a long hallway backstage, I spotted the conga line stopped at the end. Almost immediately they began to chant an all too familiar tune..."Ole, Ole Ole Ole, Ooole, Ooole." It was the US Men's National Soccer team chanting the famous soccer anthem. They weren't celebrating a World Cup victory, but an ESPY award for best moment. The team finished chanting and headed out the doors. As I stood there soaking in the moment, a reporter turned to me with a smile and said, "that's why I love sports."

I couldn't agree more.

More From the D.R. Trip

Ryan King (SMBA '11) is juggling his classwork with an internship for Upper Deck. As part of his internship, Ryan wrote a fantastic piece for their blog regarding the SMBA '11 trip to the Dominican Republic.

Great work, Ryan! Also, TIME just did a story about baseball in the Dominican Republic and the story was accompanied by photos of Sandy Alderson, as well as the Padres' facility. The Chicago Cubs weren't too happy with their portrayal in the article:

The SMBA '11 class raised another $500 for their Dominican fundraising yesterday at the San Diego Padres' game.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SDSU Athletic Director Jim Sterk

As part of Professor Scott Tinley’s second-to-last class, San Diego State Athletic Director Jim Sterk stopped by to talk to the SMBA ’11 class. Sterk was Washington State University’s Athletic Director for 10 years before taking the job at SDSU and he explained to the class what he’s trying to accomplish at State.

Sterk also listed his priorities in the upcoming months, which included hydro-therapy and resource acquisitions. He also discussed how he wants the student body and the community to be more involved, which is why SDSU will introduce a junior mascot for children during the football season.

Sterk also discussed how much he loves his job, conference realignment, student-athletes, a new football stadium, alumni ticket giveaways, and more about where his priorities lie.

As Sterk said: “We’re educating kids and we are—at first—educators. It’s not about the revenue first.”

Cal State Games

Members of the SMBA ’11 class volunteered this weekend for the California State Games. The Cal State Games is a statewide amateur sports festival that is a grass roots program of the United States Olympic Committee. The mission of the Games is to promote and nurture the health, education, and well-being of California residents by managing a high quality amateur sports event that encourages community participation and provides an Olympic experience.

Class members helped with sports such as baseball, track & field, basketball, swimming, wrestling, and others. Volunteers kept score, helped organize events, and even drove some participants to their games. The Sports MBA looks forward to continuing their relationship with the Cal State Games.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Philip Rivers' Football Camp

San Diego Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers hosted his first local youth football camp at UCSD over the weekend. More than 200 kids came for the experience and some SMBA ’11 classmates were there to volunteer. All proceeds for the camp went toward the recently established Rivers of Hope Foundation, which aims to help abandoned and orphaned children.

Campers learned about all positions of the game, as well as football fundamentals from a staff of 20 of the area’s top prep coaches. The SMBA ’11 members helped with check-in and organizing camp drills. Without the SMBA ’11 volunteers the Rivers’ camp might not have been as successful.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Simon Castro

San Diego Padres' prospect Simon Castro, who started the Futures' Game for the World team, talked with today. Castro is a product of the Padres' Dominican Baseball Academy in the D.R. that the SMBA '11 visited just one month ago.

We look forward to watching Castro at PETCO Park soon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Competitor Group Stops By

By Rebecca Cathcart (SMBA '11)

Today was a fun day in Professor DeNoble's Entrepreneurship class, as we welcomed Scott Dickey, Dana Allen, and Ben Corbett of the Competitor Group. Scott Dickey, the President of CGI, gave us a truly insightful lesson on corporate entrepreneurship as it is applied to the rapidly growing sports company. Dana Allen and Ben Corbett joined us as they represent the business development department at Competitor.

The Competitor Group provides a great platform for the discussion of corporate entrepreneurship, due to its unique composition. CGI was formed in 2008 when the Falconhead Capital, LLC acquired several smaller companies, with the goal of becoming the premier media and event company in the endurance sports industry. Competitor is best known for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series and Competitor Magazine, but they hold several other media and event properties as well.

It was really interesting to hear about some of the challenges faced while trying to unify the many pieces under one roof. As someone who has spent a fair amount of time working at Competitor, even as an intern, I can now appreciate the effectiveness of the consolidation process.

Several of us will have the opportunity to perform some research and present a case study to the Competitor Group's business development department, and will hopefully help them gain some insight into new corporate entrepreneurial opportunities.

Experienced Entrepreneurs Panel

The SMBA '11 class welcomed some experienced entrepreneurs to Professor De Noble's Entrepreneurship class today. Among the esteem guests were Michael Brower of Odyssey & Spy Optic, Chad DiNenna of Nixon Watches, Bill Kellogg of La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, and George Hadjis of Oggi's Pizza.

With our final Entrepreneurship presentations right around the corner, it was good to hear from some people that have been able to make their ideas work.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Barrio Ball

By Lawren Wolf (SMBA '11)
Throughout the entire trip, we saw some pretty amazing things, but what really primed my pump was a trip that the entire group took to one of the local barrios. By definition, barrio is the Spanish word for district or neighborhood, and many of the barrios in the Dominican Republic, while impoverished, are rich with baseball talent. Upon arrival in the barrio, we navigated through the narrow roads to the local baseball diamond, which one of our tour guides’ father runs. As kids in hand-me-down jerseys looked on, he told us how happy he was that our group was visiting the D.R. and how words could not explain how much it means to him that we are taking an interest in what they are doing there. He also told us sobering stories of the many players that have made it from that neighborhood to the riches of the big leagues, but have never given a penny back.

After the brief talk, the entire class took group pictures with the children and then took our seats in the run down bleachers to watch the youngsters play a game. We were enjoying the game, when a few of us noticed a group of older kids (in their early teens) playing a pick-up game in the outfield. A small group of us made our way to the outfield to watch these kids play and, before you knew it, they were inviting us to play with them. We gladly obliged and the pitchers started hurling a beat up rag ball in our direction while we swung for the fences with a small aluminum bat. Bailey Axelrod and myself had the most success, each hitting balls over the fence, and each time we did the kids joined us at home plate to jump up and down and celebrate as if we had just hit a “walk off” homerun to win the game. After taking our whacks on offense, we decided to return the favor by taking the field and letting the kids try to score on us. Ryan King, who struck out swinging in his only two at-bats, claimed that the size of the bat was the reason for his misfortune. Regardless of the accuracy of that statement, it provided the SMBA ’11 class, as well as the local Dominican children, with a lot of laughter and only added value to an awesome afternoon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Back from the DR

As SMBA '11 enjoys their much-deserved summer break, Greg Moore (SMBA '11) has written a follow-up article for the San Diego Union-Tribune about the class' Dominican Republic trip:

SMBA '11 will start class again on Wednesday, July 7.