Thursday, May 27, 2010 Article featuring Luke Epp and Scott Minto

Director Scott Minto and classmate Luke Epp (SMBA '11) were quoted in an ESPN Outside the Lines article regarding the debate over where to draw the line between advancing the competition and diminishing the importance of an athlete's own ability when it comes to new innovations.

ESPN article

Congratulations on the major publicity for the program, guys!

Memorial Day Break

A busy month of May that included a Sports Law final, a Finance midterm, multiple papers, two marketing projects, and a number of volunteer opportunities is finally coming to an end. However, a pseudo-break awaits this Memorial Day weekend as most of the SMBA ’11 class is using Monday’s day off as an excuse for getting out of town or spending time with friends.

Have a fun and safe break!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Entrepreneurship Ideas

Professor Alex DeNoble’s Entrepreneurship course is now in full swing and the SMBA ’11 class has narrowed down the list of new business ideas. Among the ideas that were chosen were Joe Shemanski’s mancave, Emily Nakayami’s green marketing firm, Roberto Castro’s French fries’ only concessions, as well as ideas that focus on WTA and lacrosse.

Over the course of the next two months, the SMBA ’11 class will be putting together business plans for these ideas and fleshing them out. Professor DeNoble has our “pumps primed” and now it’s a matter of collecting market research and focusing the idea.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Guest Speaker: CJ Olivares

Professor Scott Tinley was kind enough to bring in CJ Olivares, General Manager of Fuel TV, to speak to the SMBA ’11 class. Olivares has experience working for CBS and Fox Sports Net and he was responsible for creating an action sports platform on FSN that eventually made $10,000 per advertising spot for the channel. As the General Manager of Fuel TV, he oversees nearly everything the action sports network does.

Olivares spoke about identifying your passion and then looking to make a business or an income of it. He also was honest about success being identified by living in the right place at the right time and he hinted to luck being where preparation meets opportunity, as his short time at a Triathlete Magazine internship helped launch his career.

Olivares answered questions from the class regarding distribution, initial challenges of Fuel TV, programming, future challenge of demographics and Internet, the popularity of action sports, live sporting events, and ethnographic research for Fuel TV.

The SMBA ’11 class thanks Olivares for visiting with the class.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Drew Brees Celebrity Golf Tournament

Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees hosted the Cox Celebrity Golf Championship this past weekend at Morgan Run Resort & Club. Some of the members of the SMBA ’11 class volunteered during the tournament and helped out with ticketing, media relations, and parking during all 3 days.

This was the 12th year of the Tournament, but the first hosted by Drew Brees. The proceeds benefited the Brees Dream Foundation and more than 50 celebrities, including Tony Romo and Ray Romano, showed up to support the Tournament.

It was a great event and—thanks to their hard work—some of the SMBA ’11 class got to meet Brees.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Student Internship: Developing a Social Media Marketing Platform for the Mercury Insurance Open

By Victoria Hoe (SMBA '11)

Many sports organizations today are struggling to find ways to harness the power of social media to grow and promote their brands. As a lifelong follower of the sport of tennis and regular consumer of social media, I believe that digital marketing should play a large role in promoting tennis events, as well as the players themselves. As an intern with the Mercury Insurance Open this summer, I've been tasked with creating a social media platform for the tournament and using it to drive ticket sales. (The Mercury Insurance Open is a Premier 700 tournament on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour and makes up an important stop on the US Open Series summer hard court schedule. The tournament takes place July 31 - August 7, 2010 at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA).

With a history in San Diego dating back over 25 years, the tournament faces an interesting challenge this year of having to reintroduce itself to fans after a 2-year hiatus. Known then as the Acura Classic, the event was privately owned and operated in San Diego from 1984 to 2007 until it was purchased by the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). AEG moved the tournament to Los Angeles, where it was held at the Home Depot Center in Carson from 2008 - 2009. Disappointed by poor ticket sales and the absence of a title sponsor in its final year, AEG sold the event to Octagon in September of 2009. Octagon purchased the tournament with the intention of moving it back to San Diego where, hopefully, it will reside for many years to come.

The challenges of utilizing social media to promote an event are multifaceted: First, you have to find your potential customers where they are (Facebook, Twitter) and then provide them with enough content that interests them to the point where they'll want to "follow" you and be open what you have to say. I frequently see companies start up social media accounts only to promote their products non-stop with little regard to the 2-way conversation that social media provides. Earlier this year I attended a lecture on utilizing social media in business at the SDSU Entrepreneurial Management Center (EMC) in which Kevin Popovic, the Founder of IdeaHaus (a communications consulting company), said that Facebook and Twitter represented the "cheapest focus groups in business." I agree completely with Kevin and I hope to use social media as a way to connect with customers of our tournament and find out what they're experiencing on the ground at the event in real time and what they want to see from us. The second part of my strategy is to provide timely, relevant tennis news/updates in the lead up to the tournament this summer such that tennis fans will view the Mercury Insurance Open Facebook and Twitter accounts as their insight into the latest happenings in the sport. It will be a great challenge and I am very much looking forward to taking it on.

Please click here to follow the Mercury Insurace Open on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Guest Speaker: Sean Sheppard

La’Roi Glover (SMBA ’11) brought Sean Sheppard, CEO and Founder of Embrace, to the SMBA classroom today to talk about his Foundation and career path. Sheppard started as a Strength & Conditioning coach for athletes, such as Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. Shortly thereafter he moved out to sunny San Diego to be a sports psychologist.

Through networking and close friendships, Sheppard was able to work with Ohio State’s men’s Final Four basketball team in 1999, Boston College’s men’s basketball team, and San Diego State’s football team. Sheppard then transitioned into a different role when he accepted the Urban Marketing Consultant job for the San Diego Padres. His job was to create business relationships with minority business owners around San Diego.

Even though Sheppard excelled at all of his jobs, he wanted to start his own business because he wasn’t “clicking” with decision makers. So, that’s when he started Embrace. Embrace is a nonprofit organization that uses health to promote racial equality and unity through activity.

Sheppard was kind enough to answer questions from the SMBA ’11 class about funding streams, corporation assistance, what a non-profit entails, the impact of volunteers, and the importance of Embrace. SMBA ’11 thanks Sheppard for taking the time to talk to our class.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beach Soccer Championships

By Tariq Virani (SMBA ’11)

This past weekend, members of our class were lucky enough to be able to attend the Beach Soccer Championships in Oceanside, California. The championships’ Managing Director, Marc Koehler, tasked us with a market research project in the hopes of putting together some valuable information to help grow their sponsorship base.

It was a family event and was definitely fun for all ages. While we were busy speaking with participants and parents during the tournament for our research, we were still able to take some time to enjoy the action on the beach. The sheer size of the tournament along with the excitement of all the participants was extremely impressive. Whether it was the Under-8 girls or the Under-30 men, the competition was intense and you could tell that everyone was having a great time.

While the beach version is very different from the traditional version of soccer, the creativity and skill involved was still evident. In fact, in the men’s pro bracket it would be very common to see bicycle kicks three or four times a game. Some of the headline teams in the tournament included the San Diego Sockers and the Japanese National team. Overall, this was a great event and we hope to continue to build SDSU Sports MBA’s relationship with the Beach Soccer Championships.

Silent Auction for Dominican Republic Fundraising

This past weekend, despite a Financial Management midterm looming, the SMBA ’11 class was able to raise $2,230 towards the Dominican Republic Fundraising. That brings the total up to $5,264 with one month to go before we leave for the DR.

The class raised the impressive one-weekend total by collecting $700 for handing out promotions for the Padres-Dodgers’ game on Saturday. Also, Tariq Virani’s (SMBA ’11) aunt and uncle were kind enough to contribute $500 to the cause. And, of course, $1,030 was raised at the silent auction the SMBA ’11 class held at PETCO Park yesterday afternoon.

Items auctioned off included a Tony Gwynn autographed jersey that went for $250, a Kyle Blanks signed bat that went for $125, and a Rajon Rondo autographed photo that went for $125. The SMBA ’11 class thanks the Padres for their support.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Luke Epp Gets Married

Luke Epp (SMBA ’11) marries Jen Omundson later today. Luke is the first of the four engaged SMBA ’11 members to tie the knot. Oddly enough, two members of the class have proposed/been proposed to after starting the SMBA program.

Luke impressively navigated through Statistics and Accounting while helping his future wife with all the wedding planning details. The SMBA ’11 class wishes Luke and Jen congratulations and all the best.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guest Speaker: Jim Steeg

Jim Steeg, who stepped down from his position as the San Diego Chargers’ Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President only two months ago, spoke to the SMBA ’11 class today. Steeg told us about his whirl-wind path from being a fan in Fort Wayne to being in the second MBA class at Wake Forest to being named Director of Special Events for the NFL to being with the Chargers organization the last 6 seasons.

Steeg spoke about his desire to work in sports and how he made his dream come true. He wrote every team and League and only heard back from the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. He accepted a position with the Dolphins as a low-paid accountant, but leveraged that into a job as Director of Special Events by capitalizing on opportunities and making an impression with then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle.

During his time as Director of Special Events with the NFL, Steeg made the Super Bowl sports’ biggest event and upped the out-of-game experience for fans by introducing fan fests, pre-game activities, and being on the cutting edge in regard to media.

Steeg discussed the impact of Michael Jackson during the halftime of the 1993 Super Bowl and how he expanded a 3-hour game into a 6-hour event and then into a 4-day event (i.e. the NFL Draft). Then, Steeg was kind enough to answer student questions about the fine line between NFL and Hollywood spectacle, the current collective-bargaining agreement, the likelihood of an International Super Bowl, the Chargers’ new stadium, and much more.

SMBA ’11 thanks Mr. Steeg for coming in and sharing his incredible stories with us.

Presentations to

Professor Bruton’s first marketing assignment for SMBA ’11 was to help out’s marketing efforts. In doing so, the class broke up into 4 groups and had one week to answer questions regarding the following topics:

1) Relaunch/Rebrand Skinit, Inc. Name
2) Wall Skins
3) Retail Opportunities
4) Social Media

The presentations were today and SMBA '11 presented to Skinit’s Vice President of Licensing, Linda Castillon. As an added bonus, Matt Hiller (SMBA ’10) and Lindsey Finnegan (SMBA ’10) joined Linda during the presentations. Both Matt and Lindsey presented to Linda last year for Bruton’s marketing class and used the opportunity to acquire full-time jobs with Skinit.

Along with powerpoints, SMBA ’11 developed professional leave behinds for Linda and her staff. Linda was gracious with her time and was so impressed by the presentations that she asked Professor Bruton to send her all 4, so that she could present to Skinit’s CEO.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Breaking In The New Meadowlands

By Oumar Ganame (SMBA '11)

I once again had the opportunity to work with Soccer United Marketing (SUM) at one of their Mexican National Team events. This time the venue was the brand new stadium in the Meadowlands of New Jersey (home to the Giants and Jets) and currently known as New Meadowlands Stadium while they work to land a Stadium Naming Rights deal. This was the first event at the new stadium to be open on all levels and it did not disappoint. The sold-out event drew more than 77,000 fans and ran smoothly, despite the adjustment to the new stadium.
The event was very interesting from a marketing standpoint. New Meadowlands stadium has sponsorship deals with a number of companies and nearly all of them conflict with the sponsors of the Mexican National team. The event went off without a hitch though and Futbol Fiesta was as strong as ever, featuring impressive setups from Coca-Cola, AT&T, Bud Light, NAPA Autoparts, Extra, Home Depot, Makita, Castrol, Cacique, Bimbo, Castrol, Telemundo, Degree, Adidas, The New York Red Bulls, and Panini.

For the second straight event the game ended with a scoreless tie, but that did not dampen the excitement of the tens of thousands of fans in attendance. Futbol Fiesta was a huge hit, as usual, and the venues that have hosted it have marveled at the level of success it has seen. Some have even looked into ways that they can duplicate the level of excitement at their regular stadium events. With the tour wrapping up this week, the team is now looking toward their World Cup appearance in Group A. The Mexican National Team kicks of the tournament against host South Africa in Johannesburg on June 11.

On a related note, SUM recently signed an extension with the Mexican National team through the 2014 season. The deal includes an Olympic tour in 2012 and a South American tour before the 2014 World Cup. The agreement is a huge win for SUM and ensures that the company will be heavily involved in the North American International soccer scene for years to come.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Guest Speaker: Doug Healey

With a Sports Law final tomorrow, it seemed appropriate that the SMBA ’11 class had Doug Healey, Assistant Director of Academic and Membership Affairs at the NCAA, in class today. Healey, who went to Purdue with Luke Epp (SMBA ’11), interned in the NCAA’s enforcement office during his time in law school and made the transition back to the NCAA for a full-time job through the network he built during his internship.

Healey discussed his job responsibilities, his day-to-day duties, and enlightened the class on current initiatives within the NCAA, such as PSA (Prospective Student Athlete) and APR (Academic Progress Report). Healey is in charge of looking at deficiencies for why a PSA doesn’t make eligibility, as well as grant or denying waivers for eligibility.

Healey graciously fielded questions from the class and then discussed possible internships within the NCAA main office in Indianapolis.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sparking the LA Sparks

By Tana Prosper (SMBA '11)

For the past 4 months, Danielle Arrington and I have had the unique opportunity to work alongside the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks to help promote their 1st exhibition game of the season vs. the Chinese National team at SDSU’s Viejas Arena. Throughout the course of these four months, Danielle and I worked on several marketing initiatives to help get the word out about the game. These initiatives included developing and managing lead lists for prospective partnerships and sponsorship opportunities, developing a marketing strategy targeting WNBA fans in San Diego and manning LA Sparks information booths at various events in the San Diego area. During this planning process Danielle and I also had the opportunity to get involved in a couple brainstorming sessions and meetings with the Sparks’ staff, including the Sparks’ Chief Marketing Officer, Lindsay Amstutz; Manager of Ticket Sales, Benny Garcia; and Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Jeri Ramos. We also had the chance to pick the brains of local marketing masterminds, such as SDSU’s own Bernie Schrader.

After months of planning, game day finally arrived. Danielle and I would not only get to see our work come to fruition, but also we’d get to experience another side of the business—the game operations side. A couple of our SMBA classmates (Alyssa Boyd, Krista Washington and Tariq Virani) also volunteered their services. The SMBA crew would be helping with various prep and in-game tasks throughout the day.

The afternoon began with the AVID Student Leadership Conference. AVID stands for Advancement via Individual Determination and it is a 30-year-old, non-profit college readiness system that prepares underserved (predominantly minority and economically disadvantaged) students for college. The purpose of the conference was to provide AVID students with leadership tools via college and career awareness and motivational speakers and activities. The students sat in on a panel discussion hosted by LA Sparks President Kristin Bernert. The panel included Beth Burns, SDSU’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach, two SDSU women’s basketball players, Paris Johnson and Coco Davis, and WNBA owner Kathy Goodman. The panel tackled a plethora of issues, such as leadership, peer pressure, academics, and keys to success. The AVID students also got the opportunity to have a Question and Answer session with the panel. Following the panel discussion, the AVID students moved on to the college fair at the Viejas Arena corridor where representatives from various Southern California colleges and universities were in attendance. The AVID students also got to stick around for the game and got on-court recognition during the pre-game festivities. For the first half of the day, my fellow classmates and I helped with check-in and registration of the AVID conference attendees, ushering the 341 AVID students to their seats and microphone management.

After the college fair, it was game time. This was the moment where our classmates had to prove our value to the Sparks. We assisted with pretty much all the game time activities and events prior to, during, and after the game, including the floor execution of pregame giveaways, the national anthem, assisting the mascot, in-game giveaways, game timeout entertainment, contests, dance teams, and autograph sessions.

It was really interesting to see how all hands were on deck during game day. Everyone in the Sparks’ organization from the President to the Graphic Artist contributed to making sure that all aspects of the game went off without a hitch.

Needless to say, the game day operations were pretty flawless and, more importantly, the Sparks beat the Chinese National Team 78-58. I think that I speak for all my classmates when I say working with the Sparks was a great experience. We all got an up close and personal look at what goes on behind the scenes at a professional basketball game, as well as the business side of marketing. Take heed world, “we got next!”

On a side note, one of the most inspirational moments of Saturday’s game was seeing the Senior Women’s National Team play 3-on-3 basketball at halftime. The Senior Women’s Basketball league is a league for women 50 and older. As they played, Jay Z’s “Forever Young” played in the background. Watching them was truly an inspiration and gave me hope that I can continue to live my Hoop Dreams well into my golden years.

Sports Marketing with Dan Bruton

Today, we started our Sports Marketing class with Professor Dan Bruton. Bruton was Vice President of Marketing for Upper Deck from 1995 to 2001. During this time, Bruton worked with Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, and Peyton Manning. Currently, he’s the owner of Marketing 101, a full service marketing firm specializing in brand building and strategic planning for athletes and entertainers.

The SMBA ’11 class has already been put to work on a project for and more projects are sure to come. With the help of Professor Bruton and the supplemental knowledge we’ll be receiving from Dr. Joe Belch, our sports marketing classes should prepare us for the industry’s needs.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Padres' Game and Beerfest

Thanks to the San Diego Hall of Champions’ breakfast last week, the SMBA ’11 took in the Padres-Brewers’ game last night. Included with the game ticket was a special Happy Hour at the Palm, as well as entrance into the Padres’ inaugural Beerfest.

Beerfest included tasters from 20 of San Diego’s top breweries, live music, and appearances from the Broken Lizard cast from the movies Super Troopers and, of course, Beerfest.

Even better was the Padres’ 3-0 win to keep their spot atop the National League West standings. Hopefully the success will continue when SMBA ’11 helps hand out Padres’ picture frames to the first 10,000 kids 14 and under on Sunday.