Instantly, the hashtag #CurtSchilling became a flashpoint for debate about the issue on Twitter. Thousands of users deployed the hashtag over the following 24 hours, either criticizing Schilling for his homophobia, or castigating ESPN for political correctness. Capturing 10,000 of those hashtags revealed fascinating findings.
Posts from the ‘Sport Business’ Category
You might not know this, but New Orleans is more than French Quarter and Bourbon Street. However, 700 words aren’t nearly enough to share the wonderful things this beautiful city has to offer.
After moving my family all across the southeast from Louisiana to Waco, Texas, to Miami to Atlanta, the melodic jazz notes of New Orleans were calling us home. We moved home to Louisiana in 2016 after I gave up my college sports career to focus on my Ph.D. studies.
Moving home to New Orleans was the best decision we made. Whether the NASSM 2019 Conference is your first visit to New Orleans or your fifty-first, bienvenue! There is so much this city has to offer, and once you’re here, New Orleans feel like home. You may never want to leave.
Start applying your sunscreen and bug spray now because the end of May is around the time New Orleans becomes hotter than the surface of the sun.
By the time you arrive in New Orleans for NASSM, you’ll be greeted by our new Louis Armstrong International Airport (set to open in February 2019). It’s a much-needed facelift for the city, and if the renderings are any indication, then you’ll be greeted with a great first-impression. Expect about a 25-30 minute ride from the airport to the Sheraton, but it means you can be a tourist and take in the scenery on the ride into the city.
The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, your home for four days in the Crescent City, is located in the heart of the CBD (Central Business District). You’re a five-minute walk from the winding banks of the mighty Mississippi River, but you can hear the steam calliope of the Steamboat Natchez as she rolls up and down the river.
As someone who’s been to many conferences in cities where I don’t have a car, the first question I always ask: What’s near the hotel? You’re in luck because you have your choice of more than 100 restaurants, cafes, and a myriad of entertainment options within a 10-minute walk of the hotel, including:
- Pat O’Brien’s
- The Ruby Slipper
- PJ’s Coffee
- Café du Monde
- Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral
New Orleans is the city that never sleeps…and that never stops eating or partying. No matter your entertainment preference, there is something for everyone in New Orleans. Since you’re five blocks from the river, take a stroll along the Mississippi in Woldenberg Park or evade the heat with the intoxicating air conditioned Aquarium of the Americas. Don’t want to walk back to the hotel after a great visit to the aquarium? The Canal Streetcar line terminates at the base of Canal Street at the river. Buy a five-day pass Jazzy Pass for unlimited streetcar rides through the city of New Orleans – trust me, it’ll come in handy in a later blog post.
Who can forget the French Quarter (the oldest neighborhood when New Orleans was founded in 1718)? The French Quarter is 0.49 square miles of history, food, drinks, fun, and- well- other things.
Every morning when you walk out the hotel, a city of endless possibilities awaits you. All you have to do is wear sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and “pass a good time”.
Let the good times roll in New Orleans!
P.S. If you want more local info for your visit to New Orleans, send me an email or a tweet. Hope to see you here!
What is WWE World Heavyweight Champion of Jeopardy Review? Creating a sport-oriented approach to student learning and participation
Written by: Farah J. Ishaq, Doctoral student, University of Kansas
As a 2nd year Ph.D. student and graduate teaching assistant (TA) at the University of Kansas, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a full instructor in two sections of sport finance and economics. While this was my first semester teaching, the opportunity was there to create and craft a unique, fun, and engaging course, especially on a topic like finance and economics. This blog post will specifically address my experience teaching, while also illustrating specific initiatives that have worked well to increase overall participation and engagement in my classes.
Overall, as a first-year graduate TA, I was nervous about the thought of teaching two sections of over 80 students in the sport management undergraduate program. While I have never taught a class before, I was prepared with the resources to succeed, including weekly advisor meetings, past course materials, and a supportive cohort. Initially, my biggest struggle was finding a balance between a class size of just 13 students, who meet three times a week, and a class of 70 students, who meet twice a week. However, as the class progressed, I learned that there was an opportunity to provide the same course material while establishing a positive classroom environment through discussion, complimentary audio-visual materials, and participation initiatives.
The single greatest help to me was using my own personal undergraduate experiences to develop positive learning initiatives through resources that I found helpful and engaging during my time. As I am not much older than the students I am teaching, I appreciated the opportunity to apply my own undergraduate experiences to my class. One specific undergraduate experience that stood out to me was the use of participation “certificates” that were handed out during class and allowed for extra credit opportunity at the end of the semester. I decided to adopt a similar strategy by applying a sport-oriented twist to this approach by utilizing baseball cards as an incentive for participation.Baseball cards are handed out during participation opportunities for students who positively contribute to the discussion. The baseball cards are then kept by the student throughout the semester and handed to the instructor during the last week of classes in an envelope with their name on it and ultimately returned for the student to keep. Collecting 20 total baseball cards results in 10 points of extra credit added to their final grade. Needless to say, the students have loved it so far and it has created a way to be more involved in sport finance, which is a class that typically does not have a reputation of being the most interesting to students. The baseball cards only cost six dollars for 500 cards from Amazon and were each signed by me on a little removable sticker in order to control that the cards returned to me were indeed the ones I had handed out.
Furthermore, in an attempt to create motivation to do well and create a sense of competition for my students for an exam review session, I surprised them with an opportunity to win a WWE World Heavyweight Champion belt. Jeopardy review has never been this fun! While the Jeopardy-style review offers a classic way for students to be engaged in friendly group competition, adding a sport-oriented prize created a greater sense of competition among the groups as well as willingness to learn and participate. Although my past experiences in my undergraduate did not play a role in the implementation of this initiative, teaching this course has allowed me to exhibit my own teaching style and play a role in the overall positive classroom environment for my students. While at first, I struggled to find a balance between my classes and was nervous to be responsible for more than 80 students my first semester teaching, this opportunity has allowed me to be creative, while contributing to the overall enjoyment and learning of sport finance and economics.
From London to London: My experience as an international student in Canada
Written by: Swarali Patil, MA Candidate, Western University
My journey as a graduate student is unlike my peers. I was born in India. I grew up near Mumbai (Bombay) before moving to New York. This was followed by a move to the United Kingdom for my undergraduate degree, and a year each in Malaysia and the Philippines. Presently I’m a second-year master’s student in Canada. Here are some of my tidbits as I navigate my journey in graduate school as an international student.
Choosing a School – Graduate school can be daunting, and with the incredible choices available, how can you choose the school that’s right for you? Research! I spent almost a year researching schools online, spoke to my lecturers at Coventry University, and contacted various schools before making my choice. It is a time consuming task but if you plan to spend two or more years taking on rigorous academic work, you should be well prepared to do it. The NASSM website is a great source of sport management programs available in North America. Identify the schools and programs that appeal to you, make a list of potential supervisors and read some of their work, contact the department for additional information about funding and other pertinent details before making your choice.
Choosing Classes – Your classes are meant to help you gain a deeper understanding of concepts you’ve previously learned, and introduce you to some new ones. Your classes can be a fantastic means to meet your fellow graduates, learn about interesting research happening in your department or faculty, participate in an exchange of ideas with your peers, and work on projects that can help you hone your presentation and writing skills. Classes are also a great medium to explore your interests that may lead to a potential thesis topic. Choose wisely but don’t overburden yourself.
Professional Development – Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you, whether it is volunteering, attending conferences, presenting at symposiums, or being a teaching or research assistant. I have volunteered at conferences on campus, presented at symposiums run by different faculties, participated in 2-minute and 5-minute presentation contests, and more. I have also been a teaching and research assistant, which has helped me add to my repertoire of skills and experiences for my CV.
Teaching and Learning – If your school has a Teaching and Learning Resource Centre, utilize their workshops to add to your knowledge base. Most programs will also provide a certificate of completion. Grab every opportunity you can to augment your CV. I’ve found several workshops to be incredibly helpful, particularly when I was a first-time TA. Several workshops provide video recordings of your presentations, which can be a great tool to showcase yourself to a potential employer.
Network – If you attend conferences or volunteer at social events on campus, take the time to meet faculty and students from different universities. This can lead to interesting contacts, friends in new cities, collaborations and other opportunities. Conferences are also a great way to discuss your research interests with experts in the field. Register early, utilize the student rate, and plan your schedule with ample time to socialize.
Appreciate and Have Fun – Take the time to appreciate where you are. Appreciate different perspectives, new experiences, new friends, new food, and new places. Graduate school provides unique opportunities, which can not only help you identify your future avenues but also provide a sense of accomplishment. Yes, time management is key, and work-life balance needs to be achieved but there is a feel-good factor in accomplishing what you have set out to do.
Graduate school is incredibly daunting and time consuming but it can also be very satisfying. As an international student, whether you plan to stay in your new city for a long while or move back home, you can enjoy the journey and the discovery. I have found my first year to be quite different from my expectations but I’m happier for it. I’m moving full steam ahead in year 2 but deciding if I want to sign up for 4 more!
NASSM and the Aspen Institute Announce Partnership
by Dr. Brianna Newland, Chair, NASSM Marketing & Communications Committee
The new NASSM strategic plan calls for NASSM to build alliances and partnerships with other organizations that share similar foci and goals. One of the first to have been completed is a partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society Program. You may recall, that Tom Farrey, who heads that program, was the keynote speaker at our recent conference in Denver. As a journalist, Mr. Farrey’s contributions as an ESPN reporter have been thought-provoking and innovative. His book, Game On, numerous articles, and work at the Aspen Institute have explored sport and societal issues and have been used by universities and organizations alike to shape strategy around issues facing sport, especially youth sport. As such, Mr. Farrey founded the Aspen Institute’s Sport and Society program to assemble the industry’s top thought leaders to shape future policy around sport.
The mission of the Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society Program is to “convene leaders, foster dialogue, and inspire solutions that help sport serve the public interest, with a focus on the development of healthy children and communities.” An aim of the program is to provide a venue for thought leaders to explore strategies on a range of issues. One such issue is the state of youth sport. In 2013, the program launched Project Play, a multi-year and stage initiative to develop sport for all and inspire lifetime play for our community’s children. Several key leaders have participated in events and a series of roundtables led to the January 2015 publication entitled, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game
On January 25, the Aspen Institute will kick off a new quarterly “Future of Sports Conversation Series.” The first in the series is the “Future of Football: Reimagining the Game’s Pipeline.” Speakers in this discussion include Chris Borland, former San Francisco 49er linebacker, and Dr. Robert Cantu, co-founder of the CTE Center at Boston University, among others. For more details and to RSVP, click here.
NASSM and the Aspen Institute have agreed to find ways to work together and to promote each other’s work. Both parties expect this relationship to be of substantial benefit not merely to NASSM, but also to the development of the sport industry. As Dr. Laurence Chalip, NASSM President recently noted, “Project Play has become the most significant policy initiative for sport development that the United States has seen in many years. It demonstrates the leadership that the Aspen Institute and its Sports & Society Program have taken in our field. The partnership we have formed will be good for NASSM, good for our members, and very good for sport.”
The NASSM Blog would like to introduce the ‘debate blog.’ The following is a call for unity among sport industry and sport educators. We welcome your thoughts and comments! And, please, if you have an idea for a ‘debate post’, please contact us!
A Call for Unity: Sport Educators & the Sport Industry
The most abundant positions with professional sports teams are in usually in sales. Sadly, the majority of sport management graduates hired into sales positions FAIL to make it through their first year.* They fail as the direct result of their own actions, however, several are almost predisposed to fail because their sport management programs didn’t adequately prepare them for a sales career.
This is evident in the resumes that hiring managers like me receive, the interviews we conduct, and the actions of some of the sport management students we hire…and ultimately fire.
Recruiting sport management students can be challenging because many are not educated in the art of selling, nor are they provided many opportunities to experience selling or learn from people that sell sports for a living. This lack of a foundation leads students to apply for positions they aren’t suited or prepared for and teams to hire on perceived abilities instead of proven experience. In the end, these students fail to achieve their dream of a career in this incredible industry, the teams lose the time, money, and effort spent on recruiting and training, and the reputations of academic institutions are tarnished.
So how do we, educators and industry practitioners, come together to address this?
There are a multitude of ways but one of the best places to start is with better communication.
The more knowledgeable professors are on the ever-evolving roles and responsibilities in this industry, the better equipped they will be to prepare students for successful careers. First-hand knowledge is the best. To this point, there has been a pretty sizable effort in recent years of sales managers proactively seeking working-relationships with local educators…but we still have a long way to go. Our outreach will continue but we also encourage professors to contact us. It really can be as simple as picking up the phone or connecting on LinkedIn. Even sitting down for a cup of coffee can open up a new world of understanding and possibilities!
A fantastic development has been teams and sport management professors/programs collaborating to host one-day sales events (the Mount Union Sport Sales Workshop is widely regarded as one of the best). Over the past few seasons, my team (the Bucks) has implemented a one-day Sales Academy, a Night Sales program, a more robust internship program, and a couple of the sales managers now serve on advisory councils with local universities. Programs like these expose students to the sales cultures of professional sports teams and the chance to network with industry executives. They also allow professors to observe the inner-workings of a professional front office. Finally, they provide teams with the opportunity to find the next generation of sales superstars and leadership development experience for aspiring sales managers.
Better communication doesn’t have to result in large projects or events. At the very least, honest discussions will greatly reduce some of the common misconceptions that continue to be shared with students (one of the most prevalent being, “Sales is a good way to get your foot in the door”).
Other simple collaborations can include sales projects being integrated into curriculums and inviting sales reps and managers to be guest speakers. It was a guest speaker in one of my classes that ultimately paved the way for my career. I’ve also been very humbled to have a few people say that one of my guest lectures had the same effect on them. These experiences would not have been possible without educators and practitioners having solid relationships.
My fellow sales managers and I have the utmost respect for educators and the awesome responsibility you have in shaping the futures of your students and the entire industry. Thank you for what you do and we look forward to working with you soon!
The opinions expressed in this article are my own and may not reflect those of any organizations mentioned.
*I don’t have any industry data to support this statistic. The figure is taken directly from my 15+ years of experience in sales with two NBA teams, one NHL team, one WNBA team, one AHL team, one AFL team, and one NBA D-League (now the G-League) team. It’s also supported by some of my colleagues managing sales teams in the NFL, NHL, and NBA.
Let me start with 3 propositions.
Proposition 1: Sport Management (SM) programs – as with MBA programs – are not job-specific skills training mechanisms.
Proposition 2: SM programs have a responsibility to provide value to tuition-paying students, often related to expected future earnings potential.
Proposition 3: Industry has a responsibility to provide its workers with appropriate job-specific skills training to both support their employees’ career trajectory and increase their productivity in their current job.
None of these statements is specific to SM – indeed, higher education is dealing with this existential question as a whole – but applied fields are under particular scrutiny to meet these career-specific expectations. As academics, that can sometimes be a difficult proposition. We seek to ensure that our students are equipped with skills in critical and independent thinking, problem-solving acumen, the ability to find, synthesize, and communicate information, and to be intellectually flexible and work well with others. These skills allow them to learn other more specific training quickly and apply it in ways that contribute positively to the firm and society.
To exemplify where these skills are valuable, in consulting roles I have heard comments such as, “We know you have to be ethical in your profession, but we need your estimates to be higher,” and, “We’ll move forward with [that result we like], even though it’s probably spurious.” This is precisely what we want our students to avoid. In spite of the need for immediate action in a fast-paced business environment, a central part of our jobs as instructors is ensuring students know that making decisions with bad information can hurt your business. They should leave here as critical consumers of information.
By its nature, this foundational training is going to spend less time ensuring students know all the acronyms and jargon, proprietary sales operations processes, or be instant experts working specific sales software. Higher education will certainly not ingrain a “sell at all costs” culture in our students’ minds.
And so follows the indictment of our programs.
But is that the goal of higher education? If students leave our programs with the necessary skills to get an entry-level job, and no more, we have failed them miserably. Further, our student body ranges widely, and catering to this specific subset of our students would be an enormous disservice to the majority of them.
Academia certainly needs to think about the educational role it will play in society over the next 20 years. But criticism from industry often lacks an understanding of what faculty do on a daily basis, what universities expect them to do, or what challenges they face in getting students up to speed with many basic skills when they arrive on campus. There is also a need for accountability from industry with respect to training their own workforce, particularly as college graduates continue to be hired into short-term unpaid or extremely low paid positions that often skirt labor and minimum wage laws.
Further, industry sales professionals need to communicate to faculty not only that sales skills are needed, but what they are and why they will allow our students to meet future career development and advancement goals. Most faculty view education as a public good with a duty to prepare students to leave here with the skills to make positive societal contributions. Tie the profession to values it creates not just for your firm, but for others, too.
Without a quality sales pitch of the what and the why, faculty will likely continue to view sales as the art of convincing people to buy what they did not want in the first place: an activity rife with welfare loss and societal waste. We as faculty are of course quite familiar with the importance of revenue generation in the survival of a business. Many of us study how business structures and product characteristics drive revenue, and others study the psychology or economics of business in ways closely related to strategy and CRM through analysis of complex consumer data.
Most faculty in our programs are also social scientists, and therefore will be skeptical of the societal value of sales as traditionally viewed. I suspect this is not the version of sales you do, nor is it what you want our graduates to do. Rather, salespeople can indeed be a valuable resource in finding useful solutions to problems, and leading clients to these solutions using the tools available to them. Faculty have some work to do in communicating the value that some of our courses and programs provide to these goals. In particular, we need to be clear how these skills are more valuable in the face of technological innovation that changes what the most valuable specific skillsets are.
On the other hand, many departments are increasingly resource deprived. Industry professionals should understand the demands upon faculty that include research and other service, and be proactive in offering resources to create workshops and other opportunities on college campuses without treating them just as an easy way to find cheap labor. Industry would also be well served to increase investment in their own workforce, have some patience with very specific skill development, and find ways to take advantage of skills our students do gain while they are here. I suspect their ability to solve problems facing the sales team will surprise you as they grow comfortable with the basic tools of the trade.
Dr. Kihl discusses the reasons for hosting leaders from different Twin Cities sport organizations, which included learning about the challenges they encounter in this respective sport market, forecast opportunities, and explore potential research collaborations to address specific areas of concern.
The University of Michigan’s Sporting Event Bid Competition: A student’s perspective
By: Kerri Bodin, MA Candidate, Western University
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to be involved in the University of Michigan’s inaugural Sporting Event Bid Competition (SEBC). The competition solicited submissions from University teams of four students – two graduate, and two
undergraduate – under the supervision of one faculty member. Once registered, the teams were to put together a sporting event bid for a large-scale, hypothetical sporting event, called the ‘Global Games’. The Global Games we were “bidding” for were to be held in the year 2028 and were similar in size and scope to an Olympic Games. Each team could choose their host city and sport programme, but were given parameters such as the number of countries competing, the duration of the event, and spectator attendance. The rest was up to us! We were to present a plan for sports and venues, accommodation, Games operations, and a budget, as well as additional details. Two months after the registration deadline, teams were required to submit a document with a maximum of 5000 words and 50 tables and figures for the judges to evaluate. Three teams were then chosen to present their bid in front of the judges’ panel. From there, one team would win the competition.
Shortly after registering for the competition, our team chose Toronto, Canada as our host city for the Global Games. Toronto 2028 was born, and so began a three-month whirlwind of preparing the initial bid document. Upon being notified in May that we were one of the final three teams, our summer was spent preparing for a 30-minute presentation and 30-minute question period to be held at the University of Michigan in early September. The competition called on student teams to come up with innovative and creative solutions to the current challenges surrounding sporting events of this size. Coincidentally, all three finalists had similar ideas in their bids, though varied in the areas on which they focused, and the level of detail. More specifically, each team had made use of existing venues in their chosen host city and attempted to minimize the overall burden of the Games by reducing the use of public funding.
Participating on the Western University SEBC team was challenging at times, but overall a very rewarding experience. We were able to use our resources effectively and tapped into the expertise of several faculty members from Western and other Ontario universities in putting together our submission. We were also fortunate to have access to the International Centre for Olympic Studies and were able to refer to past Games bids and supporting documents. Our bid highlighted an integrated (parasport and able-bodied sport) event and included a legacy committee embedded within our organizational structure. In the end, our team was successful in bringing home first place!
When I reflect on the experience, a few takeaways come to mind. From the start of this project, I felt a sort of internal struggle between my love of sport and my academic understanding of the impact events like the Olympics can have on society. Through my interactions with the judges, I was reminded that industry professionals are open to new ideas and alternative ways of delivering sport, including mega sport events. They were all incredibly receptive to our creativity, which led me to my second takeaway; you can learn from anyone and everyone. Working on a team with two undergraduate students, as well as being in an environment with judges that were willing to learn from us,
demonstrated to me that no matter how many years of work experience, what age, what background, or what perspective we may have, there is ALWAYS more to learn. Lastly, SEBC reminded me the importance of a team, and how an effective team supports one another for the good of the group. In graduate school, it can be easy to get stuck in your bubble and focus solely on your own thesis or dissertation project. Being a part of SEBC reminded me just how important it is to be able to work in a team and the value that different perspectives can bring to a project.
Overall, being involved in a competition such as this was a great learning and networking opportunity, and will be an experience I’ll remember and draw upon far into my career.