• Advice To Students From Forty Under 40 Class of 2014

    SportsBusiness Journal this week profiles the members of its 2014 class of Forty Under 40. In addition to sharing with you their individual stories, we’re presenting here collectively some of their responses to questions we asked them during their interviews.

    Today, we present their answers to the following question:

    What advice would you give to students who are hoping to work in the sports industry?

    Renie Anderson: Everyone’s a sports fan, so the key is to specialize in a core competency; then you can take that skill set and apply it to sports. I could do my job anywhere, but I’m lucky enough to get to do it at the National Football League.

    Nate Appleman: This industry loves hard workers. Maybe that isn’t much different from other sectors, but I know if you come to the table with a solid work ethic you will be successful.

    Bess Barnes: Be the kind of person that people want to help.

    Jessica Berman: Be diligent yet respectful of people’s time; always put your best foot forward.

    Amy Brooks: Be intellectually curious, sell like a champ, and learn how to model in Microsoft Excel.

    Jeremy Carey: Loving sports is not the same as understanding the business of sports.

    Ethan Casson: You must be passionate, you must be willing to work hard, and you must be respectful of everyone along the way.

    Kelly Cheeseman: Don’t pigeon-hole yourself in your early career. This business can take you many directions. To grow a career, you have to be open to many avenues. Get in, work hard, be patient and be a team player. You will grow.

    Justin Connolly: Just get your foot in the door.

    Eric Conrad: You might not be the smartest person in the room, and you won’t be the most experienced, but you can be the most prepared.

    Rick Cordella: Just find a way in and don’t worry about the initial job, title or pay.

    Jim DeLorenzo: Keep working hard. There are no handouts in the sports industry.

    Dave Finocchio: Make yourself an honest-to-God expert about something related to the industry (other than league, team and player news). Lots of people want these jobs; you have to really want it to get in the door.

    Jessica Gelman: Identify teams and leagues undergoing significant change (e.g., new stadium), then figure out how you can add value and have impact. That, and attending the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference.

    Jonathan Gibson: It ties to a quote I once heard and is really relevant to any industry: “You live up (or down) to your expectations.” Expect greatness.

    Alison Giordano: Don’t get set on a single path; there are different ways to get to your goal.

    David Greenspan: Students often stress that they are big sports fans, but that’s not a résumé enhancer. Like all other law practices, we’re looking for great minds and great communicators and great people. It just so happens that many of our clients make their living in the business of sports.

    Kirsten Hunt: Network. Opportunities don’t just happen; they are attached to people. Don’t look for opportunities; look for people.

    Tucker Kain: Focus on what portion of the sports business you are really passionate about. Caring about sports is not enough. Learn the business, understand what goes into it, and work on developing skills that are most relevant to that area.

    Joe Karlgaard: Lots of people go to conferences to walk the floor; find a different and more personal way to make connections, even if that happens on your own dime.

    Ed Kiernan: You can never start looking for an internship early enough. Get your foot in the door, network like crazy, and work your butt off. Also, be willing to relocate wherever the opportunity presents itself — nationwide.

    Chris Klein: Find something that you are passionate about, make sure to work hard, don’t cut corners, and remain true to yourself.

    Josh Kroenke: The industry is highly competitive on and off the playing field. No matter what your first opportunity is in the industry, attack it with everything you’ve got and good things will happen. Also, don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.

    Damani Leech: Read, work hard and don’t presume to know which part of the industry in which you can find happiness.

    Andrew Lustgarten: Learn a skill set and not just “sports.” Analysis, sales and marketing are always valuable. Once you have that skill, apply it to sports.

    Rod Moskowitz: Start at a very young age. That helped me find success, as it takes time to build a network and reputation.

    Ahmad Nassar: Focus on developing a strong skill set, whether that comes in sports or not. Know that your first job is unlikely to be your dream job, and that’s OK. Just don’t let the detour become your road.

    Will Pleasants: Get exposure to as many different sides of the industry as possible. At that age, you usually don’t know what you don’t know; you need to find that out.

    Brian Schulz: Keep an open mind. Opportunity has an interesting way of rearing its head, so if you can, keep your mind open to different possibilities. You might think you want to enter this industry in a certain manner by taking steps that you have predetermined in your head, but open yourself to the fact that it may not happen that way, that it may happen a different way. Don’t be so closed to those moments when they come up; recognize them.

    Donte Scott: Work hard, learn unique skills and stay positive.

    Emmanuel Seuge: It’s one of the most dynamic industries to join now. The sports business as a whole is going to embrace the change happening in our lives — social, digital, and new ways to consume content — in the future. There’s a ton of innovation coming. It’s a great industry to join now, but you have to remember the history of it.

    John Shea: Get as big a name company on your résumé as you can and start in an area you have a passion for.

    Jared Smith: In this business, you’ve got to be willing to take an opportunity when it comes and jump on it. There are 10 people willing to do every job there is. You’ve got to be able to jump in and be willing to try. Find a way in, and you’ll find a way to get into the lane you want to get into if you’re skilled and qualified and trained.

    Henry Stafford: Figure out what you really love to do, and find a job in that space. You need to love what you do to be great.

    Josh Swartz: Network like crazy.

    Lowell Taub: The people around you will take note if you work hard and work smart. They will also take note if you don’t.

    Igor Ulis: It’s no secret that this industry is tough to get into. The way in is to prove you’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and to be vocal about that. We are big on promoting from within and have had very smart, highly educated people start at entry level jobs and work their way up. It gives us a chance to see them in action and has worked really well.

    Araceli Villegas: Hard work, dedication.

    Pete Vlastelica: Do something on your own initiative that’s designed to get the industry’s attention. Start a blog, a meet up, or a company. Understand that it’s always better to show than to tell.

    Chris Wujcik: Enjoy what you are doing, where you are doing it, and the people you are doing it with.

    Coming tomorrow:

    Forty Under 40 members answer the question, How do you strike a work-life balance?

    Previous post:

    Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Feel Like Dancing

    Fox’ Erin Andrews said of being "DWTS" co-host this season, “It’s kind of like the Michael Strahan thing. … Entertainment during the day and then talks football with the boys. So it’s the best of both worlds” (“Late Show,” CBS, 3/10).

    COAST-TO-COAST: ESPN's Bomani Jones said of Basketball HOFer Phil Jackson joining the Knicks front office, "The only way this works for Phil Jackson is if this is his plan to show Jim Buss that he should have hired (him) when he had the chance. If that's what he's trying to do, then I halfway understand it. But that's not going to work either because you work for Jim Dolan" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 3/10).

    ALL FOR ONE: Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said of the possible unionization of college athletes, “It will get resolved in two, or three, or four years and we will have to deal with whatever the results are. But I think we’ll continue to provide what we do. I think it works for a lot of people” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 3/11).

  • Forty Under 40 Honorees: Advice To Your Younger Self

    SportsBusiness Journal this week profiles the members of its 2014 class of Forty Under 40. In addition to sharing with you their individual stories, we’re presenting here collectively some of their responses to questions we asked them during their interviews.

    Today, we present their answers to the following question:

    Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?

    Renie Anderson: Probably to wear more sunblock!

    Nate Appleman: Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Jump in and give it your best, and you’ll realize your fears weren’t really all that intimidating or difficult to overcome.

    Bess Barnes: Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Dan Margulis told me that five years ago, and it would have been good to know 10 years ago.

    Jessica Berman: If you work hard, your career will be there. There is no rush.

    Amy Brooks: As the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short. Live in and enjoy the moment.

    Jeremy Carey: Nothing. I had a lot of fun making all those mistakes and I’m pretty happy about what I learned from them and where they got me.

    Ethan Casson: Don’t get caught up in the things you can’t control; rather, focus your efforts on the things you can control and look for ways to influence change for the better.

    Kelly Cheeseman: Seasons come and go, but your career in sports is your whole life. Relax and have fun.

    Justin Connolly: Travel more before you have kids.

    Eric Conrad: Go for your MBA at 25; it’s easier than when you have three kids. And buy Apple stock.

    Rick Cordella: Stay with it. The hard work is worth it.

    Jim DeLorenzo: Nothing. That would take all the fun out of the journey.

    Dave Finocchio: Trust your gut and act on it.

    Jessica Gelman: Don’t settle, follow your passion, and buy Google stock — lots of it.

    Jonathan Gibson: Take time to make important decisions. Your first reaction isn’t always the best reaction.

    Alison Giordano: Take in every moment.

    David Greenspan: Keep your eyes not just on the ball, but down the road.

    Kirsten Hunt: Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.

    Tucker Kain: In addition to being results-driven, focus time and energy on relationship-building. Understanding who people are and what they care about is an incredibly important tool in business and life.

    Joe Karlgaard: Slow down and enjoy the moment. This all is going to happen really fast.

    Ed Kiernan: Everything you experience (good and bad) leads you to become the person you are, so why try to go back and change anything?

    Chris Klein: Not to get consumed with the present challenges. Always have an eye for the bigger picture.

    Josh Kroenke: Keep your eyes and ears open at all times, because there are paths to success and failure at every turn.

    Damani Leech: Stretch, before and after workouts.

    Andrew Lustgarten: Something my father said to me: Find something you love and do it, as you will do it well.

    Rod Moskowitz: You are there to advise your client, not tell them they must do something.

    Ahmad Nassar: Don’t eat that!

    Will Pleasants: Take chances and be curious.

    Brian Schulz: No job is too small. Sometimes you think you’re supposed to have a bigger job, but if you just do what you’re given really, really well, rewards will come.

    Donte Scott: You can’t always wait on all of the empirical evidence. Trust your instincts, and take calculated risks more often.

    Emmanuel Seuge: Be patient and believe in yourself.

    John Shea: Follow your passion, work hard, maintain balance in your life, and enjoy the people you meet along the way.

    Jared Smith: I don’t know that I’d have given myself all that much different advice than what I followed. I’ve been fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time and mobile enough to take the next opportunity when it was presented to me. So I would look back and just tell myself to stay out of my own way, which is what I was able to do.

    Henry Stafford: Listen more, talk less. Also, hire people who are smarter than you.

    Josh Swartz: Don’t sweat the small stuff.

    Lowell Taub: In addition to my clients, the brands/buyers are also my partners in the deal-making process.

    Igor Ulis: Opportunities will always come up, but it’s important to be able to say “No” to those that will take your focus away from your goal.

    Araceli Villegas: Just go for it.

    Pete Vlastelica: Don’t rule anything out.

    Chris Wujcik: Buy stock in Apple and Starbucks.

    Coming tomorrow:

    Forty Under 40 members answer the question, What advice would you give to students who are hoping to work in the sports industry?

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Getting Their Phil?

    As speculation continues to build surrounding the Knicks possibly hiring Basketball HOFer Phil Jackson as President of Basketball Operations, national media has chimed in with their views on the matter.

    ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said, “It’s Phil Jackson’s job to lose. If he wants it, he’ll have it. If he doesn’t, then he’ll move on with his life and the New York Knicks will remain the cesspool that they are until they get somebody reputable to represent their franchise” (“SportsCenter, ESPN, 3/8).

    The N.Y. Times’ William Rhoden said, “It doesn’t matter what you do, your legacy is going to be destroyed. That is what we do in New York. We love to do this” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 3/9).

    ESPN’s Bill Simmons: “This seems like a money grab. … Just remember, he’s the same guy who released the same book twice. He had a book a couple of years ago and then he wrote another one that was basically the same book over again. Phil Jackson likes money. If (Knicks Owner) James Dolan is going to cut him a big check, he’s going to take it” (“NBA Countdown,” ABC, 3/9).

    QUEEN’S FEAST: Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes said of the CIAA tournament staying in the city another six years, "It keeps us viable as a city that can host large events. We were good with the DNC. We've been really good with the CIAA” ("Flashpoint," WCNC-NBC, 3/9).

    NOT SHORT-SELLING: Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban said of sleeved jerseys, “They're selling and for obvious reasons. They're selling because you can actually wear them around and wear them to school. I think it's a great product but there are better ways to market them than the regular season" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 3/10).

    BY THE TAIL: NBC’s Johnny Miller, on Tiger Woods: “He’s given us a lot of insight to his life that he never would do when he was younger.  He wouldn’t give you a thing” (“WGC-Cadillac Championship,” NBC, 3/9).

  • PGA Tour Players Give Travelers Exec Warm Welcome

    Andy Bessette, chief administrative office for Travelers and the lead negotiator on the company’s new 10-year title sponsorship deal with the PGA Tour, told me he was blown away this week by how much appreciation players have showed for the company’s commitment to the June tournament in Hartford.

    Bessette, Travelers Championship tournament director Nathan Grube, and Malcolm Turner from Wasserman Media Group visited Doral on Wednesday to recruit players and check out the new Blue course. Wasserman works with Travelers on its golf strategy.

    Henrik Stenson, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, was especially gracious, Bessette said.

    “Nothing feels better as a sponsor than to have someone show their appreciation,” Bessette said. “Most of the guys on the PGA Tour really get it and that’s one of the reasons we are so committed. A few don’t, but most of them do.”

    It’s a common practice for tournament directors like Grube to visit the driving range at other PGA Tour events to recruit players. It’s not all that common to see a high-ranking executive from the title sponsor walking the range as well.

    Bessette has a whole slew of responsibilities at Travelers, from internal investigations and corporate real estate to aviation and sports sponsorships. He estimates that the Travelers Championship now occupies about 15 percent of his job.

    “Our motto is that every year has to be better than the last,” he said.

    Tags: PGA Tour, Travelers, Ford Motor Co., Champion, Champions, Media, Wasserman Media Group, Golf, On The Ground
  • The NHL Shift: Numbers and notes, 3/7/2014

    A look at the past week in the NHL and a glimpse at what’s ahead:

    20: Trades made in the final six hours before the NHL’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline on Wednesday. In those trades, 38 players changed teams.

    483,000: Viewers in Canada watching TSN’s trade deadline coverage at 3 p.m., according to the network. (TSN’s “TradeCentre” show was also seen in the U.S. on the NHL Network).

    19,000: Retweets Roberto Luongo received after he posted an illustration of a palm tree on his Twitter feed (@strombone1) upon hearing the news of his trade from Vancouver to Florida on Tuesday.

    160,000: Twitter followers added by St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie since scoring four times in the shootout in Team USA’s preliminary-round victory over Russia in Sochi three weeks ago. Before the Olympics, Oshie had 92,000 followers. Now, he has 254,000.

    2: Members of the Philadelphia Flyers, Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, who will play for the World All-Stars opposition team when the Harlem Globetrotters come to Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.

    3 months: The duration of Pat LaFontaine’s tenure as president of business operations for the Buffalo Sabres, now concluded. LaFontaine resigned last Saturday and has returned to his community relations and hockey development position with the NHL.

    $731,707: The amount that IOC and IIHF insurance will pay as New York Islanders center John Tavares is sidelined for the rest of the season. Tavares suffered a torn meniscus in a game against Latvia in Sochi and is missing the Islanders’ final 22 games of the season. As part of the agreement reached for NHL players’ participation in this year’s Olympics, the IOC and IIHF were responsible for salaries after a player injured in Sochi missed 10 NHL games. Tavares is making $5 million this season.

    $38: The cost of a lower-bowl ticket to upcoming Islanders home games, discounted from a face value of $87, as offered to New York customers by Amazon Local. With Tavares out for the year and the Islanders out of the playoff race, there is plenty of ticket availability for the home stretch.

    85: The number of hires the first-year ownership of the New Jersey Devils have made in the last six months, the most recent being the naming last week of former MSG executive Adam Davis as executive vice president of corporate partnerships.

    27th: The current ranking of the Devils in attendance among the NHL’s 30 teams. New Jersey is averaging 14,604 fans per game.

    1-4-1: The record of the designated “home” teams in the six NHL outdoor games this year. While Detroit got a standings point for losing in a shootout to Toronto in the Winter Classic, the “visiting” Ducks and the “visiting” Rangers (twice) won their Stadium Series games. (Yes, the Islanders and Devils — not the Rangers — were designated as the home teams for the games at Yankee Stadium). Last weekend, the Blackhawks beat the Penguins at Soldier Field, but the Canucks lost to the Senators at GM Place.

    7,600: The approximate number of pretzels that were sold last Saturday at the Blackhawks-Penguins game, according to Aramark’s Chicago365 Hospitality, the food and beverage provider at Soldier Field.
    Wednesday: NBCSN’s “Rivalry Night” matchup features a rare appearance by a Canadian team, as the Bruins play in Montreal. The game will be the home debut of the Habs’ big trade deadline acquisition, Thomas Vanek.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Island Of Despair

    SNY's Sal Licata said of the Islanders, “The NHL has to step in, get rid of (GM) Garth Snow, get (Owner Charles Wang) out of there. …They have ruined what was once a great franchise" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 3/5).

    YOU MEAN ME? NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “It takes me back a little bit when I hear people say, ‘Commissioner.’ I look over my shoulder thinking David Stern must be standing behind me” (USATODAY.com, 3/6).

    NEW LOOK: Golf Channel’s Holly Sonders, on the renovated course at Trump National Doral for the WGC-Cadillac Championship: “There’s gold, there’s marble, and it has definitely been Donald Trump-ized” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 3/6).

  • TV Timeout: Card-Carrying Member

    NBC's Bob Costas addressed the negative reaction from some corners about his critical coverage of Russia President Vladimir Putin during NBC's Olympic coverage. Costas said, “This is a controversy only for those looking for the most flimsy pretext for a controversy and a kind of cut and paste thing that isn't even journalism." Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly said of Costas’ criticism of Putin, “You're not some raving lunatic leftist. You're basically a baseball guy. When you were a kid you were collecting baseball cards, you weren't studying Herbert Hoover like I was." Costas, who reached into his suit jacket to reveal a baseball card said, "Just because I have Mickey Mantle's 1958 baseball card … doesn't mean that I don't know (Hoover)." O'Reilly somewhat jokingly said, "You're not smart enough to be ideologue, you’re a baseball kid." Costas: "Line up some ideologues and tell me how smart some of these clowns are" ("The O'Reilly Factor," Fox News, 3/3).

    IN BAD TASTE: ESPN's Keith Olbermann, on the new uniforms for the Buccaneers and the U.S. soccer teams: "Both uniforms stink. Not because they're at the extremes of a spectrum in which the next step past the Buc uniform is giving the team Flavor Flav's giant watch chain to wear around their necks or the next step past the U.S. team's kit is, 'What else do you have for 12-and-under at the boys shop here at Sears?' It's that in each case there is an attempt to manufacture instant tradition" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 3/3).

    BETTER INGREDIENTS? FS1's Jay Onrait said of Broncos QB Peyton Manning being cleared to play next season, "That means his $20 million salary is fully guaranteed next season and that means more Papa John's franchises to add to his empire. Can I suggest a location or two in Sochi where again, we can't stress enough, the food options were lacking?" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 3/4).

  • Sochi Games generate 120M interactions on Facebook

    Nearly 45 million people chatted about the Sochi Games on Facebook from Feb. 6-23 for a total of 120 million combined posts, comments and likes, according to data from the social media company.

    Among all athletes at the Games, U.S. snowboarder Shaun White had the most Facebook mentions, followed by U.S. men’s hockey team star T.J. Oshie and South Korean female figure skater Yuna Kim. The most-mentioned Olympic sports were ice hockey, figure skating and bobsledding. Men ages 18-34 was the top demo “buzzing” about the Olympics, followed by women 18-34 and women 35-49.

    Tags: Facebook, Olympics
  • NBC’s Sochi ratings up slightly from Turin, down from Vancouver

    NBC's coverage of Sunday night's closing ceremony drew an 8.7 rating and 15.1 million viewers.
    NBC finished the Sochi Games with a 12.3 final rating for 17 prime-time telecasts (excluding the opening Thursday), up slightly from the last European Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006, which had a 12.2 rating. Compared to the live Vancouver Games telecasts in 2010, NBC’s average was down 11 percent from a 13.8 rating (see chart). Putting the network over the hump was likely a shorter closing ceremony in 2014 compared to 2006.

    NBC drew an 8.7 rating for last night’s two-hour telecast (8:33-10:36 p.m. ET), which had competition from Fox’s rain-delayed Daytona 500 telecast and AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” while the three-hour closing ceremony in 2006 drew an 8.9 rating. Viewership for last night’s telecast was at 15.1 million viewers, up from 14.8 million viewers in 2006.

    Meanwhile, NBC drew a 7.8 rating and 12.7 million viewers for the “Nancy & Tonya” documentary from 7-8:33 p.m.

    Tags: NBC, Olympics
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