Q & A
When did you know that you wanted a career in sports?
I came to Madison with the idea of maybe wanting to be in sports but had no idea in what capacity. I also knew I wanted to be in some role that was around helping my community and helping people, whether that was in sports or not. My junior year at UW I was a community relations intern and I think this is when I realized I had a passion for social responsibility within sports.
What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are the same! As a Pirates Charities Fellow, my responsibilities range from game day events to strategic planning. During game days, we oversee the 50/50 raffle and host guests in our Pirates Charities suite. I have also taken over most of the responsibility of running our auctions. Mainly, I assist our manager and executive director of Pirates Charities in planning and executing our major fundraising events and anything else that comes up!
What have you learned about the sports industry during your time with the Pirates so far that you didn't know while in college?
This is my first experience with a professional sports team, so it has been great just to get some insight into how the professional sports world functions compared to the collegiate athletics world. At the professional level there aren’t as many restrictions and hoops to jump through and there are more resources readily available.
What made you get a passion for social responsibility in sports?
During my internship with Wisconsin Athletics, I was able to be part of some really cool moments and see the impact that Wisconsin Sports can have on kids in the greater Madison area. I think this is when I really realized that I have a passion for utilizing the platform of the sports industry to make a difference in my community.
What's the most rewarding aspect of working in social responsibility?
I think that this industry can create some awesome moments and have a special impact on people that really only sports can have. It's hard to put into words but sports has this unique ability to bring people together and give them together to believe in and cheer for all at the same time. I think with the rise of sports media and increased accessibility of athletes and teams, the influence that they hold has grown tremendously. I also think that with this influence comes a great opportunity for these athletes and teams to truly make a difference in their community. Social responsibility departments are able to use so many resources and bring it all together to make a huge impact. In just a few short months with the Pirates I have seen first-hand the magnitude of the impact that a team can have on its community, and I feel so lucky to be witnessing it here in Pittsburgh!!
What's your favorite UW memory? What about SBC memory?
So many fun memories it’s impossible to choose! One of my favorite memories at UW was being at the Wisconsin-Minnesota football game in 2019 when Zach Hintze kicked a 62-yard field goal. It ended up being my last game in Camp Randall as a student because of Covid, but it was a blast. And all of my favorite SBC memories are definitely from the trips we took. It was always fun to meet so many new people and get to spend time away from campus with all my friends.
What advice do you have for students trying to get into the sports industry?
The biggest advice I have is to reach out and connect with as many people as you can! People in this industry are always excited to connect and help however they can, and I have found that UW Alum are especially excited to help fellow Badgers. Don’t be afraid to talk to people in all different departments, it might help you realize a little better the direction you want to go in. Just be personable and genuine, and your passion will shine through. And more importantly, be humble and confident! Don’t be afraid to attend events alone and don’t ever compare your journey with somebody else’s. There is no right or wrong way to join this industry. The right thing will come along for you when it is supposed to. As somebody who JUST went through graduation/job hunt/moving across the country, feel free to reach out to me with ANY questions, or just to say hi!
April Facts & Figures
SBC Year in Review
- 226 Members -
- 18 Students in Leadership -
Eventful School Year
- Total of 29 Club Events -
- 45 speakers from 30 organizations -
- Heard from 31 UW-Madison Alums -
- Local Stories (See Below) -
Milwaukee Brewers Re-branding and Stadium Name Change
Business and Entertainment of Summerfest
Forward Madison FC Launch and Branding
Milwaukee Bucks Playoff Game Protest
Minnesota Wild Creation of the 'State of Hockey'
Wisconsin Athletics Brand Message
UW in the News
An excuse to return to Madison ;)
Retirement of a Legend
Alumni Feature Spotlight
Q & A
When/how did you know you wanted to pursue a full time career in sports?
Truthfully, I knew before I even stepped foot on-campus that something - anything - in the sports orbit was what I wanted to do. Instead of submitting applications at a dining hall, etc. during my incoming SOAR experience, I went to the administrative offices at Kellner Hall of Camp Randall Stadium and inquired about any potential student opportunities that may have been available at that time. Thankfully, John Finkler - then head of Guest Services for Wisconsin Athletics - indicated to me that an opportunity had opened up on his team prior to the 2008 football season and that he wanted me to come aboard for that fall. I didn't care what I was doing, what the weather was like, how early I got up, how late I got home, or the fact that my game day experience probably wasn't nearly as "traditional" as many of my student peers. All I cared about was the opportunity to represent Wisconsin Athletics and be a part of one of the best Athletic Departments in the county as an 18-year old who grew up idolizing the Badgers. That being said, in my first two years I didn't see one second of a football game played inside Camp Randall; however, the connections I formed along the way in those two years - Joe Simler (Senior Manager, Corporate Partnerships - Dallas Cowboys) who was previously a part of John's staff and graduated the year prior, David Cohn (Executive Director at First Tee of Southeast Wisconsin) who was the outgoing SBC president at the time and a former Athletics Marketing intern under Adam Ahearn, Becky (Nelson) VanSandt who was then a veteran on John's team - helped pave the way for the rest of my time in school, the internships I pursued while a student, and my career after Madison.
What about being in the college donor space really motivates you to succeed?
The thing that excites me every day about the work we do is simple: not only are we serving young people through the power of scholarship but we're connecting with fans, friends, and alumni who share a passion for the schools we represent, none of which have the exact same story for why they support. Whether it's in memory of a loved one, because they're a third or fourth-generation graduate, or simply because that was their adopted team growing up, I enjoy what we do because every day is an opportunity to learn and discover a new story about the positive impact that a University had on someone's life. In addition to the relationships that you form with donors along the way, I'm also motivated by the fact that working in sports means you have a scoreboard attributed to your efforts every day. Our efforts mean that someone wins, someone loses, and ultimately, it's our job to make sure that we're surrounding our coaches, student-athletes, and administration with the resources they need to excel on and off the field and get us in the W column more than the L column. I'm hyper-competitive by nature so given how intertwined our careers are with counterparts across the SEC and throughout the country, it always makes for a good story (...or two) to share when we're able to get together. At the end of the day, while there's undeniably issues that have shaken the foundation of amateurism over the years, I'm a firm believer in the transformative and generational power of education and what our efforts do to ensure that our young men and women are adequately equipped with the skills they need to achieve success wherever their lives may take them.
What types of skills are required to be good at your current role?
I've always said that we're each blessed with two ears and one mouth for a reason and that it's our responsibility to use them. I think listening is tremendously important, not just hearing someone but meaningfully distilling what they have to say and using it in a way that can not only enrich their experience around the things they care about but hopefully advance many of the funding priorities we're responsible for. In some ways, our job is part fundraiser and part therapist and as has been shared on numerous occasions by others in the past, authentic, genuine relationships take time to invest in. Just as you wouldn't propose to someone without treating her (him) to dinner without cultivating and nurturing the relationship, the same is true in our world. It takes patience and persistence and the willingness to tangibly invest in relationships even if you may not see an immediate return. As I touched on previously, there's a scoreboard attributed to what we do - how much money we raise and how that positions us for success - but sometimes you need to know when to go hurry-up and when you need to take the air out of the ball. Divorces, deaths, changes in employment, children's college decisions, etc., they all play into our ability to secure the private support we require; however, while we're judged on our ability to successfully raise money, our job is to educate others and connect their passions with priorities in ways that excite them. If we can listen, educate, and make meaningful investments in relationships along the way, money flows from that because whether it's in ticket sales or capital fundraising, people give to people. Period. Again, sometimes that means you're a problem-solver. Other times it means you're a therapist. Other times it means you're a confidant. Whatever that moment requires, acting with integrity, honesty, and authenticity is core of what we do.
What are some major differences between your experience at WVU and Florida?
Other than the warm weather and sunshine, I think there's actually some strong parallels between the two schools. Both have a ton of history around their programs. WVU's the 14th-winningest program in the country and has a future Hall of Fame coach in men's hoops. Florida had a rich tradition of recent success in football and men's basketball during the late-2000's and has enjoyed comprehensive success in many of their Olympic sports en route to an unprecedented run of Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Top-10 finishes (37 years and counting). In many ways, though, both schools have seen major infrastructural investments in recent years which has made my role more enjoyable because there are vital updates to share with our fans, friends, and alumni about ways they can be involved. WVU underwent a $100 million campaign to renovate their football operations center, Olympic sport weight room, and golf practice facility. UF has made over $285 million in key capital investments since 2016 (academics, men's/women's basketball facility, football indoor practice facility, baseball, softball), over 60% of which has been privately funded during that time. Currently, we're still in the process of tying off our Heavener Football Training Center that will operationally serve football day-to-day as well as act as a social and dining hub for all of our student-athletes. In that regard, while the population and demographic make-up of the state may be different between Morgantown and Gainesville, there are still many similarities between how I approach my job and the priorities that the job requires from a funding needs perspective. Fortunately, at the University of Florida, much of our core base of donors reside in the state whereas much of that pool of wealth resided outside the state in WV in states like Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, District of Columbia, New York, etc.; however, coming out of COVID, it's been proven that what worked ten years ago doesn't work today and candidly, what works today what won't work in ten years. It's incumbent on us to be proactive in developing the next generation of philanthropy because the transactional nature of giving - putting 90,000+ fans in the stands every Saturday - won't be sustainable in the long-term as consumer habits shift and evolve. That's as true at Florida as it was at West Virginia as it is at Wisconsin.
Could you comment on NIL? Does it affect your day-to-day? Do you see it changing the future of the major gifts space?
Fundamentally, there's only one job in the country where you can get paid to be right half the time and that's being a meteorologist. That being said, I don't know exactly what the landscape of NIL will do other than to say I think it will be beneficial in some regards but I also think there's going to be a brevity of unintended consequences from it that are going to result in it be legislated even further at either an NCAA, state or federal level. Truth is, right or wrong, there are only so many transcendent student-athletes (...think lottery NBA picks, first round NFL picks, etc.) that could command a national and/or regional sponsorship; however, where I think NIL will be enormously beneficial is for those student-athletes whose "talent" or "service" that they'll profit on has nothing to do with their athletic ability... writing a book, producing music, being a social influencer, etc. I think it will be equally beneficial for those from smaller, more rural communities where he/she may be the biggest name to come out of that city/town (i.e. Joe Burrow in Athens, OH) and can do more regionalized things where they're from vs. being just "another" student-athlete on-campus. Again, none of that is with an absolute degree of certainty but from industry trends I follow, I do feel that's the general gist of where we're going.
From a day-to-day perspective, I personally don't feel as though it will radically re-define my role because we're still responsible for securing the private investment necessary for scholarship obligations and major infrastructural improvements. Where I do see it changing is if student-athletes - select and/or more broadly - are given the choice to take the value of their scholarship up-front as taxable income vs. being awarded scholarships. If the route of truly paying student-athletes is the direction we find ourselves tilting (...one I hope we never do), then yes, there could be wholesale changes because how they money flows, how it's earmarked, how it's disbursed as taxable/non-taxable, etc. could change. Personally, I think the NIL conversation too broadly paints all student-athletes because the back-up center or RS-freshman outside hitter won't command what Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson or Trey Lance did on the first night of the NFL Draft on a national level. It will though level the playing field for those to better earn money off their non-athletic talents, no different than that of their peers, especially considering the scheduling demands of a Division I, II, III student-athlete with travel, film, practice, lift, etc. often inhibits them from doing so via internship, part-time job, etc. Along those lines, I don't feel as it will necessary change 30,000-foot funding priorities but it will demand that Athletic Departments find the resources necessary to support NIL-related areas of study that help student-athletes enhance and develop their personal and professional brand (i.e. INFLCR, PAW[Clemson]) while in-school.
For those of us looking at grad school, how has the Ohio MSA/MBA program helped you achieve your career goals?
It's been immeasurable. I don't think it's possible to quantify the extent and profound impact that Ohio has had on not only my career goals but my life. I met my fiancé in Athens along with some of my best friends, confidants, and people that I often find myself leaning on with different industry trends and responses to those trends. It's bigger than any one person or class but rather is best summed up this way: Ohio represents a two year investment for the next 20-25 years of your career. Period. Compound that with the proliferation of higher education and the need for advanced or terminal degrees as you progress throughout your career, Ohio laid the framework and foundation from which I've built my career and the values I hold going through it. I could speak endlessly on the impact OU has had on my life but it's done an exceptional job of surrounding myself and others with the intellectual resources and network of mentors, friends, and counterparts as we collectively navigate many of the common challenges the industry presents. There's been a long line of Badger Bobcats that have helped set picks for me in my career and I am always happy to return the favor and pay it forward in any/all ways that I can because that is the embodiment of what OU is all about: it's bigger than any one person but rather the larger #OHIOFamily and leaving it better than when we found it.
As we head into the summer, how would you suggest taking advantage of the extra free time and setting ourselves up for careers in sports?
Naturally, if there's an opportunity for an internship - either this summer or next summer - always find ways to add practical experience to your resume because in my opinion, handling your business at a high (enough) level in the classroom is important but people hire people who they can trust in the trenches, not those they can trust in the library for an exam they won't remember in 5-10 years. If you're not in a position to have an internship right now, try to spend this summer learning a new craft or making new connections with people you aspire to be one day. For the most part, I've self-taught myself everything I know in the Adobe Creative Suite which has been helpful in key presentations and solicitations to donors. My knowledge of Excel and some key formulas has been helpful in prospect research and uncovering trends within donors to identify future major gift donors. End of the day, it's about finding something - anything - that will allow you to sharpen your axe during this period for when you need to chop wood (...see Kevin DeShazo book). It may be an internship. It may be a book. It may be a publication (i.e. D1.ticker in college). It may be familiarizing yourself with LinkedIn searches to locate key Badger grads in sports and setting up informational interviews during the offseason. Whatever it is, do something that will allow you to say you came into next semester stronger than when you left last semester. It doesn't have to be big but it should be progress. Depending where you're at in your academic career (i.e. freshman - senior), I'd also work on starting to develop a list of "nice to haves" and "need to haves" as you consider a first role. Those things can naturally evolve over time but it's never too early to start developing your "code" and the things, values, and priorities that will guide your decisions. Heck, nine years ago when I was preparing to graduate from Wisconsin I thought I wanted to be Athletic Director. That was my singular focus. Now? Now my focuses and priorities are a bit different. If I'm blessed in my career to one day assume that chair, fantastic but if not, my career successes don't define my personal successes. It's about living a life of balance and fulfillment, not overwhelming or obsessing yourself with the "rat race". Yes, I am competitive, driven, and goal-oriented; however, I will never deliberately sacrifice those things for the things that matter: my health and time spent with those I care about. I think the earlier you can start formulating those things and developing hobbies outside of work, the better off you'll be. FWIW, this was a very helpful document that talked about self-reflection in my most recent interview process with Florida. By the time you get back to campus this summer, hopefully you can help answer some of these questions.
What’s one sports related fun fact about yourself that you have never told the Sports Business Club?
Good question. Very very few people know this but in the fourth year or so of SBC's existence, we had pursued hosting a second-annual charity event at University Ridge, an event designed to give members experience in a variety of fields (sponsorships, event management, etc.). After benefiting the American Heart Association the year prior, we decided to make a run at JJ Watt and his JJ Watt Foundation. Amanda (Wiener) Groen, Eric Shainock, and I had driven to JJ's parent's home in Pewaukee for a visit with him, his mom, and his marketing agent. Mind you, this was pre-DPOY, $100 million contract JJ Watt. Needless to say, even with the backing of ESPN 100.5FM and Ken Rovak, we were woefully ill-equipped to manage and handle what JJ was asking for financially or from a time-commitment standpoint... we were focused on graduating, ha! Maybe not a huge "fun fact" per se but definitely a more unique SBC story that never truly was public. I always look back at that experience and think about not only the doors that SBC opened for us but also why it's important for alumni like myself and others to give back because admittedly, we were flying blind through that ordeal and could've used additional guidance on how to approach such conversations.
Sports Business Badgers Forum Recap
4/12: Selling Panel
The job is not about selling, but more so learning, listening, and engaging with the consumers. Getting to know people and educating them about our team, goals, and what we have going on. Connecting their passions with the priorities that we have.
Somedays we’re playing therapists, some days playing salesmen, you have whatever conversations that are going to get you to the end goal.
You're selling your ideas everyday whether you know it or not. Having a sales mindset is important in everyday life. You're gonna make 100 phone calls a day. Of the 20 that will pick up the phone. 5 will have a conversation. And 1 will purchase. Be comfortable with rejection. There are gonna be a ton of no's throughout your career. The sooner you can get comfortable with that frame of mind, the better off you'll be.
No one cares how you did on that Finance exam, a better measure of how you'll do on the job is your experience, likability, and if you got my back.
Relationships are like checking accounts. Make meaningful and thoughtful deposits in those relationships. The more you can be thoughtful and meaningful, it'll take you far.
Get a hobby and be selfish with your time. Stick to that and grow it. Don't define your life just by what you do for your work.
4/13: Marketing Panel
UW Athletics Brand: Hardworking. Gritty. Likes to have fun (EX: Jump Around). Do the work with integrity. Win without cheating or cutting corners. Bringing in student 'athletes that will take care of both sides of the equation. Classroom and on the field.
Find brand partnerships that make sense for both sides. What’s your partner's objectives? Brand awareness, community involvement, etc. Do their core values align with what our brand is? For example, Wisconsin athletics can't align with alcohol or gambling brands. Do they also help support our brand? All questions to consider.
Athletes have distinct personalities and styles that are best served on their own. For example, Lebron James has a bigger following than the LA Clippers on social media.
Always try to stay learning. Learn new skills and platforms. Be an early adopter. Teach yourself software, video editing, etc. Be good at a lot of little things all the time.
Treat the Janitor and the CEO the same. Don't be afraid to outwork someone above you or below you.
There is a lot to balance as a woman with career aspirations in sports. Learn how to communicate and be assertive. Be polite, but directive. Avoid being passive aggressive.
4/14: Leading Panel
As a a leader, you need to adapt to your teammates and those that you're working with. Our co-workers are changing in terms of age and demographic. It's important that we adapt to this new generation of employees and make sure we're responding to their needs, communicating well with them, and being a little more flexible with time at work.
As a leader, learn how to prioritize and delegate. It’s about having good people around you and trusting them to be able to make decisions especially in this line of work.
Women are needed in leadership. If we want to have young women attend our games, there is no better way to do that then having women the same age working for us. This includes race too. There are so many perspectives that need to be applied. Leagues can’t grow without opening up to all people.
When you say you went to Madison, you instantly get credibility with a group of people and an advantage over someone else. Use that to your advantage.
If you want to stand out, pick up the phone! It's amazing the impression a simple phone call can make.
Most important thing is to get a job out of school that challenges you. Half the front office executives with the Brewers came from outside of sports. There's very few careers that can't be launching pads to sports.
4/15: Keynote Speaker
- Cause & Community: Brands want to play here and have a purpose.
- Women's Sports: Huge moment in time for growth in women sports and equality.
- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: The use of sport as a platform to unite people and stand for something.
- Gaming, Livestreaming, New Media Channels: Generational shift to the way people view sports.
- Cross-promotions: More organizations are open to trying things. Tapping into multiple passion points and exploring new audiences.
Growth / Career Opportunities
- Social / Digital
- Women’s Sport
- Emerging Niche Sport Properties
- New Roles for Individuals With Outside & Diverse Experience
Perspective and attitude is everything. Be that one person that is positive and that moment or conversation can leave a lasting impression. Your attitude or the way you approach problems is a game changer.
Tips for Success
- Your Personal Brand
- Set Goals (Dream Big)
- Differentiate Yourself (Experience, Website, Relationships)
- Be a Good Person
- Be a Go-Getter! (Move Without the Ball)
- Help People Help You
- Don’t Underestimate The Badger / SBC Network!
Best Practices in Networking
- Be open to meeting new people and be friendly, you never know where a new friendship or connection could lead to.
- Important to have a smaller core group of 3-4 people rather than racking up hundreds of LinkedIn connections
- Take the extra step with connections- reach out to say thank you, congrats, check in occasionally
- The risk of not hearing back from someone is outweighed by the reward of a new connection
- Get to know your peers and other club members, these could become lifelong friends or connections in the industry
Best Resources in Sports & Business
SBC Graduating Seniors
2021-22 Club Leadership
A Word from the New Alumni Director
Hello alumni! My name is Nathan Bay, and I am the Alumni Relations Director for the 2021-2022 school year! I’m truly grateful to have been selected for this position, and I can’t wait to get to know all of you while facilitating meaningful connections between yourselves and current SBC members. I had a fantastic time at the Alumni Weekend panel/networking session my freshman year and enjoyed tuning in to speakers a couple weeks ago, but now I’m even more excited for the opportunity to plan this wonderful event! Our senior executive board members have made a great impact on SBC as a whole and I’m eager to follow in their footsteps!
Now for a little bit about myself. I’ve lived in Highland Park, Illinois for my entire life and am a die hard Chicago sports fan (sorry Wisconsinites), however, these past couple years have been especially rough on my fandom. I’m in the business school, majoring in Management and Human Resources with a certificate in Sports Communication. I’ve gotten very involved on campus: along with being an executive board member in SBC next year I will be the Vice President of a recently reestablished fraternity, Phi Kappa Sigma, and a director of Humorology, a music show that takes place every year which helps raise money for its philanthropic partners. Other athletics experiences that I’ve been involved with are a camp leader for the Badger Basketball Experience and a coach/scoreboard operator at the Highland Park Recreation Center.
I’m looking forward to getting started in the Fall!
Alumni Week: 4/12-4/15
Days of Virtual Events!
Years of Cumulative Industry Experience Speaking
Alumni Feature Spotlight
Q & A
I knew I wanted to get into social media the summer between sophomore and junior year of college. I always enjoyed writing and was passionate about sports, so I thought a career as a sports writer was one I'd like to pursue. I majored in journalism and worked for the Wisconsin State Journal and UW's athletic communications department, covering sports on both the high school and collegiate level. These opportunities gave me experience in the digital and social media space, which strengthened my affinity for the latter and helped me immensely upon graduation.
What are your thoughts on the Communications Internship with the Athletic Department?
My communications role at UW was invaluable because it provided the opportunity to cover a wide variety of sports including track, cross country, football, basketball and volleyball. I gained both digital and social media experience and improved my ability to write and communicate with athletes through previews, recaps and feature stories I'd craft for uwbadgers.com. The skills and experience I gained during my two years working in that role helped me land future internships and full-time work.
How did your time as an intern with the Detroit Lions shape the future of your career to date?
My internship with the Detroit Lions largely came from experience gained in college. While I didn't post on social media during my time with the Lions, I gained confidence working with professional athletes for feature stories I'd write and learned CMS since a bulk of my role was to help update a variety of pages on detroitlions.com. This internship enhanced by desire to work in digital/social in professional sports and played a major role in me getting a full-time opportunity with the Houston Texans.
How was your transition to being a manager? What have you learned about yourself and your team in your first year?
My transition to manager has been extremely valuable. Managing a coordinator and a trainee has helped me grow in a variety of areas including prioritization, delegation, motivation, communication and time management. Our three-person social team learns from and inspires each other daily and a positive work environment fosters a creative space that leads to great social content.
Where do you think the Royals and their relationship with digital and social media will be in 5 years? What about the future of the social media industry as a whole?
The digital and social media space continues to rapidly evolve. In five years there will likely be a handful of new platforms we'll be responsible for. Social teams will either need to increase in size or prioritize which platforms to focus on. I imagine by then we'll be immersed in a legalized sports gambling space and need to continue to find the best ways to increase our value by monetizing our content and strategically incorporating sponsors. We'll also want to make sure our content is targeting all demographics, especially appealing to Gen Z, so we can simultaneously strengthen the affinity current fans have for the Royals and build connections that create new fans. While these challenges and opportunities will be a focus for the Royals, they also apply to the sports industry as a whole.
What kind of advice would you offer a younger college student looking to build their resume to eventually start applying for post-graduation internships and full time offers?
My best pieces of advice would be to find relevant experience and make connections. Whether it's an internship or a full-time role, college or professional, a sport you love or a sport you may not prefer, there is value in every opportunity. Make the most of it, have a positive attitude, learn as many skills as you can and make yourself an invaluable resource. I was willing to travel just about anywhere for opportunities I was confident would help move my career in the right direction. It's a competitive space and it's not as big as you might expect. The sports social community is really well connected and most people in the industry either know somebody where you may want to work or knows somebody who knows somebody who works there. Reach out, ask questions, establish relationships with people in roles you admire or at places you aspire to work someday. These can really pay off down the line in the application process when your name is more than just a name, but also a potential connection or recommendation.
How about advice for older individuals who are in the heat of the application process right now? Any cool ways to stand out among other applicants?
The best way to stand out, aside from the answer above, is to show personality and creativity. I had an applicant create a Twitter page that served as a resume and featured a number of content ideas, which was memorable and led to an interview. Show an eagerness to learn and a passion for the industry. Additionally, your personal social accounts tell us something about you as well. Make sure they represent how you want to be represented. We do check them in the hiring process.
What’s your favorite part about living in Kansas City?
I have yet to truly experience all of what Kansas City has to offer since I moved here at the start of the pandemic a year ago. That being said, there are a number of things I like about living here. The city is walkable and green with cool parks and unique neighborhoods. KC doesn't feel too big or too small and the food is great, especially the BBQ. Most of all, I'm glad to be back in the Midwest closer to home.
March Events Recap
February Facts & Figures
SBC back at it in the Spring!
Spring 2021 Membership
of Members are Intended Business Majors
UW in the News
On Monday, we completed more than 11,600 COVID-19 tests — that's a new daily record, Badgers!— UW–Madison (@UWMadison) February 24, 2021
Thanks for everything you're doing to stay in compliance with our testing program. We're Safer Badgers when we test regularly & follow public health protocols. https://t.co/X51q5eCQTB
Celebrate the Badgers Women's Hockey WCHA Championship!
Alumni Feature Spotlight
Q & A
I knew I wanted to pursue a career in sports after competing in DECA in high school. In college, I narrowed my scope via a variety of internships or job shadows (sports radio, event management, AHL, NBA) that I showed me what I didn’t want to do. In my senior year, I had (finally) secured an internship with the marketing office within Wisconsin Athletics and found something that I really loved. I know you guys routinely chat with Adam Ahern and Kevin Kluender in the athletic department, and I give them a lot of credit where I ended up. They introduced me to a slew of activities that kept me interested, engaged, and prepared me for my first full time role with Ohio State.
How does it feel to be a Badger alum working for Minnesota?
Many students that I talk to say they could never work for so-and-so team. That usually changes when you think about what has the best opportunity for you. Would you like to work for Ohio State or Minnesota, or would you want to work for a small DI like Bradley University in Illinois? It’s weird to root against your favorite team, but you start to find things that inspire you to root for your employer outside of the paycheck. You get excited for every win that your coach gets. You create connections with the student-athletes so you want them to succeed. Don’t get me wrong, I still have all of my Wisconsin mementos and get yelled at on zoom calls when colleagues see my a motion W items, but now you have other things to root for than just a win.
What is one of the most rewarding aspects of your work with the Gophers?
Working in collegiate athletics means that we are also a part of the University. I do take that role seriously and believe we are there to help teach and mentor students, as it is a part of their college experience. Therefore, one of the most rewarding tasks I have is working with our student interns. We have about 25 student interns and when they find what they want to do, it is so exciting. I don’t care if they end up working in sports or if they want to go work for a corporate entity, I just want them to find something that they enjoy doing. So when our students get that internship, get into that grad program, or nail the job interview, I am such a proud boss it is unbelievable.
What do you think is one part of the fan experience that COVID took away from us as fans that is essential to the continued growth and improvement of the fan experience as a whole?
COVID has been challenging in the collegiate sports business because it has taken away the final product from our fans and has disrupted the brand loop. We want kids to fall in love with Goldy, we want youth to dream of being a Gopher, we want college kids to fall in love with the campus and the gameday vibe, we want young professionals to come back to campus and relive the glory days, we want parents to bring their kids to events, and we want seniors to reinvest in what they once called home. However, how can little Jonny love Goldy if he never sees him? Alternatively, how can little Suzy meet her favorite women’s basketball player? COVID has taken away the end product from our fans which makes our job that much harder. We need to find a way to invest in our fans and get them to fall in love with our brand without every seeing them. In addition, fans only have the win/loss experience, not all of the added benefits that we could normally provide. I do think COVID will have long last effects on our business; we just need to see how drastic those effects are.
What has been the most groundbreaking project that you have been able to work on and what made that project so important to the industry?
The most worthy project would have to be our Gopher Gameday Live show that we produced this past fall around football. With COVID, we needed to find a way to still make good on sponsorships and engage fans. We decided to do a live stream that resembled a TV show along with our normal gameday activities. So we had a host where she delivered feature stories, made good on sponsor activities, interacted with fans and alumni, and then intermixed the live show with clips from the band, fans, highlights, and alumni. It was a toll trying to do both but overall feel that we made an impact, kept our sponsors (aka kept the money), and engaged fans.
Otherwise, I would say some best practices that we have implemented and have won awards on is by embracing the Minnesota community better. We had collaborated with Love Your Melon, a local business that donates 50% of proceeds to fight cancer, for a hat and ticket deal, we are working with local youth groups and bringing student athletes to them, and we are trying to stand out amongst all of the pro teams in town by featuring the college space.
What has your experience been like as a woman in sports? Do you see teams and universities improving on and balancing out such a male dominated industry?
I think that athletic departments know they need to make changes, but I feel that they need to do more than the bare minimum to help make a change. Right now, I believe that departments are good about hiring women at the entry-level point as interns or Assistant Directors. However, when I am in a men’s basketball meeting, I am the only woman in the room. When my coworker is in a men’s hockey meeting, she is the only woman in the room. On top of that, we are the ones with the lowest titles where our colleagues range from Associate Directors to Associate ADs. In addition, I feel like there are not as many women up the ladder that I can look for as a mentor. I do feel that some schools do a better job of promoting women than others, and that it will take time and effort from those currently in power to make positive changes in department cultures.
Do you have any advice for those of us looking to break into the industry? What worked for you or any of your colleagues?
I am a Type A person and really struggled with the fact that getting into sports isn’t like getting a finance job. There is no clear path and no one path is the only path. I had originally thought that I needed a master’s to get into collegiate sports, however, I never found a program that fit for me. This group has many connections to Ohio University and their dual degree program, which is great for some, but it wasn’t for me. Athens was so small and some of the case studies the students were working on were ones that I already did for my undergrad classes. I just didn’t fit. I then applied to other schools thinking I could find the place where I belong and couldn’t find a program that would let me work and get the degree I wanted. Therefore, I said f-it, and applied to internships and got a full time, two-year internship with Ohio State. I did eventually get my master’s last summer here at Minnesota and could not be happier with my choice. I would advise you all to find what works for you and to not be afraid if it’s not what everyone else is doing.
Do you see yourself ever leaving the industry? If so, why and for what career path?
I tell everyone that I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I try my best to enjoy what I am doing until I don’t enjoy it anymore, and then it’s time to move on. My now husband had moved with me from Wisconsin to Ohio, to North Carolina, and now to Minnesota where we have finally set up roots. For me, it would be really hard to move on to a different University that will probably be farther away from home (since Adam and Kevin are never leaving Wisconsin). Therefore, I am open to the idea of leaving athletics if it’s the right opportunity, which could be with some other department on campus or a corporate entity where I could flex my marketing and branding skills.
#SportsBiz Badgers on the Move
Jeff Jurgella -> President, Beloit Snappers
✔️ 25+ years of success— Beloit Snappers (@BeloitSnappers) February 2, 2021
✔️ Wisconsin native
✔️ Major League front office experience
✔️ Midwest League experience
Join us in welcoming Jeff Jurgella to Beloit as president of Gateway Professional Baseball and the Beloit Snappers.
More: https://t.co/fpbYYWQmvl pic.twitter.com/6Kc43LO6fF
Brett Baur -> VP of Partnerships and Hospitality Sales, Pittsburgh Pirates
Ryan Schulman -> Associate Director of Development, Gator Boosters
Quintin Lash -> Trading Analyst, Sportradar
SBC Member Involvement
Drew Kocken, Olivia Hancock, and Samaria Bruce
UW Side Hustle Society
Alex Becker, Nikholas Parker, and Danny Tabaska
Sports Broadcast Journal
College Basketball Power Hour
The Boardroom University
February Events Recap
February 16th - NFL Partnerships w/ Mitchell Pinta
February 17th - Sports Cards and Entrepreneurship w/ Aaron Nowak
February 22nd - Sports Communication Q&A w/ Matt Hermann
February 24th - Sports Agency Fair
Fall Semester Recap
Favorite Event - Brian Anderson
"This is my first semester as a part of the club, and I really enjoyed hearing from the more famous people, such as Brian Anderson, as I found it really inspiring to hear how just an average person was able to transform their career and become so well known."
Average Rating of Club Events
"I liked that all of the members on the exec. board made it clear that we are always welcome to reach out for anything. Also really easy to attend meetings online."
Alumni Feature Spotlight
Q & A
I found it very beneficial to begin my career at a Fortune 500 company like Kohl’s. As an entry level employee, I had access to plenty of great resources as well as great people to help me develop professionally. These are resources that would not necessarily have been available at a smaller organization such as the Brewers. I started off with a strong set of skills and experiences that have helped me succeed with the Brewers, where I’m afforded much more autonomy (but also more responsibility) within my position.
Did you always know you wanted to go into sports? What ultimately drew you to the industry?
I grew up dedicating just about all my free time to watching or playing sports, so I think subconsciously, yes! I’m pretty sure I was reading and analyzing Brewers and Bucks box scores by the time I was 5 years old. It never really hit me that it could be a profession until late high school / early college, however. I was actually this close to studying Physical Therapy at Marquette instead, so the attraction to the industry was there – it was just a matter of how I would become involved.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The answer to this question definitely depends on what time of the year or month it is. During the season, most of the focus is on recording and analyzing our revenues and expenses related to hosting games, operating the stadium, etc. As you would imagine, the number of financial transactions that occur from March-October are significantly higher than the rest of the year. In the off-season, we participate in the financial audit process, complete our annual budget and tackle different projects that allow us to be more efficient in our roles once the next season comes around.
Are there particular parts of your job that you enjoy doing over others?
Part of my role is to essentially serve as the controller for our Advanced A team, the Carolina Mudcats. The Brewers purchased this minor league franchise in 2017, and I was involved in accounting for that initial transfer of ownership. Ever since then, I’ve presided over their budgets, forecasts, reporting, etc. I’ve learned a ton by being able to support all sides of the business. Plus, I think minor league baseball is an essential part of Americana! It’s very rewarding to be involved.
The other rewarding part of my job relates to a similar role that I’ve taken on for our non-profit arm, the Brewers Community Foundation. I had literally zero experience in non-profit accounting prior to this job, so there was a steep learning curve for sure. It’s been a wonderful experience so far though, and I’m always proud of how much our organization does for the surrounding Milwaukee community.
What was your favorite memory at UW-Madison?
Hands down, the basketball team’s national championship run in 2015 (JUSTISE WINSLOW TOUCHED THE BALL AND WE ALL KNOW IT). The atmosphere at the Kohl Center that season was absolutely electric. To cap it all off, I was in the second row for the Final Four win against Kentucky, which I guarantee will forever stand as the best night of my life.
What about a favorite SBC memory?
My favorite SBC memory was the winter trip we made to Chicago. I believe we visited Big Ten HQ, Big Ten Network, ESPN Chicago and the Chicago Bulls. At each stop, we were able to take some pretty exclusive tours as well. Add tickets to both Chicago Wolves and Bulls games, and you’ve got one amazing trip. I don’t think I realized at the time how special of an opportunity that was.
Any advice for our members who are specifically pursuing a sports career in finance?
First of all, try to gain experience in the sports industry, even if it’s not finance related. Despite majoring in accounting, I was fortunate enough to intern for the UW Athletics Marketing Department my senior year, where I learned a lot about the inner workings of sports. I would also stress the importance of continually adding new skills and experiences that you can reference on a resume or in an interview. The number of finance jobs in sports is pretty limited, so you’ve got to make sure you’re ready to separate yourself from the pack when a position opens up. Lastly, I would recommend setting up alerts to notify you when those jobs hit the market! I can personally thank WorkInSports.com for discovering the Brewers posting.
If you could go back in time and get two tickets to any sporting event in history, what event would you pick and who would you go with?
Although I work for the Brewers, my first love has always been the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, until recently, that’s been a pretty sad and disappointing existence. For that reason, I would go back to April 1971 with my older brother to watch the Bucks clinch their one and only NBA Championship with Oscar and Kareem. Now I’m just waiting for my guy Giannis to sign the supermax and bring another title back to the 4-1-4.
November Events Recap
October Facts & Figures
SBC remains Virtual!
Combined Attendance at October events
UW-Madison study shows High School sports not linked to COVID-19 spread
Happy Election Week !!
All-American @dana_rettke and head coach @KellyPSheffield of @BadgerVB tell @michellachester why the Wisconsin volleyball team has decided as a team to volunteer to work at the polls for #Election2020.— NCAA Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) October 26, 2020
□ https://t.co/tVUX60vRni#NCAAVB pic.twitter.com/fzI6D7Nk7M
Alumni Feature Spotlight
Q & A
Like many others in the sports industry, I started off with a lot internships while I was in school, including The Mallards, Rotowire, UW Athletics, and iHeartRadio. My first job after graduation was actually in ticket sales with MKE Sports & Entertainment (now called ROC Ventures). My time there was relatively short, as I was offered the opportunity of a full time internship with the Packers in their Milwaukee office. I grew up in WI, so of course working for the Packers was a dream come true. After my time with the Packers, I was fortunate enough to get hired on with Learfield, and I moved out to State College, PA to work at Penn State Sports Properties as a Partnership Services Coordinator. After about 2 years with PSSP, I was itching to get back closer to home. For my next move I knew I either wanted to be in Milwaukee to be near my family, or Indianapolis, to be near my boyfriend, now husband. Wanting very specifically to work for a team and in partnership activation, and with both my choice cities having relatively small markets, I knew odds of an opening would be slim. However, low and behold, I opened up TeamWorkOnline, and there it was. A posting for an Activation Coordinator for the Indiana Pacers. The stars seemed to align, and here I now am, 3 years in with the Pacers.
How about your internship with the Packers? Would you recommend a similar experience shortly after coming out of school?
My internship with the Packers was one of the best experiences I ever had. I learned so much during my time there, which prepared me for my future roles. It was the connections I made while I was with the Packers that led me to a recruiter at Learfield, and my experience and accomplishments with the Packers that helped me land the job. When I applied for my current role with the Pacers, before they even talked to me, they called the Packers. Then they called their Learfield contact. The sports industry is a very small world, so make sure you’re always doing your best. Chances are someone knows someone who knows your boss.
When and how did you know you wanted to go into partnerships?
I honestly wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to go into partnerships until my internship with the Packers. Once I started with them, I was completely sold. I struggled with trying to figure out what I wanted to do, because I genuinely enjoyed doing so many things. Well the great thing about partnerships, is that you get work with virtually every department. Community relations, marketing, game operations, you name it. No day is the same, and I absolutely love it.
What is your favorite memory from your time at the University of Wisconsin? What about SBCUW?
My favorite memory from my time at UW is watching Super Bowl XLV with my roommates as the Packers beat the Steelers. That was by far one of the best nights of my life. With SBCUW, it was our Winter Trip to Indianapolis. I was so impressed with all the organizations we talked to, and realized what a great sports city Indy is. I had no idea at the time I would end up working at one of the teams we visited with!
What advice do you have for students looking to break into the industry?
The importance of internships and networking is often stressed, and for good reason. The industry is so competitive, and whatever you can do to give yourself any sort of edge will be beneficial. But I also thinks it’s important to emphasize that if you don’t get that internship, or the dream job you applied for, it’s okay! There will be other opportunities. The first time I applied for the Packers internship, I didn’t get it, and I was devastated. But they reached out to me and encouraged me to apply for the “in-season” activation internship, because they felt I would be better suited for that role. Turns out they were 100% right. The internship I didn’t get was much more sales focused, and I without a doubt, enjoy the activation side of partnerships. Disappointment comes with the territory of such a competitive industry, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dreams.
Do you have a favorite partner to work with? Why?
My favorite partners to work with are the beer partners. That may seem like a typical Wisconsin girl response, but our beer partners do a lot of really fun activations. They like to go big, know how to activate, and are great with co-branding. We have a local craft beer sponsor that even creates a special Pacers playoff beer every year.
What is the most challenging part about working in partnerships?
I don’t think I have ever been as challenged professionally, as I, and the rest of the industry is right now. There are so many unknowns. When will the season start? Will there be fans in the building? If so, how many? You really just need to be ready for constant changes and adapt or pivot as quickly as possible. Information in the morning can be old news by the afternoon.
If Camp Randall sold its naming rights, what company would you pick as the ideal sponsor?
Hmm…that’s a tough one! A lot of times naming rights are a play for a company that has local ties. While I hope it will always be called Camp Randall, with Epic Systems being headquartered in Verona, maybe Epic Stadium?
October Events Recap
October 7th - Building a Brand from Scratch w/ Forward Madison FC
October 14th - Jackson Dargan: Intro to Sports Analytics and Sports Agencies
October 20th - Gender Equity in Sports with Kayla Gross
October 27th - Social Impact & Sports Panel
September Facts & Figures
SBC goes Virtual !!
Students Attended Kickoff
Total Students Attended the First Two Speaker Events
UW in the News
Professional Athletes & Commencement Speakers - A Correlation?
Rose Lavelle joins JJ Watt and Russell Wilson as the third pro athlete to speak to graduating UW students in the last five years
Get a kick out of this, Badgers! World Cup champ and @badgerwsoccer star Rose Lavelle scored the keynote position as your Winter 2020 Commencement speaker.— UW–MaskUp (@UWMadison) September 30, 2020
Get to know @roselavelle before she takes the virtual #UWGrad stage this December: https://t.co/ywDCAiznRX pic.twitter.com/SlXQdzZfMP
Alumni Feature Spotlight
Q & A
The short version: growing up, like a lot of people, I wanted to play sports professionally. Early in high school, I started to learn that there were people who worked at ballparks and arenas that weren’t just the players, coaches, ushers and vendors. I was fortunate that my high school offered two sports marketing classes, which really opened my mind to the possibility of working in sports, and ignited my passion. Same at UW-Madison, the SBC was starting up – thanks to our founders! – and I had just gotten an internship with the Athletic Marketing Department. Working in a Big Ten, major athletic department was eye-opening, extremely fun, and cemented my passion and desire.
How did you break into the industry?
All the credit goes to Adam Ahearn, Kevin Kluender, Amanda Benzine, and the UW Athletics Marketing team. They gave me my first chance, and then allowed me to grow in my role with UW Athletics. I have no doubt that my internship and experiences with the marketing department helped me land my next roles [with The Fiesta Bowl, Washington Nationals, and then the Cubs].
What was your favorite moment from your time with the Cubs?
Cliché, but I can’t pick one moment. In my role, I’ve been lucky to meet so many different people from all walks of life and to work at Wrigley Field every day. Obviously Game 7 and the entire World Series in 2016 was unforgettable. Our ownership flew the entire front office to Cleveland for each set of games there; it was simply unforgettable. Although, I maintain that my favorite moment of that Postseason was Javy Baez’s home run in game 1 of the NLDS off Johnny Cueto. We won that game 1-0. That ball soared into the night sky for what seemed like minutes and dropped perfectly into the basket in left field. I was sitting on the steps of the radio broadcast booth, behind Ron Coomer and Pat Hughes; hearing them call that moment, and the crowd erupt … it was also simply unforgettable. But every game, seeing a fan walk into the ballpark and smile just seeing the field, or a family clearly enjoying an afternoon game on a sunny summer day, there’s nothing better than that. Obviously, we miss that now.
Are you a natural Cubs fan? If not, who’s your team?
100%. Born and raised. Though I’ll always have a soft spot for the Nats from my time there in 2012. I wish them well, just not when they’re playing us. I’ve stayed close with several members of their front office staff and baseball operations staff.
How did Sports Business Club change your career trajectory?
SBC really started my professional network and taught me how to network. I think that is the biggest tangible impact that SBC made on my career trajectory. Obviously, you meet so many people and hear from so many great speakers which impacts you tremendously and helps show what your interests are and maybe what your interest are not. But, the networking aspect is incredibly important and impactful.
*Bonus points for anyone reading this far: shoot me a note on LinkedIn! I’d love to connect with you, and happy to answer any other questions you may have!
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in SBC?
This Chicagoan – not a huge Bears fan though folks! – had never been to Lambeau. We went early in my SBC tenure … the museum and really everything at the stadium was really neat to see and the trip as a whole was great.
Any words of wisdom for finding a job or dealing with quarantine and everything going virtual?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. So much easier said than done, but it’s true. Write that note (or email). Ask that question. Volunteer at that team (or community organizing group, or park district). Read that article (or story, or feature, or book). This is really a great time to expand your network and create relationships.
September Events Recap
September 16th - Club Kickoff & Intro to Sports Business
September 21st - Digital Media Panel
September 22nd - First Leadership Team Meeting
With Moses Altsech (Marketing Professor at UW)
Discussing Relationship Building & Personal Branding
September 29th - Corporate Partnerships & Activation Panel
March / April Facts & Figures
SBC Executive Board Graduates
Major: Retailing & Consumer Behavior
Future Plans: Accepted a season-long internship with the Indianapolis Colts in their Events department
Major: Marketing & International Business
Future Plans: Accepted a season-long internship with the Indianapolis Colts in their Partnerships department
Alumni Feature Spotlight
Q & A
Following several internships at Wisconsin, my first real-world, full-time job was as a communications intern at the Big Ten Conference in Chicago. In that role, I managed media relations for several sports and helped execute the Big Ten Football Championship Game and the Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments. The ONLY reason I was able to start my career at the Big Ten is because SBC visited the office during its annual winter trip, so I was able to network and make connections during the visit.
After nearly two years at the Big Ten, I really hoped to next work in community relations. I moved to South Florida to work as the communications coordinator for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, which is a nonprofit within the Miami Dolphins that raises money for cancer research. Shout out to SBC vice president Amanda Wiener, who had been working for the Miami Dolphins and helped me get that role - I wouldn't be where I am today without her. While I only stayed with the DCC for one season, it was incredibly rewarding to know that every ounce of work I did was ultimately helping those who are fighting cancer.
When I was in Florida, I would daydream about living in Colorado - the outdoors, the lifestyle, the activities and the seasons. While I don't encourage daydreaming at work, it was very clear to me that I wanted to live in Colorado, so I decided to focus my job search there. In early 2016, I learned of someone who used to work at the Big Ten that worked for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, so I set up a networking call. With a bunch of luck and fortunate timing, the USOPC opened a communications role a few months later. I was able to interview, get the role as communications specialist and move to Colorado Springs, Colorado in April 2016. I've since been at the USOPC for four years, spending one year as a communications specialist, three years as a Paralympic press officer and then Paralympic communications manager, and recently transitioned into my current role as marketing communications manager.
To summarize the long-winded answer, I would not be where I am today without keeping in touch with my contacts, working hard and, most importantly, having incredible luck and timing in my job searches. Searching for the right job can be a tough, long process, but things have a way of working out!
What does a typical day look like for you and can you describe your favorite day or favorite part of your job?
One of the best parts of my job is that each day is so different. Whether it's showcasing the incredible talent and stories of Team USA athletes, pitching positive storylines about the USOPC, managing publicity campaigns, executing marketing campaigns, helping plan USOPC media events or assisting other departments with communications, I feel very fortunate to be in the role I'm in. I work with some super incredible people and genuinely enjoy going into work each day.
The best part of my job is being able to work with such amazing athletes and help tell their stories. I have to rewind a bit to talk about my favorite day, which happened when I was in Paralympic communications. As the press officer, I traveled to several world cups and world championships, spending a lot of time with athletes and getting to know their story, accomplishments and goals. Over time, I have become close with Oksana Masters (three-sport athlete and eight-time Paralympic medalist - she's a badass, look her up!!). Oksana is such a powerhouse and was projected to win A LOT of medals at the PyeongChang Paralympic Games in 2018, but three weeks before leaving for South Korea, she slipped on ice and dislocated her elbow. She was absolutely crushed. Yet somehow, I was able to watch her win TWO gold medals in PyeongChang - injury and all. I don't cry often, but I bawled like a baby when I met her at the finish line and saw her face light up at her first Paralympic gold medal. Best day EVER.
What would be your message or words of advice to students seeking employment in sports currently or people within the industry in general?
I know that everyone says this, and you will probably roll your eyes as you read this, but networking really does make a huge difference. Having an "in" with a company or knowing someone who can give a good word for you is clutch. Spend some time on LinkedIn to either find professionals who have your dream job, or pinpoint your dream league, team or agency and network with those folks. Most people are genuinely happy to help others in their careers.
My other piece of advice is to look outside of sports as you try to build your resume, whether it's internships, unpaid work, volunteering, etc. As best you can, determine the area of work you wish to pursue and build up the skillset that is relevant to what you want to do. If communications is your passion, build your resume with work in that field across ANY industry. Skillsets transfer over to sports. At the end of the day, you want to show that you have worked hard and have familiarity in your area of work, but don't feel it has to only be from the sports industry.
How have you all handled the Olympics and Paralympics being postponed and what has the process been like?
First off, what a surreal and unprecedented time we are all in. There's no blueprint to how any of this works or how we all should adapt.
The Olympics and Paralympics postponement definitely turned our world upside down. People - whether it's athletes, families, friends, NBC, USOPC, sponsors, the organizing committee in Tokyo - have been planning for this sporting event to come to life for, quite literally, years. Our team has to go back to the drawing board on so many things - budget, athlete qualifications, travel logistics, sponsor assets, donor asks, media events…the list goes on and on. It's definitely been surreal to be part of, but as always, we'll adapt and move forward. When the Olympics and Paralympics do come to life next, it will be such an incredible moment that will prove sport has the power to bring together people from all corners of the globe.
How do you see sports changing as a result of CoVid-19? Do you anticipate normalcy after a period of time or do you see this changing sports as we know it?
I'm not a medical or science professional, so I don't know anything more than what I read in the news. I feel the sporting world will look incredibly different this year - for athletes, fans, media, front office staff, sponsors, etc. We may see games without fans, media rooms without journalists, more digital/virtual activations for sponsors. We'll all get creative as we adapt to this pandemic. I'm hopeful that we'll return to a new "normal" in a few years, but I think this year will look unlike anything we've ever seen.
What is your favorite sports moment as a fan or as an employee?
One of the most surreal, "what is my life" moments happened during the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. I had just moved across the country, moved to a new city where I knew no one, started a new job…and somehow found myself sitting in the media section of the pool in Rio de Janeiro, watching Michael Phelps (G.O.A.T.) swim the final race of his career. I have goosebumps just thinking about it.
What was your favorite moment during your time with SBC and/or why were you drawn to the club and what made it the right fit for you?
SBC was such an instrumental part of my experience at Wisconsin. I met some incredible people along the way who I still keep in touch with today. The club had everything I wanted, whether it was learning from speakers, going on trips to the Packers or Bulls, getting career advice or meeting people in the industry. I truly wouldn't be where I am today without the connections I made and the experience I gained through SBC.
2020-21 Club Leadership
A Word from the New Alumni Director
As for myself, I am a coastie. I was born on Staten Island, New York and grew up in Northern New Jersey. My dad, a born and bred Pennsylvanian, made sure to quickly pass on his generational fandom for the Philadelphia Eagles before I reached the New York Giants’ target demographic. By the time I chose to come to Madison, I was quite comfortable being in enemy territory. Since meeting the Sports Business Club and committing to pursue a career in team-side sponsorships, I have completed a marketing internship with the Madison Capitols where I founded the @dollarbeernation on Instagram. I have also spent the past two seasons with the UW Ticket Office. This summer, I am holding onto the hope of summer baseball and being able to represent the Madison Mallards as an activations intern.
I can’t wait to get back and get started!
SBC Alums & Podcasts
With sports on hold, now is a perfect time to polish your professional skills.— #OHIOFamily? (@OhioUSportsAd) April 10, 2020
Check out this three-part podcast series from @LifeFrontOffice, where @bmbaur joined to discuss interview tips, relocation, soft skills, and more!#OHIOFamily? #AECOMhttps://t.co/FNTMsmbE4s
March / April / May Events Recap
Join us □□□□□□□ for our Wisconsin Athletics Event!— SBC at UW-Madison (@SBCUW) March 2, 2020
•@AdamTAhearn - Marketing
•@jdburda - Brand Communications •@clouserb -Events & Guest Services
•@JSUDavenport - Community Relations
•@mlt2243 - Ticket Sales
⏰ 7:00 p.m.
□Nicholas Club - Kohl Center pic.twitter.com/y0UI20P44O
March 9th - Mock Interviews
May 11th - Alumni Video Chat
February Facts & Figures
Alumni Feature Spotlight
UW Class: 2018
UW Major: Journalism & Strategic Communication
SBC Position: Blog Editor ('16-17) & Inagural Director of Development and Alumni Relations ('17-18)
Current Job: Senior Content Editor, Minute Media
Q & A
I began working for Minute Media in August 2018 toward the end of the summer after I graduated from Wisconsin. After an incredible experience interning for Horizon Media’s SCOUT Sports division in New York the summer before my senior year, I quickly decided that I wanted to pursue media opportunities back in the city after graduation. After meeting with various media agencies in NYC, I was actually contacted by Minute Media for a new partnership they were launching with FanDuel Sportsbook thanks to MM’s interest in some experience tied to a sports gambling research project I had worked on during my final semester in Madison interning for RotoWire. When I was an intern with Horizon, I really noticed the kind of opportunity the impending legalization of sports gambling would bring, so I knew I wanted to be involved with this industry in anyway I could. I thought their offer provided the most hands-on position for an entry-level recent grad like myself, and it’s proven to be much more than that with the kind of responsibilities and growth I’ve enjoyed working here.
In my current role, I’m responsible for creating and editing FanDuel Sportsbook betting content designed to increase buzz around fantasy sports and drive deposits and wagers on gaming events. I also have a specialization in SEO analytics from organic standpoint, which includes building Excel reports to better target high-indexing targets around how certain content tailored for specific fanbases or angles have performed from a non-paid standpoint of content distribution.
Past the typical suggestions of “networking and making connections” what is the best advice you can give to aspiring sports business professionals trying to break into the industry?
1. One genuine bond or connection with someone is worth 1,000 introductions. You might shake 100 hands at your typical sports networking event, but when you really need something or someone the most, those who you’ve built a bond with over hours of unpaid internship work together or enduring the grind of things that no one else wanted to do, these are the people that will deliver the most for you. Those sort of friends and connections are priceless.
2. Immerse yourself in the environment that gives you the best shot to achieve what you desire. After I figured out where I wanted to work post grad, the fact that my childhood home was back in Mobile, Alabama, wasn’t exactly ideal for making contacts or pursuing face-to-face interviews in NYC, so less than a week after taking all of my stuff back home from Madison, I drove straight to Connecticut where my girlfriend’s family very generously offered to have me move in with them so I could pursue more opportunities in the city.
3. Be relentless and distinguish yourself with personality. Between my final summer internship and my current job, I applied to more than 150 positions to the point at which I had to begin logging them all in a spreadsheet. More than 100 of those applications either returned with a rejection or never came back with a response at all. The sports industry is tough and highly competitive (or I’m one of the worst applicants of all time), and sometimes it’s quite literally just a numbers game. I’ve actually been told by one of my former employers that there were 20 more applicants that were equally as qualified, if not even more, to do my job, but their decision came down to which applicant had the most optimistic outlook as well as which one they’d most enjoy sharing a cubicle or a beer with.
Being a recent grad, how has the transition to the professional world been and what advice would you give to our seniors who hope to move into full-time roles soon?
Do not loathe the transition the way most people might think you’re supposed to. Going from an unpaid student with constant projects, papers and assignments that constantly hang over your head and follow you everywhere beyond the classroom to a paid employee with more options to silo work and professional involvement on a working schedule is fantastic. While your day-to-day availability certainly takes a hit, the ability to manage a work-life balance becomes much easier in my opinion.
Can you point to one experience in undergrad that brought you down the path of content and digital?
I was involved with The Badger Herald as the sports editor during my junior year, which is certainly where the content side came from, but I would honestly point to my experience with SBCUW as a driving force in opening the doors for the most impactful experiences here, such as my internship experiences with Horizon and RotoWire that ultimately led me to digital media in the sports space.
While the industry demands a lot of hours, how do you keep a good work-life balance and what advice would you give to young professionals?
I think this goes well beyond simply loving sports in that this is more about being able to come to terms with your work schedule will be almost entirely built around other sports fans’ time for leisure, especially from a content distribution and coverage standpoint. For example, since sports gambling was legalized in NJ and Delaware just months before I started working for Minute Media all four members of my initial team, myself included, worked a minimum of 10-hour days, 6 days a week through the NFL and college football season and into March Madness to get a leg up on our competitors in this space. Since NFL (+ fantasy football) and NCAAF are the biggest drivers in this industry, that meant working Saturdays and Sundays and buying groceries on my day off on Tuesdays most weeks.
Alumni Weekend Recap
Worth a Look
SBC Alums at the National Sports Forum (Atlanta)
Brett Baur ('14) - Panelist (See Below)
Sports Business Badger Conor Caloia's Impact in the Madison Area
Some Thoughts from Peter Feigin's Trip to Madison Last Semester
Renovations at Camp Randall, Kohl Center, and UW Fieldhouse
Febraury Members of the Month
What made you interested in SBC initially and what ultimately made you decide to join the club?
It was one of the few clubs geared towards the sports world. What ended up making me want to join was just all of the cool people and opportunities that came with it.
What is your favorite part about SBC and what keeps you coming back to events?
It’s cool getting to learn about all of the different jobs and areas that are available in sports and get to hear from all aspects of the field.
What are your short and long term goals related to SBC?
Just staying involved and connected within the club. I’ve met so many awesome people and I want to continue to nurture and build those relationships.
What is your favorite part of volunteering with UW Athletics and what keeps you coming back?
My favorite part about volunteering with UW Athletics is easily the fast paced atmosphere and the opportunity to talk and communicate with so many different people and fans.
What would be your dream sports job?
My dream sports job would be doing something with the Brewers. I’m not sure what exactly but one of my goals is to eventually work for them.
What made you interested in SBC initially and what ultimately made you decide to join the club?
I was initially interested because I have always loved sports. I decided to join because of the possibility of this being a stepping stone into the sports industry.
What is your favorite part about SBC and what keeps you coming back to events?
My favorite part about SBC is the wide variety of speakers and events. Nearly every aspect of working in the sports industry is touched on providing a better understanding of the endless possibilities. I keep coming back because of the incredible members and everyone’s willingness to help others succeed in the industry.
What are your short and long-term goals related to SBC?
Short-term I would like to continue attending events and possibly join a committee. Long term I want to continue building relationships throughout the sports industry and use these connections to further myself and my fellow members.
What was your favorite part of going on the winter trip?
The best part about the winter trip was the relationships and connections that I was able to begin building, both with the SBC members and with the teams and companies we sat down with. Also, repping my Packers tie in Ford Field and Soldier Field.
What would be your dream sports job?
Green Bay Packers General Manager or Director of Football Operations.
February Events Recap
February 3rd - ESPN Madison
February 6th to 8th - Minneapolis Trip (Minnesota Twins, T-Wolves/Lynx, & United FC)
Thank you to the @twins, @timberwolves, @minnesotalynx, and @mnufc for taking the time to speak with us, for sharing their experiences and for providing us with advice that will help us achieve our professional goals of working in sports! pic.twitter.com/NjsF8ywQF6— SBC at UW-Madison (@SBCUW) February 11, 2020
February 12th - Nate Pokrass (American Family Insurance)
February 17th - Tim De Lay (Kroenke Sports Enterprises)
February 25th - Chad Brown (Trek Bicycles)
February 28th to 29th - 4th Annual Alumni Weekend
□□□□□□□ □□□□□□□□□□ □□□□□□ □□□...— SBC at UW-Madison (@SBCUW) March 2, 2020
Special thank you to all the alumni that came back to campus for our 4th annual SBC Alumni Day to share their insight on how their time here prepared them for their careers and what it’s been like working in sports! pic.twitter.com/S0M64ILzmf