With the last event of the fall semester, we decided to hold our first ever SBC Upperclassmen Panel to give younger members the opportunity to hear from six members of the executive board on their sports experiences in the club and outside of it with jobs/internships. Speaking on behalf of the board were:
Remember that you are more than welcome to reach out to any of these six panelists to ask further questions about their sports experiences. That goes for any other member of the leadership group, as well. We hope that you enjoyed all of our events this semester and we look forward to seeing you at our Spring Kickoff & Trivia on January 29!
Andy Baggot: Insider Writer for UWBadgers.com and Varsity Magazine
Jay Wilson: Sports Director for Channel 3000/News 3 Now
Jim Polzin: Wisconsin Men's Basketball Writer for the Wisconsin State Journal
How has social media changed your career and the way a reporter operates?
JP: In today's age, it's important to be multifaceted. To be able to not just write, but podcast and use Twitter. I don't know where this industry will go in the future, but there will always be a market for storytellers and people will always care about Wisconsin sports.
What's the biggest challenge you currently face in your role? What are some of the biggest misconceptions of the sports industry?
AB: Redefining my role and what I'm writing about for the magazine. The biggest misconception about sports is the glamour of it. It's hard work and I've always done it because I loved it, not because of the glamour.
JW: At the news station, we're working on doing more with less people. That has gotten more challenging especially as you get older and have less time for work as you try to balance a family with your career.
What is some advice you would offer to students?
JW: Follow your heart. Only do what you really want to do. Listen for the voice inside you that tells you what you really want to do and then follow it.
AB: Find a mentor and someone you trust who you can bounce ideas off of and talk about your future with.
Chellee Siewert is the founder and owner of Capture Sports Marketing. Her background was in non-profits including working at the Rogers Hospital as well as the national MS foundation. She later transitioned into working for an indoor soccer team and doing a successful jersey drive to help raise money for unique charities.
Since then, she has worked with athletes such as Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz and JJ Watt with Capture Sports Marketing. She helped to organize Watt's assistance for Hurricane Harvey. She also worked with NASCAR driver Sam Mayer as he works to increase his visibility in the professional racing sphere to generate sponsors and funds. Other figures in professional football that she has worked with include Tyrann Mathieu and Anthony Lynn.
"When you started this what did you see it becoming and how has it lived up to expectations?"
CS: "I expected to keep it ultra small with a few team members and a few clients. It started pretty small but we've worked to grow more aggressively especially diversifying into different sports."
Chellee's Contact Info:
Jakub Kryzostaniak- Director of Fan Engagement and Digital Media at Forward Madison FC
Liz Kern- Vice President of Big Top Sports and Entertainment
Tyler Isham- General Manager at Madison Mallards Baseball Club
Why have you spent your whole career at Big Top?
LK: Excellent benefits, flexibility and they do a great job in helping to sustain people at their current position.
TI: I'm still learning everyday about my position and how to put my own spin on the organization. It was appealing to be able to have my own control as opposed to the control I would have at a larger team.
During the offseason what are you typically working on?
LK: Planning for the next season. Selling, budgeting and preparing for the next season. Especially planning and producing what are sales plan is going to look like for our next season.
TI: Ticket sales are the lifeblood of our business, the offseason is focused on segmenting for different consumers and figuring how to get them to the park. My personal responsibility is to sell corporate advertising with the team.
JK: Working on thirty different things rather than a paced out schedule of one or two games a week.
How do you collaborate with other baseball teams in the organization?
LK: There is a very open dialogue with a lot of sharing ideas to help all of the teams within the organization to succeed.
TI: It helps us to leverage costing and keep prices lower because of all the teams that we have.
What opportunities would you suggest for people wanting to get into the business?
LK: Volunteering and working with as many teams I could at school and then eventually working with the Mallards. I got my hands involved in as many different things as I could to see what I was interested in.
JK: Learning the skills necessary to be useful on the digital side. Including social media and photoshop. Having those skills make you useful and unique.
Derek’s Contact Info: UW SuccessWorks Website :
BSN Sports works with high school teams to sell sporting goods and apparel. BSN Sports is a subsidiary of Varsity Brands and has roughly 20% of the market share in the space. They grew by acquiring different team sales companies across the country. Currently, they have 1,100 sales professionals with coverage in 49 states. Some of the leading brands that BSN sells are Nike and Under Armour. BSN also makes its own sports equipment and apparel, with almost 4,000 SKUs. BSN still sends out 3,000,000 catalogs per year for coaches and athletic directors to browse through. BSN uses category managers to represent sports and bridge the gap between coaches and sales reps who might lack sport specific knowledge.
Working to solve problems will earn the respect of coaches and business associates. Working to communicate with the coaches is key to having good relationships and keeping those customers long-term.
Resumes get you interviews, but your personality will get you the job.
For information on job openings and career paths with BSN, follow this link to learn more!
Tonight's panel consists of five different women who work here at University of Wisconsin in different roles revolving around sports.
Sheridan Blanford: Director of Inclusion
Marija Pientka: Senior Associate AD
Katie Smith: Senior Associate AD in Compliance
Jackie Crum: Assistant Women's Hockey Coach
Bridget Woodruff: Assistant AD for Career & Leadership
What is some of the best career advice you've received over the years?
"Crush the job you are currently in. If you do your job really really well, it will be noticed." - BW
"Always be thinking and planning about what your goal is in the future." - KS
"Learn to play golf. It's a great opportunity to network and get to know other people in the business." - MP
"You're not always going to be able to enjoy the shade of the trees that you plant. Even if you can't necessarily enjoy the fruits of your own labor, others will benefit from your hard work." - SB
How was the transition from a different university and city?
"I was hesitant transitioning from a smaller school and city. My old job at Northern Illinois felt like a family and I was nervous interviewing, but when I interviewed I knew this place was different. Even though there was a bigger microscope on us in compliance, I was excited and knew this was a job I wanted." - KS
"I quit my job in Ohio because I realized I needed to be closer to my family and where I grew up. So when I did get an interview, I really wanted the job and needed the job. The structure here is very different and there are pros and cons to that." - BW
What are you some challenges you have faced being a woman in the sports industry?
"I found myself trying to be more like a man. I didn't need to do that and I shouldn't have done that. The best thing for me was being the best me that I can be and working hard at my job."-KS
"As a female coach there is definitely a microscope on you to be the best and to earn the respect of the men. You have to work harder to earn the respect of men unfortunately." - JC
"Not every sector is dominated by males, but lots of times my career has been limited by my age." - BW
Erik Haslam is a UW alum who started his own college basketball analytics website. He uses analytical methods to evaluate teams in multiple ways. By comparing teams to opponents they have both played, teams are compared against the average team and eventually ranked. A final score can be projected for any of the 62,128 possible matchups in college basketball. The data and algorithms can also be used to determine "bracketology deserves", meaning the teams that deserve to be in the tournament and at what seed.
"Analytics are only successful if you can successfully translate them for the consumer".
Limitations are still occurring:
Data acquisition can be challenging and expensive
Injuries aren't accommodated into the data
Q. Do you take into account a star player, like a Trae Young?
A. No, I treat all teams as a constant. You could add in a piece for a star player but sometimes a star player can also be a negative if they start to try to do too much.
Q. What do you say to those who doubt analytics?
A. Analytics are a tool that can be used to help you get a better picture of the scene. It can be hard to accommodate them at first if you have a very traditional background, but they can be a really useful tool to help you turn an overtime game into a 2 or 3 point victory.
Q. Who's the biggest user of your data?
A. Fans and coaches historically. The gambling industry has led to a growth in those type of users as well.
Legends is a company who works behind the scenes with partner teams to help in multiple areas. They have three main segments: Global Planning, Global Sales and Hospitality. They originated by working with the Cowboys and Yankees as they opened their new stadiums and then expanded to other teams and properties across different leagues and even internationally. They're the team behind the naming deals for the Raiders, Chargers/Rams and LA FC's new stadiums. They also work with collegiate teams across the country and entertainment organizations worldwide.
The four members of today's panel along with their job titles are:
Lexi Van Camp (Social Media Marketing Specialist)
Zach Epstein (Ticketing Account Executive)
Andrew Snyderman (Ticket Sales Manager)
Daniel Jankoski (General Manager)
What is Legend's role with the University of Wisconsin?
DJ: Help to work with the University of Wisconsin's proposed expansion/renovation of Camp Randall, help with development and to help sell tickets for the three of the main sports here at Wisconsin. (Football, Men's Hockey and Men's Basketball).
How did you get your start in the business world?
AS: "I worked with NBC for the 2012 Olympics as well as working as a promotional internship with the Cincinnati Reds. Then I worked as a ticket sales account manager for the Lincoln Stars. Taking risks is very important to be successful in sports and I look back on that decision and am very glad that I did it. "
What did you need to know to be successful with Legends?
LVC: "Knowing what you know but also knowing what you don't know as well and being willing to ask questions."
Do you collaborate with your Legends colleagues who work with other properties?
AS: "Most definitely, I work a lot with other properties to work on best practices and to learn what works well for them that we can use here. It's also a nice to feel like there are other projects that are available to be moved to if your project ends."
My name is Paul Leeder and on behalf of the entire board, we hope you find this information valuable