It has been two weeks now since the beginning of the Manhattan Sports Business Academy (MSBA) program and it has certainly been a pretty exhilarating experience so far. The program promises an internship in a sport industry, a talk series with prominent sports executives, and interaction with a group of intelligent and driven MSBA colleagues, and it delivers in spade. I have learned a lot thus far from everyone, and am very thankful for this rare opportunity given by Ben Sturner and the MSBA program for me to pivot into the sports business domain.
In the previous two weeks, we had amazing speakers from Gatorade and IMG, to the MLB. We also got to visit Madison Square Garden. Although we were not able to go inside the main arena (because it is still under renovation until next October), we were fortunate to have Jared Schoenfeld, Director of Corporate Hospitality Sales, take us around the MSG Transformation Center and explain to us the exciting plans management has to further enhance the MSG experience. The center even has a replication of what a corporate suite would look like, complete with a personalized view of each individual box. I hope one day I am rich enough to afford the 6-year $500k+ one of these boxes cost or that there will be an MSBA alumni box for our use! After the tour, we proceeded to a Q&A session with many heavyweights in all aspects of MSG operations: Stacey Escudero, VP of Communications MSG Sports; Greg Economou, EVP of Corporate Sales & Solutions; Jamie Morningstar, Director of Season Ticket Service & Retention; and Todd Melfi, VP of Sports & Entertainment Sales. They were kind enough to answer all of our questions in great detail, from their paths to MSG and secondary market ticketing, to the effect of competing with the Brooklyn Nets and valuable advice for all of us for the future. The lesson I took out of this session is the utmost importance for preparation in whatever we do. We need to know both the science (preparation, fact finding) and the art (create relationship, story selling) of whatever we want to do (whether it is selling or finding a job). It was a great panel to end the week with and I am interested to see whether any other speaker/panel can top this experience.
At work, I am interning at the Leverage Agency with Ben Sturner, working on sports sponsorship. My previous roles prior to this have been in consulting and sales performance management, so this is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn the art of selling. I am assigned primarily to help out on the ‘Ivy League’ and ‘Harvard vs. Yale Hockey On Ice at MSG’ properties, with Chris Farrell to turn to when I struggle with anything. However, over the last week, I have been working a lot alongside Ben Sturner and Joshua Lagan on putting together the International Calisthenics Federation (ICF). It is really exciting to be meeting all of the top athletes performing their insane routines and building the whole league from scratch. We spent last weekend, alongside Brett Stewart and Jimbeau Andrews, our amazing partners in the venture, brainstorming the plan and putting together a sponsorship deck. I’m loving seeing this grow from a concept two weeks ago, to a reality now, with our first event planned for July 4th on Coney Island. There is still a lot of work to be done but I am just so excited to have the chance to be involved from the very beginning.
On Saturday, we all had a free day. Mary Beth took a few of us to Long Island Beach. The weather this weekend is amazing and I am glad to be able to relax a bit after two weeks of a hectic but fulfilling MSBA schedule. We are a quarter of the way through and I cannot wait to find out what the MSBA team will have in store for us over the next six weeks!