Day 10: More Than a Fan

Will Bubenik 2016

Nobody wants to hire a fan.

I learned that lesson the hard way the first day of my freshman year at Temple University. As a bright-eyed basketball junkie with dreams of being an NBA scout, I marched straight into the Dean’s office and proclaimed my goal. Within two minutes, he had made it clear that I had a better chance of being an actual NBA player than of being a scout. My devastation that day got me thinking that I needed to take the passion I had as a fan for sports and turn it into a passion for the business of sports.

Today, that story came back to the forefront of my thinking as my fellow MSBA classmates and I visited GlideSlope’s offices in Manhattan. GlideSlope’s business is the only one of its kind, a management advisory group that focuses on global sport sponsorship opportunities for non-endemic companies. Offering neutral, strategic recommendations and assistance, they are a big proponent in helping sports become the driver for brands seeking to sponsor major events like the upcoming Olympic Games.

“We are all sports fans. That’s why we’re here. But we need to take that fandom and turn that into a passion for the sports industry, coupled with a sharp business acumen.”

Our speakers began by asking us to introduce ourselves and to share our favorite sporting memory. This little exercise brought me back to thinking about every single incredible sporting event I have watched or been a part of. I ultimately went with the story of my childhood idol, Allen Iverson, stepping over Tyronn Lue in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals against the Lakers. He was the main reason why I fell in love with the game. I felt like a little kid again.

After everyone else shared their favorite stories, I realized why we did this exercise. We are all sports fans. That’s why we’re here. But we need to take that fandom and turn that into a passion for the sports industry, coupled with a sharp business acumen.

Getting to hear from Molly Rauhauser, Rodrigo Lacal (my MSBA Junior Mentor), Patrick Haas, and Ian Cropp was fascinating. They discussed their three-phased approach to GlideSlope’s consulting business: assess, design, and solve. By providing an analytical and insight driven approach to facilitate these discussions, GlideSlope has been able to quickly create and sustain relationships with a plethora of major companies. They provide the business tools that are critical for a successful sponsorship.

Their presentation also got me thinking about my own work. For my MSBA internship this summer, I am working in the Business Development department at Krossover, a sports game film and analytics company. Since Krossover has only been around for six years, it is still very much a startup environment. They have given me the reins on several large projects and I get to actively contribute in our daily meetings. Being instilled with this level of trust has empowered me to go all out and share my thoughts as they look to expand into several new markets.

I couldn’t have asked for a better week-and-a-half with MSBA 2016 in New York City. I have great roommates in Casey Katofsky and Sanjit Vallabhaneni, the field trips have been amazing, the professional development seminars have greatly enhanced my personal brand, and my mentors have been extremely helpful in the short time I’ve known them. My class is quickly bonding together, and I can’t wait for what’s to come over the next six weeks.

Nobody wants to hire a fan. But they do want to hire a sports business professional. With MSBA guiding me along the way, I will succeed in that quest.