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Archive for April, 2010


Apr 07 2010

SEME 2010: Thoughts and Reflections

by at 5:48 pm

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SEME 2010 started off on a rain delay.  The tarp was on the field, players retreated to the clubhouse, and the viewers at home were stuck watching M.A.S.H. reruns.

Well, not exactly.

In reality, a cold and wet Friday morning at Nationals Park was no match for the power of sports networking.  Attendees filed in seeking refuge from the rain and insight into the sports industry.  Here are some general thoughts and reflections from the phenomenal weekend that was SEME 2010.

*The list of attendees was a hodgepodge of students, business professionals, sports executives, and curious individuals.  I spoke with one person who had a law degree and worked for a firm, but was looking to get their feet wet in the sports industry.  A large group of students from Old Dominion, fresh off their victory over Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament, carpooled to D.C. for the conference.

*Social media was the buzzword of the weekend.  Facebook, blogging, and Twitter were brought up in some capacity in almost every panel.  More so in the panel on The Changing Role of News and Social Media in Sports, but it always boomeranged back into the conversation.  Basically, every panelist recommended becoming familiar with the use of social media, because it will be a huge platform for sports in the future. Also, I just tweeted that.

*Buffy Filippell, the founder and President of Teamwork Online, could be found speaking to a large group of people in between panels.  She offered tips and tricks on how to get the best out of your Teamwork Online profile, including activating the ‘Teammates’ feature, which helps you create a network of friends and colleagues in the industry.  She stressed that building connections is crucial to getting your foot in the door in sports.  Ms. Filippell also mentioned that you often need to highlight your unique attributes to get a interviewer to remember you.  Using a student in the group as an example, she said that even something like horseback riding could set you apart from the crowd.  In a related note, I am now taking up horseback riding, pottery, Irish step dancing, and the Finnish language as hobbies.

*Glenn Chin, the Vice President of Global Brand Management for EA Sports, mentioned that when he first started, he was one of four people in the entire sports division at EA.  This has me wondering if I should concentrate on my Wii Bowling skills.

*The networking lunches were a great opportunity to get face time with some of the sports executives at SEME.  Each table in the conference room featured one individual from the sports industry who would answer questions, collect resumes, talk about what they did, and how they got there. After about ten minutes, with the polite encouragement of a SEME staff worker (thanks, Craig!) guests would switch tables and strike up a conversation with another player in the industry.  You could mill about as you choose, ‘speed dating’ at your own pace.  Just be sure to swallow your food completely before you ask a question.

The SEME Networking Lunch. Courtesy of www.seme-now.com

The SEME Networking Lunch. Courtesy of www.seme-now.com

*My favorite moment of the weekend was the presentation by Sunil Gulati, President of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, who spoke about the legacy of hosting the World Cup and the United States bid attempt for 2018 or 2022.  His entertaining and powerful presentation was definitely one of the highlights of SEME.   Mr. Gulati talked about what makes the U.S. a premier destination for the world’s biggest sports event.  He broke down the bid process and all the elements that go into bringing the event back to America.  However, due to rules and regulations concerning the U.S. bid for the World Cup, he asked that we not “tweet any of his comments.” However, I think I can sum up the presentation by saying, “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati.

U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati. Courtesy of www.seme-now.com

*One way to wake up a large group of conference attendees on an early Saturday morning? Invite the gang from Under Armour University.  They had everyone on their feet, clapping, stomping, and shouting the ‘Under Armour Breakdown.’  This change of pace presentation talked about team training exercises and employee development within the company.  What makes Under Armour so unique is how they incorporate philosophies and methods used in sports into the business world.  Also, it’s pretty funny to see 300 people in business casual attire stamping their feet in rhythm and screaming ‘Fired Up!’ at the top of their lungs.  It’s experiences like this that you just won’t get in other industries.

Overall, SEME 2010 was a great experience.  This was my first time attending, and I could not have pictured myself rubbing elbows or sharing a lunch with these people a year ago.  This was a great opportunity to establish connections and get the upper hand on all those ‘battleaxes’ competing for jobs in the sports industry.  In order to get your foot in the door, you first have to know where the doors are.

Gregory Kershaw is a current Georgetown SIM student.

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Apr 01 2010

Redskins en Español

by at 10:07 pm

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As part of the Georgetown Sports Industry Management program many students are involved in great internships with different teams and organizations throughout the D.C. metro area.  

Alicia Klein, a student from Brazil, recently started working with the Washington Redskins.  As part of her internship  she has been doing some translation work as well as writing her own column in Spanish.  Below are two links to some of her current articles!

“’Comienzo fresco’ para los Redskins” – Redskins Blitz by Larry Weisman (translated by Alicia Klein)

“Pretemporada 2010: D.C., NYC y Arizona para los Redskins” – By Alicia Klein

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Apr 01 2010

The Legacy of Sports

by at 12:51 pm

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SEME 2010 wrapped up on Saturday afternoon (March 27th) with another great day of panel discussions and networking.  Some hot topics of the day included: sports and social responsibility, new technologies, ticket sales and event management.  

The first panel of the day, “Impacting Global Communities Through Sports and Social Responsibility”, had a different tone than most other panels over the two day conference.  Social responsibility in sports is a growing business; it is like we went from having not enough foundations and charity causes, to almost having too many.  Sports have an incredible power to make a difference, but not all athletes and organizations go about supporting a cause properly.  It can be difficult to see who is real and who is doing it just for the money or publicity.  The panelists included executives from Athletes of Hope, Peace Players International, and USA Football.  They all have had different experiences in their professional career but would agree that credible charity organizations are built through passion and experience, not because an agent is telling someone they must be involved.   

Fittingly, up next was the keynote address given by Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation.  The focus of his talk was on the legacy of the World Cup.  He spoke on the social and economic impact large sporting events have on cities and countries.  With the USA currently in the bidding process for 2018/2022, attendees were able to hear a bit about what goes into a bid, which culminates as a 1000+ page bid book, of which one chapter is dedicated to corporate social responsibility.  As it stands, the United States appears to be in a good position to pick up one of the dates.  Unlike most other potential host countries, the US does not need to build highways, hotels and stadiums, we could host the World Cup next week. 

After a rainy first day at the ballpark, Saturday was sunny and nice, but still cold.  With the first game at Nationals Park just a week away, the grounds staff was out working on the field, and the lighting, sound and video screens were being tested.  As the weather continues to warm up, cherry blossoms begin to bloom and baseball teams return home from Florida, you better believe spring is here to stay. 

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Apr 01 2010

Nothing’s gonna stop us now…

by at 12:47 pm

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Despite the dreary weather, 300 students from around the country arrived at Nationals Park in SE DC for the 2010 SEME Conference. Day one of two was kicked off by a panel from the NFLPA, which was followed by panels on industry trends and 2010 outlook, and the effect of the economic crisis. After a great breakout lunch session where attendees were able to mingle with 20+ sports executives, Glenn Chin the VP at EA Sports gave a thrilling presentation on global brand management.

Later in the afternoon was a panel on the changing role of news and social media. This is such a hot topic in the world today, not just in sports. Panel moderator, Joe Favorito, questioned the audience on their current internet usage. Almost the entire room claimed to be active on facebook and about half said they did not use twitter. Among those that are active on twitter, a good few raised their hand to say they were live tweeting from the event, myself included. If you asked many of us last year about twitter, we most likely would have said it would not last, but here we are and twitter has almost become mainstream media. This is where sports are headed; this is where the jobs are going to be.

Speaking of jobs, the final two panels of the day were all about how to get hired into the sports industry. It’s nothing we haven’t been told before but some key take-away were to be passionate, not just about sports but about the business of sports, show commitment and be engaged. You can’t just go still holds value, almost more important is work experience. In the sports industry, brands win, and your personal brand is the most important asset you have. Build it up and promote it well, and you’re headed to success.

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