BaAM: FAN EXPERIENCE 2.0: It’s Time to Get Connected

 

FAN EXPERIENCE 2.0: It’s Time to Get Connected

by Mark Francis

January 15, 2014

2014 is upon us and with it comes continued intensive discussion among stadium/team owners about what to do about the high fan demand for a comprehensive Wi-Fi solution in their respective venues. Currently, the vast majority of sports and entertainment venues both in North America and abroad do not provide Wi-Fi for their fans and it is having a negative effect on attendance and revenue.
 
Studies out of both the SEC and BIG 10 indicate that there is a direct link between declining attendance and the lack of stadium Wi-Fi while the NFL’s attendance figures have declined steadily since 2007. Even more alarming is that the most significant drop in sports attendance can be seen in the ever-important 18-24 demographic and primary research clearly indicates the lack of Stadium Wi-Fi as the major contributing factor.
 
While there are a number of additional factors that have contributed to these attendance issues, including the vastly improved quality of the home-viewing experience, the reality is that today’s fans are extremely tech savvy and want to be connected wherever they go. This desire translates to all of their activities, especially attending sporting events, and their inability to do so is having a significant negative impact on their fan experience, not to mention the revenue that the teams could potentially garner from them.
 
Sports fans in 2014 are arguably the most passionate group of brand ambassadors in any industry. They want to associate themselves with their favorite teams and share every unique experience about them that they can, yet the lack of stadium Wi-Fi actually prevents them from doing so. While Stadium/team owners are now starting to understand the need to address this important issue, they continue to look at the cost of doing so only as a hard cost. Why not look at it from a revenue and brand-building perspective?  A solution lies in the application of updated hardware and software that can quantify and qualify user activities. The reality is that an investment in stadium Wi-Fi hardware will allow stadium/team owners  to meet fans’ demand for the technology and simultaneously open a whole new range of revenue streams that are driven by their fans’ social interaction activities. And now, through the development of relevant software solutions, it’s possible to go beyond the traditional likes and impressions to leverage a fan base’s passion for their team(s) by tracking, incentivizing, measuring and monetizing all of their social activities while at the same time providing sports organizations with the ever-important marketing data on all of their fans.
 
In short, it is imperative that sports organizations continue to push the envelope when it comes to delivering on their fan experience promise and in 2014, this means responding to the fan’s demand to be connected. Doing so will enable sports organizations to provide a true 360 degree fan experience, leverage the immense level of passion fans have for their teams and drive significant new revenue and brand awareness for the respective organizations.
 
Do you think increased availability of Wi-Fi at sporting venues will improve the overall fan experience?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
 
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Advertising Sales Manager For The Sports Business Journal Mark Schwartz Speaks About The Sports Journalism Business

Mark Schwartz, Western Region Advertising Sales Manager for the Sports Business Journal, visited the MEMES program to give insight on the “Bible” of the sports business industry: The Sports Business Journal.

Professor Francis and Mark Schwartz

Professor Francis and Mark Schwartz, Western Region Advertising Sales Manager

With experience in the advertising sales team of the Sports Business Journal for over 10 years, Mr. Schwartz was incredibly knowledgable about the business decisions involved in sports journalism. Working with the Sports Business Journal, the Sports Business Daily, and Sports Business Global, he finds the right clients to partner with and to create the greatest exposure for partnering brands. He and his team at the Sports Business Journal also hold conferences and an award show throughout the year to help industry members network as well as to recognize the best in the industry.

Mr. Schwartz also spoke about the changing landscape of journalism. While many publications move from physical to digital distribution methods, the Sports Business Journal has seen strong retention and demand for their physical journal while seeing a steady increase in digital subscriptions as well. He was also able to field questions from students, with topics ranging from the specifics of advertising contracts, social media training in sports, ESPN and Fox Sports 1, and much more.

Mr. Schwartz was a fantastic guest, and the program was very honored to have a representative of the top publication in sports business come and speak.

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Super Agent Leigh Steinberg Talks Sports Agency

Leigh Steinberg, one of the most recognizable sports agents in the world, came in to speak with students about his experience as a sports agent and what he believes the future of sports and sports business is.

UCLA's Mark Francis and Sports Agent Leigh Steinberg

UCLA’s Mark Francis and Sports Agent Leigh Steinberg

Becoming a sports agent immediately after graduating from the University of California’s business school, Mr. Steinberg became the most recognizable and respected sports agent overnight with his representation of the future number one pick Steve Bartkowski. He then went on to start his own sports agency firm and represent a record 8 number 1 NFL draft picks, solidifying his status as one of the most influential and powerful people in sports business. Mr. Steinberg was able to share his story with his students and also his advice on how to be in the sports agency world, emphasizing the importance of students staying true to themselves and doing the right things.

Mr. Steinberg was also able to speak about his experiences in industries outside of sports. He has been incredibly active in philanthropy, raising hundreds of millions of dollars with his clients for charity and giving back to the community in many different ways. He is also working on the forefront of brain injuries in high contact sports, mostly in the NFL, and was able to explain to students the difficulties and issues present in contact sports and what needs to be done to change and protect players’ safety. Mr. Steinberg was also able to speak about his experience in the movie industry, most notably Jerry Maguire which was based off of his life and influenced by his expertise.

Having Mr. Steinberg in class to speak with students and answer their questions was an incredibly unique and educational experience, and the MEMES Institute sincerely appreciates Mr. Steinberg taking time out of his day.

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LA Lakers GM, Mitch Kupchak Talks NBA With UCLA’s Sports Business Program

LA Lakers GM, Mitch Kupchak and the Sports Business Students at UCLA's Center For MEMES

LA Lakers GM, Mitch Kupchak and the Sports Business Students at UCLA’s Center For MEMES

Mitch Kupchak, General Manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, came to the UCLA Anderson School of Management to speak with the Sports Business class about his career as an NBA player and his current role with the Lakers’ front office.

Following his incredibly successful career as a player, winning 3 NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, Mr. Kupchak received his MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School and transitioned into the front office of the Lakers. He spoke about what he believed it took to be a good General Manager of a major sports franchise, and what he believes are the advantages that the Lakers have as a franchise compared to other teams in the NBA.

Mr. Kupchak then went into the transition that occurred in the front office after the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss. While it has been a sad time for Mr. Kupchak and those involved with the Lakers, Dr. Buss’ beliefs and his passion for the game are still strong and at the forefront of the minds of all involved in the front office. They have not missed a beat since Dr. Buss’ passing, and they are still doing everything they can to keep the Lakers as a world-class franchise.

LA Lakers GM, Mitch Kupchak and UCLA's Mark Francis

LA Lakers GM, Mitch Kupchak and UCLA’s Mark Francis

After, he went in depth on how he and other teams look at constructing an NBA. He explained to the class the financial restraints of NBA franchises and how teams are becoming more risk averse and are focusing more and more on team management rather than overpaying for talent, from the repeaters tax, to max level contracts, to differing salary approaches. He also spoke about the use of technology in the front office and how rapidly things are changing. While analytics is an expression that can be overused at times, it is an important part of evaluating talent and is something that is definitely considered when looking at a player.

Mr. Kupchak was also able to speak about the spread of social media and its relationship with athletes, the evolution of sports media with the advancement of technology, D-League and NCAA player development in relation to the NBA, and much more. He was also able to field questions from the students in attendance, with topics including Mr. Kupchak’s personal motivation, his business relationships with top-tier players, and what franchises have done the best job during the current offseason.

With all of his experience and knowledge, Mr. Kupchak was an incredible guest speaker. It was an experience of a lifetime for students to have such access to one of the most high profile General Mangers in all of sports, and everyone at UCLA Anderson sincerely appreciated him taking time out of his day to speak to the program.

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Jay Onrait of Fox Sports 1 Talks Sports Broadcasting and Business

UCLA's Mark Francis and Jay Onrait of Fox Sports 1

UCLA’s Mark Francis and Jay Onrait of Fox Sports 1

Jay Onrait, former TSN SportsCentre (Canada) anchor and new anchor for the soon to launch Fox Sports 1 Network, visited the UCLA’s Center for MEMES to talk about his career in sports broadcasting and to give his advice on how to be successful in the sports industry.

With over 10 years of on-camera experience, Mr. Onrait gave students the rare chance to talk with one of the best in the sports broadcasting business about everything he has experienced. He was able to speak about his time with SportsCentre and how the show has grown and evolved, how his personality on the show is just an extension of his personality in real life, what his goals are when he goes on air, and much more. Mr. Onrait was also able to talk about his transition from TSN to Fox Sports 1, and shared how excited he is to start a new show for a wider audience, but with the same humor and passion he brought to SportsCentre.

Mr. Onrait was also incredibly open with students, giving them advice on how to be successful in sports broadcasting. Being willing to move wherever the best jobs are was a major piece of guidance he gave to students, encouraging them to be open to going new places. He also advised students to volunteer as much as possible, to be prepared to hear the word “no” a lot, to write and read as much as possible, and to just be themselves regardless of what others tell them.

Overall, Mr. Onrait was an incredibly entertaining and knowledgeable guest, and it was an absolute pleasure to have him in class. We wish him the best as he moves forward with Fox Sports 1, and look forward to his debut on Fox Sports 1 on August 17th.

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Ted Yeschin, Senior Director Of Business Development For Wasserman, Teaches Students How To Drive Revenue Generating Opportunities

Ted Yeschin, Senior Director of Business Development for Wasserman, recently shared with the Sports Marketing and Management students his experience and knowledge in team ticket sales, player endorsement, sponsorship and corporate partnership, and much more involving the sports business industry.

UCLA's Mark Francis and Ted Yeschin, Senior Director of Business Development for Wasserman

UCLA’s Mark Francis and Ted Yeschin, Senior Director of Business Development for Wasserman

With a background in ticket sales and corporate partnerships with the Los Angeles Avengers, Mr. Yeschin has been working for Wasserman for the past 9 years in various capacities. He currently creates revenue generating opportunities for his athlete clients as well as creates corporate partners for properties that Wasserman represents. With a stable of athletes such as Russell Westbrook, Andrew Luck, and Alex Morgan, Mr. Yeschin finds the perfect endorsement deals for every client to maximize their exposure and involvement in the sports they participate in, whether it be on a local, national, or international stage, while always keeping in mind what the athlete stands for and believes in.

As well as sharing his expertise in creating revenue generating opportunities for his clients, Mr. Yeschin also spoke with the class about his advice for getting in to the competitive industry of sports business. He spoke about the importance of sports in our culture, something that “has always mattered” throughout time. And how even with the technology we have today, sports is something to watch live (“No one TiVos the Super Bowl”). Students got advice on how to network with others and how to effectively use these networks, as well as suggestions on where to look for a first job in the sports business world, and left class with a much better grasp of how to get in to the industry and then how to stay there.

Mr. Yeschin was incredibly helpful and insightful for the students, and it was an absolute pleasure to have him visit the Sports Marketing and Management program to share his extensive knowledge with the class.

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Students Hit The Red Carpet At The 2013 ESPYS

For their second Experience Day of the summer, MEMES students traveled to the Nokia Theater in Downtown Los Angeles to attend the 2013 ESPY Awards.

ESPYS 1Dressed in their best, students were able to experience the ESPYS first hand, seeing some of the most talented and influential athletes in the world rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s elite, all up close and in person. Hosted by Mad Men’s John Hamm, the entire night was filled with fun and entertainment, as well as more poignant and moving moments with the presentations of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. For students it was a rare opportunity to be watching the premier sports awards show in the world live and as it happened, all courtesy of the UCLA Anderson MEMES Institute. And although not everyone in the group was too happy with The Miami Heat winning almost every category they were nominated for, they all had an incredible time at the 2013 ESPY Awards.

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