Super-Agent Leigh Steinberg Speaks at UCLA Sports Business Program – July 30, 2012
For the second consecutive year, the world’s most famous sports agent, Leigh Steinberg, the man who pioneered the the sports management industry will be addressing the Sports Business Program at UCLA Anderson’s Center for MEMES. With an unrivaled history of record-setting contracts, Leigh has secured of dollars for his clients, and directed more than $600 million to various charities around the world. He has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, golf, etc., including the number one pick in the NFL draft for an unprecedented eight times in conjunction with over 60 first round entertainment around the world; he is routinely interviewed on national television and frequently quoted by major news organizations picks. A sports business guru, author, and sought after speaker, Leigh has lectured on the business of sports around the country. The program’s instructor Mark Francis says the program is excited to once again have Mr.Steinberg address the Sports Business Program.”We are always striving to expose our students to the best the sports industry has to offer and we’ve been blessed in this regard. Leigh was kind enough to join us last year and again this year and they get no bigger than him in the sports industry. He has seen and done it all and was the man who essentially created the Sports Agent business so it will be a great day today for all of us involved in the Sports Business Program here at UCLA.”
The UCLA Anderson school of Business’ Sports Marketing and Management program got a run down on the legality of the sports from former alum and current sports lawyer Michael Maciszewski as he was the class’ guest lecturer Wednesday July 27th. Maciszewski has an impressive education and work background in sports as he has earned his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, MBA from UCLA and finally his law degree from University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2010. His job experience in the sports industry includes working for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns of the NFL and the arena football Colorado Crush.
As the program focuses on the business side of sports, it was important for the class to see the legal aspects of the industry. Maciszewski started the lecture by laying the foundation for most of the legality in sports; contract law. The class was given the foundation of what goes into making and honoring a contract which set up Maciszewski’s next topic of discussion- Collective Bargaining Agreements and Various Licensing Agreements. The class learned the collective bargaining agreement is the most crucial agreement for any professional sports league because it establishes compensation structure and player entry requirements and rules, as well as play an important role in resolving disputes. Maciszewski also went into the details surrounding sponsorship and what legal obligations the athlete and the sponsor face, as well as the benefits of sponsorship. Another important legal sports topic Maciszewski explained to the class is the Uniform Athlete Agents Act. The act was broken down in regards to the stipulations for agents and student athletes once an athlete decides to sign with an agent. Another legal aspect Maciszewski taught the class was the right of publicity to athletes and the legal actions that can be taken against anyone who violates it. The last main topic the class got educated on was the many conflicts of interest that arise throughout sports.
Overall Michael presented the class with vital information about the law of sports that will be very beneficial to each student’s exploration of the business sides of sports.
The class was fortunate enough once again to take their learning experience of the sports world outside of the classroom and into an experience. On Tuesday, July 24th the business program got to apply their current discussions on the importance of fan experience to ticket sales and overall customer loyalty while being a fan themselves at the Galaxy game. The students were instructed to observe their own experience at the game from the minute they walked into the Home Depot Center. The atmosphere was fan-friendly and filled with anticipation for the game from the start and the match proved to be an entertaining game. The European futbol culture was alive and well in the American MLS stadium as fans from both teams rocked scarfs with their club emblem and their favorite player’s jersey. The stadium was open and decorated in half a dozen different ads lining around the score board- here the class could see how companies target consumers through sports. Besides pricy concessions from food, candy to beer, the overall experience was a fan favorite and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
On Monday July 23rd the class was pleasantly surprised to have our most animated guest speaker yet; Luis Goyanes.
Luis started out his career journey working for an international consulting firm until he decided he wanted to write a novel and quit. Que the confusion on the faces of most of the class as well as Luis’ first boss, but if Luis’ visit left any sort of impression it was to do what makes you happy and what you are passionate about regardless. As the novel itself did not pan out, his impulsive decision to leave his first job did. Although Goyances came from a background in sports, those sports were limited and did not involve the world favorite futbol. Yet somehow Luis found himself in the middle of the crazy but passionate world of European futbol, working for what is now one of the most famous futbol clubs in the world; FC Barcelona.
By today’s standards FC Barcelona is a thriving and popular sports brand and team. The current roster holds arguably the best player in the world and titles in both their Spanish league and the Champions league are plentiful. But the club has not always been held in such high regards. The team itself was facing a million dollar deficient in revenue and lacking any creditability globally when Goyanes first came to work for them. Although Luis lacked soccer knowledge in comparison to his peers, he proved to be the right man for the job.
Luis shared with the class just how he went about restructuring Barcelona almost entirely. Great change was needed to save this franchise and Goyanes stressed the importance of making the biggest changes in the first six months because “if you do not, the current policies begin to get too familiar and comfortable making you less likely to create the change needed in the first place”. To start implementing change Luis began firing people he found inadequate or unnecessary. Each change had to be managed and dealt with including the mentality that it was “all about winning”. Usually the main ideology behind any sports franchise is to win, but Goyanes realized winning wasn’t what was plaguing Barcelona, it was their lack of a recognizable brand.
As branding is one of the key elements, the class has preached in making it in the sports world, Goyanes’ visit was not only very entertaining due to his spirited personality but also very helpful in helping the class see just how important building a brand truly is. To go about changing Barca’s brand, Luis explained the politics involved when they finally landed their franchise star player; Ronaldinho. Goyanes went into to detail the bidding war that ensued between them and their rivals at Real Madrid. Barcelona strategically made public their interest in David Beckham only to entice Real to make him an offer and stay clear of their true target, Ronaldinho. Barcelona eventually got their star and their revenue starting to go up into a way of profit and out of debt. Changing out personnel and gaining star quality players are two main ways Goyanes turned the Barcelona club around and hearing how those great changes happened greatly benefited the class. As a student of this course I appreciated hearing first hand how smart management can turn a sports franchise around.
The sports business program got another great guest speaker to come visit this past Monday 7/16. Ted Yeschin is the director of athlete marketing for Wasserman Media Group. Wasserman was founded in 2002, and has become a global sports and entertainment company that focuses on athlete representation and consulting. The firm represents over 1000 athletes in over 20 sports and their clients include the New York Jets and the Big 12 Conference.
Yeschin’s position as the director of athlete marketing focuses on creating opportunities for Wasserman’s clients including paid appearances and endorsement. One of the athletes Yeschin works closely with is Russel Westbrook who is also a product of UCLA athletics. Yeschin explained all the different aspects that go into creating a lucrative deal for their client. Ted used a recent commercial Westbrook starred in, representing a local Oklahoma City bank. Yeschin took the class from the start of this project as he explained the first step through the commercial release. In Ted’s job he searches for outlets that he thinks will be a good fit for his client, as Westbrook is growing into superstar status, a bank located in the home of his team was a great match for both Russel and the bank. The class got to see the commercial (that only runs in Oklahoma) to see the final product of Yeschin’s leg work.
Yeschin also took time to answer several questions the students had about all different realms of the industry. He went into the difficulties or managing social media but also how vital it is to promote the brand of his clients. He also went into what exactly a sponsorship means to a client, an example of which was Westbrook’s wardrobe in the commercial- Russel is sponsored by Nike and because of that had to wear all Nike attire to avoid promoting another brand. Another detail to his attire was the jersey he wore had no affiliation with the Thunder or NBA for that matter because neither are involved in the relations between Russel and the bank.
Ted’s visit to the class gave great insight to what goes into representing a client and showed another outlet in the sports industry where sports marketing and managing knowledge is highly applicable.
Tons of celebrities packed the Nokia Live theater in Los Angeles, ranging from athletes to actors to musicians as the UCLA Business of Sports program went on their first experience day last week to ESPN’s annual awards show, the ESPYS. The award show, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary, is the perfect platform for the Anderson school of Business program because it embodies all that is the world of sports media. Using a tool normally found in the Music, Film or Television industries with sports helped showcase just how large of a commodity sports has become in the entertainment industry. One of the most prominent trends the program is studying is social media, and the ESPYS proved just how powerful social media has become. For the most anticipated award of the night, Best Team, ESPN had all the voting for this award come from twitter, telling the twitter universe to tweet their favorite candidate @ESPYS2012 #best team. The results left the Miami Heat the winners after over 5 millon votes were cast via twitter. The class had a wonderful time as they got to spend 2 and a half hours surrounded by all that is sports from best individual athletes to best game presented in a fast-paced entertainment setting that can be directly applied to material being covered in their classroom.
Binkow is the CMO of Golden Boy Promotions which is a sports firm that markets combat sports, with most of its focus on boxing. Golden Boy Promotions is one of boxing’s most active and respected promoters, presenting shows in packed venues around the United States and on networks such as HBO, Showtime and ESPN. They also present the monthly boxing series Fight Night Club in association with AEG.
After graduating from USC with his master’s in the entertainment business, Bruce entered into the world of marketing by working for Playboy and Management Plus Enterprises and branched into sports with becoming the CMO of the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. Eventually a combination of his marketing skills and connections in the sports i
ndustry lead him to begin managing athletes who had marketing ability outside their athletic talents. Binkow teamed up with Oscar De la Hoya and Golden Boy promotions was born.
Binkow’s visit to the class brought light to the struggles many face in the sports industry, more specifically the boxing industry. One of the many obstacles plaguing the sport is the complicated governing sanctions that coincide with the different belts fighters can win. Students from the program were able to voice their own challenges they find in being a fan of the sport without recognizing what different rules or titles mean. Bruce explained the different sanctions and the way promotion companies like Golden Boy are at tempting to make boxing less foreign to an American audience obsessed with team sports or leaning toward MMA and UFC for combat sports. One way Golden Boy is making way in improving the financial gain for the sport is through presenting live fights in movie theaters . Seeing a boxing match on the big screen helps present some of the passionate environment presented at an actual boxing match and means each individual viewer would purchase a ticket as oppose to one house purchasing the match on pay-per-view that 6-8 people would see. Bruce Binkow went on to discuss that the problems for Boxing may be easy to see but the solutions far more complicated but because of issues in the sporting industry, new ideas and creativity are being sought out by companies such as Golden Boy, leaving inspiration to a classroom full of hopefuls to one day be in the position Bruce is in.