Ted Yeschin – Wasserman Media Group
Wasserman Media Group is a huge entity in the sports industry. They cover over 1200 athletes and negotiate deals for commercials, marketing promotions, athlete appearances and endorsement deals. Wasserman is a global company with around 300 employees.
The class had the pleasure of Ted Yeschin, Senior Director of Business Development at Wasserman Media Group, as one of the week’s speakers. Mr. Yeschin has been very supportive of the sports program in previous years and the students always take away great insight into the sports industry after his candid presentations.
Mr. Yeschin has many responsibilities at the Wasserman Media group, but a big part of his role is endorsement deals and athlete appearances. Some of the athletes he works with are basketball, baseball, football, soccer players and even retired broadcast personnel.
Students kept the session interactive, asking various questions about the athlete-based company. Mr. Yeshin showed various clips on endorsement deals, commercials and marketing tactics that he has worked on showing the variety of his work and his creativity. He wrapped up his presentation with the quote,
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Every student hopes they leave UCLA a step closer to that dream!
Greg Issacs – National Football League
Wednesday, Greg Issacs, Vice President of Digital Media for the National Football League (NFL) spoke to our students about his position with the NFL which includes digital marketing, technology management and business intelligence.
Mr. Issacs joined the NFL after serving as VP and GM at AT&T Interactive. Prior to AT&T, Mr. Issacs was a product manager at Vantage Media and LeadPoint, two early stage digital marketing companies. He began his digital career at eBay where he was the Director of eBay’s Developers Program and was responsible for making eBay the largest and most innovative web services platform.
Mr. Issacs talked about growing the game internationally, including the NFL presenting three games in London this year. When a student asked if they planned to use current athletes in promotions to other countries, Mr. Issacs mentioned that Andrew Luck, of the Indianapolis Colts, filmed a commercial in German for the German fans. He also talked a lot about connectivity and keeping fans engaged all year round via media platforms. The students enjoyed hearing about how important digital media and marketing is to one of the largest sports leagues in the world – the NFL.
Luc Robitaille, Josh Veilleux, & James Cefaly – Los Angeles Kings
Coming in fresh off a second Stanley Cup win in three years, our students had the pleasure of speaking to a few of the top-level executives of the Los Angeles Kings. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Luc Robitaille, who is also the President of Business Operations and Alternative Governor talked to us about the difference of playing for a professional team and then transitioning to the business side of sports. The common theme amongst all three speakers was that in the last ten plus years, it has been amazing to see the change in the way the organization operates. They have worked hard to change the culture internally, but also gain fans, sponsorship and support from those living in Southern California.
Josh Veilleux, VP, Corporate Partnerships, talked a lot about how much sponsorship has changed over the years. Sponsorship went from just having the sponsor’s name on a board, to creating a story or hockey related and branded content that is appealing to fans. Examples you can see around Staples Center include Waste Management’s recycling videos with Kobe, Matt Greene and other athletes that play at Staples Center. Additionally, with the teams growing success, making the Western Conference Finals 3 years in a row, and winning two Stanley Cups in those three years, their offseason is shortened drastically. They have a tighter turn around between seasons to get renewed sponsorship deals and marketing plans set in motion for a new season.
Mr. Veilleux also mentioned how sponsorship is an ongoing learning process. The Kings organization continuously looks at other sports organizations both domestically and internationally to see how they can continue to grow sponsorship with new and innovative ideas.
Lastly, James Cefaly, Senior Director, Fan Development and Community Relations spoke about working in the local community to grow hockey and fans. The Los Angeles Kings partnered with CCM/Reebok and Hockey Monkey, and started a program called Lil’ Kings. This program allows boys and girls, ages 4-8, to learn the sport of ice hockey for the first time and received free equipment. These efforts are what helps the sport grow in California, along with the efforts of rival SoCal team, Anaheim Ducks. Both teams have worked hard to make hockey one of the premiere sports in a difficult California market.
Overall, the students were impressed with the speaker’s information about a successful sports team in the Los Angeles area. We are very thankful that Mr. Robitaille, Mr. Veilleux and Mr. Cefaly took the time to come in and speak to our sports business class where students were able to see the challenges some sports teams can face in diluted, busy sports markets.