Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLB Opening Day

You've gotten our previews of playoff contenders and award front-runners, but you've yet to hear our take on how the business of baseball should fare in 2011. This afternoon at approximately 1:05, the Braves, Nationals, Tigers and Yankees will kick off what is certain to be a successful season in Major League Baseball. 

From a ticket sales perspective, a recent article in SportsBusiness Journal highlighted the league's projected increase in ticket sales. According to the article, "this year's (ticket sales) total will likely fall somewhere between 75 million and 78 million, an increase of 3 percent to 7 percent." How much of this can be attributed to a recovered economy, and how much can be chalked up to initiatives from teams to drive up interest? In addition, how will the prospect of an NFL lockout impact late season ticket sales?

One way teams are trying to increase the fan experience in 2011 is through technology. Fans at ballparks across the country, including Citizens Bank Park in South Philly, will be able to use their smartphones to order food right from their seat at the ballpark. The food will then be delivered directly to their seat. 

Teams that were forced to think outside the box to generate revenue during the recent down years seem to be continuing to do so as ticket sales and revenues rebound. The Chicago Cubs, for example, have launched a "Newborn Fan Club" that offers benefits and merchandise for the youngest of fans. 

The MLB is evolving in many different ways, and their CBA expires after this season. How do you see the MLB changing and where do you think it still needs to improve? Oh, and be sure to enjoy today's first set of ballgames!

-Written by Dan Mullin

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Preparation



For a successful professional athlete, there is no such thing as being a “natural”. Everything they have accomplished is due to their training, hard work, and consistent desire to improve.

Ray Allen, who has had a slight form of OCD since he was a kid, goes through the same, meticulous routine before each game. He begins his preparation for a night game by taking a nap from 11:30 am to 1 pm. At 2:30, he enjoys a meal of chicken and rice. He then enters the gym at 3:45 to begin stretching. He shaves his head right before he walks out onto the court at precisely 4:30 pm, and then proceeds to take shots from the baseline, elbow, and top of the key. Although some of these tasks may seem silly or pointless, they have allowed him to become the all-time leader in 3-point field goals in the history of the NBA.

For a 5’7” 180 pound second basemen, Dustin Pedroia is used to being told he isn’t good enough. Throughout his life, and playing career he was typically much smaller than everybody else. However, he makes up for it with his tenacity and heart. He approaches every at bat, and every pitch with the mentality that he is going to hit the ball as hard as he possibly can. He puts all his weight and body into his swing to generate more power, and ultimately it pays off. On defense, he may not have the longest legs or arms to get to every ball, but he always dives to try to prevent even the hardest hit ball from getting through the infield. If you ever watch him play, you may notice his uniform doesn’t stay clean for very long.

You can’t become a four-time MVP, 11 time Pro Bowl Selection, Super Bowl champion and MVP, and all-time leader for your team in touchdowns, passing yards, completions, and wins overnight. Many fellow professional athletes, hall of famers, college students, and even pee wee football players dream of attaining just one of these feats, and yet Peyton Manning has them all (and many more). His rigorous off-season training plan is just one aspect of his preparation. He performs a daily schedule that balances work on his Core, Flexibility, Agility, and Strength. In addition to personal preparation, he also works with his receivers constantly. He performs repeated reps of different routes until they are performed perfectly, and the football doesn’t touch the ground. One of the most noticeable traits Manning has is his mental capacity. Even during a game, he is going over plays with coaches and receivers, and deciding what sequences to use for the next series.


Written by
Hayley Zedeck

image via dgaphotoshop.com

2011 MLB Preview and Predictions: Division Champs Edition

National League East – Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite to win the National League East title in 2011. They have had their share of injuries already with starting right fielder Domonic Brown and All-Star second baseman Chase Utley both to miss Opening Day, but the ever-creative Ruben Amaro will likely find a way to fill those voids. The Phillies have a dominant pitching staff that could have a historic season. What the Phillies lack is depth off the bench. If the injury bug continues to bite, then a young and talented Atlanta Braves team could sneak in and steal the division. Expect the Philadelphia Phillies to win the NL East and contend for the National League pennant.

National League Central – Milwaukee Brewers

The National League Central is one of the toughest divisions to pick in 2011. The Milwaukee Brewers have had a good offense for a few years now, but now they have the pitching to go along with it. The addition of former American League standouts Zach Greinke and Shawn Marcum teaming up with Yovani Gallardo makes a talented 1-2-3 combination. The Brewers will likely fight it out with the St. Louis Cardinals until late September. Had I written this prior to Adam Wainwright’s Tommy John surgery, I would have taken the Cardinals. The Brewers and Cardinals will see some good competition from both the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds, but the Reds will have a tough time repeating last year’s magic and the Cubs don’t seem ready quite yet. The Milwaukee Brewers will take the NL Central in 2011.

National League West – San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants are returning all their main pieces from their 2010 World Series championship and will win the National League West in 2011. The Giants have quite a mix of veteran leadership and young talent; their main question being whether all of the veterans will be able to make it through another full season. Both Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval had down years in 2010 according to their standards and will look to bounce back strong in 2011. The Giants will see stiff competition from both the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies have the best of challenging the Giants for the division with a strong offense and a likely Cy Young contending pitcher in Ubaldo Jimenez. The San Francisco Giants won’t be feeling the effects of the dreaded World Series hangover and will win the NL West in 2011.

National League Wildcard – St. Louis Cardinals

The National League Wildcard will be a race to watch coming down the stretch in 2011. Each division has multiple contenders, but not everyone can make it. From the NL East expect the Atlanta Braves to be in contention for the Wildcard led by a young offense and a good looking pitching staff. The NL Central will have the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, and the Chicago Cubs in the running. A strong Colorado Rockies team and a Los Angeles Dodgers team coming off a disappointing offseason will be in the running from the West. I think the NL Wildcard race will ultimately come down to the Braves, Cardinals, and Rockies. I believe in the magic that pitching coach Dave Duncan can work, so I expect the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League Wildcard.

American League East – Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox will have one of, if not, the best offenses in Major League Baseball. The additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford add dangerous amounts of contact, power, and speed. The biggest question for the Red Sox is their starting rotation. Though filled with big names, Beckett, Dice-K, and Lackey all seem to have peaked and now are in their decline. The biggest competition the Red Sox will face is from the New York Yankees. If the Yankees can figure out the back end of their rotation, then they will be a dangerous team. Look for the Boston Red Sox to beat out the Yankees and the rest of the AL East to win the division in 2011.

American League Central – Detroit Tigers

Similar to the National League Central, the central division in the American League is up for grabs too. The Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Minnesota Twins all have legitimate chances to win the division. The Detroit Tigers have both a major Cy Young contender in Justin Verlander leading their rotation and an MVP front runner in Miguel Cabrera leading their offense. The Tigers have some young talent on offense which includes Austin Jackson. The key to winning the division may be starting pitcher Rick Porcello. If he can return to the pitcher we saw when he was a rookie in 2009, then their rotation could be very good. The Detroit Tigers will see big competition from the Chicago White Sox but should hold them off and win the American League Central in 2011.

American League West – Texas Rangers

The reigning World Series runner-up had an interesting offseason leading up to the 2011 season. The offseason included losing Cliff Lee in a bidding war, angering Michael Young, and overpaying Adrian Beltre to play third base. The Rangers are relying on a relatively young pitching staff, which may include sophomore sensation Neftali Feliz transitioning from the closer role to a full time starter. The offense is lead by Josh Hamilton, who looks to build on his impressive 2010 MVP campaign. The Rangers will see stiff competition from the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Angels. The Texas Rangers should be able to hold off the scrappy A’s team to win the American League West in 2011.

American League Wildcard – New York Yankees

The American League Wildcard is a bit jumbled with the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and possibly an up-and-coming Baltimore Orioles team from the east; Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins for the central; and the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels from the west. The Chicago White Sox will give the Yankees the hardest time with their big veteran presence. The New York Yankees are in the playoff picture year in and year out and will be a tough team to beat in the AL Wildcard this season, so look for them to win it in 2011.

-Written by Kevin Rossi

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Freakish Four

This is may be the craziest Final Four I’ve seen in my life.
In all honesty, I started following college basketball closely in 2005. As a kid, it was always on (thus the life of a child with two Kentucky Wildcats basketball fan parents), so I was always kind of aware. But in ’05, after attending the Wisconsin-North Carolina Elite Eight game at the Carrier Dome, then going back to my uncle’s house to see the drama of the Kentucky-Michigan State game unfold (Patrick Sparks shot was a 3 at the end of regulation. Refs got it right), I was hooked.
The next year, I can proudly say my 2006 DC Regional was perfect: the winner of the first round George Mason-Michigan State game went to the Final Four. I just had MSU the year Mason put the CAA on the map. Every other game was correct: don’t judge me.
This year, we have four teams few probably would have picked midseason to be here. My Kentucky Wildcats struggled on the road, and were lead by a bevy of freshmen. Kemba Walker and the UConn Huskies struggled through the Big (L)East. VCU was another anonymous CAA squad (not to this guy. Freaking Joey Rodriguez.), and NO ONE thought Butler could make it back.
We were wrong.
UConn and Kentucky got super hot late, going on to win their conference tournaments with a gusto. Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker have been monsters. Those two squads will face off for the second time this year—these teams faced off at the Maui Invitational Finals, where the names to know where Kemba Walker and Terrence Jones. Jones has settled back to a human level as the season has closed, while Kemba’s a likely Player of the Year recipient. This is a must-see game.
On the other side, two “mid-majors” will face off. People tell me Butler proved they belonged last year, when they went to the National Championship. I don’t remember this: last game of the season I remember was West Virginia making the Final Four. I didn’t think there was a championship game. In any case, no one expected this team to make it back to the Final Four with lottery pick Gordon Hayward off in the NBA. Somehow, they did, out-Old Dominioning the Monarchs as well as the Pitt Panthers.
Then you have VCU, a team I despise. Granted, working two Drexel-VCU games this year, and yelling at the officiating during the third can do that. No one thought they should have made it in the tournament: Many had them out in the First Four against USC. Joey Rodriguez, Jamie Skeen, and Brandon Rozzell thought differently. The VCU-Butler game will be another classic, with two of the games hottest young coaches. 
All in all, I can't wait for this Final Four to start. Sadly, looks like I might have to skip some stuff in hopes of catching the games.

Ryan Pratt is a sophomore Sport Management major who currently serves as the Secretary for Drexel’s Sport Management Student Union. After a year with the  Drexel Men’s Basketball team, he’ll be working this spring in UPenn’s Sport Information department. Originally from Columbus, OH, he’s a huge college basketball, college football, and hockey fan. To contact Ryan, you can follow him on Twitter (@ThePrattStrikes)

Monday, March 28, 2011

HIO: The NFL Labor Dispute and the Price of a Life


Shifting away from formatting HIO editions as letters, on the docket this week is the NFL labor dispute and current lockout.

If you are unfamiliar with the bitter dispute, remember the days of sitting in your boring high school history class when your teacher rambled incessantly about labor disputes during the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the United States. You know, the Homestead Strike, the Pullman Strike, Terrance Powderly and the Knights of Labor, etc. Okay so none of those strikes or names probably ring-a-bell, but hopefully that made you reminisce about those old high school days.

Anyway, the NFL labor dispute is no different from any other labor scuffle. In this case, the NFL is the organization/business and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is the labor union representing the players themselves. Both the NFL and NFLPA have an agreement, called the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which contracts the players to work in the league.

As of early March 2011, the CBA between the NFL and the NFLPA expired. Unable to come to an agreement on a new CBA, the NFL locked out the players and the NFLPA decertified as a union. At this point, the future of professional football and the league is in the hands of a judge.

Among the issues both parties are at arms over include expanding the regular season schedule from 16 games to 18 games, retired player medical coverage, and dividing a $9 billion chunk of revenue.

While NFL players make millions, at the end of the day they are people like you and me. If you had the ability to play professional football and make tons of money, you would certainly jump at the opportunity. According to a January 2011 Businessweek report, the median NFL player salary is $770,000. That is a NICE chunk of change.

While I understand the motives of both parties, the players are still human. Many of them have families to support. That said, why wouldn't the NFL and its teams agree to pay the players more if they would like to expand the regular season? Shouldn't they also increase the medical coverage for retired players as well?

Apart from being unable to divide $9 billion, the primary issue is player safety. With a current 16 game schedule, the number of concussions has risen dramatically over just the last few seasons. If the league wants to shorten the preseason and add two games to the regular season, common sense says you have to pay players more, yes?

So that brings me to the ultimate question: What is the price of a life? Football is a dangerous sport, serious injuries occur almost weekly.

In an article from The Notion, the wife of NFL linebacker Scott Fujita explains her family's struggles as the supporting cast of an NFL player in a letter titled "Wish of an NFL Wife." In exerts from her letter, Jaclyn Fujita first touches on her husband's brush with death from injury and the need for better medical coverage:

"And here [the NFL is], simply asking the men who profit from their work, to please look after their health, as they should have done throughout their career. They ask this so that someday, the young boy who chooses this path knows he will be protected the way he deserves. So his mother, wife, or child will know that even though that hit looks awful, there is someone on the sideline with his best interests at heart. So future NFL wives who watch their husbands unable to get out of a chair on a Tuesday, yet still strap it come Sunday, will be taken care of. So the man who is sacrificing his body and mind for the thrill of the game can be confident that his work will not go unnoticed. He will not be forgotten. He will not go unprotected. He will have earned the right to be taken care of for life. He will be kept safe from his damaged body and mind. For it was those bodies and minds of fifty-three men on thirty-two teams who every year generate billions of dollars for this industry. They deserve to be cared about."
"My husband could have lost his life to a staph infection. His NFL doctors and trainers were heating/icing/stemming his knee for a bursa-sac rupture and ignoring all the major signs of infection, while his body was screaming that something else must be wrong. He ended up in an emergency operation weeks after symptoms began. Following five nights in hospital isolation and many weeks beating back the infection, he was ready to play for the city we love and a team we built our life around. He would help them win the coveted Super Bowl Championship. Less than a month later he would be gone, feeling completely expendable and replaceable as if his blood, sweat and tears did not matter."
So, what is the price of a life? Think the NFL should give-in and provide more money to players and increase medical coverage? Should the players really be complaining about two more games of pay when they already make far more than any of us (almost 10 times that of the average household income)? Share your thoughts below.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Kevin Giordano is a sophomore Sport Management major at Drexel University, with industry experience working in men's and women's professional soccer and collegiate athletics. To contact or connect with Kevin, you can follow him on Twitter (@KevinGiordano) or connect with him here on LinkedIn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MLS Week 1- Great Success!


The 2011 MLS Season is underway, and what a start it was. Here are some snippets from what is already being called the best opening week in MLS history:

- Charlie Davies, the once-promising forward for the USA National Team, made his first-team debut since the car crash that killed the driver of his car and came close to doing the same for Charlie. In the emotional game, Charlie scored 2 goals for DC United. I don't care what team you root for in the MLS, we're all rooting for Charlie Davies. 

- The Philadelphia Union won their first game of the season 1-0, beating the Houston Dynamo by virtue of an early goal by their talisman Danny Califf. New 'keeper Faryd Mondragon posted his first of many shutouts to come.

- The Portland Timbers, one of two expansion teams this season, failed to make a big impression on the pitch, losing 4-1 to Colorado. However, I've already been impressed by their intense fan base, bitter rivalry with Seattle, and some clever marketing.

- The other expansion franchise, the Vancouver Whitecaps, opened up their MLS history by beating up on their Canadian rivals Toronto FC 4-2. 

- Oh yeah, and there's that guy on trial with Sporting KC, he goes by Ochocinco or something. Heard of him?

To think, there was that much action this weekend and I didn't even mention the Galaxy or Red Bull. Looks like this is turning into a league we're going to be able to rely on for some sweet rivalries and an ever-improving brand of soccer. I'm looking forward to the coming season, but I shouldn't look past this weekend's home opener at PPL Park. Come On, The U!

Image: Huffington Post

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rossi, Zedeck Join SMTSU Leadership



Kevin Rossi                        Hayley Zedeck
General Understudy            Director of Marketing

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Sport Management Student Union (SMTSU) at Drexel University announced today two new additions to organizational leadership. Joining the current group of student officers for spring term are Kevin Rossi, as General Understudy, and Hayley Zedeck, as Director of Marketing. Both are freshmen in the program with the drive and motivation the organization looks for when reviewing candidates for officer positions.

As General Understudy, Kevin Rossi is responsible for assisting other officers with their overall duties and responsibilities. In this role, Kevin will gain experience assisting each area and department within the organization. A Pennsylvania native, Kevin has industry experience working as a Sales Associate at Double Eagle Golf and as the Tee Ball Coordinator for Morrisville Little League in Morrisville, PA. 

As Director of Marketing, Hayley Zedeck is tasked with increasing membership, controlling the overall message and brand of the organization, and implementing innovative marketing programs and strategies. Originally from New Hampshire, Hayley has industry experience working in minor league baseball with the American Defenders. A former two-sport high school varsity athlete, she is also very involved on campus. Specifically, Hayley serves as the Assistant Athletic Chair for her sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha, and is a Team Manager for Drexel Women’s Softball.

SMTSU President, Kevin Giordano, took time to comment on the news. “As two of our most active members, both Kevin and Hayley have proven their dedication to the organization and it makes sense for them to join our team of officers. They possess outstanding leadership qualities and have real-world industry experience. I am excited to have them aboard and look forward to working closely with them in the time ahead.”

The General Understudy and Director of Marketing positions are new roles within organizational leadership. Kevin and Hayley join seven others at the officer level and will serve a 6-month term.  Their positions, like all officer positions, will be up for election again in the fall.

Established in early 2011, the Sport Management Student Union (SMTSU) at Drexel University operates as the only student organization operating under the Sport Management Program at Drexel. For SMTSU inquiries, please email drexelSMTSU@gmail.com.

-SMTSU-

NCAA TV Spot

We would tell you to take a little break from watching college hoops today to get outside and have some exercise, but with the weather as it is, why don't you stay inside and watch this short TV ad by the NCAA explaining where their TV and marketing rights fees go.

A couple thoughts on this- obviously the NCAA feels the need to explain something because of its growing reputation as a money-making machine and its lack of transparency on the business side. Does this simple commercial have you convinced? Secondly, watching this without thinking too much about it might lead the viewer to believe that it's the NCAA that provides $2 billion annually in financial aid, while it is really the NCAA member colleges that do. A little slight of hand on the NCAA's part, and they sound like a clean, good will oriented organization.

We'd love to hear some of your thoughts on this.

HIO: The High School Coaching Imbalance

Friends,

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), there are 7.6 million high school sport participants in the United States. More than half, 55.1%, of high school students participate in high school sports, per NFHS 2009-2010 data.

These high school sport participation statistics are even more staggering when compared to participation numbers within collegiate athletics. According to a February 2010 NCAA Student-Athlete Ethnicity Report, there is an estimated 420,000 NCAA student-athletes accross all three divisions. That means there about 18 times more high school athletes than there are college athletes in this country.

While this discrepancy is understandable, as there are more high schools than colleges in the United States, the numbers are still quote shocking.  This means coaches at the high school level have more of am impact on American youth in society, compared to their college counterparts.

It is also worth noting high school coaches are less trained compared to college coaches. High school coaches are typically educators who happen to either have played the given sport they coach or have some form of athletic experience.

Remember those high school days? There was a time when a handful of educators, typically physical education teachers, dueled as coaches of high school sports teams. More often than not, the fall soccer coach also coached the volleyball team in the winter and the lacrosse team in the spring. I think you get the point.

Taking all of this information into account, it is clear high school coaches have a much larger impact on our youth than college coaches, but are also highly less qualified.

Being this piece is one entirely focused on social commentary, I neither have a solution to this imbalance, nor am I convinced a change is needed. The point of this week's edition of HIO, is that as a society, we allow less-qualified individuals to coach the largest population of individuals. Heck, if coaches at the professional level, like Vince Lombardi or Pat Riley, really enjoyed coaching the lessons and skills of their given sport, why didn't they focus on coaching at the youth hand high school levels? They would have had an impact on more individuals.

Now, please do not think I am attempting to knock high school coaches or coaches in general. Truthfully, the coaches I had throughout my high school soccer career were U.S. Soccer and United States Soccer Federation (USSF) certified. Our head coach had the necessary certification required to coach the U.S. National Team. In addition, one of my brothers is a high school social studies teacher and a high school assistant girls soccer coach. In fact, I still consider coaching as a possible career path and have a small amount of experience in it.

Ironically, my bit of coaching experience has been in the youth and high school level. An inexperienced coach, that is where I stared coaching. Perhaps it is just the way things are. Maybe the imbalance will never change. 

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Yours in Sport,
Kevin F. Giordano

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kevin Giordano is a sophomore Sport Management major, with experience working in women’s and men’s professional soccer and collegiate athletics. To contact or connect with Kevin, follow him on Twitter (@KevinGiordano).

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Silver Lining to the NFL Lockout

Billionaires versus Millionaires.  That’s the fight we’ve all familiarized ourselves with in the last few months regarding the NFL labor dispute.  Stories have been written about which side is right, which side is wrong, who a lockout will impact, and how long it will last.  Sports radio hosts and newspaper writers alike have pointed out that the little man is really the one that suffers.  It impacts the bar owner who relies on revenue generated from NFL Sundays to run his business.  It impacts the food or beverage vendor who works part-time at the stadium during the NFL season to make ends meet.  It even impacts the dad who wants to watch NFL football with his son or daughter.  It isn’t just about the owners and the players.  It is about the consumers!
Oddly enough, such an awful experience that is the “NFL lockout” has impacted Drexel Cooperative Education in a positive way.  Much has been detailed about how NFL teams are downsizing, cutting salaries, and implementing furloughs.  The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, among many others, have already taken such action assuming and planning for the worst.  Heck, even the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell cut his salary to $1. 
Locally, the Philadelphia Eagles shifted course and made a major adjustment as it pertains to their internship and Co-op program.  Historically, the Eagles have hired 6-10 Co-ops per year.  These included Mascot and Marketing, Human Resources, Ticket Operations and Services, and Premium Services.  Aside from Co-op, the Eagles previously hired recent graduates for full-time, paid internships in most of their other departments from other colleges.  Due to the lockout however, these internships were eliminated and the number of Co-op jobs jumped significantly.  In the B round alone (for Spring/Summer Co-op), six new positions were posted including Stadium Operations, Corporate Services, Marketing, Guest Services, Client Services and Event Services.  No added pressure (J) to these students but they have the opportunity to set the bar high and make the Eagles realize why hiring Drexel Co-op students is to their benefit.  If they succeed, they have the opportunity to change the course of the Eagles hiring patterns even after the lockout ends.  In the meantime, we’ll certainly take the positive consequence of an otherwise negative situation.
-Written by Mark Gress, Employer Relations Coordinator for Sport Management students 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Impact of Making the NCAA Tournament


College athletics is big business. Football and both men’s and women’s basketball bring in money for the NCAA, athletic conferences, and schools year after year with their lucrative broadcast contracts.  Now that it is time for NCAA March Madness, schools will be looking to cash in on their opportunities.  Of course just making the tournament can benefit a school, but how much does the Cinderella team making a deep run in the tournament really benefit financially?
Cornell Athletics saw a financial impact after their 2010 Sweet Sixteen run in the NCAA tournament, citing three areas of increase.  The first was in alumni donations and gifts.  After setting a record for donations to the athletic department in 2009, the Big Red beat that record in 2010.  The second area of increase was in ticket sales.  More students and more college basketball fans in general were attending Cornell basketball games in 2010 because they were seen as a legitimate contender.  The final area that felt the financial impact of the 2010 NCAA tournament appearance was merchandise (cornellsun.com).  The better the team performed, the more people wanted to be associated with the Cornell Big Red athletic brand.  Cornell is no longer seen as solely an academic Ivy League school, it is now seen also as a contender in almost all Ivy League sports.
Who could forget about little-known George Mason University and their 2006 Final Four run?  Sure the run was magical, but how did it benefit the school as a whole?  The year after their Final Four appearance, the George Mason Patriots saw a 20% increase in applications and the number of prospective student campus tours has almost tripled.  The school also recorded increases in alumni relations.  Registered alumni increased by over 50% and a 25% increase in active alumni.  Perhaps the biggest impact was on fundraising.  George Mason received almost $4 million more in gifts in 2007 and donations specifically for the athletic department went up 25% (eagle.gmu.edu).  George Mason is the modern day Cinderella story and clear proof that a magical Final Four run in the NCAA tournament can produce big money for the school in general and not just the athletic department. 
With the tournament field set for the 2011 NCAA tournament and games set to kick off on Tuesday, there looks to be a few promising underdog teams.  It will be interesting to see if a team can make a Cornell or George Mason type run and feel the same kind of school-wide financial impact.
-Written by Kevin Rossi

One and Done


Every year in the NCAA Tournament we experience a few teams who fail to reach their potential. A team seeded relatively high always gets upset in the first couple rounds. Last year, the Kansas Jayhawks fell short of the championship hopes with a loss to Northern Iowa in second round of action. This year there are a couple match-ups in particular that may encounter an upset.

#5 Vanderbilt vs. #12 Richmond:
This will be one of the best matchups to tune into for the second round of the 2011 NCAA March Madness. A struggling tournament team in Vanderbilt is forced to take on the recent Atlantic-10 conference champion Richmond Spiders. The Commodores have had a difficult time in their two previous tournament appearances, losing last year to Murray State, and in 2008 falling to Siena. Both of those were 4-13 match-ups, and against teams that had also just won their respective conferences.  Vanderbilt might have a better all around basketball team, but can they finally overcome the weight and pressure of the Big Dance and defeat the Spiders?

#6 St. John’s vs. #11Gonzaga:
St. John’s has proved that they can beat teams that are more talented, and better on paper, this season in the Big East. However, with the loss of their playmaker and top rebounder, DJ Kennedy, it is unlikely they’ll be able to cruise by Gonzaga in this second round face-off. The ‘Zags have won the last 8 consecutive games, including the WCC Championship. With the leadership and experience of Steven Gray and Robert Sacre, also the teams leaders in points, assists, rebounds, and blocks, they have an advantage over the Red Storm players that are in the tournament for the first time.

written by: Hayley Zedeck


image via breitbart.com

Monday, March 14, 2011

HIO: State of the (Student) Union


The Sport Management Student Union (SMTSU) at Drexel University has been in existence for 73 days, or almost 11 weeks, or almost one complete academic term.

Over the course of a term, the organization has successfully established a stable foundation for future growth. Specifically, this term we held bi-weekly meetings, staged a large event, and launched a blog.

The goal of meetings is to hit at least one element of our four-pronged approach (sports industry education, networking, and professional and personal development).

Our large event of the term brought my love for working in sports full-circle.  Having spend three seasons with Sky Blue Women's Soccer, holding an evening involving Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) was an excellent venture. Mike Milich, Senior Director of Sales at Sky Blue FC, educated attendees on the pros of working in a smaller organization and offered his advice for working in the industry. 

This blog has also been an excellent initiative for us. Run by our Communications Department, consisting of a Director of Communicaions and a Manager of Communications, we have surpassed 2,000+ hits in the month-and-a-half "The Sports Complex" has been in existence. Thanks to you, the readers, for making this happen. We have bolder ambitions for the blog in the future, so please continue to read and suggest it to your friends!   

As an organization, we can only go up from here. As membership grows and word spreads, we will attempt to perfect and introduce new initiatives. For next term, expect bigger and better meetings, events, and ventures.

Organizational leadership will also grow next term with the introduction of the Director of Marketing officer position. This will task an officer with managing, implementing, and controling our organizational message and brand. 

During the Spring we also anticipate launching the Sports Industry Ambassadors Program, where we will go into local Philadelphia high schools to educate students about working in sports as a possible career choice. This will hopefully provide benefit to all students, especially those not on-track to graduate. We hope the benefits and "sexiness" of working in sports serves as a motivational tool for students to perform well in their classes. We have been in contact with a few schools in the area and expect to launch this new program shortly, with the goal of increasing it in size and scope come the Fall. 

With a base established from this past term, expect bigger and better from us moving forward.

Thank you again for your continued support!

Yours in Sport,
Kevin F. Giordano

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Kevin Giordano is a sophomore Sport Management major, with experience working in women’s and men’s professional soccer and collegiate athletics. To contact or connect with Kevin, follow him on Twitter (@KevinGiordano).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marathon Man

For some, the incredible story of Stefaan Engels might make you feel unaccomplished. However, watch this video of the "Marathon Man" running a marathon every day for a year and use it as inspiration for yourself. Think of the unbelievable things that a single person is capable of accomplishing and the heights that you yourself are capable of reaching. I hope this helps give you a little extra push, especially for those Drexel students headed into finals week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Aftermath in Japan

The world woke up this morning to devastating news from Japan: the country is reeling after facing an earthquake and a tsunami.  The initial earthquake, though offshore, was the largest in Japan’s history registering a magnitude of 8.9 on the Richter scale.  Many cities along the Japanese coastline, including Tokyo, felt the earthquake.  The earthquake triggered many aftershocks, with some registering a magnitude of more than 6.0 on the Richter scale.  The aftershocks were the least of their worries, considering the earthquake triggered a tsunami.  The tsunami was reportedly a 23 foot wave of water when it made its way ashore. 
In addition to having worldwide impact, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan directly impacts the world of sports as well.  Ryo Ishikawa, a native of Japan, is one stroke behind leader Hunter Mahan at this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in Florida.  Ishikawa, only 19 years old, was thankfully able to contact his parents through e-mail but does admit the catastrophe will be a big distraction. 
There are currently a dozen Japanese born players in Major League Baseball.  Takashi Saito of the Milwaukee Brewers announced that he will take time away from his preparation for the upcoming season to be with family in Japan.  There are also reports that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda is worried about his family and may take some time off, similar to Saito.  It will be interesting to see what other Japanese born players, most notably Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui, do in wake of this national disaster.
Remember that the tragedy in Japan affects the world as a whole along with the world of sports.  Everybody should keep not only the athletes but all of the people of Japan in their prayers in the near future.
-Written by Kevin Rossi

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blog Spotlight: Beerleaguer

If you're a die-hard Phillies fan like many of our Drexel readers are, one blog that is an absolute necessity is Beerleaguer.com. Run by the eloquent Jason Weitzel, Beerleaguer is the gold standard for how a blog should be run- a simple and attractive layout, consistent and well-written posting, in-depth analysis, and reader interaction. Aside from the succinct daily nuggets delivered by Weitzel, Beerleaguer is home to one of the most established and knowledgeable fan communities on the web. Many posts have comments numbering in the hundreds, with readers debating over the most complex sabermetric stats and every little decision that crosses Charlie Manuel's mind. For Phillies fans or general fans of baseball, Beerleaguer.com is a must.

Drexel Intramural Championships


Tonight, Drexel Intramurals will be hosting its Men's and Co-Rec IM Basketball Championships! This year, over 100 teams signed up and it's now down to the last few. Head down to the DAC for games at 7:30 and 8:30 to see some of the best basketball our student body has to offer. 

Aside from the obvious aspect of fun that intramurals offers, it's also a great way to get involved in a side of the sports business that is often overlooked. Working in recreation still involves having good communication, leadership, and management skills. Plus, it's a great way to build your resume and show future employers that you know how to run an event.

For more information on how to become involved in intramurals as an employee and/or participant, contact Drexel's Intramural Coordinator Bryan Ford at intramurals@drexel.edu.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Was It Worth It?

As Spring Training continues and the 2011 MLB season approaches, each team is starting to recognize the level of success they will have this season. Some teams made big trades or acquisitions this off-season, and some felt content with the talent they already had. Highlighting just a few of the more significant players and teams involved in off-season changes, I have weighed the pros and cons to inevitably determine if they made the right decision.

Rafael Soriano was signed by the New York Yankees to a three-year; $35 million contract this off-season. Due to Soriano’s Type A free agency status, the Yankees have to give up their first round pick for the 2011 First Year Player Draft.
Pros: Soriano is one of the game’s top relievers, and the one-two punch that he and Mariano Rivera present will shorten the length of games in the 7th or 8th inning. With proven success as a closer, Soriano may someday become the successor of Rivera’s reign.
Cons: New York has had a difficult off-season with the failure to sign Cliff Lee to a monster contract, and the drawn out discussions with longtime Yankees Rivera and Derek Jeter. They have many questions regarding their starting rotation, and chose to revamp their relief squad instead. Will their decision to use the first round pick to acquire another talented reliever be worth it, or will the starting pitchers struggle too much to keep them in games?

Pat Burrell makes his return to the World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants, for the upcoming season. All it comes down to for Burrell is winning. He wants rings. That is undeniably why he is willing to sacrifice money for the chance to be on a championship-caliber team.
Pros: The Giants are getting a decent left fielder and middle-of-the-lineup power hitter for only a one-year, $1 million contract. Burrell is a team player that is sure to buy into the Giants system and contribute in some way to their success.
Cons: He is getting up in age and may be plagued with injuries, whether minor or major, this season. He has yet to prove that he can be an asset in the playoffs and in clutch situations.

Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford were both acquired by the Boston Red Sox during the Winter Meetings this off-season. Crawford, a five-tooled outfielder, was signed out of free agency for 7 years, $142 million. Gonzalez, whose move to Boston had been years in the making, finally arrived in exchange for three Red Sox prospects. He is expected to finalize a contract extension in the upcoming weeks that will keep him in Boston for the long term.
Pros: The addition of Adrian Gonzalez will complete the Sox already competent infield with a stable, gold glove first baseman. They’ve had issue over the years with consistency at the corner infield positions, and this gives them the opportunity to move the defensive abilities of Kevin Youkilis to third base. Carl Crawford has solidified the Tampa Bay Rays outfield with his speed and arm strength, and will continue to do so with Boston. On the base paths he will be another weapon for Terry Francona, and fortunately now steal bases on other teams rather than his MLB record 6-stolen base game against the Red Sox back in ’09.
Cons: In order to complete the deal for Gonzalez, the Red Sox were forced to break ties with three of their most promising prospects. Starting pitcher Casey Kelly, power hitting first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and speedy outfielder Reymond Fuentes were all traded to the Padres. The Sox were also forced to let Victor Martinez go in order to clear up cap space for Crawford and Gonzalez.

Cliff Lee signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies back in December for 5 years, $120 million. Lee passed up offers of more money from the two previous AL Champions (Yankees and Rangers) to return to the Phillies for his second stint.
Pros: He joins a phenomenal rotation, possibly the best ever, consisting of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels. For most baseball fans, this may bring back memories of the dominant Atlanta Braves rotation of the 1990’s. Or even the Koufax, Drysdale, Sutton, and Osteen pitching staff that controlled the Dodgers in the 1960’s. Do they compare? Imagining the possibilities with this caliber of a rotation makes me question if anyone can win a series against the Phillies come October. If the four of them stay healthy, the potential to go deep into games will be a dagger in the heart of even the best offensive teams.
Cons: With the addition of Cliff Lee, the Phillies lack the financial ability to sign a good replacement for their departing right fielder. Without Jayson Werth’s protection in the lineup, are the Phillies bats fresh and talented enough to put some runs on the board? This will be the big question when the season begins next month. If the offense can’t win games, their defense won’t have the opportunity to win championships. 


written by: Hayley Zedeck

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2011 MLB Preview and Predictions: Awards Edition

National League MVP
The Front Runners:
Albert Pujols – Pujols routinely puts up MVP type numbers with 10 straight seasons with 30+ homers and 100+ RBI all while batting over .300.  Now imagine the numbers that Albert Pujols will put up in a contract year…  Scary thought, I know.                                     
Joey Votto – Votto is the defending National League MVP and should again be in the running this year.  Coming off a career year hitting over .320 with 37 homers and 113 RBIs, Votto also posted an impressive 1.024 OPS.  With the Reds looking to stay competitive again this year, there is strong reason to believe Joey Votto will put up similar numbers.
The Field:
Chase Utley, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, Troy Tulowitzki, Prince Fielder, Ryan Zimmerman, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Holliday, and Jason Heyward.
My Prediction:
My pick for NL MVP in 2011 is Albert Pujols.  The thought of the already most feared hitter playing in a contract year is a scary one for opposing pitchers.  Expect Pujols to put up astronomical numbers and win MVP.  Everybody watch out, this could be a historic year for Albert Pujols.
National League Cy Young
            The Front Runners:
Roy Halladay – The defending Cy Young winner has to be the favorite going in to this season.  Halladay finished the season with two no-hitters, atop the majors in wins (21 – tied with CC Sabathia) and innings pitched (250.2 IP), and  near the top of the National League with a 2.44 ERA.
Tim Lincecum – After back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, Lincecum had a down season according to his standards in 2010.  Expect Tim Lincecum to bounce back strong in 2011 and be among the leaders in strikeouts and wins putting him back in the NL Cy Young discussion.
            The Field:
Cliff Lee, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach Greinke, Matt Cain, Josh Johnson, Shawn Marcum, Roy Oswalt, Clayton Kershaw, and Mat Latos.
My Prediction:
To me, the NL Cy Young is anyone’s to win.  If Ubaldo Jimenez can go all of 2011 putting up his 2010 first half numbers look for him to win.  I think Halladay has too much competition from his own teammates to pull off the repeat.  My winner for NL Cy Young is a bit unexpected, but look for Zach Greinke to lead the Brewers into the playoffs and himself to the 2011 NL Cy Young.
American League MVP
            The Front Runners:
Miguel Cabrera – Miguel Cabrera is one of the elite hitters in all of Major League Baseball.  A rare combination of high batting average and exceptional power keeps Cabrera in MVP discussions year in and year out.  Miguel Cabrera’s toughest competition this season will be himself following his DUI arrest. 
Josh Hamilton – Josh Hamilton is coming off a career year in which he led all of Major League Baseball in batting average, hitting .359.  Hamilton also led the majors in OPS at an impressive 1.044.  The question is not whether Hamilton can put up the numbers again; it is whether he can stay healthy the whole season, having played only 133 games last year.  If the 2010 AL MVP winner can stay healthy in 2011, look for his name to be near the top once again.
            The Field:
Robinson Cano, Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer, Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Jose Bautista, Shin-Soo Choo, and Mark Teixiera
My Prediction:
If Miguel Cabrera lets his personal matters get in the way of his baseball this year, then I think somebody like Robinson Cano or Adrian Gonzalez will swoop in and steal the award in 2011.  However, I believe Cabrera will bounce back strong from his personal issues and duplicate or better his 2010 campaign when he hit .328 with 38 homers, 126 RBI and an OPS of 1.042 to win the 2011 AL MVP.
American League CY Young
The Front Runners:

CC Sabathia CC Sabathia is in the running for AL Cy Young year in and year out.  He is an innings eater that always comes up big in the big games.  The mammoth left hander came into spring training this season having lost between 15 and 30 pounds.  An even more in shape Sabathia is a scary thought for hitters in 2011 having come off a 21 win 3.18 ERA 2010 campaign.  Look for CC Sabathia to have a strong 2011 season and be in running for the AL Cy Young award.
Felix Hernandez – Felix Hernandez was flat out dominant in 2010.  Although he only had a 13-12 record, King Felix had a Major League best 2.27 ERA and was second in strikeouts (232) and innings pitched (249.2).  If Felix Hernandez hadn’t had so many leads blown by the Mariners’ bullpen or more offensive fire power behind him (the M’s had the league’s worst batting average), then he very well could have been a 20 game winner.  Look for this dominant young star to have another stellar year and end with numbers close to those of his 2010 AL Cy Young season.
            The Field:
Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, Neftali Feliz, Jared Weaver, David Price, Francisco Liriano, Clay Buchholz, and Dan Haren.
My Prediction:
Barring any injury, my winner for the 2011 AL Cy Young Award is CC Sabathia.  He consistently puts up Cy Young worthy numbers, so don’t expect anything different this season.  Sabathia will see some stiff competition from Felix Hernandez, David Price, and Justin Verlander, but CC Sabathia will come out on top in 2011.
-Written by Kevin Rossi
           

"Here-I'm Open": A Day in the Life (Part 2 of 2)


While juggling being on Co-Op with Nelligan Sports Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania Dept. of Athletics property, with the many other responsibilities being a college student brings, days become quite hectic. To offer you some insight on just what one can do in a day and to inspire you to do more with your day, below is a recap of my day today, Monday, March 7, 2011. A day in the life of Kevin Giordano:

6:30am-7:00am: The alarm goes off, roll out of bed, grab my ipod and head to the rec. center for the morning workout.

7:00am-8:00am: Workout and 3 mile run.  Keeps me awake and get’s me started for the day!

8:15am-9:35pm: Arrive back to the room.  Eat breakfast, shower, prep and head over to the Palestra for work.

10am-12:05pm: Arrive at the Palestra offices. Stop downstairs to greet the rest of the marketing department. Head upstairs to my desk in the Big 5 office to quickly grab a few things for our 10am meeting with the beverage company who owns the pouring rights for Penn Athletics. Meeting goes well, though it was rather long. We all seem to be on the same page for the Penn Relays, which is held the last week of April.

12:10pm-12:45pm: Lunch time back at my desk. Brought my boring brown-bag lunch, as usual.  Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat, with yogurt, an apple, and a fruit granola bar.

1:00pm-1:50pm: Internal Basketball Meeting in the Dunning Coaches Center. Prep. for tomorrow's (Tuesday's) basketball double-header vs. Princeton. Women at 4:30pm and the Men at 7pm at the Palestra.

2:00pm-2:45pm: Weekly External Operations Meeting with the staff of the Marketing and Corporate Partnerships (us!), Communications, and Ticketing departments, and the folks at the Penn Relays Office.  The meeting is led by the Associate A.D. for External Affairs.

3:00pm-4:15pm: Mike (the GM for Corporate Partnerships) and I head to our important follow-up meeting with a new local business owner interested in a sponsorship with the Penn Relays and Penn Athletics. I went alone on the initial meeting so it was nice for Mike to meet the business owner for the first time.  Goes well, establish a timetable for decisions to be made.

4:30pm-4:45pm: Back at my desk.  Answer emails and follow up on a few left voicemails. Pack up my things and leave the office for the day.

5:00pm-6:00pm: Sport Management Student Union (SMSU) Officers Meeting in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies back at Drexel. We discuss Wednesday's Members Meeting and our Sports Industry Ambassadors Program initiative.

6:15pm-7:15pm: Dinner at a local pizza place with my roomate from last year. Nice to catch up and talk about our lives.

7:30pm-8:15pm: Grocery shopping at Fresh Grocer, a few blocks away. Usually go on Sunday but it was poring most of the day yesterday. Head back to the room to drop off the week's groceries.

8:30pm-9:45pm: Library with some friends working on an assignment. Good to see them again. Being on Co-Op is different. I'm used to seeing sport management friends in class.

9:45pm-10:00pm: Back to the room. Quick change into gym clothes again. Time for some soccer.

10:05pm-11:55pm: Soccer with some friends at Buckley Field on campus.

12:00am-?: Writing this! Time to unwind a little. Respond to some pressing emails. Bed and getting ready to do it all again tomorrow!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Kevin Giordano is a sophomore sport management major, with experience working in women’s and men’s professional soccer and collegiate athletics. For questions, comments, and story suggestions, he can be reached at kgiordano25@yahoo.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@KevinGiordano).

Monday, March 7, 2011

FIFA Officially Bans The Snood

The International Football Association Board met this past week to discuss many different matters, some more important than others. One of the hot topics was goal line technology and the decision on whether or not to use video replay. While a concrete decision was not reached there, a ruling was handed down on another topic that is very important to some players- the wearing of "snoods". The IFAB officially decided to ban snoods, which are pieces of cloth used to keep the neck warm, citing that they are not part of the official equipment of the game. 

The popularity of the snoods skyrocketed this past winter, and one could be spotted in just about any Premier League match. Some of soccer's biggest stars like Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez enjoyed the comfort of warm necks during winter's coldest months. Virtually everyone sounded off with their own opinion, with the likes of the legendary Roy Keane criticizing them strongly.

FIFA's controversial (and blatantly corrupt) president Sepp Blatter commented on the matter: "It can also be dangerous. It can be like to hang somebody." How this makes sense is beyond me, but I can agree that there is no place for such unnecessary attire in the game of soccer. Hopefully by next winter the snood conversation will have been dropped altogether and we can listen to soccer commentators instead ramble on about something more relevant to the game itself.

image: complex.com

"Here-I'm Open!": A Day in the Life (Part 1 of 2)


As a college student on Co-Op (a 6-month, full-time internship), taking an evening class, and running this organization with our outstanding group of officers, time is at a premium. 

With my many responsibilities, "busy" is a bit of a misnomer. Throughout the day today, I will be documenting my activities. Later this evening, I will post my day today, hour-by-hour. It will serve the second part of this week's edition of, "Here-I'm Open!" Hopefully it inspires you to take on a bit more responsibility on campus.

Be sure to check back either later this evening for Part 2! Until then, make it a good one.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Kevin Giordano is a sophomore sport management major, with experience working in women’s and men’s professional soccer and collegiate athletics. For questions, comments, and story suggestions, he can be reached at kgiordano25@yahoo.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@KevinGiordano).