Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Host Countries Investing in Olympic Grassroots Growth

The Olympic Games has always been a great way to expand your city and country’s international notability, but many counties use the Olympics for many other reasons. The growth of your countries infrastructure, transportation systems, economy, national pride, and the relevancy of your Olympic Sport teams are all extras that come along with investing in an Olympic Games. The latter is something that has been more and more popular within the past 20 years. With sports being more than athletics competed on the field, and costing an incredible amount of money, countries see the positives that are gained from financing sports competed at the Olympic Games in the hardware that they bring home.

                Sydney, Australia. Host of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. It has been reported that the taxpayers of Australia paid roughly $588 million to the Australian Sports Commission of Olympic sport in anticipation of the 2000 Games in Sydney. In the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Australia brought home just 27 medals, only 7 of which were gold, and in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Australia brought home 41 Medals, 23 of which were bronze. Australia sent 290 and 424 athletes to these games, respectively. For the 2000 Summer Games, hosted in their country and largest city, the Aussies had 630 competitors spanning every event. They won 58 medals, including 16 gold medals, both of which were the most of any Australian national team in history. The investments have continued to allow for Australia to bring home a lot of medals, 49 in Athens in 2004 and 46 in Beijing in 2008.

                Beijing, China. Host of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Although the amount of money spent on specifically sports for the 2008 games were not released by the Chinese, the total amount spent on the Olympics was nearly $40 billion. In Sydney in 2000, the Chinese brought home 58 total medals, with 28 being gold. In 2004, in Athens, Greece, Team China won 63 medals, 32 of which being gold. When the Olympic torch finally arrived in Beijing, China in 2008, the Chinese Olympic Team nearly doubled their medal count with 100 total medals. 51 gold, 21 silver, 28 bronze. This growth in medals have continued into the 2012 Olympic Games, with China being tied for the lead in medals going into the third day with the United States, the perennial power house in the Olympic Games.

Golden generation: Team GB finished fourth in the medal table in Beijing

                London, England. Host of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. So here we are; the first city in history to host three different Olympic Games. Team Great Britain has gotten a complete overhaul in planning for these 2012 games. The London Olympic Planning Committee has been called out for its free-spending method, which brought the cost of these games from a modest 2.7 billion to an outrageous 9.3 billion, at last estimate previous to the games getting underway. 183 million were pledged to fund grassroots efforts for Team Great Britain. Great Britain hopes that these Olympic Games will finally be their cannon into the realm of Olympic powerhouses, joining the likes of the United States, China, Russia, and Germany. The 2008 Olympics yielded the most medals in history for Team Great Britain, at 47, which placed GB fourth most among all countries, behind China, the USA, and Russia. This year they have very high hopes, and they hope that the spirit of London can propel them near the top of the medal chart.

Monday, July 30, 2012

USA Basketball: Embracing a New Style of Play

If the 2012 NBA Finals showed us anything, it’s that teams can indeed succeed by playing fast, up-tempo offense. LeBron James and the Miami Heat did away with half court offensive schemes as much as they could and utilized the team’s innate athleticism to score and ultimately win. It helped that they were elite defensively as well, forcing bad shots and turnovers to create easy fast break opportunities.

With the team’s current roster, USA basketball and Coach Mike Krzyzewski have fully embodied that mentality. With injuries to big name centers like Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, the only two traditional big men left on their roster are Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love. They aren’t perfect for fast pace play, but both have certain skills that help the team when they’re called upon. Chandler can get a ton of rebounds and get up in the air for alley-oops, and Love is arguably the premier outlet passer in the NBA (he’s also ok at rebounding too). Like the Heat, Team USA is also a great defensive team, and should capitalize on turnovers and blocked shots with relative ease. Just take a look at some highlights from the USA’s most recent dominant win against France:

But just as athleticism and speed are the team’s biggest advantages, they can also be Team USA’s downfall. Because they’re forced to sacrifice size for speed, skilled big men may pose defensive problems. The most glaring mismatches are those created by Spain and Brazil. Spain’s Gasol brothers and Brazil’s trio of Nene, Tiago Splitter, and Anderson Varejao are the types of players that can score in the low post. If these types of teams can utilize their size advantage, Team USA will have to find ways to adjust defensively and stop them.

The other most intriguing aspect of this team beyond their athleticism is their versatility. Even if their having trouble creating fast break points, they can still slow it down and create their own shots in a more traditional pick and roll offense. Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler are perfect for this alternative play. Paul can also initiate set plays, or defer to gifted one-on-one scorers like Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony if they feel there’s a mismatch. If they can combine all of these different strategies into a cohesive offensive game plan, they’ll be very tough to beat.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Penn State Scandal: Beyond State College

June 22nd, 2012: Jerry Sandusky is convicted of 45 out of 48 counts of child sexual abuse, which when sentenced could lead to over 300 years in jail.

July 22nd, 2012: Joe Paterno’s statue was removed from its home outside of Beaver Stadium.

July 23rd, 2012: The NCAA imposed harsh sanctions onto Penn State’s football program, including a $60m fine, 4-year ban from postseason play, the loss of 20 scholarships  every year for four years, and vacating of wins from 1998-2011.

Now that the monster himself Sandusky has been imprisoned for the rest of his life, and his biggest enabler, The Pennsylvania State University football program and its hold over the whole university, have been justly punished, we must now look to who else allowed this tragedy to reach such a high level.

Thomas W. Corbett, or Tom, was elected in November of 2010 as the new Governor of the State of Pennsylvania. Previous to gaining this position, he served as the state’s Attorney General from 2005 to 2011, winning re-election in 2008. As Attorney General, it was his job to watch over and control all major police investigations in PA.
In 2008, the mother of a high school boy at Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania, reported to the Vice Principal that her son had been molested by Jerry Sandusky, who was a volunteer assistant football coach at the time. The Vice Principal then reported these accusations to local authorities. As in any big name investigation, the reports found their way to the desk of the Attorney General, Tom Corbett. General Corbett assigned one investigator to the accusation at the time, a former police detective, who was then working as a narcotics agent.

Many prosecutors have been quoted in saying in any investigation of an accused child molester the first action is to take the accused off the streets. Corbett insisted upon his team that Sandusky not be arrested until a strong case was built against him; this decision may have led to the abuse of more victims. So the question we should be asking of Governor Corbett is why did it take until November of 2011 for Jerry Sandusky to be arrested on these accusations of child abuse that you, the Attorney General, had known about since 2008?

Did it have anything to do with the fact that you knew you were going to be running for Governor in 2010? And with that you knew taking down Penn State would hurt your reputation in the eyes of the schools very large and extremely loyal alumni network. Also, you couldn’t bear the possibility of losing the over $200,000 in campaign donations from members of PSU’s Board of Trustees and the over $650,000 from members of the Second Mile’s, Sandusky charity benefiting underprivileged youth, board of trustees, their family members, and companies.

The political, financial, and social hit that you, Mr. Tom Corbett, would have taken by outing Sandusky for what he really is and Penn State for the intricate circle of lies and cover-ups that have surround the football team, athletic department, and university for the past 14 years, would have just been too much to recover from. In order to protect yourself and your dreams to be the most powerful political figure in the state of Pennsylvania you were willing to risk the safety, mental and physical, of thousands of young boys.   

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Olympic Brand

A recent study that was conducted by Brand-Finance reported that the Olympics brand has experienced an 87% increase since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In 2008 the Olympics brand was valued at $25.4B and now it has been reported to have a value of $47.6B. If that wasn't impressive enough, they are the second most-valuable brand in the entire world, second place only to Apple at $70.6B. 

The powerful Olympics brand is worth more than all of its sponsors including Samsung, GE and Coca-Cola. Also, the Olympics is the most valuable brand that is of Greek origin, and is worth 134 times more than the National Bank of Greece, which is worth $354M. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has costs of less than 10% of revenue, which leaves $4.6B for distributing and investing in different sports all throughout the world.  

Global RankBrandBrand Value (Millions)
n/aThe Olympics$47,569
(Sports Business Journal)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Grading the NBA Offseason: Winners and Losers

With the NBA offseason winding down, teams around the league are almost done making new signings and transactions. Some teams have helped themselves, while others haven’t done much to improve and compete next season. Here’s a look at some of my winners and losers.


Brooklyn Nets

If any team swung for the fences this offseason, it was the Brooklyn (no longer New Jersey) Nets. General Manager Billy King made a bold move last season by acquiring star guard Deron Williams, with no promise that he would stay beyond that year. Incredibly, by trading for former All-Star Joe Johnson, and re-signing Gerald Wallace, King convinced Williams to sign a long term deal. He then proceeded to re-sign/ possibly overpay Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries, creating a very interesting starting lineup. It’s clear the Nets don’t care about spending money and want to compete now in their brand new arena. Look for them to possibly make the playoffs next season and compete with Miami, Chicago, and Boston for the top seeds in the rapidly improving Eastern Conference.

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets are one team who accomplished everything they set out to do this offseason. They drafted stud Anthony Davis and promising scorer Austin Rivers with the first pick and tenth picks in the draft, respectively. They also retained their best player, Eric Gordon, after he signed an offer sheet with Phoenix Suns. They were also able to dump the salaries of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. Done, done, and done. I'm really looking forward to see how the Hornets continue to develop and add to their promising core.

Los Angeles Lakers

(Note: As a Celtics fan, the following paragraph was incredibly difficult to write.)

The Lakers made one move this offseason (minus the pending signings of Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill). ONE!! And it’s arguably the best acquisition of the entire offseason. Scrapping their future for the present, Los Angeles miraculously traded for aging star point guard Steve Nash without giving up any players in return. They did trade 4 draft picks, but it’s hard to believe that this was the best trade option available for the Phoenix Suns. The Suns receive no players to help them next season, and hand Nash over to division rival Los Angeles so they can make a run for a championship. Compile this with Memphis gift-wrapping Pau Gasol to them a few years ago, and it seems like every other team wants the Lakers to win. Can they be unlucky once??? I know the Chris Paul veto was bad, but that doesn’t count (I'm bitter).


Toronto Raptors

Speaking of Steve Nash, he was one of the only offseason targets of the Toronto Raptors. They could pay him more than anyone else, and had home-court advantage in a sense, considering Nash is Canadian. Unfortunately, the Raptors were unable to lure him to Toronto. To compound their loss, Toronto signed guard Landry Fields to an exorbitant offer sheet to make it harder for the New York Knicks to sign-and-trade for Nash. With Nash going to the Lakers, the Raptors were left with Fields and his unnecessarily large contract. Toronto did add Kyle Lowry and last year’s #5 overall pick Jonas Valanciunas, but losing Nash had to hurt the most.

Orlando Magic

The Magic were in the news often this offseason because of the ongoing trade rumors involving star center Dwight Howard. As of today, Howard is still on the team, with the Magic’s future direction up in the air. They still don’t have a coach, and this isn’t exactly a dream starting scenario for new GM Rob Hennigan. The team still looks the same as last year for the most part, except for loss of Ryan Anderson, who ended up being too expensive for Orlando to re-sign. This is particularly ironic when you consider all of the bad contracts the Magic have, including the recent contract extension of Jameer Nelson. Not quite sure what this team is up to, but they’ll have to make a decision soon regarding Howard in order to move on.

Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers were last season’s Cinderella team, defeating the #1 seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, before forcing #4 Boston to seven games. After that successful run, you’d think Philadelphia would try as hard as possible to improve in the short run and try to compete. I’m not quite sure they’ve done that at all. They selected two promising prospects in the draft (Maurice Harkless and Arnett Moultrie), but it’s very unclear if either of them will produce right away. They also re-signed center Spencer Hawes, who has his bright moments, but he isn't someone I would not give $14 million dollars to, especially when they had to amnesty Elton Brand to afford him. The Sixers also replaced Lou Williams with Nick Young, so those two moves kind of cancel each other out. Philly then signed much-maligned big man Kwame Brown, creating one of the more bizarre frontcourts in recent memory. If Hawes and Brown both start, the Sixers will have one player who can’t guard anyone, and another whose offensive game revolves solely around wide-open dunks. This is going to be interesting. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

London 2012 Countdown

One week from today, the Olympic Torch will illuminate the city of London and mark the beginning of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The whole world will turn to watch the competitions that we’ve longed to see for four years. This years' events will be nothing short of spectacular, and we’ll be sure to see our fair share of records broken, tears shed, bursts of raw emotion, inspiration, and pure glory. To have a truly complete experience with this year’s Olympics, I’d make sure to keep your eye on some of the following stories and opportunities for Team USA:

The big one everyone’s talking about… Ryan Lochte vs. Michael Phelps. They’ll compete head to head in the 200 and 400 individual medley and work together for the 4x200 freestyle relay, but the big question is “whose going to earn more gold medals”? Every race shall be a fight to the finish so I’d get your DVR set up now.

On the women’s side of the sport, we’ll see 17-year old Missy Franklin compete in her first Olympic Games. She will be swimming in 7 different events, and with her potential she just might place in every single one.

Men’s Basketball is dealing with a whirlwind of injuries at the moment, so can they still ban together and continue to make other teams look silly? Spain is a big threat standing in their way, and it will be an interesting matchup of NBA teammates when they square off.

The Women’s Soccer (football) team looked sharp in the qualifying tournament, and here’s to hoping they can carry that over to the big show. A talented, young, yet experienced group of women will work to repeat the success of their Beijing counterparts and take home the gold this year. 

The “fab five” of gymnasts will be competing in the women’s all around with Jordyn Wieber leading this pack of young teenagers to victory. It says quite enough that Nastia Liukin couldn’t make the cut this year after an inspiring performance for the all-around gold medal just four years ago.

As we approach the makeshift beach of central London, we will look to Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh to do it again for us in the Beach Volleyball competition.  If you followed their journey in 2008, you couldn’t help but jump out of your seat with every passionate point from the duo. However, a lot has changed and will make this trip more difficult. Walsh gave birth to two children, Misty May dealt with lingering injuries, their 112 match win streak came to an end, and to top it all off their biggest threat this summer are the fellow US competitors (Kessy and Ross). It will be an uphill battle, but I don’t foresee a lack of excitement. 

For extra motivation (as if you need it) here is a video to pump you up for next week:

What are you looking forward to? Do you have a dark horse to keep your eye on?

With so many talented US Olympians, it's hard to pick a few to spotlight so please share any noteworthy athletes I may have left out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Under Further Review: Avoid Binge Joining

As college students, we hear about the medical side effects of binge drinking all the time.  We are told to join clubs and organizations on campus.  Be active on campus and get involved because you never know what prospective employer will notice.  Getting involved will teach you life lessons and boost your resume. 

Binge drinking comes with warning signs.  We all know the adverse effects.  Just as drinking too much is bad, so is being too active on campus.  I call it “binge joining”.  We see it all the time.  Every single year, students commit to too many organizations.  Many decide to drop a club or two.  Some try to make it work.  A few have mental breakdowns.

I’ve never gone to a semester school, but what I’ve heard is that the pace is much slower than at a quarter system school.  Also with the co-op program at Drexel, I would bet that Drexel is a little bit more career obsessed than typical semester schools.  With the obsession on the future and the constant push to boost resumes, students push themselves to join club after club.  Much of the time, they over-commit themselves.

Right now I personally have a long list of commitments.  If I’m lucky, I get one day off per week but that off day is typically used to catch up on other work.  Do I feel over-worked?  Not necessarily, but I would love to be able to have some time to myself.  Free time is something that some college students need to value more.  Sure all of those organizations look great when you squeeze them all into your resume, but you may or may not be going insane.  Why sacrifice your personal sanity for your career when you’re already doing more than enough?

A lot of students have something deep inside of them that won’t allow them to say no to an opportunity.  Because of this, they say yes to every single thing that comes their way.  Spreading yourself too thin is just as bad as doing nothing.  Not giving your 100% effort and attention may even be worse because there are people trusting you.  Breaking trust means burning bridges with the same people that you think should be helping you with your career.  Given the job market’s instability, burning bridges is a less than ideal approach to take. 

I’ve seen it way too many times in my two years at Drexel.  People volunteer to help out.  They volunteer for leadership positions that demand time and effort.  Then when the time comes to produce, they give you that “Oh I was too busy" excuse.  Frankly, I believe that the “I’m too busy excuse” is the biggest BS excuse one can give.  Sure you may fool people into thinking that you were really too busy to complete the one task that you’ve had on your plate for a week, but that’s not what it really is.  The “I’m too busy excuse” means one of three things: 1) You don’t care enough to get the task done 2) You do not know how to manage your time 3) You have spread yourself too thin and become forgetful, disorganized and more importantly unreliable. 

The remedy for all three meanings of the “I’m too busy” excuse is to reevaluate.  Reevaluate and decide which organizations mean the most to you and which ones are dispensable.  An organization would much rather you admit your fault and give way to someone who cares to do the job on time and the right way rather then have you hang on and have others do your incomplete or nonexistent work. 

I’m not saying to not get involved.  That’s the last thing I would ever say.  What I am saying is to be careful with what you get involved in and how much you get involved.  Before you take a position, consider all elements and make sure you can give your all.  The leadership of the groups you are in will appreciate you much more and your trust will not be broken.  Some times less is more.  In terms of binge joining, less is more holds true 100% of the time.  

The Return of the Cosmos

New York based soccer franchise, the New York Cosmos, is back in action! Well, technically not until 2013 but the franchise is up and running again, affiliated with their old partner, the North American Soccer League (NASL).

The "new" New York Cosmos organization was formed on August of 2010 and claims lineage of the original New York Cosmos, who were active from 1971 to 1985 in the old NASL, which ceased operations in 1984. Trying to reestablish the status they once held in the original NASL as the strongest franchise financially and competitively, the Cosmos have named four former players to team management positions. Former Brazilian national team captain in the 1970 World Cup Carlos Alberto became their International Ambassador. Former French and Manchester United superstar Eric Cantona is now the Director of Soccer, with USA all-time leader in caps (164) Cobi Jones working directly under him as associate director. Reigning over them all as Honorary President is the king and greatest player of all time, Pelé. This star studded staff is looking very promising for the Cosmos, but they have yet to sign a single player to the professional roster. Even though the Cosmos haven't had a single game in almost 30 years, they have been able to maintain a loyal group of followers, with the main supporters group being the Borough Boys Supporters Club with over 1,000 members. 

The New York Cosmos were the most dominant franchise in the North American Soccer League, winning five league titles. The peak of their reign came when they signed German superstar Franz Beckenbauer, the Italian Chinaglia, and Pelé in the late 70s and early 80s. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Olympics: Athletics or Politics?

In an election year, consumers want nothing more than to get away from politics for a little while. A favorite focus of those who wish to avoid politics is often sports. Sports are about competitiveness, companionship, and love of the game, so why have politicians been sticking their noses in the world of sports for the past week?

Last week, it was reported that the uniforms to be worn by the United States Olympic Team during the Opening Ceremonies at this month’s Olympic Games in London, England, were manufactured in China. Ralph Lauren, the uniforms’ designer, has stated that for the next Olympics – the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia – the uniforms will be made in the United States.

Many politicians from both parties have been very outspoken in the past week about how the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) should handle this dilemma. On National Public Radio (NPR), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Olympic committee should “put [the uniforms] in a big pile and burn them.” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “You’d think they’d know better,” in reference to the USOC. Being that a presidential election is less than four months away, and the United States has an unemployment rate of about 8.2%, many people see this issue as very relevant to the political realm. Why does the USOC support a company that is willing to outsource jobs and work to a thriving economy, while our country struggles with unemployment?

The USOC has taken a lot of criticism in the past week for allowing this to happen, but it is no rookie to issues with big name corporate partners. In February of 2010, the USOC signed a sponsorship deal with oil and gasoline giant BP for between $10 million and $15 million, which represents between 6% and 7% of the federation’s sponsorship revenue, according to the Associated Press. Following the Gulf Coast oil spill that began on April 20, 2010, and continued for nearly three months, many people questioned whether the USOC should dissociate itself with the company responsible for the spill, BP. The USOC held its ground, as did BP, and now BP is one of the head sponsors of not only the US Olympic Team, but also the 2012 London Games. BP America’s executive vice president for government and public affairs was quoted in 2011, “The Olympic team and its quest for excellence and belief in getting up each day and doing the right thing and striving for success, it’s very much like what we do in the Gulf. We keep the commitments we’ve made in the Gulf. And we’re committed to the success of the U.S. athletes and their programs.” Allowing BP to stay on as a sponsor of the USOC will provide the company with a great opportunity to restore their brand and reestablish a strong reputation with the citizens of the United States.

The Olympic Games are an opportunity for the United States to showcase the best it has to offer. Although athletics are a major part of that, the opportunity to spread the American Way around the globe through sports is also very important. Sports are slowly becoming less about the game on the field, and more about everything else behind the scenes, but whether or not that benefits the athletes and the fans is still up for question.

By: Kevin Murray

Wait, How Much Money???: Spending and Overspending in NBA Free Agency

With the NBA Finals and NBA Draft now complete, teams are starting to look forward into the future. With the new CBA in place for the first time this offseason, GM’s are looking to see how much flexibility they have to sign new players and improve their roster. Unfortunately, this has led to some flat out bad contracts, with average players getting way too much money. Overblown and ludicrous contracts were one of the things that the lockout was supposed to solve, and the NBA even rewarded bad behavior by creating the amnesty provision.

The offer sheets that are getting thrown around are absolutely ridiculous. Nicolas Batum and Brook Lopez are solid, above average players, but their play should not reward them with the most money a team could possibly offer. Omer Asik’s offer sheet from the Houston Rocket is even more absurd. He’s an ok backup center who could get $15 million in the third year of his deal! Asik is just another example of how much the NBA values big men with even a little bit of skill or potential. Like Asik, Jeremy Lin has an offer sheet from the Rockets that has close to $15 million in the final year. Using this “poison pill” tactic, GM Daryl Morey makes it very hard for the Knicks to match because of provisions the new CBA. If they were to match his offer, the Knicks would have to pay up to $43 million in luxury tax fees in 2015. Although Knicks owner James Dolan has shown in the past that he could care less about monetary penalties (although he was smart in not match Landy Fields’ ridiculous $20 million offer sheet), rumors out of New York’s camp seem to imply that he are seriously considering letting Lin walk. The poison pill seems to be working so far, and it will be interesting to see if other GM’s use this method to sign restricted free agents in the future.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the various trades that have made in the past couple weeks. Steve Nash, Joe Johnson, and Kyle Lowry all changed jerseys for a relatively low costs to the teams that acquired them. Johnson’s trade in particular is interesting because it highlights Brooklyn’s all-out blitz to compete in the playoffs next season. Although they seemed to have failed in their attempts to procure Dwight Howard, they resigned star Deron Williams and key contributors Lopez and Gerald Wallace, creating an interesting starting lineup next year. That group of players almost assures them a spot in the playoffs in the poor Eastern conference.

As a passionate NBA fan, it’s maddening to have an offseason of overspending and dumb contracts. The lockout and new CBA were supposed to curb frivolous spending, but it seems owners and GM’s don’t care unless the signing has serious luxury tax implications. I hope some of these signings work out, because if they don’t, we’ll see as many amnesties in two years as we did this year.   

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Job Search: Avoid the "Post-and-Pray" Technique

Recently I’ve met with a few people who are at frustration level orange in their full-time job search in the sports industry.  They’ve applied to hundreds of jobs online and haven’t heard back.  Not once.  Zero interviews…which means zero job offers.  At this point, they are faced with two options: 1) continue the search for a job in sports but be more strategic or 2) search outside of sports to simply “get a job”.  I don’t necessarily like, but I certainly understand, option number 2.  For the purpose of this post, let’s focus on option number 1.

The job search in sports is similar (read: not the same) to the job search outside of sports.  However, the “post-and-pray” technique simply won’t get the job done.  Yes, you can go to Teamworkonline.com, Workinsports.com, and NCAA.org, among the many other job boards, put your search criteria in, and click apply.  Done, right?  Absolutely…if you want to revisit option number 2 above. 

Those sites, and those of the few best sports recruiters out there, are always a great place to start.  However, it is what you do next that separates you.  So let’s say you applied to jobs X, Y, and Z on one of the sports industry job boards; you submitted your cover letter and resume (thus making the HR people happy).  The next step is crucial.  From here, go to your sports industry network (your contacts a.k.a. people you know) and start to ask the million dollar question- “Who do you know at team/organization/college X, Y, or Z?”  This is usually followed up by- “Would you mind passing along my resume and putting in a good word?”  This is a version of networking in case you are keeping score at home.  Ask your career counselor, your professors, current/old bosses and co-workers, or even family/friends.  If any of your contacts can put in a call or email on your behalf, your chances of getting an interview increase exponentially.  The sports industry is very much a tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone else in some way, shape, or form; a referral goes a long way as sports professionals don’t like to stake their reputation on bad candidates.

If this strategy doesn’t yield the results you were looking for, it is time to explore other ways to get your foot in the door.  Here is where LinkedIn, your email, and even your phone come in handy.  For example, if you applied to a Ticket Sales position at the Philadelphia 76ers, you should then search on LinkedIn for the head of that department; I typed in “Vice President of Ticket Sales” and “76ers” into the advanced search box and the results yielded Joseph Ondrejko.  From there, I would attempt to connect with Joe on LinkedIn and then send him an email.  If you haven’t heard back in 3-5 business days, now is the time to push this into the proactive, aggressive direction.  Write out a phone script (what you want to say and what you want to ask) like a sales person or a recruiter might use, find a quiet place, and make the call.  Especially in a situation like this for a Ticket Sales position that may be looking for a person who isn’t afraid to pick up the phone, your actions might very well put your resume at the top of the pile.

Don’t give up on your dream to work in sports; the job search takes time and patience but it will be worth it when you land the perfect job and love going to work every day…

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Return of the King

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, the final book The Return of the King sees Aragon the rightful air to become the king finally ascend to the throne after going through both personal and physical struggles. On Sunday, Roger Federer returned to his throne as both king of Wimbledon and the number one ranked tennis player in the world. The Swiss champion had not one a grand slam in 2 ½ years because of a combination of injuries and new challenges. Over the past two year Federer has battled back problems which have limited his physical abilities. As a result his high standard of performance declined. Combine his nagging back injuries and the rise of new challengers, Federer dropped to the number three ranked player in the world. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray all raised their game and were able to defeat Roger Federer consistently over the past two years. One of his toughest lost came last year when Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was able to come back from Federer two sets down in the Wimbledon semi-finals. That is a feat that would have been unheard of five years ago. Times were changing for Federer. Off the field Federer had to deal with the challenges of being a father for the first time with the birth of his twins. All theses challenges caused questions to be asked about the future of Roger Federer in tennis.

The critics wondered if we had seen the best of Roger Federer or if he would win another major. All those questions were put to rest this past Sunday as the tears flowed from his face after he dispatched a heart broken Andy Murray. It took a while but Federer has dispatched every challenge that has been put in his way to get back to the top. Every time he steps on the court he shows the heart of a champion. He has won everything that there is to win in the sport of tennis. Federer is the true and rightful heir to the throne as king of tennis for now and all time. 

By: Brian Palmer

Under Further Review: How to Use Twitter Effectively

Obviously the title of this post infers a step-by-step instructional guide on how to tweet, follow, be followed and what have you.  That it is not.  I’m talking how to use Twitter to build yourself, “build your brand” if you will.  I’ve heard it over and over again, and lately the reality of it has started to sink in. 
I’m one of those people who actually listen to guest speakers and try to get something out of it.  Even when the speaker speaks for an impressive two hours and fifteen minutes straight without stopping or asking a question, I still try.  Some of you Drexel people will know what I’m talking about in that one.  One of the reoccurring themes of guest speakers’ speeches is that it is never too early to start building your online brand.  Personally, I see Twitter as the possible way to start.

It may just be me, but I feel like Twitter always gets a bad reputation.  Many see it as an extension of Facebook and say, “Well I don’t want people to know what I’m doing all day long, so I’m not getting one.”  Alright, well that person clearly missed the boat here.  I’ll spare you the preaching about not tweeting pictures of your alcohol, drugs, or whatever else you feel makes your Friday night so much “cooler” than the next person’s.  We’ve all heard that close to a million times.  Here are five survival tips for Twitter that you don’t hear every single day.

1) Listen
Listening is a key.  Contrary to popular belief, you can actually learn on social media, especially Twitter.  You learn in real-time, and assuming you follow people that you like, you learn about things that you want to learn about.  Crazy, I know.  You could go on and tweet the most ridiculous things that come to your mind, but if behind the scenes you are paying attention to what is going on in the world, then at least there’s some good coming of it.

2) Read
Follow people who distribute content like articles, blog posts, anything mentally stimulating.  Then read them.  In theory you should be following people whom you value what they say, so the links you see on your feed should be for things that interest you.  Twitter offers the perfect platform to discover things that you’ve never read about before or to read deeper into things that you like. Use it that way. Look at it as an opportunity for personal development.

3) Socialize
After all, Twitter is social media.  Twitter directly connects you to people who have jobs at every level.  It connects you to people in your dream job and people moving up the ladder.  It connects you to people on the same level as you.  Talk to people.  Reach out to new people.  Find one thing in common with someone, all you need is one fact that links the two of you, and reach out.  There’s some kind of underlying stigma that some people always feel when I suggest this.  It’s really not weird.  It’s not awkward.  The person may even be flattered that you reached out to them.  Socializing is how you create opportunities for yourself and opportunities are how you move up in the world.  Don’t you want to move up?

4) Challenge
Challenge yourself to be better.  Challenge yourself to open your eyes to more of the world.  Twitter allows you to do these kinds of things every day and for free!  Take advantage of it.  Challenge your mind with new ideas.  Challenge yourself to see both sides of an argument.  These are things that you could be doing every single day.

5) Discover
Discover new things in the area you live in. Go try new things.  Use Twitter as a way to get out and see things.  Go explore and use Twitter as your guide.  This kind of power is at your fingertips 24/7 yet many of us let it go to waste.
I've written odes to Twitter in the past, and this current one will probably not be my last.  It’s a tool that is underutilized by a vast majority.  It really can do good for people, and people need to realize.  You can be that person that goes on once a week to complain about people you saw on the train.  You can complain about your boss.  But you’re missing the point.  Here is a tweet that I retweeted last month that I think sums it all up well:

Many of us want to get ahead in our respective fields, yet so many people do not have a plan.  Twitter isn’t a plan, but it’s a damn good start.  Brand yourself.  Get your name out there.  Don’t wait for networking events or your next set of classes or the list of Drexel employers offering co-ops to come out.  Start now.  It’s something that you can do all day every day.  That’s how you begin to get ahead of the competition.  Trust me; it can lead to many opportunities that you never thought were possible.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

UFC 148: The Cementing of a Legacy

UFC 148: Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen II was the most hyped and anticipated fight in the history of the promotion. The pay-per-view buys in the United States have not been released yet, but UFC president Dana White predicts that the numbers will break the UFC 100 record from 2009 which was a reported 1.6 million buys. However in Brazil thus far its been released that 19 million people viewed the fight on television. The "live gate" numbers for the event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas approached $7 million and were by far the highest in MMA history. UFC 148 Preliminaries on FX have also set a new record for UFC prelims on that network with 1.8 million viewers. The Spike TV all-time record for UFC preliminary fights was set last year at UFC 126 with 2 million average viewers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

State of the (Student) Union - 2012

Mike Millich of Women's Professional Soccer speaking to SMTSU last winter.
In just over a year and a half, the Sport Management Student Union (SMTSU) at Drexel University has made great strides both on-campus and beyond. Most importantly, we've afforded students, like myself, the opportunity to further hone their knowledge of the industry and engage in meaningful development activities.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wimbledon 2012 Review

This past weekend’s schedule of Wimbledon finals was anything but short on storylines.  On the women’s side, you had Serena Williams who is always a big storyline on her own.  Even with taking breaks from the game of tennis, she still continues to dominate women’s tennis and to prove that rankings may not really matter too much.  Her opponent, Agnieszka Radwanska, would have taken over the number one ranking had she won her first ever Grand Slam title.  Serena Williams took home the title (Serena and Venus also won the women's doubles championship).
The buzz of Wimbledon happened to be on the men’s side this year.  The men’s final featured Roger Federer and Andy Murray.  Federer was going for Grand Slam title number 17 and record Wimbledon number 7.  Murray had much more pressure on his shoulders.  He was trying to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon in over 7 decades.  With historic implications on both sides, the finals were sure to be a huge draw.  To the dismay of all of Great Britain, Federer was able to edge out Murray in 4 sets.
Ticket sales for the men’s Wimbledon final were through the roof.  There were reports that tickets were reaching prices of over $20,000. Yes, $20,000.  That is how badly the entire country wanted to see a win for Andy Murray. 

An interesting point with Wimbledon is that the men’s and women’s prize money is equal throughout.  Prize money disparities have been a big point of contention in recent years in tennis.  At Wimbledon, prize money ranges from $14,500 for the first round losers all the way up to $1,150,000 for the winners.  All prize money levels saw an increase that was ahead of inflation from the 2011 tournament which would show that there has been growth in the tournament’s revenue. 

Just as I wrote last week, it’s time to take notice.  Especially in men’s tennis, we are in a golden age.  The top 3 or 4 players may be the best top 3 or 4 that we have seen in the game’s history.  There will be tennis in the upcoming London 2012 Olympics and the next Grand Slam is the US Open at the end of the summer.  Do yourself a favor and give tennis a chance.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Olympic Activation

As the 2012 London Olympic Games draw near, it's time to look back on the preparation and ahead to the implementation of the partners involved with the 30th Olympiad. The World Partners, as well as the London partners have been hard at work to get the most out of their sponsorship activation which has the potential to reach millions of viewers world-wide. I have outlined some of the most significant developments and plans for the Olympic Games of the World Partners:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Golden Age of Tennis

We are in a golden age of men’s tennis, and not very many Americans seem to care.  I’ve written about the topic now a few times, but nothing has changed since the last time.  It seems like every year Wimbledon comes around, and I’m thinking the same exact thing.  This is one of the greatest athletic competitions in all of sports, yet why do so few Americans tune in?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Changes in International Football

In the world of international football, South America has always been the place where stars are created and then shipped off to Europe or Asia to financially develop their careers. The top stars in South American football have been constantly making the move to play in Europe while they are still very young. A good example is Brazilian star midfielder Kaka, who started out playing for São Paulo FC when he was 19 and stayed there only for 2 years before signing with Italian powerhouse AC Milan. However, now with South American nations thriving financially some of the larger moves have been made the other way around.