The HBS Business of Sports Club embarked on their first ever solo New York City Sports Trek on January 11 and 12.
With months of careful preparation and planning, the 15 member contingent enjoyed a once in a lifetime experience, visiting the nation’s premier sports leagues, teams, and venues.
The trek started on Thursday with an early morning tour of ESPN Cold Pizza Studios, housed in the New Yorker Hotel. On the way to the studio, set to watch Jay Crawford record basketball highlights, the group shook hands with guest analyst and professional NY Giants football kicker Jay Feely. Following the studio tour, the group shuttled up to Yankee Stadium for an exclusive visit with Lonn Trost, Chief Operating Officer of the NY Yankees, one of owner George Steinbrenner’s top executives. Mr. Trost shared his personal experiences, knowledge about running the world’s greatest baseball franchise, and provided insight into the life of a sports executive. Sitting in Mr. Steinbrenner’s personal suite surrounded by awards, baseball mementos, and a scaled model of the new Yankee Stadium under construction was quite a thrill. However, the ensuing tour of the stadium topped it, highlighted by stops in the Yankees’ Monument Park, the dugout, and the Yankees’ clubhouse.
Following the stadium tour, the group rushed back into midtown, bypassing lunch, to arrive at Major League Baseball headquarters. Jonathan Mariner, MBA 1978, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and Rob Manfred, Harvard Law School and Executive Vice President of Labor Relations shared fascinating experiences and insights into the operations of Major League Baseball. Each provided advice to aspiring sports executives, and answered a wide range of questions from accounting to steroids to international development. The group then hurried to the National Basketball Association headquarters, catching a brief run-in with Commissioner David Stern on the way to meeting executives from the Business Development office, Adam Kanner, MBA1998, and Daniel Reed, MBA 2004. Again, the group was mesmerized by the valuable experience and information shared, asking many questions along the way. Vicki Ruiz of Human Resources unveiled the NBA’s first ever formal MBA internship program, inviting first year students to apply.
The group then gathered at the ESPN Zone to catch up on the day in sports and to rest. Finally, the long day was capped perfectly by a banquet at the Harvard Club, featuring keynote speaker Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President of Major League Baseball and CEO of MLB Enterprises. Tim wowed the group with his candor and friendliness, answering every question and sharing insights into baseball’s most challenging issues. Additional guests included Brad Karmiol, MBA 2003, Director of Market Planning for ESPN, and Philip Hall, MBA 2006, Inner Circle Sports.
Friday morning started off with a bang at National Football League headquarters. The group met with Mark Foley from Financial Planning, Chris Henry from Player Development, Vin Marino from Salary Cap, and Mike Pereira, head of NFL officiating. Mr. Pereira talked with the group at the NFL’s officiating Command and Control Center, sharing the complete details of how well-monitored NFL officials are, while providing continuous training and support. Finally, the trek completed their final visit at Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous sporting venue. Tim Hassett, MBA 1996, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and the Beacon Theatre truly wowed the group with his noteworthy career experiences and education on the operations of sporting facilities. Having worked for years at the Meadowlands and then with Madison Square Garden, Mr. Hassett brought a wealth of knowledge about the day to day life of a sports executive, inspiring every student in attendance. The group then embarked on a detailed tour of Madison Square Garden, featuring everything from the theatre to the club suites to the New York Rangers locker room.
And so the 2007 HBS Business of Sports NYC Trek went into the books, with every attendee tired, but exhilarated by what they experienced in a whirlwind two days. Many thanks go out to key trek organizers Chris Marinak, Ira Noble, A.T. Gimbel, Jessica Kushner, and C.J. Cash.