2012Nov 17

SPAD Students Head to Montreal for Professional Development

Opening ceremonies at the JMSM conference.

By SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

On the weekend of November 8, 9, and 10, SPAD students had the opportunity to attend the 17th annual John Molson Sports Marketing Conference at Concordia University in Montreal.  The event, which focuses on providing students with current professional insight into the world of sports marketing, is a unique experience for most attendees.  Fortunately the array of panellists, varying from NHL, NFL and NBA executives, provided the conference-goers with opportunities to learn, network and receive creative inspiration for their own marketing or sponsorship endeavours.  The following will highlight the speakers for whom SPAD students expressed great interest in and provided beneficial information that can be applied during school years and after graduation.

Starting with the second panel of the weekend, it was this group who addressed aspects of social media in sport business that piqued the interest of SPAD students.  Among these panellists, Justin Kingsley, Head of Public Relations Division at SID LEE, explained how his achievements included creating one of the highest valued brands through initiatives created using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for Georges St. Pierre at zero cost.  This emerging marketing tactic is one that SPAD students will look to take advantage of as they progress through academia and their careers.  “Social media is the next best marketing tool for any business professional.  Particularly in sport where fans are emotionally tied to clubs and leagues, social media creates another element of connectivity on a personal level to strengthen those relationships,” states SPAD Student Council 2nd Year Representative, Sean Meyers.

The third panel, mediated by TSN Reporter John Lu, consisted of senior executives who discussed the challenges that Canadian sports organizations face and the methods that they use to overcome these challenges.  However, what was interesting about this panel was the tangent that the panellists created about how they first made it in the sports industry, and what’s required from aspiring sports business professionals.  Check out some of their advice here when they spoke to SPAD Bloggers after the session, in the latest episode on the SPAD YouTube channel. Ian Clarke, Executive VP and CFO of MLSE and Dan Quinn, Director of NFL Canada stated a number of aspects that these aspiring professionals in SPAD should focus on.  First, gaining a specialization and finding a passion in sports business is ideal instead of just focussing on a general education.  Second, building a network of industry professionals will only serve to benefit a student as he or she approaches graduation and seeks work opportunities.  Third, John Lu stated that the acronym “HARP” (meaning humility, appreciation, respect and professionalism) is a guiding light and a method to keep him grounded during his work.  From a SPAD student’s perspective, this insight is worth its own weight in gold.

The final panel of the weekend was about “creating in-game moments” and was comprised of executives in game-day operations and event management, moderated by legendary commentator Pierre Houde.  This particular panel touched on the fact that events are not experiences without engaging and exciting in-game moments, something that Sammy Choi, Director of Event Presentation for the NFL spoke about.  His duties include producing mega-events such as the Super Bowl, where every subsequent event requires innovation and change in order to elevate the fan’s experience from the previous year.  For a SPAD student, particularly those in third year who are organizing events, sitting in on this panel is an affirmation that creating those in-event moments and experiences is a priority for success.  JMSM ’12 was a learning experience for all attendees and was a great introduction into the sports business industry.

Leave a Reply