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Beyond the Gates-A Review of MGT 341/514: Behind Chicago Sports Organizations (Day 3)

Brandon Bowens

Here at Radio Depaul Sports, we have fun talking our favorite teams and topic we as college students are passionate about, be it DePaul athletics, Chicago based sports, or in my case, everything baseball.

But we are DePaul students first, and as most of our classes, regardless of major, are not sports-centric, I feel that it would be our stations best interest to talk about the sports classes here at DePaul when we can. For me, whose graduate studies typically fall under the arts, to be allowed to be part of the ninth edition of Andy Clark's Behind Chicago Sports Organizations class was an honor. I got to enjoy my "classroom" in various sports offices around the city getting my education from the best in the sports business.

Now I could give you a bare bones review of my week. That would be the easiest way method for me. But because the creative student in me won't accept the bare minimum, I decided to do this instead:

  1. A general overview of my mindset during the day. Sometimes it's a paragraph, sometimes it's two. Sometimes its related to the class, a good amount though is not. Sometimes it's positive, and sometimes it's not. You have the honor of peering into the inner working of my mind be grateful.

  2. I will briefly touch upon where the class went, who spoke with us, and include my highlights and lowlights of the day. I will also include quotes and statements that stuck me with me enough that I remembered to write it down.

  3. Finally, I gave a highly prestigious review of the day. I won't lie and say all of the were the best, because they weren't. However, I feel like for some of you might be surprised how I felt about as the class went further along.

With all that out of the way, enjoy!

Day 3

Did you know my hometown, Columbia, South Carolina, used to have a minor league hockey team? The Columbia Inferno played at the Carolina Coliseum from 2001-2008. I remember going to a game midway through their run, thanks for a co-worker of my mom winning ten front row tickets to a game. I don't remember the game all that well, all I remember was a contest throwing pucks onto the ice for a substantial amount of money at the time. But remember coming away with the game absolutely falling in love with the game. Of course hockey games, even minor league hockey, are expensive to go to consistently. But I told myself I would go to one when I was old enough to drive. Course then they said they would move to the Colonial Life Arena, then somewhere in Lexington, then they just disappeared.

The Atlanta Thrashers moved out of Georgia a couple years after, and while the Carolina Hurricanes still remain, its a four hour drive from where I live. So I grew up believing that I would never get to go to another game ever again. Going to the United Center, going through those curtains, feeling the cold from the barely occupied arena...words can't describe how amazing it feels...

DATE: Wednesday, November 30th

LOCATIONS: Wilson Sporting Goods, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks

SPEAKERS: Rachel Perry (Wilson Team Member Experience Manager and HR Business Partner), Molly Riordan (Wilson Team Member Experience Specialist), Jeff Kortenkamp (Creative Operations Director), Oliva Vargas (Wilson Global Supply Planning Manager), Jonathan Lau (Wilson Social Media Strategy Manager), Amanda Lamb (Global Marketing and Partnership Senior Director, Team Sports), Aviva Jorstad (Wilson Digital Marketing Director), Michael Markovich (Wilson Global Commercial Senior Director, Baseball/Softball), Josh Clark (Chicago Bulls Community Relations Senior Coordinator), Kola Adebola (Chicago Bulls Community Relations Coordinator), Haley Zahn (Chicago Bulls Integrated Marketing Coordinator), Ivan Hudson (Chicago Bulls Digital Partnerships Coordinator), Denae Wilkins (Chicago Bulls Manager of Corporate Communications), Mary Clare Crue (Chicago Bulls HR Coordinator), Zayna Ibrahim (Chicago Bulls Senior Manager of Season Ticket Sales), David Hu (Chicago Bulls Business Analyst), Nikko Tan (Chicago Bulls Manager of Digital Content), Marisela Rodriguez (Chicago Blackhawks Manager, Development), Elena Kelsh (Chicago Blackhawks Manager, Analytics),Shilpa Rupani (Chicago Blackhawks Corporate Partnership Account Specialist), Sarah Ortman (Chicago Blackhawks Marketing Coordinator),Sean Montgomery (Chicago Blackhawks Account Executive, Membership Service),Kevin LeClair (Chicago Blackhawks Manager, Premium Membership)

QUOTE(S) OF THE DAY: "Who needs me?", "What makes you different", "Ask about the company's culture", "There is no such thing as an 'offseason'", "Learn a skill, and find a way to apply it", "Follow the opportunities", "Work at a job like a job you love", "Never stop believing", "No job is beneath you", "Be willing to do the little things/jobs", "Be willing to challenge your way of questioning", "Don't tell yourself 'no' before anyone else"

HIGHLIGHT: It was really cool to have the opportunity to wear some of the baseball gloves at Wilson HQ. I even got to see a signed glove from a recent MLB All-Star Game (who it was, I don't remember).

HIGHLIGHT: Michael Markovich was a delight. Rocking a (highly, overrated) Savannah Bananas sweater hoodies (Which despite my earlier statement, looked really cool), Michael going through his journey, which began out of spite, to being the Global Commercial Senior Director of Baseball and Softball for Wilson was really inspiring. Especially since he also didn't have a business degree.

HIGHLIGHT: The Bulls panel was really fun to see. You could see how much they loved their jobs and because they were hired around the same time, they gave off a vibe that indicated a good job culture. I also was happy when they encouraged us to apply for their sales team. I'll go into that in at the end of this mini blog.

HIGHLIGHT: See above for my feelings toward Hockey.

HIGHLIGHT: It was my first time in the United Center. I had been in the atrium before, but never the actual center. It was nice, I glad I got to see it. Oh, and you probably want to hear about the game too:

  1. It was Native American Heritage Night at the Center as the Edmonton Oliers played the hometown Chicago Blackhawks.

  2. The Hawks had moments to tie the game in the 2nd and 3rd periods, but the Oliers squeaked out a 5-4 victory of them.

  3. Max Domi scored two of the Hawks goals, including the goal that brought the score to 5-4 Oliers

  4. Leon Draisaitl scored two of the Oliers goals and assisted on one. His ability to just create points at will is woefully underrated. Especially since most of those opportunities had nothing to do with McDavid whatsoever.

  5. Speaking of McDavid. McDavid. Is. Him. That end-to-end speed can only be exprienced live. Like as he crossed the Hawks blue line, there was a moment where every knew he was going to score. And that's exactly what he did, going top right on Arvid Soderblom.

  6. You really need to experience a Hockey game live to truly enjoy it's beauty. It's called the fastest game on ice for a reason. Our school has a hockey team, you know? Tickets are cheap. GO CHECK THEM OUT!

LOWLIGHT: It's a bit nitpicky, especially because of who came before and that it was game day for them, but the talk with the Blackhawks just dragged on as you had to wait for the person to finish and then they sent someone from the back to then start again. Given how tired I already was at the time, it was easy to lose focused

LOWLIGHT: We also had guest speakers come to speak with us with the Blackhawks, but it was hard to hear them to due to our location being the offices right next to the atrium.

RATING: 10/5. WOW, WHAT A DAY! The tours! The people! The advice! The food! The Game! Everything was wonderful! This was what I wanted out of this class! Seeing Wilson operate, despite being 80-85% WFH, was a fantastic experience. The Bulls panel were full off advice and they actually seemed to like what they do. The Blackhawks weren't the best, but given it was gameday (and they gave us free tickets to a game), they get a pass.

I could go on about my first game in almost 15 years, but you get the picture. This. Is. The. Behind Chicago Sports Organizations. Experience.

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