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Beyond the Gates-An IDS Student's Review of MGT 514: Behind Chicago Sports Organizations (Day 1+2)

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 1

“Nyaruko would love a nap. With a knyaitted blanket and a the NYAaaA/C on.”

As I was sitting here in one of the large conference rooms at the office of the Chicago White Sox, I was busy making small backstories for characters in a story I was writing about. Of course, I mean no disrespect to the people at the White Sox. They took time out of their busy schedule to speak with the class about the world of sports business. That’s also not to say I wasn’t paying at all. I was just way more interested in making a story for a busty, fit, orange cat girl at the time.

I’m not sure why I am here to be honest. I am a graduate Interdisciplinary Studies student, still struggling to figure out what I want to do for the next 40 years of my life, dressed in a generic button up shirt and pants that don't quite fit the same anymore, here in a class with Business, Finance, and Marketing students, some students who already have an MBA, and students who already had a good idea of what they wanted to do for a career.

I should be preparing a trip to Singapore, imagining all the exotic food, planning out all the souvenirs I would buy for my family, and dreading the 13-hour flight to Japan, then a six-hour flight to Singapore…oh yeah…

DATE: Monday, November 28th

LOCATIONS: Depaul University: Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, Chicago White Sox

SPEAKERS: Chris Hartweg (Team Marketing Report Publisher), Rich Kuchar (Chicago White Sox Director of Ticket Sales and Retention), George McDoniel (Chicago White Sox Sr. Director, Corporate Partnership Sales Development), Christine O’Reilly-Riordan (Chicago White Sox VP, Community Relations/Executive Director, Chicago White Sox Charities), Cris Quintana (Chicago White Sox Sr. Director, Broadcasting), Bill Waters (Chicago White Sox VP, Finance), and Jim Willits (Chicago White Sox VP of Sales & Service)

QUOTE(S) OF THE DAY: "Make you connections count", "Get as much writing experience as you can", "Get Value, win or lose", "Someone is always watching you"

HIGHLIGHT: I would say going out onto Guaranteed Rate Field was the highlight. I mean, we didn't to go out on the grass of the actual infield dirt, but the foul territory behind home plate. Still as close as I probably ever be to being a Major League player. We even got to be in the dugout, which is something you don't even get to do on some tours (ballplayers get no cushion on that bench...unless they replace it every year in which case...we got to sit on the same cushion as MLB Players *squeal*!)

LOWLIGHT: Probably the entire rest of the day. Learning that the Fan Cost index, a tool I use a lot attending sports in Chicago, came from Chris Hartweg's Team Marketing Report was cool, but we only got thirty-ish minutes with him. The White Sox could have done better, I got the feeling that maybe the people that came to speak with us, who have over 100 years combined working in sports, don't typically speak with students. Granted most of the questions sounded like a critique of the franchise and so most of their answers sounded like a defense of said organization. But for student looking to get into the organization...maybe it would have been wished it steered in that direction.

RATING: 2.5/5. Going out onto the field and Guaranteed Rate Field was a nice end to the day, but I can't say the rest of the day was helpful to me at all. And judging the talk from the other students, it didn't sound helpful to them either.

Day 2

I might have mentioned this on “Bench Chatter” (returning to RDPS February 2023) before, but I worked for the Cubs this past season. Or at least, most of the season.

When I was hired, I was worried that due to school and the reliance on the CTA train would cause me to run late on gameday. The HR representative in charge of my hiring however, told me that as long as I let the proper channels know, there shouldn’t be a problem.

I was fired in September for attendance point accumulation. I would get raving reviews from guests and supervisors and get a chance to meet and work with a ton of cool associates. But because I would arrive within 10 minutes after my scheduled time, mostly due to said CTA train, and despite me letting them know as soon as a problem arose, I was let go.

The HR manager in charge of my hiring and firing would be one of the speakers speaking to our class.

So, forgive me for saying that I exactly wasn’t looking forward to today's class.

Forgive me for spending most of my time writing about the three foxes I spent most of last quarter writing about (I'll take my B- proudly, thank you).

Forgive me for being late, even though it wasn't 100% my fault. We all know the troubles with the CTA post-pandemic unfortunately ruined operations, thus leading to delays, and using GPS in the city is a disaster waiting to happen.

But I know you don't care; you just want to know how my day went:

DATE: Tuesday, November 29th

LOCATIONS: rEvolution, Chicago Cubs

SPEAKERS: Larry Mann (rEvolution Partner), Mike Hormuth (rEvolution Senior Director of Communications), Jennifer Andrus (rEvolution Director of Hospitality), Colin Faulkner (Chicago Cubs Chief Commercial Officer, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing), Diego Chahda (Chicago Cubs Account Executive, Premier Sales), Claribel Diaz (Chicago Cubs Talent Acquisition & HR Ops Coordinator),Brad Nagel (Chicago Cubs Director, Talent), Brad Johnson (Chicago Cubs Director, Hospitality & Retail), Megh Babikian (Chicago Cubs Ticket Sales Representative), and Aaron Klein (Chicago Cubs Manager, Ticket Sales)

QUOTE(S) OF THE DAY: "Don't be in a hurry to get there", "The Sports Agency world can be aggressive like a swan"

HIGHLIGHT: The rEvolution talk was superb. I loved specifically the work that they do with eSports. Not that I am huge eSports fan, but I feel like they fact that they do "organic marketing" feels fresh. And their hospitality department really give high-level, high-quality events for their client. Somone once referred to them as "bucket-list trips" and I think that is the perfect way of representing what I took away from it.

HIGHLIGHT: I appreciate the Cubs for allow us to view their premier clubs. I never got the opportunity to look at said clubs and based on the complaints that the prices for regular tickets were already too high, so the answer I got from one of the Premier Sales guys gave me closure on my curiosity. In case you were wondering yourself, because of how the tickts packages work, you get 81 tickets for the area, but most will not go to all 81 games. As such, they sell said tickets, or give it away to family and friends. So those who had already paid for said tickets, those who were gifted said tickets, and those with some money to burn and want an experience makes up the population on any give homestand.

LOWLIGHT: See the above intro for a TL;DR but overall, outside of Colin Faulker, I didn't really get a great since of either culture.

RATING: 3.5/5. Seeing everything that rEvolution does while being an independent agency is amazing, if I wanted to go into sports, this is the type of company I would want to work for (might see what opportunities are out there with the company). Seeing the exclusive clubs at Wrigley Field (1914 Club, Makers Barrel Room, the W club) on top of seeing the players clubhouse, the practice area inside the dugout, and going out on the field (Though it was during some sort of winter festival, diminishes the value a bit) was a nice touch over the Sox and justify my rooting interest in the team. There was a little more value in terms of messaging today, but not much

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