Autzen Stadium was the scene for the second Warsaw Workshop of the year presented by the University of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.
Helmed by second-year MBA student Char Zoller with help from coproducer and first-year MBA David Ehrlich, the workshop had a theme of “Sports Marketing Goes Global” and focused on recent trends in sports marketing through international sports platforms.
Jay Batavia, director of sports sponsorships for Momentum Worldwide, and Chris Schroeder, a partner at Dakia Global, joined alumni David Hobbie, MBA ’08 and associate director of international research at ESPN, and Meredith McCurdy, MBA ’08 and director of global sponsorship management at Visa.
Though geared toward undergraduate students studying sports marketing, the event was open to all University of Oregon students. In addition to undergrad students, MBAs representing the college’s various centers of excellence joined, as did some international studies majors, Zoller noted.
The format for the day kicked off with a panel featuring the four speakers, followed by a casual and conversational Q&A. The group then broke for lunch and networking. The afternoon saw small-group case studies on real-life challenges that the speakers were facing or have faced in the past, followed by a feedback session in which panelists addressed the viability of the students’ suggestions from those small-group sessions.
“I think it is a cool way for speakers to learn and get ideas from students, but also for students to get real-time feedback from professionals,” Zoller said. “We addressed topics like ‘How do you manage relationships across different cultures and different time zones?’ and ‘What are the logistics of relying on people that you’ve never met and might not meet for two or three years until your event takes place?’”
First-year MBA student Jacob Rosen found value in all the presentations, but particularly keyed into the talk centered on catering a message differently at the local versus the international level. He noted insights from every panelist.
“Meredith McCurdy shared her perspective of leveraging Visa’s sponsorship with the Super Bowl in non-U.S. markets,” he said. “ESPN Research’s David Hobbie mentioned how marquee teams, storylines, and players often rate better. And Momentum Worldwide’s Jay Batavia made several great points on how it all comes down to understanding human behavior,” said Rosen. “His money quote: ‘The goal is to weave in global passion for sports with what engages us as humans.’”
McCurdy said it was flattering to be invited to the workshop, and it was fun to participate.
“The students had some great questions, including measuring the value or return on sponsorship, which is a bazillion dollar question,” she said. “It’s taking something very qualitative and trying to turn it into something more quantitative.”
“They also asked questions about emerging and developing sports,” she noted. “The discussion was a little peek into their minds as well as perspective from their generation. I think their sense of corporate, social, and environmental responsibility is really strong, which is a nice way to round out the business world.”
She added, “It was fascinating to hear the other panelists point of view from sponsorship to brand experience to sustainable development to research. It was a great setup. I’d absolutely do it again.”
The event was the second and final outing of the academic year for the Warsaw Center’s workshops, which build on the long-running Women in Sports Business Symposium.