For Colin McCall ’08, an undergraduate internship facilitated through the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center became a lifelong calling. Since 2007, McCall has moved up the corporate ladder within the Portland Trail Blazers and now serves as director of corporate partnership sales.
Describe your position and role.
I’m the director of corporate partnership sales for the Portland Trail Blazers and Blazer5 Gaming. It’s an amazing and challenging industry—we dive deep into businesses and categories of all shapes and sizes and determine how the Portland Trail Blazers will support their business and marketing objectives.
My primary objective is leading a team of five corporate partnership sales managers to exceed our annual revenue target. Additionally, my team was responsible for procuring sponsors associated with the PK80 Phil Knight Invitational men’s college basketball tournament via a joint enterprise with ESPN.
Blazer5 Gaming is also one of 17 recently launched NBA 2K eSports franchises, and we’ve been tasked with the challenge of drafting five gamers, hiring a few full-time operations and management positions, and monetizing the enterprise purely through partnership revenue. We are excited to be part of the launch and believe this platform will provide our partners with the opportunity to capture a highly valuable audience.
How has your Warsaw Center experience shaped your professional career?
The Warsaw Center’s dedicated staff motivated me to apply for an internship with the Trail Blazers back in 2007. That initial application has turned into more than 10 years with the organization and multiple job stops in ticket sales, marketing, and corporate partnerships. The center’s resources—like one-on-one time with career services staff and job searching and resume tools—gave me a leg up on my competition. I was able to jump on opportunities confidently and fully prepared.
What key business trends are you following right now?
The NBA’s decision to include advertisement patches on their jerseys next season. I think this is a monumental move illustrating the evolution of the sponsorship industry. These sponsors include well-known names like GE, Disney, and Harley-Davidson; international brands like Rakuten; and relative unknowns like Detroit’s Flagstar Bank. Though the common theme across all deals is a regional tie to the NBA market, each company is leveraging the patch in a different way for different business objectives. For instance, Harley-Davidson is one of the most iconic brands in the world, but they need to connect to a younger generation. What better way than through the NBA and the launch of new NIKE gear? Organically weaving your brand into content is paramount to recall for younger generations and the jersey patch does exactly that.
What is your favorite social media platform for personal use and what is your favorite social media platform for business purposes?
For business, Twitter is critical. In the sponsorship world, response time is key. Folks like Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN provide the latest NBA news, but many of the major news networks help break industry headlines instantly.
In my personal life, I’m not much of a social media user. I do post every so often to Instagram, but I’m more likely to scroll through my feed for memes.
What do you miss about Eugene?
The lack of traffic. With the population and job growth in Portland, traffic has become a nightmare! I miss the days of everything being only a few minutes away.