the rough-and-tumble world of sports marketing with Kellogg
grads who know the drill
On a chilly
October Sunday, Chicago Bears faithful pile into the remodeled
Soldier Field wearing their loyalty in the form of bear-headed
ski caps and bear-clawed toes. Fathers and sons are decked
out in identical “54” dark-blue home jerseys honoring
middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, a link to past greats such
as Walter Payton, Dick Butkus and Red Grange.
facing the Washington Redskins, the Bears warm up on the field
as a punter’s errant practice kick zips through a crowd
on the sidelines. Scott Hagel is unfazed. He knows it’s
not fun to be hit on the head with a football, but in this
game you’ve got to be ready for anything.
as true off the field as it is on the field.
days you walk into work and think, ‘This is going to
be a mellow day,’ that’s when something big happens,”
says Hagel, senior director of corporate communications. The
2004 Kellogg School graduate oversees the Bears’ broadcast,
print, creative services and Internet operations.
and other Kellogg alums say careers in sports marketing offer
rewards in addition to the monetary.
Hagel ’04, right, discusses media strategy with
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. Hagel is the Bears’
senior director of corporate communications.
Cubs’ media relations director, Sharon Pannozzo ’91
is looking for more than a paycheck. After 23 years with the
team, she says, “I want my World Series ring too.”
But Pannozzo’s two-decade-long wait is nothing compared
to the Cubs’, who haven’t won it all since 1908.
For Sven Zehnder ’96, who markets a Swiss-based Formula
One racing team, the international appeal of a sport that
sizzles with speed, glamour and star power is not something
most other jobs can offer. And Susanna Mandel-Mantello ’96
was the National Hockey League’s director of international
broadcasting until a recent NHL labor rift resulted in a layoff.
But she has bounced back with her new role as managing director,
international broadcasting rights, with the Prince Companies,
a sports consulting group.
passion over pay for these marketing pros.
there’s a pure entrepreneur, Hank Adams, CEO of Sportvision
Inc., who built and sold a successful sports marketing company
even before he graduated from Kellogg in 1999. Don’t
know him or his company? Think virtual yellow-stripe 1st-and-10
markings on televised football broadcasts and the strike-zone
rectangle in baseball.
has an emotional, personal and historical appeal that cuts
across teams, countries, careers and pocketbooks. In baseball,
there are not just fans, but the Redbird and Red Sox nations,
and, of course, Cubdom. Sports marketers understand these
fans are born, not traded. They are outfitted with team baby
clothes, and some are buried in team uniforms.
brands are not owned by the companies,” says Timothy
Calkins, clinical associate professor of marketing at Kellogg
School. “They are owned by the consumers.”
marketing is really about branding,” he adds. “That’s
what sports teams are — terrific brands.”
the ‘story’ of sports
Hank Adams, in his Sportvision offices in Chicago’s
Ravenswood neighborhood, knows about sports passion. He’s
even hung a large painting of a bison on his wall as a reminder
of his beloved University of Colorado Buffalos. It watches
everything he does.
most of the sports-viewing world. As a history and finance
major at Colorado, Adams understands the value of storytelling
and has turned it into a successful business.
employ what are essentially storytelling technologies that
allow us to enhance the drama of the game,” he says.
His company works to enhance important aspects of the game
that are hard to see but happen frequently.
graduating from Kellogg, Adams was co-founder and CEO of Extreme
Fans Sports Network, which was bought by America Online. Sportvision
has won six Emmy Awards for such innovations as the famous
First and Ten Line in football, the K-Zone in baseball and
Pitt Command interactive products for NASCAR.
|© Nathan Mandell
comfortable in “The Friendly Confines”: Sharon
Pannozzo ’91 calls Wrigley Field her office where
she — like the Chicago Cubs — is waiting to
win a World Series ring.
also is a leader in embedding marketers’ messages into
broadcasts with clever devices such as the FedEx Reliability
Zone for golf, which shows the player’s chances of making
putts from various ranges.
Adams says one of his company’s principles is “to
allow our advertisers to embed themselves in sports in a compelling
and interesting way.”
may keep a low profile, but it’s not unnoticed. It recently
was named the second-fastest–growing technology company
in the Chicago area, according to Deloitte & Touche’s
“Technology Fast 50” program.
always wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Adams says. “This
was my path, and it worked.”
Mandel-Montello’s love affair with hockey is an unlikely
raised in Florence, Italy, the daughter of George Mandel-Mantello,
a Jewish World War II hero born George Mandel in what is now
Romania. He adopted the Mantello part of the name when, after
witnessing the early horrors of the Holocaust, he received
a diplomatic cover from El Salvador. He issued thousands of
protective orders for Jews, and in 1944 was the first to alert
the public to the so-called Auschwitz Protocols. Yet most
of the Mandel family perished in concentration camps.
easy to see where self-confidence, daring and the ability
to deal with risk are part of his daughter’s natural
constitution. But even that doesn’t explain the hockey.
early 1990s, Mandel-Mantello, who graduated from New York
University, went to a New York Rangers hockey game and fell
in love with the sport. When she later enrolled in Kellogg,
she knew she wanted to pursue a career around the ice.
at Kellogg, she worked for a hockey news service, interviewing
players and receiving “a crash course on the game.”
As a rule, she says, the sports industry doesn’t pay
particularly well and offers little structured training.
last eight years, Mandel-Montello had to act much like an
entrepreneur. With ESPN International, for instance, she negotiated
all broadcast contracts outside of Canada and the United States,
focusing on the many European NHL stars.
process, she learned the importance of client relationships.
“Once you build your clientele, you have to make sure
you take care of them,” she says.
70 percent of NHL staff in New York was laid off because of
a players’ lockout — and Mandel-Montello launched
a new career in sports consulting. “My dream is to be
a smaller version of IMG [the worldwide sports management
group], but with a better reputation,” she says.
for speed — and ‘emotional connection’
If you want to hold a sales meeting at an unusual location
to impress your clients, employees or potential customers,
consider the Sauber Swiss wind tunnel built for testing high-performance
Formula One (F1) race cars and contact Sven Zehnder. That
is, if you are or become a team sponsor, since the tunnel
is not open to the public.
challenge as head of marketing for the Zurich-based Sauber-Petronas
racing team, which relies on sponsors for 80 percent of its
revenue, is to develop a broader sponsorship base. Sauber-Petronas
cars are competitive, but face huge hurdles to overcome the
financial advantages of the big auto manufacturers.
are extremely popular in Europe, Asia, South America and,
increasingly, in the Middle East. The races are held at some
exotic locales, says Zehnder, but are really taking place
internationally. For instance, China constructed a new track
for the inaugural Shanghai Grand Prix, which took place Sept.
26. The event drew 150,000 people.
very glamorous to be a part of a Formula One race, but also
a lot of hard work,” Zehnder says.
is a sports enthusiast who previously worked for Nike and
Adidas in Europe. He is an executive board member of Switzerland’s
most successful soccer club, Grasshoppers Zurich. He describes
himself as a “reckless swimmer, a talented but consistently
slow runner, and a proud triathlon finisher.”
he joined Sauber-Petronas. Zehnder admits he wasn’t
the biggest racing fan in the world but was intrigued by the
speed, technology and entrepreneurial aspect of Formula 1.
Apparently so. His team nearly doubled the number of sponsors
to 45 during his tenure.
recently built a state-of-the-art wind tunnel for testing
racing car performance, and improving its competitiveness,
especially since aerodynamics is the primary factor affecting
a modern F1 car. Factors impacting the sport also include
the challenges of marketing it.
consumer today makes a decision based on an emotional connection,
and our teams have many ways to offer that,” he says.
The same is true for anyone thinking about a career in sports.
“It’s important for me to have passion for the
for the fans
The stock market has its “Black Friday,” but Sharon
Pannozzo remembers with fondness the Cubs’ own “Black
Monday” in 1981 when the Tribune Co. bought the Cubs
and fired the holdovers from the Wrigley family.
her ticket to Wrigley Field. Pannozzo, then a recent graduate
of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree
in sports management and an internship with the Boston Red
Sox under her belt, had heard about the openings and drove
to Chicago for an interview in the public relations office.
She was hired by the end of the week.
to enter Kellogg because she wanted a broader background,
the skills to take her “down the road in case I wanted
a career change.” Fourteen years later, there’s
still the unfinished business about the championship ring,
both for Pannozzo and the team, but from a marketing standpoint
it’s difficult to find fault with the Cubs. Wrigley
Field was practically sold out for the 2004 season.
product you put on the field sells itself right there,”
Pannozzo says. “When you don’t have the team to
sell, you sell the ballpark. Daytime baseball is a great family
oriented experience. When you combine these elements with
a winning team, it magnifies everything.”
take anything away from the Cubs, but let’s just say
there was more potential case study material on display at
Soldier Field than Wrigley Field in October.
by George “Papa Bear” Halas, the Bears have won
eight NFL championships and one Super Bowl. The team is still
owned and run by Halas’ descendants. In fact, Hagel,
who was hired by the team after he graduated from Central
Michigan University with a journalism major, likes to say
he works for “a small, family business.”
talk to our president and CEO every day,” he says, referring
to Ted Phillips, a 1989 Kellogg School graduate.
time that October day, Hagel was in the enormous press box
where he monitors television and radio broadcasts for a post-game
press conference. The Bears put on a poor show against the
Redskins, losing 13-10 behind an untested quarterback who
is booed as he leaves the field. Coach Lovie Smith is candid
about the team’s performance after the game.
organization values the truth, and Coach Smith was honest
in his assessment of our game,” says Hagel in an email
afterwards. “We remind all our people who speak with
the media just who their audience is: our fans, their teammates,
coaches and front-office staff. We try to construct our messages
to reach each of these audiences. In all cases, credibility
within our organization can only be built through honesty.”
the fans come back? They always do, because, like Hagel, they’re
not about to give up. “There is nothing about this team
that would make you want to leave,” he says.
sure want to be around when we start winning again.”