The Business of Sports

When the MMS program first started in July, many students thought there would be a wide divide between MBAs and MMSers. That prediction has proven to be outlandishly wrong.

For example, on Wednesday, November 9, the MBA Media, Entertainment and Sports Club hosted the “Wide World of Sports” event. Although MBA students operate the club, the event was also open to MMS students. More than 10 MMS scholars with passions for sports attended, and I was amongst them.

The event rekindled some old feelings. I had actually gone into my undergraduate studies wanting to work in sports. I majored in journalism, aspiring to become a sports broadcaster. In addition, I considered becoming manager of the Syracuse basketball team. I had seriously considered pursuing my passion for basketball, hoping to one day become the general manager of an NBA team.

So I didn’t want to miss the chance to meet some of the speakers at the “Wide World of Sports” event, which included several executives from different athletic areas. The President & COO of the Bobcats, Fred Whitfield, along with his VP of Market Development, Seth Bennett, represented the NBA. They spoke about ticket pricing and the impact Bobcats owner, Michael Jordan, has in the Charlotte area.

Mr. Whitfield’s story was particularly noteworthy. He started his career by befriending Michael Jordan while at UNC. His connection with Jordan led him to work with Jordan’s agent David Falk, and then the Washington Wizards and now the Bobcats.

There was also a media executive from the PAC 10. He discussed the $3 billion television deal he helped to orchestrate several months ago. Also present were a strategist from the sports agency Wasserman Media Group and a sponsorship executive from Pepsi.

Overall, each panelist stressed the importance of relationships. Relationships helped them break into the industry, and even during the downturns, relationships help them stave off the cuts. I took their relationship advice to heart – I’m moving to Charlotte in July to work at Wells Fargo. So I told Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Bennett about this, and they welcomed me to the city and told me to give them a call once I settle in. They even said I would be their special guest at a Bobcats game!

Naresh Vissa

Naresh Vissa

MMS: FOB, Class of 2012

My background has been heavily focused on media, financial markets and investments. Do not be fooled by my academic and professional qualifications though: I’m a first-degree black belt in Taekwondo!

Learn more about Naresh | View all of Naresh's Posts

  • Wenjia Wu

    I can’t wait to be here in person! I really want to start my career in sports industry. Though I did spend most of my life dealing with sports since I am the only child of two athletes, I am eager to learn the differences between sports business in China and that in the US. Hope that I could join all these amazing events when I start MMS in July this year.

    • Naresh

      You will enjoy the MMS, Wenjia. There are many opportunities you can take part in.