A Field Trip to Remember

There’s no better way to approach the sports business industry than being in the actual facilities where it comes to life.

The SMBA ’17 cohort recently left the classroom to admire the work done by Competitor Group, Upper Deck and SKLZ from their very different, but exciting roles in the San Diego sports landscape.

The first stop was Mira Mesa, where Rebecca Kingsbury (SMBA ’11) offered the students a tour through Competitor Group’s headquarters, where most of the action is dedicated to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, the most successful series of marathons and half marathons in the country. The company has set itself apart in the endurance sports market by delivering innovative ideas and creating bonds with their runners.

Also a publishing company, Competitor Group develops Women’s Running, Triathlete and Velo, must read magazines for lovers of sports and recreational athletes.

Competitor Group is an event organizer and publishing company focused in endurance sports.
Competitor Group is an event organizer and publishing company focused on endurance sports.



But the day was just starting, and a short drive to Carlsbad, where Ryan King (SMBA ’11), Product Manager of Upper Deck offered an insight in the sports memorabilia business and his role with the company.  He introduced the group to Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck and frequent guest lecturer in the Sports MBA program.

Walking through their hallways is every fan’s dream, with pictures, products, and autographs by major stars like LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Tiger Woods, among others. The company develops new products constantly and is always looking to sign the next big star to keep up with fans’ preferences for signed collectible items.

Famous for it's baseball cards, Upper Deck continues to renovate as a memorabilia company.
Famous for its baseball cards, Upper Deck continues to innovate as a memorabilia company.

Before heading back to SDSU, SKLZ was an obligatory stop. This sports training company has become the most popular in its segment thanks to a clear philosophy “the athlete first.”

Nicole Roberts, SKLZ’s communications manager, took the class for a rather interesting visit to their venue, which includes a large and open office space, a training facility partnering with Team EXOS and an enormous warehouse that stores and distributes over 300 products.

SKLZ training tools have become the favorites for MLB teams, Division A colleges and professional soccer teams all around the country, with a main focus in Diamond (baseball and softball), soccer, basketball, football, golf and performance.

Their roster of captains includes names like baseball player Evan Longoria, US Women’s National Team star Alex Morgan, and PGA Tour professional Tony Finau.

Nicole Roberts took the class into a fascinating tour of SKLZ.
Nicole Roberts took the class on a fascinating tour of SKLZ.