Zach Johnson, Matthew Sills and Erika Union had the opportunity to represent SMBA ‘15 as volunteers for the 13th IMG World Congress of Sports at the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort in Dana Point, Calif. The three students worked for the Sports Business Journal staff along with other students from NYU, USC and Stanford. Monday and Tuesday were spent helping the SBJ staff prepare the venue for the two day event by putting together sponsor tables, guest packets and name tags, as well as organizing signage throughout the main ballroom.
After all of the “heavy lifting” was done on the first two days, it was time for the event to start. Wednesday was an early and exciting morning as the volunteers helped with the last minute arrangements and eagerly awaited the arrival of the attendees. The SMBA representatives worked the registration table and assisted with hospitality and management operations. With over 600 scheduled attendees, the volunteers had their hands full. The list of attendees was quite impressive and also boasted Program Director Scott Minto, Program Coordinator Jennifer Bulcao, as well as several friends of the SMBA program such as Chris Codington, of Sports Strategies. Attendees hailed from all over the world to convene at the Congress to network and discuss the most pressing issues in sports business.
During the event, volunteers got the opportunity to sit in on panels and had opportunities to network with the attendees and speakers. Panel topics included an examination of L.A. as the nation’s hottest sports market, the future for sports marketing, Brazil in the spotlight with the World Cup and Olympics on the horizon and insights from the new guard of sports ownership. At the conclusion of the panel events, attendees had the opportunity to get out in the sunshine on the botanical lawn at the St. Regis for a pro-clinic and pro-am competition hosted by the Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball. Three-time Olympic gold medalist for USA volleyball, Kerri Walsh Jennings, was out on the court as one of the pros coaching the Congress attendees. While some attendees came prepared with athletic clothes, several-including our SMBA volunteers-were out in the court bringing a new meaning to “work hard, play hard.”
After the panel events and volleyball clinic, the SMBA representatives had the unique opportunity of setting up and attending the Forty Under 40 awards banquet honoring the brightest young professionals in sports business. The entire week from the set-up of the panels to the takedown of the Forty under 40 was an impressive production and a wonderful insight into the world of sports business for our SMBA representatives.