Better Know A Faculty: Dan Bruton, Licensing

Throughout the remainder of the year, the Better Know A Faculty series will shed some extra light on the outstanding faculty of San Diego State’s Sports MBA program. These interviews and stories have been compiled throughout the last few years by various Sports MBA classes. This edition of Better Know A Faculty will feature Dan Bruton, CEO of SportRX in San Diego (recently named  one of the Top 10 Best Places to Work in the U.S by Outside Magazine) written by Johnny Du, SMBA ’13.

Also, be sure to read on Erica Luster’s (SMBA ’15) experience interning at SportRX.


danbrutonOur Better Know A Faculty series resumes with Dan Bruton, who teaches the Licensing portion of our BA 655: Introduction to Sports Marketing course.

In the sports context, licensing involves a ‘licensor’ entity (usually a professional league, team or university) granting a ‘licensee’ entity (like a consumer goods company) the rights to use the licensor’s names, logos, images and other distinctive and unique trademarks on or in the licensee’s products or services. Our class covered the basics of sports licensing and culminated with the opportunity to present marketing pitches to the SMBA Alum Steve Fuller (SMBA ’14) at the University of Southern California.

Dan is a former CMO at Upper Deck and current president at Marketing 101, a local marketing firm specializing in sports and entertainment. He has years of experience in the licensing, marketing and endorsement side of sports business, and has worked with many notable athlete clients including Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan and Michael Vick.

He has been an invaluable resource to the Sports MBA program over the years, constantly providing students with opportunities for internships or referrals through his vast network. Thank for answering our questions, Dan!

1) When did you start teaching in the program? How did the opportunity come about?

I started in 2009. Prior to teaching, I sat on the advisory board for the program and spoke each year to the classes about my experience in the industry.

2) What do you enjoy most about teaching in the Sports MBA program?

I love the interaction with the students. They always have fresh ideas. My goal is to help place students with jobs and internships in the industry. Helping students make contacts and get their foot in the door with a sports company is very satisfying.

3) In your respective course, what are the main takeaway(s) you are hoping the cohort gets (or got, if the course has completed)?

That licensing controls almost everything that we do in the industry. That most of the leagues are structured the same way with a properties group representing the owners and a players union representing the athletes. Very few companies understand how sports licensing works but it affects almost everything we do in the industry.

4) Someone walks up, says they have been offered admission into SMBA and asks you “Why should I enroll?” Your response is:

You will get a great overview and understanding of the industry. The program format will allow you to get real world experience while you are completing your degree.

5) Your (hopefully inspirational and uplifting) sports movie of choice is…? Because…?

It has to be Field of Dreams. I guess I’m just a sap for the whole “bringing the family together” theme. Such a fun movie.


Originally post on the San Diego State SMBA Class of 2013 blog