One day, two teams. SMBA ’14’s epic journey

As part of SMBA’s ongoing commitment to alumni interaction, SMBA ’14 was invited to a presentation at San Diego’s Petco Park hosted by Roberto Castro (SMBA ’11). On May 29, we arrived at Petco Park at 9 a.m. and were treated to an informational presentation by Mr. Castro, during which he gave us some insight into his daily duties as Event Operations Manager with the San Diego Padres.

After the presentation in the Lexus Home Plate Club, Mr. Castro was kind enough to take the class on a behind-the-scenes tour of Petco Park.  We first explored the main concourse before heading to Petco’s signature feature – the Western Metal Supply Co. building.  We got a great view of the field from a second-story suite, as well as the top-story Hall of Fame Bar and Grill.  A number of us remarked what a great job the Padres had done taking a historical landmark and making it feel as if it were a part of the park from day 1.


After the Western Metal Supply Co. tour, we were able to view the Fox Sports San Diego broadcast booth and the press box area.  Michael Schwartz (SMBA ’14) did his best to give us some insight as to what the press box is like on game days, as he spent some time there while covering other MLB teams.

Petco Park as seen from the press box
Petco Park as seen from the press box

Following the press box came the moment we were all waiting for – a dugout and on-field experience.  It really is a completely different view of the field from this level, especially from the dugout.  After a group photo in the dugout, we were led out to left field to get an outfielder’s view of the stadium.  For some, this was the first time on a baseball diamond, let along a pro baseball field.


After a group photo we headed back to the Lexus Home Plate Club for a recap and farewells.  As we thanked Mr. Castro on our way out, we knew that our day had only begun.  The second leg of our journey called for a trip up to Anaheim.

The trip to Anaheim took about an hour and a half.  After stopping quickly to grab some lunch, we convened at the Honda Center and met up with Dr. Vassilis Dalakas, our marketing professor, and Matt Savant, Director of Fan Development with the Anaheim Ducks.

As part of our marketing course, we had been given the task of constructing a marketing initiative, utilizing social media and emerging technologies, that would help the Ducks connect with their younger fanbase, specifically the 16-24-year-old demographic.

Separated into groups of four, teams put together programs involving social media sites like Twitter, Vine, and Facebook, and other technologies like YouTube and smartphone applications.  We were honored and privileged to present our ideas to Matt and the entire Fan Development marketing department.  As groups presented in one of the Honda Center’s boardrooms, the other groups were left to prepare in section 304 of the Honda Center stands.  Not a bad place to be, despite the arena’s ice having been removed following the conclusion of the Ducks’ playoff run.

After all nine teams presented their programs, Matt was kind enough to lead us on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Honda Center.  We descended down to the Service Level and were greeted by Esther, the Ducks’ receptionist.  Matt showed us the Ducks’ impressive trophy display, in which the team’s Stanley Cup was kept.  Although this was not a full-size replica, it was eye-catching nonetheless.

Anaheim Ducks trophy case with Stanley Cup.
Anaheim Ducks trophy case with Stanley Cup.

Matt then took us into the underbelly of the arena, first stopping outside the Ducks’ home locker room and the visitors’ room.  Continuing on, we saw a number of dressing rooms used for musical acts when the Honda Center holds concerts.  Then, we entered the arena bowl on the ice level.  Again, some of the group had never been in an NHL arena, so this was another great experience.


We finally passed by the Zamboni pit, the arena audio/video hub, and some areas used by Honda Center staff.  The last stop on our arena tour was outside the Ducks’ coaches’ offices, and we finally ended where we started, in the reception area.  We thanked Matt for giving us the opportunity to present our idea to him and his team, and for the incredible arena tour, and started our journey back to San Diego.


May 29, 2013, was an exciting day for SMBA ’14, filled with priceless experiences and two professional teams and stadiums.  We would like to thank Mr. Castro, the San Diego Padres, Mr. Savant, and the Anaheim Ducks for helping to make our day and program great!

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