The ‘Active’ Side of Soccer

The next time you encounter a Coca-Cola activation for a soccer game or happen to be at a High School event with Wilson’s new basketball, be sure to remember that Adam John and Elemento L2 are behind it. Adam, Class of 2014 Alum, used his finance background to break into sports and now he travels all around the country representing his brands. Pretty cool, huh?


Where did you start working when you graduated from the program?

“Started working for a marketing company called Elemento L2. We do all aspects of marketing, a full house agency that includes sports, music, retail, shopper marketing, digital. I work exclusively on the sports side of it. Within that there are several clients that I manage, the biggest one being Coca-Cola and Powerade, so I manage almost all of Coke’s and Powerade’s Soccer sponsorships assets in the US. That includes Mexican National Team, US Soccer, Major League Soccer, Amateur Sports. We have a big amateur tournament in 12 cities from April to October. Two weeks ago I was out there for the MLS All-Star Game.

“In addition to Coke and Powerade, I oversee all the events we do for Wilson Sporting Goods, which is promoting their football, basketball and a little bit on the volleyball side. They just launched a new connected basketball called the Wilson X which is a smart basketball that connects with your app and it gives you your results on the phone. They are launching a football with the same concept. Last year starting with the Super Bowl we designed and executed this massive tour that started  in the Super Bowl weekend in San Francisco with events in high schools and retail events like Dick Sporting Goods, places like that. Kids that go to training camps all over the country, to Gronkowski’s camp, Russel Wilson’s camp, Roethlisberger’s camp, etc., it has been a very successful tour of a client that I manage.

“Bein Sports, we did an event for them back in the Spring for El Clasico, the Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona match down in Miami and it was a huge watch party that we threw right in the water that was pretty cool. This Fall Bein Sports is getting more into football, and they have a new contract with Conference USA, so we are doing a series of events around a Conference USA game going all the way through the season.”

How has this program helped you to develop yourself within the sports industry?

“It helped immensely. I come from a Finance background and worked in energy and finance prior to going to the program. Obviously, the coursework and class time, the classes in general were great. Having the sports aspect was great, having Sports Economics instead of just Economics gives you a good foundation and good overall structure to working in sports. For me the biggest thing was the experience I got really working and the positions I had while I was taking classes, from my internship with Soccer United Marketing and Major League Soccer to working for the Tiger Woods Foundation, neither of this positions would I have gotten if it wouldn’t have been for the program. My work with MLS was a direct vehicle to the position I have today, so I will always be grateful for that position. My boss for that position is still my mentor today and she asked me if I could help her with a couple of Gold Cup matches and I know that she will be always great to work with. Again, something I got through the program.”

What is your advice for the current and future classes of the Sports MBA program?

I know a lot of alums say the same thing. Networking and talk with as many people as you can. The work is intensive, but do everything you can to also work somewhere when you can. Is difficult in San Diego at times because the sports industry can be viewed limited there compared to Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, depending on what you want to go into. But do everything you can. When I worked for the Tiger Woods Foundation I drove 80 miles up to Irvine three days per week because I thought it was worth it. A ton of time in the car, but that was a really good position and worked with great people who I keep in touch with today and I would love to work with in the future. Regardless of how much time it takes, remember that you are only there for a year and just take advantage of it. Spend the off days call companies. Your return rate can be up to 20%, is a numbers game. Just talk to people, it is beneficial and you never know what may come out of it”