Walter Franco: SMBA ’14 Student of the Week

Patrick Coghlan: You’ve had the pleasure of interning for the Club Tijuana Xolos for a large portion of the year. What has been the most enjoyable part of that work and how do you think it will benefit you in the future?

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Walter Franco: By far the most enjoyable part of working for the Xolos is essentially free reign with my projects and initiatives. I’m currently working on several proposals for U.S. sponsors and licensees for the club. I report back exactly what I’m doing and even get to negotiate on some fronts. I’m learning on the go, but by applying key concepts that I’ve gained in the Sports MBA program, I’m on the right path.

PC: You’ve also been interning for Soccer United Marketing during this academic year (yes, Walter is quite the stud), which has provided you with a chance to travel for events. Could
you please explain for people what you’re doing with Soccer United Marketing and what your favorite work trip has been?

WF: Soccer United Marketing (SUM) is the marketing arm of Major League Soccer (MLS). SUM has the rights to the Mexican National Team (men’s soccer) yearly tour of U.S. friendly matches. Many of the sponsors of the tour activate during a pre-game event known as “Futbol Fiesta.” Adam John (SMBA ’14) and I work on the logistics of this event, making sure everything runs smoothly from the set-up, security, transportation of former players making appearances, and tear-down. We also assist with all game operations during the match itself in the stadium. I would have to say that the best trip was in Houston because the match was essentially a sell-out.

PC: With two internships occupying much of your time, people may be led to believe that you
are a bachelor and have all the free time in the world. However, you are happily married
with a young daughter and another child on the way. How did you learn to manage your
time so well? Has it been difficult balancing school, work, and family?

WF: It has been difficult balancing it all at once, but my wife has been extremely supportive and understanding. She received her Master’s degree from the University of Utah a month before my classes began at SDSU, and even gave birth to our first daughter during Finals week. No matter how hard it gets for me, it pales in comparison to what my wife went through while she was in school.

PC: If you had a choice between going to a Mexico/U.S World Cup game or going to watch the Utah Utes play in the national championship (football), which would you choose?

WF: The last time Mexico played the U.S. in a World Cup game was in 2002. The U.S. won that game, 2-0. Given how Mexico is playing right now I don’t like their chances so without question I would go watch the Utes play for the national championship. Football has always been my favorite sport so it takes precedence over anything else.

PC: Which class do you think has helped you the most regarding your internships this year?

WF: The one class that has been most helpful this year was actually divided in two. Sports Marketing/Licensing was worth three credits, but taught by Dan Bruton and Vassilis Dalakas. Concepts I learned about licensing, marketing techniques, etc. have been very helpful in dealing with sponsors directly and understanding negotiations.