Saturday, November 2, 2013

Meeting with the Minnesota Twins, Vikings, and Wild :)

Target Field
            Last Thursday (October 24th) I got the opportunity to visit with marketing and sales professionals from the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and Wild with my Sports Marketing class. This was probably one of the most valuable and important opportunities that I have experience. Dr. Stephen Castleberry, our professor, set the whole day up for us to really get an idea of what working in professional sports is like. He's been so helpful with me and has been my favorite professor at UMD. If you have the chance to take Sports Marketing or any class with him, I HIGHLY suggest you take it!

            It was an early morning for us, starting at 10 am at Target Field for a tour and panel. First, we got our tour of the stadium which was about an hour long. We got to see the Champions Club, Visitor's Clubhouse, the Budweiser Deck, and many other behind-the-scenes areas of the stadium. Being a huge Twins fan, this was the highlight of my day. Target Field is an amazing example of an environmentally conscious stadium. The stadium saves millions of gallons a year of water that is drained, purified, and recycled all within the stadium. It's won many awards for its sustainability efforts. Architecturally, it is absolutely gorgeous. Every time I get a chance to be in the building, I am constantly reminded of how much I want to work there.

          After the tour, we got to speak with some of the people that work for the Minnesota Twins in marketing and sales. The panel consisted of Will Delaney (Ad Manager), Chris Iles (Corporate Communication), Keith Beise (Social Media), and Rick Olson (Tour Leader). They each described what they do. They are also preparing a lot for the All Star Game, coming to Target Field in July 2014. They talked a lot about how they plan on expanding their social media to other platforms, and how much revenue that their social media creates. I also won a game used ball for asking the best question. :)

          After our visit with the Twins, we rushed to the Metrodome to begin visiting with the Minnesota Vikings. We got a tour of Mall of America Field, and we were told that we would be one of the last groups to tour it, since it will be torn down after this season. It's really amazing to look at the stadium from a marketing point of you. I noticed how outdated and old the stadium was. It is hard to market not only an old stadium, but a team that can't figure out their QB situation and can't win. They did very well with what they could do, and obviously, people are still going to the games no matter how bad the Vikings have been lately.

Mall of America Field
         We had a very long discussion with their panel of professionals which included Brett Tabor (Marketing Coordinator), Travis Hamre (Group Sales), CJ Rugh (Events), and Dannon Hulskotter (Marketing Director). These guys were probably the most knowledgeable. They had so many experiences to share, and it was fascinating to hear how they operate day to day. They talked a lot about how they plan on adjusting to not only the new Vikings stadium, but TCF Stadium, which will be their home for 2 years while the stadium is being built. They also discussed how hard it is to market a losing team.

          Our final visit was with the Minnesota Wild. By the time we got there, we were all starving and pretty exhausted. We all actively listened to the marketing professionals for the Wild, though, who were Will Schultz (Ticket Sales), Natalie Kaess (Fan Services), and Mark Fasching (Suite Sales). We had a brief tour of the stadium and got to go down to the ice level. It was right before their game, though, so we didn't get to see much more than that. During the tour, I saw a player just sitting in the stands taping his hockey stick, so that was pretty exciting for me! We also learned a lot about the suites, which work very differently compared to the Dome and Target Field. They had suites that could be purchased for quarter, half, and full seasons. There were also suites that could be purchased for single games only. On top of all of that, the Xcel has "Loges," which are 4 person suites. These included 4 tickets to every event that occurs at the Xcel, including concerts, tournaments and Wild games. They also had all you can eat food and drink. Even though it was pretty expensive, I thought it was a great idea. It's clear that it has been successful, due to the waiting list they have to purchase a suite.

Wild warming up vs. Carolina
               Natalie and Will were our panel for the Wild. Nicole's job was the most interesting part of me. She described her job as being the "day maker." She was the one that called people to skate with the flag at the beginning of the game and helped get people together for all of the fun stuff at the games. This was really interesting for me, because that's what I love doing when I intern. They also talked a lot about how they dealt with the lockout last year and years prior. They talked about how for a week they were at the Xcel around the clock once they found out a deal had been signed and there would be hockey. It was extremely interesting to me how they handled all of that. Will talked a lot about his ticket sale background, explaining that that is entry level in most marketing areas of sports. He also gave us the tour of the stadium and introduced us to Mark, who showed us how the suites work for the Wild.

               This trip was so much fun. I got to meet people in the field I want to go into and it was extremely interesting. The basic networking of the trip was so valuable to me, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with these professionals when I graduate from UMD. My next post is going to be about going to the Minnesota Wild Networking Event, and I will be networking with professionals that actually run the Wild, Timberwolves and Vikings organizations. I am so excited! Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Alexa! So, I'm just about to get into Marketing and I think that you have the COOLEST career path going for you. You've done a lot of cool things with your major, and a lot of things that I am very jealous of! :) I'm just not switching over from Journalism/Comm to Marketing, and I was wondering if you had an pointers for me (because you clearly have some great things going for you)! You should shoot me an email at:

    Keep it up!