Sports Heavy Weights Meet At PUMA Conference


James Miranda, Sports Editor

Pace University Marketing Association (PUMA) hosted a sports media conference at Butcher Suite in Kessel Student Center on Sat., Feb. 21.

Speakers from ESPN, the New York Mets, and Swag Media Factory were present and gave their opinions on topics such as the state of sports marketing, its future, and what it takes for college students to break in.

“We’ve all been in your shoes,” Mets Senior Director of Marketing Mark Fine said. “It’s important to network as much as possible. It’s tough.”

Along with Fine, who has been working with the Mets for three years now, the panel included Jake Sheppard, an IT and marketing hand at Swag Media Factory, and Patrick Caulfield, Director of the Stats and Info Group at ESPN.

Each speaker had the chance to talk about the beginning of their profession and the rollercoaster ride that the sports business can be. One speaker mentioned that it never goes out as planned. Fine mentioned how one time with the Frederick Keys (Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles) all of the stadium’s grounds crew quit and he had to be a part of a back up crew to clean the stadium.

“Very informative, very enjoyable, definitely learned a lot about the media industry from going to this event,” junior Zach Aldorisio said. “I think the event can apply to sports, but it also applies to several other areas.”

Marketing majors were the target group and students found the event useful. However, it also helped students with other majors, like advertising or business.

“It’s a great networking event,” junior Nick Terras said. “It was great insight and I’m going to take what they said.”

Terras is an information systems major working on applications for college students, but found the event useful for discovering insight on marketing.

Analytics was another big topic during the panel, with discussions on the massive effect that it has had on the business. Marketing teams will try to manipulate statistics, like how long people have been on websites and even what days of the week fans will go to a game, in order to help market to consumers.

Fine also talked about what it takes to make it in the baseball world, mentioning that sales is the area with the most opportunity to get your foot in the door. He notes that the hours are long and the pay is “dismal” but it provides employees with invaluable experience.


“If you can sell, you can do anything,” Fine said. “For us at the Mets, we look for someone with attitude and a passion for sales.”

The future of marketing was another hot topic, with ESPN’s Caulfield noting that it seems to be heading into the mobile world. Caulfield talked about how this day and age mobile has allowed us to have any information, anytime, anywhere.

The future has formed itself around the consumers and giving the consumer what they want when they want it. The advancements are going quicker and quicker and they don’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

Much was learned at the event which provided attendants with some valuable advice as well as invaluable networking opportunities.

“[PUMA] is mainly about fostering professional development with students, kind of giving them more than what they can get in the classroom,” said junior Lee Moskovitz, who serves as PUMA’s Director of Professional Development. “We want to take the learning experience beyond the classroom.”

Dr. Pradeep Gopalakrishna, a.k.a. Dr. G, Pace’s Undergraduate Marketing Chair for the Lubin Business School, works with PUMA students, along with members of the Lubin Business Association (LBA), to put together these conferences each year.

Dr. Gopalakrishna is a huge advocate of networking and believes that events such as these are ones of great importance for students.

“You have to come to these events,” Gopalakrishna said. “From engaging, networking, meeting, one has to take advantage of it all; students don’t take as much advantage as they should, I think.”

PUMA holds these types of events twice a semester. The next one will be on Wed. Mar. 25 during common hour in Butcher Suite.