Promotional Advice from Sport Experts

Pictured front L-R: Megan Gorecki, sports communication sophomore; Samantha Zurawski, advertising senior; Back L-R: Chris Kwiecinski, sports communication sophomore; Brent Drevalas, sports communication junior; and Cody Demas, sports communication senior.

March 26, 2014

By Megan Gorecki ‘15

Five Bradley students attended the 4th annual Illinois State University Sport Symposium along with Assistant Professor of Communication, Dr. Angela Pratt. More than 200 students and faculty from 11 different universities from across the Midwest were in attendance.

Bradley sports communication majors Cody Demas, Brent Drevalas, Chris Kwiecinski and Megan Gorecki and advertising major Samantha Zurawski were in attendance along with Dr. Pratt to gain advice from some of sports established marketers.

The morning panel consisted of Brian Bowsher, the Assistant Athletic Director of Digital Strategy at the University of Miami, Erin Harvego, the VP of Marketing at the Big Ten Network, Justin Reckamp, marketing analyst for State Farm Insurance, and Jorie Sax, VP of Women In Sports Events (WISE) and a part of marketing compliance for MillerCoors.  

These panelists stressed the importance of mentors and creating life long friendships by networking.   “These panels and speakers really helped me understand what a career in sports meant,” stated Zurawski.

The afternoon panel involved Peoria native Lisa Boaz, Senior Manager of Marketing and Advertising for the St. Louis Rams, Mike Ernst, Senior VP of Ticket Sales, Service, Operations, and Marketing for the Chicago Fire, Todd Fischer, VP of Client Management at GMR, and Vince Cicero, the Chief Operating Officer/Tournament Director of the Western and Southern Open.  

Although the panelists shared that the sports business is all about paying your dues and working long hours, it is a rewarding experience.  “The symposium inspired me to not be afraid to apply to big name companies for fear of rejection, now I feel more prepared for the challenge,” said Zurawski.  

Brent Drevalas enjoyed keynote speaker Steve DeLay the most. Steve DeLay has more than 20 years of experience working specifically with operating teams and enhancing revenue using ticket and sponsorship sales.  “Steve didn’t sugar coat any of his stories or advice, he told it how it was,” stated Drevalas.

DeLay also co-authored The Ultimate Toolkit to Sell the Last Seat in the House.  He noted that when it comes to sales and marketing, winning isn’t everything; it is about sales, and selling every seat in the house.

Overall, the Bradley students took away some valuable lessons.  “You won’t find yourself in one spot, you have to keep moving to find your place in the sports world,” stated Kwiecinski.

“The symposium in Bloomington was a terrific opportunity to network and sit down face to face and have conversations with executives you would not have a chance to do otherwise,” stated Demas.