By Roberto Bagnato, Second Year SPAD Student
The sport business industry is arguably one of the most difficult and competitive industries to break into.
As a result, building a diverse and resourceful network of industry professionals is a core lesson taught to SPAD students upon their first moments in the program.
From Jan. 22 to 24, seven SPAD students applied these lessons at the 11th annual Queen’s Sports Industry Conference (QSIC).
The seven representatives of Laurentian University were among 120 delegates selected from a 500-student pool, all of who applied to attend this year’s conference.
The conference opened Thursday with a keynote address from Gord Hendren, President and CEO of Charlton Strategic Research.
Hendren, a Queen’s Commerce graduate, shared his 20-plus years of experience in providing strategic insights and marketing advice with the delegates.
The Queen’s graduate was instrumental in the feasibility studies conducted prior to the expansion of the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors, and most recently, Toronto FC.
Upon completion of the keynote, delegates commuted to the Four Points Hotel where the second keynote of the evening was held. Thursday evening featured Jim Barker, General Manager of the Toronto Argonauts, who shared his experiences both on and off the football field with QSIC delegates.
Friday was highlighted by the Breaking Into Sports Panel, which featured company representatives from Gatorade, MLSE, Eventcorp, S&E, and the Smith School of Business.
Panelists shared their experiences in the industry and provided tips on how delegates could make a lasting impression with potential employers.
Delegates then moved into the Gatorade Case Classic, where Gatorade representatives challenged delegates to create a marketing plan for a specific target market.
In just under two hours, delegates formed a detailed marketing plan with the winning team awarded a trip to watch a Toronto Raptors game in the Gatorade suite with company executives.
The highlight of Saturday was the 2016 Baseball Free Agency simulation. Delegates were separated into three categories: players, agents and MLB team representatives.
Each role brought along specific objectives that delegates were to obtain when negotiating player contracts.
Sportsnet presented the simulation, with data assistance from the Toronto Blue Jays Analytics team.
Upon completion of the simulation, delegates reconnected for the closing keynote address from Bob Nicholson, former President and Chief Operating Officer of the Toronto Blue Jays.
All SPAD students were thoroughly impressed with the conference.
“QSIC was a very well run, engaging conference that allowed students to network with professionals while also featuring the opportunity to experience a present day problem case competition,” said second year SPAD student, Ryley Robinson.
When asked about attending the conference in 2017, Robinson said that it’s “a given.”
The Sports Administration program would like to thank the Smith School of Business and the entire Queen’s Sports Industry Conference organizing committee for their hospitality during the conference.
The countdown is on for QSIC 2017!
-Photo: Gord Hendren, President and CEO of Charlton Strategic Research, addresses the audience at the 2016 Queen’s Sports Industry Conference.