With day one being as great as it was, day two had a tough act to follow. Leaving from the Marriot, we experienced our first LA traffic, but still ended up arriving early to the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). At CAA, we met with agent Nez Balelo, who represents the likes of CC Sabathia, Andre Either, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, and Ryan Braun (just to name a few). Mr. Balelo advised us to “expand our wings” and learn all that we can while we are school- immersing ourselves in different cultures and learning other languages. He also spoke about the dedication one needs to have in whatever job you have, saying that there is “no second place for lack of effort and hard work.” Balelo talked about his relationships with clients, saying both that trust in vital in the agent-client relationship, and that you cannot treat every client same way, as they are “different animals”.
Next, we walked down a couple blocks to meet with SU alum and NASCAR executive, Phil Metz. It was interesting talking with Metz, because he took a non-traditional route to his position (Entertainment Marketing and Talent Relations Director), going to Newhouse wanting to be Bob Costas, but eventually ending up in music and then moving into the sports industry. He spoke about how his job is to basically get NASCAR into the mainstream pop culture, integrating the sport in movies (i.e. Talladega Nights and Transformers) and through performers (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lenny Kravitz, and Blake Skelton). Getting these appearance by celebrities at races involve what Metz called “a lot of bartering”, giving both NASCAR and the actual performer a lot of exposure. One of the more interesting topics that Metz brought up was ‘NASCAR Green’, an initiative that allows for 15 percent of fuel to be U.S ethanol, instead of gasoline. Metz also talked about how accessible the drivers are to the fans, being able to get an autograph following the race and walk on pit road before it, as well as how unlike in other leagues, the athletes in NASCAR are “ordinary people”, which allows fans to establish a commonality with the driver of their choice. Metz explained that you do not necessarily have to be passionate about the sport for which you work, and that staying current by reading upon current events is now more important than ever in the sports industry. A final thought that he left us with was to “be a resources to whomever is going to hire you.”
After a bit a discourse about the tournament and the Orange’s chance on going to New Orleans, we headed out for UCLA. We were able to walk around campus, have lunch, look around the bookstore, and enjoy the sunshine before going to see the Hall of Fame. Seeing the prolific athletes that attended UCLA (Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bill Walton, Troy Aikman, Jackie Robinson, etc.), the 100 plus championship trophies, and the fact that UCLA has won more Olympic medals than countries such as Italy and Japan was an amazing experience. We then had the opportunity to meet with former UCLA and NBA basketball player Keith Erickson, who spoke to us about “the greatest coach in our nation’s history”, John Wooden. Erickson told us stories about Coach Wooden influenced him, teaching him skills that he has applied throughout his life. We then watch a short movie about the life of John Wooden, where he spoke about his own philosophy and the reasoning behind it.
After seeing a bit more of campus, we finished up at UCLA and headed off to dinner, which we ate at the Marmalade Café. We then went to Yogurt Land for a ‘sweet’ end to our day. Tomorrow should be another great day, with another line-up of amazing speakers for us to learn from.