After Wednesday at L.A. Live, we took the roads to the Rose Bowl and Home Depot Center before ending at the Laugh Factory. Here is the breakdown of our day:
At the Rose Bowl, we first met with Margo Mavridis, the current Rose Bowl architect who explained the history of the stadium and the status of the ongoing construction. She explained the current construction project, which includes widening the tunnels on the North end of the stadium, and building a new press box that will fit three times as many press and people. The construction is being rushed because they are trying to finish as much as possible before the UCLA football season starts. She also explained the challenges of changing the look and feel of such a historic stadium. The stadium needs to maintain its value and needs to be “alive and vital” for years to come. Another challenge is the physical soil under the stadium. The soil is poor and extremely difficult to on. After meeting with her, two Rose Bowl executives explained the Legends Hospitality project, which creates and implements effective solutions for hospitality and marketing. The increase of premium seating requires the Rose Bowl to outsource and use other companies help with marketing. They explained more about the new suites, which will hold 16-24 people, and range from $45,000 to $110,000. Paul Engl, the Sponsorship Director of the Rose Bowl, then talked to the group about to succeed in the business world, and the thing that stuck with me was that when you make a mistake, handle it professionally by calling the people who need to be called, being honest, and communicating. He continued to talk about how college sports fans are never going to go away, because there are always new students, and related that to the passion and brand loyalty for life that the Rose Bowl wants to establish. Finally, we heard from Laura Mirson, the project and marketing director for the stadium, who told us that at your job, you need to make yourself indispensable so that you are needed at the company.
On the way to the Home Depot Center, we stopped for a quick lunch at the California favorite In-N-Out Burger. “Number 1 animal style” was the most popular order.
Home Depot Center
At the AEG owned Home Depot Center, we met with Kristen Anderson, the Director of Event Sales. She started off by showing us the tennis stadium, and how they use it for more than just tennis, including basketball (including 1 Los Angeles Sparks game), boxing, and even high school graduations. There even used to be a WTA Event, but it was not drawing enough interest and was eventually pulled. We then moved on to the soccer stadium, which is home to the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA, both MLS teams. There is a big difference between the two teams, including the average attendance. The Galaxy averages between 18,000 and 20,000 fans, but Chivas only draws around 8,000 or 10,000. A challenge of managing the Home Depot Center is that the campus is located on California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). The facility must work with CSUDH on certain events, and have fan limits while school is in session. Finally, we were showed the Velodrome, which is the only indoor Velodrome in North America. The Velodrome, which has serbian wood imported from Russia, has to be kept at a certain humidity to preserve the wood.
Post Group Projections
Our final meeting was with Stephen Unger, a SU alum who is currently a “headhunter.” Some people he has recruited are current NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, the CFO of 20th Fox, and the presidents of CBS, the Miami Heat, and the San Francisco 49ers. He then encouraged us to be strategic and set goals to get a job, and not sit around and be lucky. He was a great speaker and definitely had good knowledge to share.
As a good end to the night, we took a break from the sports scene and listened to SU Alum and current writer for ABC’s Modern Family Danny Zucker, and Modern Family stars Eric Stonestreet (Cameron) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell). The talk was briefly interrupted with a shouting match between Stonestreet and Professor Veley. Stonestreet attended Kansas State, and disagreed with Veley on who would win the Kansas State-Syracuse game on Saturday. The rivalry was not done yet, though. After the show, Veley started a “Let’s Go Orange!” chant, to which the SU in LA theatre students joined in.
We stopped one final time to grab some frozen yogurt for the second time in three nights. It was a great way to finish a great day.