Tuesday: Dodger Stadium, Marathon, Fox, Colin, Nez, Pier

By Christopher Peters, James Pappalardo, Justin Katz

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What a grind the week is turning out to be. The bar that was set so high the days before continually gets elevated and today was no exception. Tuesday was a busy day, four meetings, two tours, two meals, and several amazing individuals. We started bright and early, heading out promptly at 7:45 for Los Angeles Dodgers.

We began our Dodgers experience with a tour from the extremely knowledgeable Sal Delgadillo. Sal wasted no time and showed us right to Vin Scully’s vantage point. Scully retired last season and is arguably the most iconic broadcaster in baseball history.

The view from his sport was incredible. There is a magnificent backdrop of palm trees and the Gabriel mountains just past the outfield wall. When asked if there was any thought to building the stadium 180 degrees the other way around to overlook the city, Sal explained that the idea was never considered, and it was always the plan to have the stadium built into the mountain and have the lush, natural backdrop.

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After Sal took us all over the Dodger Stadium, including the Dodgers’ dugout and luxury suites, we met with Antonio Morici, Bobby Mayorga, and Jesse Nunez. They each spoke about their responsibilities within the organization and answered our questions ranging from sales, promotions, demographics, and sponsorships. David Siegel, VP of ticket sales also stopped by to engage with our group and answer questions. Shelley Wagner, Director of Advertising and Promotions told us about the professional and corporate culture the Dodgers organization has.

After the Dodgers, we loaded up the bus again to head over to the LA Marathon. Working out of a warehouse was probably unsettling for most of us in the group. However, the small, welcoming group there made us feel very important. They were clearly looking forward to having us. They had hats and other trinkets on our chairs upon arrival.

We spoke with Tracey Russell, CEO and Rachel Sanchez of Partnerships. They shared their presentation with us and took turns answering our questions.

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The LA Marathon is now Conqur, and we learned there has been more of a focus on having outreach and running/fitness engagement throughout the year. They have a fantastic kid (K-5) program targeted at getting kids to want to run. Their company culture focuses on empowerment, proactivity, and never hearing nor saying, “That’s not my job.”

The LA Marathon will be run next weekend, on Sunday, March 19. The event will set the record for the largest geo-filter on Snapchat, a photo and video-sharing social media app, during the race.

After our time at the LA marathon, we got on the bus and headed to Fox Studios. Unfortunately, but not to anyone’s surprise, we hit some traffic on the way. Because of this, we only had about 30 minutes to get and eat lunch from the Fox commissary before our tour of the facilities.

Once lunch was eaten, an upbeat tour guide named Angel greeted us. Our first stop on the tour was the original studio building where the scores for movies are recorded and mastered. The sound in this building is so clear that Fox has tried to duplicate it in other buildings, however, hired engineers couldn’t figure out what to duplicate, as the reason why the sound is so clear is a mystery.

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We then walked through the writer’s area of the studio. As we passed Seth MacFarlane’s reserved parking space, Angel pointed out the buildings where popular shows like “Stranger Things” and “New Girl” have been written.

Angel then took us to the room where popular costumes that have been used in the past were stored. These included famous characters like Deadpool and the Wolverine Claw. The room also included costumes from the Titanic and Mrs. Doubtfire. The coolest thing about this area might’ve happened before we even entered the room. While the group was walking down the hallway, famous actor Jason Bateman came out of the bathroom, much to the shock and enjoyment of not only the group but also the tour guide Angel.

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Our tour ended with trips to the famous New York Street where popular shows like “How I Met Your Mother” and “It’s Always Sunny and Philadelphia” are filmed, and the stage where “New Girl” is filmed.

We were then taken to Fox Sports and entered what’s called the Avocado room. We were then given an opportunity to listen and ask questions to a star-studded panel of Michael Connelly (Fox Sports Net Senior Vice President and Executive Producer), Colin Cowherd (Radio/TV Personality), and Eric Shanks (President, COO, and Executive Producer).

All three men made sure to talk about their organizational culture of being risk-takers, confident, entrepreneurial and talent-friendly individuals. They were all very intricate and open with their answers to our questions. This was definitely one of the highlights of the day, as we were able to meet and pick the brains of such powerful people in the sport industry.

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Finally, to wrap up our time at Fox, we were taken on a tour of the Fox Sports two sets. The first set was mainly used for pregame/postgame football show, along with other sports. The second set was used for all of the different sports talk shows. These include “Undisputed with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe,” and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” This was a really cool way to end our time at Fox, a time that none of us will forget.

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Our final meeting of the day was with Mr. Nez Balelo. Nez Balelo heads the baseball agency at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Mr. Balelo also works with a few MMA fighters. We were greeted by his assistant Nadia, she brought us into a theater where we were introduced to Harrison Avigdor.

Harrison is an SU student currently completing his capstone with CAA. Harrison went on the LA immersion trip 2 years ago, which got him interested in working in LA. When someone asked him what his advice to us on getting internships and capstones was, he said that we should reach out to Syracuse University alumni.

Nadia then showed us a video about CAA and some of the clients they represent. The video showed a lot of well-known sports players, coaches, musicians, comedians, actors, and actresses. I knew CAA was a big company, but I was shocked by a number of people they represent. After that video, we were introduced to Nez Balelo.

Mr. Balelo started the meeting by having us introduce ourselves. Every person said who they are, where they are from, what major they are in, and an interesting thing about them. Mr. Balelo then introduced himself and told us some very interesting stories of how his dad was a fisherman and how he used to go on fishing treks with his father.

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He then opened the floor to us for Q&A. A lot of great questions were asked in the two-and-a-half-hour time period that we were at CAA. Someone asked Mr. Balelo about the culture of CAA. He responding by saying that is a very friendly culture with great chemistry between the several departments of CAA. Someone then asked how do you work with other departments in CAA. He responded by saying that we can connect clients with the sports industry to their favorite musicians, and vice-versa because CAA is so diverse.

At 6:30 P.M. we left CAA to go to Santa Monica Pier and we were there for two hours. In that time span, many people went to the beach and had dinner in the surrounding stores.

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Departure!March 12th, 2016
LA here we come!
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