The Sears Centre Arena Intern- James Michel

A Day in the Life: Sears Centre Arena

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week, my day revolves around my position as the Marketing and Sales Intern at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.  Because I live in Chicago and drive to Hoffman Estates, I wake up at 8:30am so that I have time to get ready and be at the arena by 10:30am.  Once there, I check in with my supervisor to see what projects she would like me to work on that day.  Because the Sears Centre Arena is an 11,800 seat arena that services the Chicagoland area (especially the western suburbs), the projects can vary greatly depending on the upcoming events.  Lately, we have been focused on our March events, which include: Women’s Big Ten Basketball TournamentMonster Truck Nationals and Magic TourTNA Wrestling, and Circus Spectacular. 

Sears Centre Arena view from Parking Lot

Sears Centre Arena view from Parking Lot

Establishing Partnernships: Libraries and Basketball

My main projects since beginning the internship have been centered on the Women’s Big Ten Basketball tournament.  I am in charge of partnering with local public libraries to create reading programs that encourage kids to read by providing them with admission to the tournament as a reward for completing the program.  In order to set this up, I researched, and contacted the libraries surrounding Hoffman Estates.  Once I got the proper youth services contact, I sent them information about our upcoming event, as well as how our initiative can be useful to them.  I am currently in the process of following up with these libraries to figure out what materials should be sent.  In exchange for providing these libraries with incentives for their reading program, they are going to put posters and flyers that promote the Women’s Big Ten Basketball Tournament up throughout their facility.  As the promotional materials are currently being printed, I will begin to package them and send them to the appropriate libraries next week.

Sears Centre Inside view setting up for a Bull Riding Event

Setting up for the Bull Riding Event

Another project that I am continually working on is the “Skills and Thrills” Fan Camp that will be going on during the tournament.  The camp features more than 15 interactive games and will take place in a climate-controlled tent outside of the arena.  While the games had been decided before my internship began, much of the planning had not.  Along with my supervisor, I have helped configure the set up for the tent and am continuously working to ensure that the event runs smoothly.  I have ordered decorations for the tent, written instructions for the games, helped design materials that will serve both functionally and decoratively, and written the waiver for the event.  While I have already done a great deal of work for the “Skills and Thrills” Fan Camp, I am working each week on tasks to ensure that it draws fans to the arena and runs smoothly once they are there.

Learning Outcomes: The Importance of Media

I have worked extensively on several projects during my internship, but I have also learned a great deal about marketing and its application that I did not have prior knowledge of.  Among other things, I have learned how to work with media to negotiate promotion of events, about trading with other businesses for mutual benefit, and how to write press releases and letters of agreement.  I did not completely understand the media side of marketing prior to my internship.  Previously I had thought that a company either hired an advertising agency or designed an advertisement and contacted the media about placing it.  While that is often true, there is a lot more to it.  As I have learned, there is often trade involved.  Pricing is negotiable, as benefits can be given to both parties in order to shift the price in either direction.  Also, advertisements don’t necessarily have to be made prior to negotiating with media outlets.  For example, on the radio, you can write out your advertisement for them to execute or even just write what things you want mentioned and they will create the advertisement for you.  In addition to the promotional aspect, I have learned about the concept of trade.  This is a concept that I had no prior knowledge of.  In order to avoid both sides having to use their budget extensively, parties will negotiate benefits that are not cash.  For example, a radio station will mention an event a certain number of times on air in exchange for a certain number of tickets to that event that they can give away on air.  While it is a very simple concept, it is one I did not know about that can be used effectively in order to execute strategies within budget.  Finally, I have written several press releases for the Sears Centre Arena about upcoming events.  I did have prior knowledge of what a press release was, but had never written one that was actually used in the real world.  I have found that it is important to include information about the event and why it is important, ticket prices, background information about the arena, and how to get more information.  These concepts and skills have taught me a lot about marketing and business and will help me going forward.

Where I work, the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates

Where I work, the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates

To date, my internship at the Sears Centre Arena has been an invaluable experience.  Since it is my first internship, I am learning about new concepts and am finally able to put my formal education into practice.  I have also been able to work in a professional atmosphere, which will definitely help me going forward, as I now understand the balance between professionalism and friendliness.  Because I want to work in sports going forward, I couldn’t be happier than I am currently.  I am learning new concepts and strategies every day, I am putting my marketing education to use in the real world, and I am gaining experience in an industry that I desire to pursue in the long run.

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