Students get behind-the-scenes look at sports management

Fifteen Pennsylvania College of Technology business students learned about marketing efforts behind televised athletics events when they were hired by a marketing firm to help distribute noisemakers at the third MLB Little League Classic, played at historic Bowman Field at BB&T Ballpark, just a few blocks from campus.

Under the direction of California-based firm USA Marketing and Major League Baseball, the students — joined by eight students from Lycoming College — moved throughout the stands at the Aug. 18 game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs.

“Our task was to hand out noisemakers — thundersticks and mini drums,” said John Shadle, of Williamsport, who is enrolled in business administration: marketing concentration. “Our target audience was the youth in the crowd. The goal was to enhance the experience for the youth and the players.”

The students were assigned to sections throughout the ballpark and tasked with handing out all the noisemakers in the first inning. Two students and one USA Marketing staff member handled each section.

“Each item was unique to certain sections, and the color of each noisemaker represented the Little League Classic and the MLB teams participating,” explained Frank Tuason, of Stamford, Connecticut. Tuason is a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration: sport and event management concentration.

MLB works with USA Marketing to engage local college students to assist in every city where it works a major event.

“I learned that logistics are king in marketing at an event,” Shadle said. “We spent hours getting prepared for a 20-minute distribution. There were many moving parts that had to work perfectly for the event to run smoothly. If you keep focused on the task and the experience you are trying to provide, you will succeed every time.”