Hockey heavyweights speak at Marshall

The Marshall School of Business Sports Business Institute hosted Luc Robitaille, president of business operations for the Los Angeles Kings, and Michael Schulman, CEO of the Anaheim Ducks, at Town & Gown on Thursday night for an event called “The Business of Hockey.”

In addition to presentations on management, leadership and navigating the changing landscape of the National Hockey League, the three-hour event included an attendee networking session, a panel discussion with Q&A and a closing reception.

Established in 2005, the Sports Business Institute serves as the destination for knowledge about the sports industry.

“We really thought that we could own thought leadership when it comes to the business of sports,” said David Carter, the executive director of Sports Business Institute. “So we started doing some research, doing some consulting work in the industry and hosting special events like the one we’re doing tonight on the business of hockey.”

Robitaille, the highest scoring left wing National Hockey League in history and the all-time Kings leader in goals scored, explained that there is potential revenue growth in social media.

During the presentation, Robitaille and Schulman agreed that there is not a lot of potential grown in the ticket box but that they are looking to increase revenue by broadcasting hockey games in movie theaters through a deal with NBC Sports.

The speakers also talked about sustaining their fan base through sparking their interest in the sport at an early age. Schulman said that they currently have 41 high school hockey teams mainly in Orange County participating in its 2014-2015 season, and are hoping to target an even younger population — children from 4 to 8 years old — in the near future.

Open to the general public, this event was the inaugural Business of Team Sports event series and had around 250 attendees, many of whom were students and alumni.

“I’m actually a really big Kings fan so I’ve been following them since I was a little girl. Through my program, I’m trying to figure out which source of management I’m interested in,” aid Sara Stevens, a freshman majoring in Management Engineering at Claremont McKenna College.  “Sports have been something I’ve been following since childhood and I just thought that maybe I’ll want to go into it.”

Ghazzal Rezvan, a senior majoring in business administration with a minor in sports media studies, shared the same enthusiasm.

“I’ve always wanted to work in this industry and this event was everything I expected it to be,” Rezvan said.

Rezvan is an intern with the Sports Business Institute and said that Robitaille was a speaker in one of Carter’s courses.

A silent auction featuring Kings and Ducks items was held throughout the duration of the event.

Carter said he hopes to engage the entire community, both academic and those who work in sports.

“We’re going to have a lot of traditional business executives here, folks from local sports franchises, so it’s intended for everybody. We have a strong support of alumni here tonight as well as industry people,” Carter said.