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Entertainment Economic Forecast Workshop

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SAEM Entertainment Business Economic Forecast 

Mike Gentille and Tom RooneyIn tough economic times, how do companies continue to attract worried consumers who are unwilling — or unable — to spend money on leisure activities like sporting events or concerts?

Students in the sport, arts and entertainment management program heard firsthand accounts of how local sports and entertainment companies are coping with the recession during a panel discussion on campus in JVH auditorium in November 9, 2009.

The students got an opportunity to network with panelists and local marketing professionals attending the workshop including: 

  • Marc Fleming, vice president of marketing and communications for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
  • Maggie Johnson, director of marketing and audience development for the Pittsburgh Arts Council
  • Tom Rooney, president of Rooney Sports and Entertainment Group
  • Mike Gentille, senior director of operations for Live Nation
  • Lou DePaoli, executive vice president and chief marketing director for the Pittsburgh Pirates

The workshop was a follow-up to a session held earlier this year on doing business during an economic downturn.

Panelists talked about using "added value" strategies to entice consumers to buy. They described different pricing levels to appeal to different segments of the consumer audience, from basic, inexpensive options to more complex packages that cost much more.

For students, the workshops offered a chance to hear industry professionals give examples of business challenges they will encounter on the job.  "The students get a professional perspective, " said Steve Tanzilli, assistant professor and director of the SAEM program.  "The speakers offer them real-life experiences that will reinforce what our students are hearing in the classroom and give what they're hearing in the classroom more credibility."

The session included time for questions. Students asked what the panelists look for in interns. Their answers? Students who show a passion for the field they're pursuing, a willingness to work long hours, strong personal skills, knowledge of social networking tools and an old-fashioned basic - showing up for work on time.

Pictured: Mike Gentille of Live Nation and Tom Rooney of Rooney Sports and Entertainment Group share their venue management expertise.

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