July 14, 2014
Bucks Go Pro Intern Stacy Danczak writes about the group’s field trips last week at professional venues in Columbus.
July 11, 2014: Wednesday brought another full day of of trips and tours around Columbus. The first stop was the Columbus Convention Center, where they were preparing for the second largest Horticulture Convention in the world. The convention center was so big it felt like we were walking through an airport with signs directing us to the ballrooms, meeting rooms and exhibit halls along with a vast amount of escalators. There were construction workers hanging strings of butterflies from the ceilings while others transformed the 410,00 sq. ft. of exhibit halls with displays for various plants and flowers.Beside from being well known for holding various conventions the convention center also holds numerous athletics events such as fencing tournaments, volleyball tournaments and cheerleading competitions. They are capable of transforming their 3 exhibit halls to 60 individual volleyball courts. We also got to see the Batelle Grand, which is a new multipurpose ballroom that can seat up to 3,000 people and has been used for everything from weddings to large conferences. The lighting above the Batelle Grand was filled with beautiful, multicolored lights that you can set to whatever color scheme you wish. At the end of the tour we got the chance to sit down and talk in one of the 65 meeting rooms to the general manager, John Page, who had also been a student-athlete at Ohio State. He explained to us his journey and how he went to graduate school at Ohio State for sports administration and how much it benefitted his career.
Next stop, the Columbus Crew Stadium. Right when we arrived at the stadium we began our tour, starting directly on top of the field. To my surprise the field was completely grass and not turf and had maintenance mowing and watering it to prepare for next weeks games. Next, we got see the group party tents that large parties can rent out to eat and socialize before the games. In the tents there were banners of all the teams in the MLS and I also learned that the Crew was the first team to start the MLS in 1996. The history and credibility of the team is the main reason why the Crew Stadium was selected to host the USA vs Mexico game in 2013. We then got to see both the home and visiting locker rooms and the facilities manager explained to us that the visitors locker was strategically designed to make the other team feel uncomfortable. The walls are bright yellow and there are high taping tables located directly in the middle of the room so the visiting coach cannot see his entire team in one spot in the locker room. The players also do not get there own individual stalls but rather a community bench that borders the locker room. The Crew locker room was the exact opposite, it had a very clean cut feel to it with a lot of open space and the largest white board that could possibly fit in the room. We were then taken all around the stadium to the suites and media rooms until we had done a complete circle and ended in the press conference room where we finished our tour.
July 8, 2014: Already in week 4, we started Monday morning off again with a chartered CABS ride to downtown Columbus. Our first stop was Huntington Park where the the minor league baseball team, the Columbus Clippers play. As soon as we got there we were introduced to the director of marketing, Mark Galuska, as well as the director of communications/ media relations and team historian, Joe Santry. Both Galuska and Santry gave us a full tour of the facility starting upstairs in the suites and media room and then down to the batting cages and dugout followed by the upstairs bar piled full of Clippers history. Since Santry is the team historian he had a story for every place in the park that we went and was very proud of the bar that he researched and filled with historical pictures and artifacts. Even the bar top featured a timeline from when the program started to the more recent events. Our final stop was the bleacher seats with the secluded roosters concession stand. On our way out Galuska as the director of marketing pointed out all of the decorations on the walls such as the black and white photos that looked as if they were painted onto the brick walls as well as the Nationwide advertisements that embodied their motto “life comes at you fast” with a baseball essence.
Once our tour at Huntington Park was done we walked down the street to Nationwide Arena. Our first stop of our tour was the top floor (or what we thought was the top floor at the time) in the room where all of the sound, light and scoreboard controls are handled. Then we climbed a ladder to go up into the ceiling of the arena and when we didn’t think we could go much higher we crossed the catwalk looking straight down at the lowered scoreboard in the middle of the court and climbed a ramp and another set of stairs that led us to where the goal horn was stored.
Luckily, the goal horn was disabled because if it went off while someone was standing in front of it they could easily go deaf. After we climbed down the ladder and were safely back on the ground we went all the way down to the bottom floor where we met the ice manager who is responsible for the the installation of the ice as well as the melting and removing of it and the tending of it when it needs to be covered for a concert or another event. He also makes sure all of the zamboni’s are working properly. Next we talked to Gary O’Brien who works in communications at Nationwide but is not only one of the BucksGoPro supervisors but he is also the program development director at the Schottenstein Center and works with Melissa Rennie for her internship. Our last stop was the TV room where there were easily 20 TV’s around the entire room and we got to learn about all of the different dynamics it takes to broadcast a sporting event such as someone directing which camera is being broadcasted when.
After a long day of tours it was really eye-opening how many different operations go into not only running a professional sports team but also a large facility. It was very interesting to see people working in sports outside of just sports management and public relations but also people who work on the technology side of it as well as in facilities management.