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Scoring Internships
Business students are a big part of the team for the Ontario Reign
By Marisa Navarro

College of Business Administration students Alfred Morales and Wendy Carpio get hands-on experience through the internship program with the Ontario Reign.College of Business Administration students Alfred Morales and Wendy Carpio get hands-on experience through the internship program with the Ontario Reign.

A new internship program with the Ontario Reign, the minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles
Kings, offers Cal Poly Pomona students an insider’s knowledge of the professional sports industry.

The internship program launched fall 2009 and has a dozen business students performing tasks that range from selling season tickets to tracking consumer spending to drafting press releases. The students’ duties, however, are more varied given the fact that they also attend home games. Fans who are greeted at the door, meet team mascot Blaze the Dragon or participate in contests during intermissions are more than likely encountering a Cal Poly Pomona student.

Interns are essential for minor league teams that often have a modest staff size, says Evan Flagg, a Reign senior account executive. They also bring a much needed jolt of energy.

“When you’re working 22 days in a row, it’s almost necessary to have interns here who can provide a fresh outlook and fresh ideas to the organization,” Flagg says. “Seeing their excitement gets us excited too.”

The Reign is relatively new to the area — its inaugural season at Citizens Business Bank Arenabegan in 2008 — and there wasn’t an internship program in place when the team opened its doors. When the College of Business Administration approached executives about implementing an exclusive internship program, no one hesitated. Cal Poly Pomona has a reputation of producing a diverse student body that has a tireless work ethic and strong ties to the community, says Flagg, who grew up in the Pomona Valley.

As a third-year accounting student, Christian Mora was introduced to software programs in his accounting classes, but it was during his internship with the Reign that he really mastered them. The Ontario resident became so adept using the programs that he helped implement them for the team’s charity, the Hope Reigns Foundation. Mora is now determined to apply his accounting skills to a sports franchise when he graduates.

“I love the internship,” Mora says. “I actually have a better sense of what I want to do with my life.”

Oscar Andrade commits 15 hours a week as a ticket sales and service intern while juggling his commitment to school and a full-time job.

The sacrifices he has made are worth it as Andrade has been inspired to work in professional sports ever since he took Professor James Swartz’s sports marketing class. Andrade says he has benefited from working with the account executives who have acted as mentors, offering tips and advice on how to succeed in professional sales.

“I’ve learned how everything really functions,” he says. “I’ve learned how to talk to people and how event planning works. It’s really something you have to learn hands on.”

Andrade, who will graduate in June, will take everything he learned with the Reign when he searches for jobs in the sports and entertainment industries. Andrade has a reason to be hopeful about fulfilling his career goals. Former Cal Poly Pomona student and Reign intern Steve Nunez now works for AEG , a worldwide company that either owns or has a controlling interest in Staples Center, Home Depot Center and L.A. Live, as well as the Kings and the Reign. Nunez certainly had an edge on the competition because he had
gone through the team’s training program and had solicited advice about job interviews from the Reign staff.

“We’ve truly appreciated everything they’ve done for us,” says James Collins, the Reign’s vice president of ticket sales and service. “The best benefit we can give them in this industry is the networking contacts.”