Starting Here, Reaching Far

Sport management alumni build brands of some of the world’s biggest sport sponsors

At 160over90, a global, full-service cultural agency, Ryan Morse ’15, Brian Sanchez ‘18, and Michele Robatto ’20 are working to build the brands of some of the world’s biggest sport sponsors.

Morse, Sanchez, and Robatto learned about sport sponsorship and activation in the required Business Development & Sales course, as well as through internships at organizations including the Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Raiders, USF Athletics, Pro-Am Beach Soccer, and Tiger Wood’s TGR Foundation. Importantly, all three alumni were also able to gain experience in sport marketing and sponsorship agencies before joining 160over90.

Says Morse: “I was fortunate to land a number of internships and part-time roles on the agency, team, property, and rightsholder side of the industry, in everything from sales and account management to game day operations and social media marketing. All of that experience provided a well-rounded understanding of how to navigate the complexities of sport sponsorship and the many facets of sponsorship activation.”

Ryan Morse
Ryan Morse ’15

Sanchez agrees that 160over90 “definitely valued that I had spent time at an agency while also having experience on the team side. For these roles overseeing national work, it is always appreciated when a candidate has seen multiple sides of the business.” Sanchez’s supervisor Brenna Dykta, an account director based in New York, commented, “Brian’s value to our team cannot be measured – our clients truly see him as an extension of their team, and junior members of our account team look to him for guidance and expertise. By developing strong relationships with partners and other stakeholders, he’s brought strategic recommendations to life that have become best-in-class activations."

The three graduates of the USF Sport Management program represent domestic and international brands by using sport and entertainment to deliver compelling stories and messages to customers. Based in New York, Sanchez works on Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with the MLB and Bud Light’s sponsorship of FIFA, US Soccer, MLS teams, the NWSL, and Mexican soccer. In London, Robatto oversee’s Visa’s sponsorships with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, FIFA, and UEFA. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Morse oversees a team responsible for ideating and activating T-Mobile’s sport sponsorships with F1, MLB, DRL, Little League, and Red Bull.

Morse said, “Unlike most jobs, this job is tangible! You can actually see, hear and feel your hard work pay-off onsite. Whether it's seeing a fan interact with your activation, hearing the praise and excitement, or feeling the rush of adrenaline when doors open, all of the hard work often pays off in something that is tangible and gratifying.” His supervisor Adam John, an account director based in Chicago, agreed. John said, “Ryan’s sports business acumen and experience in the space has been evident, which not only brings value to our client partners through understanding of their sponsorship objectives, but also to our internal team members who go to Ryan as a source of insight and strategy.”

Global Collaboration

Agency life is about linkages and collaboration — with clients, partners, suppliers, and colleagues. For example, Robatto enjoys collaborating with creative and communications teams at 160over90, as well as with his client counterparts at Visa, an organization “renowned for being an innovator, and committed to diversity and inclusion, which sponsors the biggest sporting events worldwide, and some of the best athletes in its Team Visa roster.” Collaboration is also required to make decisions.

As Morse relayed, “Your goal is to provide a client with all of their available options and make a recommendation. It's important to pull from all your previous experiences as you begin to craft an engaging story and present your ideas that are backed by a sound strategy & irrefutable data.”

Brian Sanchez
Brian Sanchez ‘18

Program Foundations in Sport Management

Morse, Sanchez, and Robatto credit the USF Sport Management program with helping them develop the skills and networks required for their roles at 160over90. As Sanchez said: “I still leverage learnings from the program to this day.” From strategic thinking and problem-solving, to project management and communication, the alumni reflected on how the program “gave them a leg-up on other employees at the same level, which helped them advance quickly.”

As an international student, Robatto especially valued the unique design of the program, which allowed him to study and work at the same time. He said it allowed him to “apply what I learned in real-world situations, and enabled me to develop practical skills that have proven vital to my professional success.”

The three graduates also pointed to the impact of alumni during and after the program, and how frequently they find themselves interacting with program alumni. Sanchez recalled: “We learned early on in the program that your network is your net worth.”